Professional Development

All about intrepreneurs—and why you need to be one

millennial manager
Written by Eric Titner

If you think the only path to being successful in today’s lightning-paced, ultra-competitive world of work is to venture out on your own as an entrepreneur, then think again! The truth is, that’s just one of several ways to achieve success along your career journey. Another route that’s gaining traction across industries is becoming what’s called an intrapreneur.

At its core, an intrapreneur is someone who embraces the positive aspects of being an entrepreneur—an innovative spirit, a desire to think outside of the box and disrupt the status quo with bold new ideas, and an ability to inspire others to embrace risk and achieve their full potential. But instead of branching out on their own, intrapreneurs use these talents in their current positions within the companies they work for, rather than starting a new enterprise.

Intrapreneurs are coveted by companies because they often bring fresh, creative energy and new methods for improving products, streamlining old processes, enhancing productivity, and solving problems. They tend to motivate their colleagues in incredible ways, which can be a real game-changer for companies who are lucky enough to have them on board. Take a team that’s struggling with apathy and burnout and add a few well-placed intrapreneurs into the mix, and it can really turn things around and get them moving in a positive direction.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “If someone has all of these entrepreneurial tools and energy, why don’t they take those positive attributes and start their own business?” The truth is, not everyone wants to deal with the stress, pressure, and effort involved in planning, launching, and sustaining their own business—even if they naturally possess the skills of an entrepreneur.

Also, starting a business in today’s ultra-competitive (and often saturated) landscape is a real risk. According to a recent report by the Small Business Association, less than 80% of small businesses survive their first year, about half are gone at the five-year mark, and fewer than one-third get to celebrate their 10th anniversary. If you’re not up for assuming the challenges of such a major undertaking, then being an entrepreneur just might not be right for you.

Demonstrating a true entrepreneurial spirit in the service of the company you work for is not without its benefits—chances are, if you display the attributes of a successful entrepreneur and yield consistently positive results, your coworkers and employers will notice and reward you accordingly. Workers are increasingly embracing the intrapreneurial spirit notion in an effort to move up their career ladders and achieve professional satisfaction, and employees are recognizing the value of having and retaining solid intrepreneurs on their teams.

The bottom line is that if you’re not up for the potential hassles, hazards, and headaches of starting your own business but are still interested in using your natural entrepreneurial abilities to forge a successful professional path, then becoming an intrapreneur might just be your next smart career move.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.