We heard it a lot in 2017: ‘the only way to financial freedom is through entrepreneurship’, ‘don’t be a slave to anyone in the future, start your own business’. It honestly seemed like the year of the entrepreneur alone. At a time, I started feeling like those of us who were not entrepreneurs were invalid and doomed for poverty in retirement.
At times entrepreneurship is over glamorised, deemed as the one and only solution to every problem. However, not everyone is cut out to start a new business and be their own boss and it is by no means the only way to a successful life (whichever way you deem to define success). That’s the reality. There is no doubt that entrepreneurship has become one of the most sustainable ways to the unemployment problem worldwide, however it surely is not the only guarantee to success. Your passion could be working at a renowned pharmaceutical company or the government and changing procedures there, you don’t have to start your own political party or pharmaceutical company to feel like you’ve made an impact, are following your dreams, or to be able to earn a decent living.
You need to learn to add value to whatever role you are in and be entrepreneurial in your thinking – be an intrapreneur. A termed coined by author, inventor and entrepreneur Gifford Pinchott III, as:
‘Those who take hands on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business’
At times in our roles, we get bored with our jobs and start to think that it must be a sign to start our own business, when rather it may likely only be a sign to find something more challenging, or channel our creativity and passion into a new role. If starting a business really is your passion and you certainly think you have something different that can only be solved by your business, by all means of course go ahead. If however, like myself, you actually enjoy working for a company, you may need to change your approach to work. As an intraprenuer you need to:
- Learn to start thinking critically
- Embrace innovation
- Constantly upgrade and improve yourself
- Be curious and courageous
- Be willing to take risks
- Take ownership of your role
- Be confident in your decisions
There are so many great examples of intrapreneurs; take for instance Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook who figured out how to make the social media giant profitable; 3M scientist Arthur Fry who co-founded the POST-IT Note based on a colleagues previous invention; Indra Nooyi, CEO of PEPSI Co, who is working on creating a more healthy line of the company’s products, and lawyer, Ronke Lawal who was recently awarded an MBE for her services to diversity in the legal profession.
Who ever said that owning your own business is the only means to success? This is to the year of the intraprenuer!
Author: Keji Peter