June 23, 2014
Posted by: Monica Selby
Thanks to the enormous successes of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other tech startups, entrepreneurship is experiencing another hey day. Some estimates put the number of new tech startups each at 100 million.
And, let’s face it, with $17 billion valuations like Uber’s, starting up has quite the sex appeal.
But, as sexy as entrepreneurship is these days, it’s still impossible to guarantee success. Most of those new tech startups fail, leaving their founders with little to show for months or years of effort.
There’s also the reality that not everyone’s personality or circumstances fit well with entrepreneurship. Building anything from scratch is stressful, difficult, and often unrewarding. Honestly, much like artists of old, most entrepreneurs have to be a little crazy to get it done.
So, what do you do if entrepreneurship isn’t a good fit for you but you don’t want to slave away in cubicle nation either?
Reward Without Risk
We’ve talked before about how intrapreneurship is vital to company growth.
But, the truth is, intrapreneurship is great for employees, too.
Getting a job at a company that supports intrapreneurs can provide the financial stability you need while allowing you to pursue your creative itch. If you have your sights set on entrepreneurship one day, working within a company for awhile can help you hone the skills you’ll need when you go it alone.
Established companies also have something every startup lacks--resources. Building a new product is always easier with money, and it can be easier to build profitable partnerships when you have a company name behind you.
Naturally there are trade offs. Perhaps you’ll have to divide your time between your project and other company initiatives or your IP will stay with the company. You can typically negotiate these kinds of things, though, and many people find the benefits of working within an organization can far outweigh those of going alone.
Intrapreneurs Change the World, Too
Some of the greatest ideas for innovation have come from within a corporate structure. Tech companies get this, and giants like Google are famous for their 20% time which allows employees to spend 20% of their on-the-clock time working on personal projects. We’ve got Gmail thanks to 20% time.
Post-it Notes, PlayStation, and the JAVA Programming language were all intrapreneurial efforts. Steve Jobs even famously considered the Macintosh to be a intrapreneurial project within Apple. Where would we have been without the Mac?!
Entrepreneurs get a lot of applause these days, but when you dig, you’ll probably realize that many of the innovations we use every day actually came from intrapreneurs, not startups.