I network in a lot of circles both entrepreneurial and corporate. When I meet corporate types at functions, they often times tell me that they would “love” to be an entrepreneur, but for whatever XYZ reasons, they simply can’t. And, they usually follow on by saying that they are an “intrapreneur.”
The widely held definition of an intrapreneur is someone that acts as an entrepreneur (or someone having “entrepreneurial spirit”) while working inside a corporate organization.
I flatly think this is nonsense. You cannot be self-employed and employed simultaneously. Entrepreneurship is not a feeling or a state of mind. It is how you make your living. Either you are an entrepreneur or you are not.
The most fundamental difference between an employee and an entrepreneur is that the entrepreneur has risk (and stress) – they have skin in the game. Employees, no matter how innovative, do not have the weight of the company on their backs. You cannot be an entrepreneur without that.
I think the intrapreneur title came about as a way to make risk adverse corporate guys and entrepreneur wannabes feel good. I think that stems from the jealousy that corporate types feel towards their freedom loving and more fulfilled entrepreneurial friends.
Here is a little test to take to determine if you are an entrepreneur or not:
- If work is slow does your salary or income change?
- Do you have legal papers saying you own a company?
- Can you tell crappy customers to go to hell and not get fired?
- Have you ever stressed about making a payroll?
If you can’t answer yes to the first three questions above, you’re simply NOT an entrepreneur. If you’re an entrepreneur (see questions 1-3 above), and you answered no to question 4, I think you’re either brilliant, lucky or lying. Now, what do you think?