From an outsider’s perspective, entrepreneurship can look glamorous. Especially while you’re sitting at your desk inside your 9-5 scrolling through your entrepreneurial friends’ Facebook posts about ‘working’ in tropical locations on cafe wifi, setting their own schedules, and being their own bosses.
But the truth is, entrepreneurship isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Having started multiple companies myself, I know that entrepreneurship is risky. One year you can be up seven figures, and the next you can be in debt. You have to be willing to lead, to take radical responsibility, and to weather constant uncertainty.
To be blunt, it isn’t for everyone, and that’s why most entrepreneurs don’t stay in the game very long.
The good news is, you don’t actually have to be an entrepreneur to still get the benefits.
Enter the “intrapreneur,” an employee who operates like an entrepreneur inside of a company by applying entrepreneurial skills—like leadership, innovation, and action-taking—to their role. It’s an easy way to apply your entrepreneurial skill set without ever having to quit your job.
So how do you master intrapreneurship?
Meet Clinton Senkow, a serial entrepreneur, startup advisor, and public speaker. He’s the COO of Influencive, a media platform for entrepreneurs that has amassed 1M+ readers since it launched last year. Senkow is also a member of the G20 Awards for young entrepreneurs, and was selected as one of thirty entrepreneurs to represent Canada at G20’s 2016 gathering in China.
Here’s the catch—Senkow started out at employee at Influencive. With independent drive and exceptional contribution, Senkow was eventually granted equity in the company. He’s a living example of just how far intrapreneurship can take you.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I spoke with Senkow about what it takes to be an intrapreneur inside of your current company.
Below, see three of Clinton’s strategies for excelling at intrapreneurship.
Focus On What You’re Good At
So many of us waste our time and energy trying to become better at things we’re not very good at to begin with. While it’s tempting to want to improve upon our weaknesses, if we’re being honest with ourselves, at the end of the day all the effort we put into improving them only brings us to a level of satisfactory. In doing this, we limit how effective we can be.
Instead of trying to be an all-star, focus on what you naturally excel at. Hone your inborn strengths and gifts to a level of exceptionality and you will make the most impact in your organization. Ask yourself, what are my unique strengths, and how can I leverage them to contribute to the maximum advancement of my company?
Senkow says he was able to use his natural strength of connecting people to grow Influencive’s contributing writer base from 10 to 100+ in a matter of months, which drastically increased its output and spotlighted Senkow as an invaluable player.
Empower Your Team
A high-functioning team is the horsepower behind any successful company. “Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft by himself,” Senkow says. “He surrounded himself with tons of intelligent people who were able to do things that he couldn’t have done by himself.”
In the same way you focus on what you do best, encourage your teammates to do the same. Be a leader and set an example. The best leaders create cohesion and synchronicity and thrust others into their own greatness. With each individual operating in their strengths, your team becomes more effective, and you become a source of influence and shaping power. Don’t be afraid to direct and coordinate—you can create waves that alter the course of your entire company.
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