Today more and more graduates are seeking opportunities at companies where there are possibilities to contribute, grow, and being responsible for actions every day. Recent grads struggle with finding work that suits their needs in the labor market, therefore young people – even juveniles – show a tendency to begin with building ventures. Lots of people think that only entrepreneurship is solely the key to professional freedom and self-realization, which obviously has many benefits compared to being an employee. But are young people ready to take a job that comes with being a business professional, especially if you only have few work experiences? Is entrepreneurship the only way to be financially successful?
What to do after graduation?
There is lot of crap out there on the internet about entrepreneurship… Many people talk, make videos, do podcasts or webcasts, write blogs on the topic that triggers youngsters to choose the same path, to build the next big hit, and be on the cover of every business magazine. The question is, are people really capable of doing such a thing especially straight outta college?
Gary Vaynerchuk described pretty well the miscommunication of today’s success among younger generations. The idealization of entrepreneurship (building the next Uber and Airbnb) made everybody believe that being a company owner is the only way. The thing is, not everybody is born an entrepreneur. Period. Not everybody can be Steve Jobs. Period. There is just a fraction of people in this world capable of building Facebook, Google and Pied Piper. Most of us would make an exceptional second, third or fourth member of a developing organization, but we don’t want that because it is not sexy enough.
Think about the $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn that happened a few months back. Even latecomers, those who had 0.1 percent stake at the company are multimillionaires and have nothing to worry about financially for the rest of their lives. Do we know their names? Hell no. Are they rich? Huh… Instead of self-hopings and self-projections, we need to practice self-auditing to identify what is the right path for us.
Is entrepreneurship the right path for success-driven people?
Many people try the other way and join a company with high potential. Once I had a pretty engaging conversation about entrepreneurship with a fellow here in Hungary. He is the director of sales and business Development at a software company that does pretty well in Europe. Before coming to Budapest, he was building start-ups and small ventures in Romania, and had two successful exits by age 22. So I was wondering why he did not proceed with building his next thing and being his own boss.
The response was quite revealing to me. As he said, there is always going to be a boss, the form is just different whether it is your investor, customer, or partner. He embarks on a journey with a promising organization and helps the company achieve success than struggling with building something out of thin air. As he said, he is an intrapreneur. Intra what? A person who helps building things WITHIN a company, and exchanging his special skillset usually for a lot of money. He was making $5,000 per month, when the average salary in the country is $700. Most entrepreneur wannabes earn half or less of that.
Intrapreneurship might be one choice for self-starters
One of the biggest differences between entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship is the company culture you are working in. As a business owner, you have the privilege to shape your own company culture, design it the way you want, hire the people you would love to work with. Also, you have the chance to decide where you prefer to work from, which is a big advantage compared to the life of employees. As an intrapreneur you join a pre-existing work culture in which personally you do not have that much of an influence; there is only possibility to adapt to that specific environment.
For reshaping existing organizational cultures, you have to spend a long time at a certain place to gain trust before you can carry out changes. No matter which path you pursue, you need to feel comfortable with the environment you work in. It can be a restaurant, a retail store, a loft office, or a corporate office, think about what place suits you best. If it is hard to find something you want, you might have to think about creating a culture on your own, and shape it the way you want it to. Here is a hint how to do that.
But which path is right for me?
Perks and benefits of both:
Being a business owner can be super frustrating because it puts a hell of a lot of burden on your shoulders. Hiring people, hustling your way up, and talking to other serious business owners might sound appealing, but on the other hand you need to buy the toner for the printer, and the last pen for your office to make it operate. At least in the very beginning, and only if you want it to function properly. Though as an intrapreneur, because you are a specialist, you only focus on your special task and make that work at best. It does not mean specialists do not have other responsibilities than their field, but relatively much less than entrepreneurs. You need to analyze how much responsibility you are willing/can take within an organization and if you are experienced enough to multitask with myriads of different responsibilities. Can you fulfill your duties, manage your employees, delegate tasks properly to your team members at the same time? Or do you just want to stick to the sexy things? If the latter, you better be an intrapreneur.
- Risks and Benefits
Both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs face special kinds of risks, but what comes with the risks essentially differ. Business owners need to accept the financial hazard and uncertainty, however the potential growth and revenue projections can help fade that. While an entrepreneur earns more money (in case of a profitable business) and struggles with all difficulties of running a company, an intrapreneur has a pretty stable life with a healthy paycheck and other benefits. Intrapreneurs, however, need to deliver results by the time agreed upon, otherwise they are very likely having an unstable professional life as well.
Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are equally motivated by leaving a mark in the history of the company. If you are looking to create something big, achieving a lifelong dream and earning millions of dollars, entrepreneurship might be a fit for you. Whereas if you prefer stable paychecks, work-life balance and trying out yourself at different places intrapreneurship is worth considering.
Entrepreneurship Journey: The right path
On one hand, making up your mind to become a business owner can be super rewarding with lots of perks and publicity, where you can have a firm control over most things and form your own organizational culture. Though, as an intrapreneur you can challenge yourself at different places for stable paychecks and utilize company resources for innovation. Many world-changing products were born as a result of intrapreneurial efforts such as the Mac, iPod, Gmail, Google Maps, PlayStation, etc.
Despite these intrapreneurial people, the mentioned products would have never been invented if it had not been for entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Sergey Brin and Larry Page. All talented people were required for that success. Whatever choice you make when you begin pursuing your professional career, keep the things mentioned above in mind, and think what you as a person are capable of.