Intrapreneur or Entrepreneur?

According to Wikipedia, there is an interesting origin of the word ‘entrepreneur’. The term comes from the French verb ‘entreprendre’ meaning ‘to undertake’. The ‘entre’ has its origin in Latin and means ‘between’ and ‘prendre’ means ‘to take’. It surprised me to learn that ‘entrepreneur’ also resembles the sound of the sanskrit words ‘antha prerna’ meaning ‘self motivation’. Ain’t that the truth!

Entrepreneurs are known to ‘undertake’ things and are highly motivated to work on their big ideas. The word itself sounds very exotic and foreign. And better than being called an ‘undertaker’!

To be an entrepreneur is to conceive a business idea, self fund it (initially at least!) and then launch the thing out into the world. It will be customized for a particular kind of client, be talked about across social media, be eligible for awards, entice venture capital and, ultimately, make its owner(s) SUPER rich! Right? Right …

We see all kinds of examples of super high net worth individuals who are very recognizable entrepreneurs like lifestyle and business gurus Tony Robbins, Richard Branson and Vishen Lakhiani (When Google auto corrects your last name you know you’ve made it - and no, it doesn’t autocorrect ‘Pereira’ - I checked!).

We also consider musicians with incredible stories who’ve really made it like Prince, Metallica, Thomas Rhett, Taylor Swift and getting ‘Fancy Like’ TikTok’s country singer phenom Walker Hayes (please tell me you’ve seen this!). I’m a lover of everyone listed here - and a ‘Swiftie’ for sure!

But being an entrepreneur can come with great risks. Many entrepreneurs don’t have a source of steady income or their income is highly dependent on clients to pay their bills on time, referral sources who consistently send great clients and new business ideas dreamt up to keep the lights on and the cats fed.

Interested in becoming an entrepreneur? Read more in my previous blog: ‘So! You Want to Own Your Own Practice?’ right here.

And then there is a super safe (ok, much safer!) option of being a great employee. You can clock in Monday to Friday online or in person, work with your favourite clients and see your paycheck predictably deposited in your bank account every two weeks.

This may be an excellent and quite secure choice when you are transitioning from being a student, studying to write your professional licensing exam and then landing your first ‘real’ job. The consistency of a paycheck in your early years may be quite necessary. You have goals of being able to finance your first car and buy your first home. You’ll then consider whether you want to add pets and perhaps a mate to the mix and then maybe family down the road.

As you become more settled you might realize that you quite enjoy being a cog in the much bigger wheel of your company’s business. You can see a path gradually advancing your career with the same company. Maybe you’ll transition to a new company on your way up the ladder to the job of your dreams. This may take some time, additional education, mentorship and a growing network to help you find what you’re looking for.

The consistency, predictability and security of this choice means that you can likely sleep better at night. You are making valuable contributions to the health and well-being of a particular client population, a growing body of research and/or the education of new healthcare professionals. This regular income and opportunity to save for your future is reassuring and means that you can be mentally free to explore family, friends or a hobby (or all three!) knowing that your finances are on track.

You can learn more about ‘How to Become a Great Employee in 3 Simple Steps’ right here.

But have you considered being both an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur? Would this combination fit your need for predictability and stability but still allow you to fuel the fire of entrepreneurship lurking in your belly? (No, you won’t need probiotics to treat this one!)

Many people find that, while their employment is very fulfilling for the reasons mentioned above, sometimes there is a thought that won’t quite go away, nagging at you day and night for a chance in the sun. Could you give it a bit of space and some fresh air for a chance to see what it could do? What would this look like for you?

Amazing ideas often start by identifying an administrative problem or a client challenge in your workplace. The solution just might be in your back pocket - or even a dark corner of your brain (maybe I just have dark corners?).

If you gave this idea a bit of space, say like keeping notes regularly in a Google doc or a fancy journal written in with a pen with feathers on it (ok, that’s my own ‘idea’ pen) you might be amazed at what pours out of you. Who knows? With this free thought you might just stumble upon the next big thing that our industry needs.

If you explore your best ideas and see where they lead, you might decide to test your thoughts with your ideal clients and see if a ‘side hustle’ emerges. Your side hustle might be something that you’ll do in the early mornings, in the evenings after work and maybe on a weekend day or two. As the idea takes shape and you test it in your market, you could earn money as both an entrepreneur with this idea and still remain an intrapreneur with consistently valuable contributions to your employer. It’s the best of both worlds!

Whether an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur (or perhaps a bit of both) you can find just the right space to explore your talents and gifts, make a contribution to a field you love and encourage and support others to follow your work with new ideas of their own.

Please share this blog post with someone you know who would find this topic interesting and to build, grow and scale their professional practice.

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