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Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Mind By Becoming An Intrapreneur

By: Guest | July 18, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by JK Allen.

I’m an entrepreneur. My business is “me” and my client is my employer.

As entrepreneurs, we are often challenged with less-than-ideal situations and we find ways to turn them into opportunities or learning experiences. Over the last year or two, my heart has been consumed with the idea of being self-employed again which has led me to despise my job.

As you can see, this is less than ideal. But I’ve turned it into a learning experience.

Many of my online friends who I find to be powerful business people have shown a great amount of appreciation for how I manage my career like a business. No one has been more vocal about this than John Falchetto. But I’ve also gained support from class acts such as Marcus Sheridan and Danny Brown.

Thanks to them, I’m changing my attitude. An entrepreneur at heart can still fulfill their hunger right in middle of having a corporate job (or any less than ideal situation) if one is willing to become an intrapreneur, or someone who uses their entrepreneurial spirit inside a company.

My new-found appreciation for my job has led me to identify many positive benefits that are helping me prepare for the move to running my own business.

Three Ways to Become An Intrapreneur

  1. The training ground. I’ve been with some organizations that “play” business more than “do” business, however, working in the corporate structure has been a fabulous school. My job has served as my lab where I test ways to improve my skill set and improve my business acumen. Not only do I learn, but I can also apply and test theories with very little risk. Imagine that, I’m my own case study. And to top it off, I’ve been paid to receive tens of thousands of dollars worth of business training over the years!
  2. The great reality check. Chances are, if you can’t perform at a high-level in a structured, corporate environment, then there is a significant chance you won’t have the discipline to perform in a highly unstructured, self-employed one. I’ve learned that I have the chops to do so, which has boosted my confidence in my abilities, but equally importantly; it has made me aware of my weaknesses.
  3. The network. One of the greatest benefits of working in the corporate world (depending on your level/position) is having access to high-profile contacts. I work with enterprise accounts where some of my contacts sit at an executive level. It’s a wonderful place to learn from great minds, and to market myself.

So there you have it! How in the world could I not feel extremely fortunate to have such a setup? Sure, it’s not the ideal entrepreneurial journey…but I’m making the best of it!

I’d love to hear about your transition from corporate to self-employed. Or, if you juggle both, how it works for you?

Jk Allen is the mind behind The Hustler’s Notebook where he writes about personal development for business and life from the angle of a hustler (in the most positive way).

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78 Comments on "Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Mind By Becoming An Intrapreneur"

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Justicewordlaw
4 years 9 months ago

Juggling both is a very hard thing to do but as you mentioned above if you can not understand how to be discipline while working at a company then once being self employed you won’t know what to do with yourself. I didn’t leave my position until I knew financially that I could assist myself and really drive more business.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg
4 years 9 months ago

Your second point really struck me, and it is completely true. I am sure that a lot of people fail, without the structure, once they go out on their own. It is easy to sleep in.

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Justicewordlaw What’s up Justice! It’s about making the best out of whatever situation we’re in. While my situation isn’t the most ideal – it’s surely been a good ride!

And as far as I’m concerned, making sure that you’re able to match what you need financially prior to making the transition is a smart play!

Al Smith
4 years 9 months ago

Another great post JK. It is all about being in an “Attitude of Gratitude”. That makes all the difference. You have a lot to be grateful for and at the same time, you are staying true to yourself and your dreams. Wish i would have read some of this stuff a couple years ago. Ha ! It’s all good. Thanks again for all your great writing, support and help.

Al

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@ExtremelyAvg Some don’t like the reality check! Because it brings them back to reality. I know far too many people who have found themselves in bad positions because they failed to make honest self-assessments.

johnfalchetto
4 years 9 months ago

Hi Buddy,

Great to read you here, you know I have been a fan of yours since I first started reading The Hustlers Notebook.

I don’t know anyone out there who has so smartly and successfully succeeded in turning corporate America into something that works for them.

I blogged about my transition from corporate to self-employed and let’s just say I would do it very differently if I had to do it again now. The way you are managing yourself as JK Inc. is simply awesome and inspiring for all the corporate America residents out there.

Thanks for showing the way buddy.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 9 months ago

JK, thank you for guest blogging for us today. It is a good reminder to us all that we wring every bit of education out of every moment. I know when I look back on my corporate days, I could have paid closer to attention to certain things, had I known I’d be going out on my own one day.

I just hope your employer doesn’t read this!!

Marcus_Sheridan
4 years 9 months ago

Awww Yeahhhh, the man who changed the online world’s perception of what the word ‘hustle’ means has made a pit stop at Gini’s house! Sweet!! :-)

When I think of the phrase intrapreneur, I think of you JK. You’ve done such a tremendous job at shedding light on this subject– the reality that the ‘rush’ of being an entrepreneur can in many ways be achieved if we simply turn a switch in our minds, and treat both the same.

Keep spreading the good word my friend,

Marcus

marianne.worley
4 years 9 months ago

Hi JK,

I agree that a corporate environment can be the perfect training for a future entrepreneur. You can create new “side projects” and run them like mini-businesses: “hiring” colleagues to work with you, identifying objectives, creating strategies, executing strategies, marketing the projects, etc.

I’m an “accidental entrepreneur” myself (laid off in December), but I’m finding that my corporate experience and business school knowledge are serving me well in my new freelance marketing career.

bdorman264
4 years 9 months ago
Mr JK, good to see you at Lisa & Gini’s place today. You are a very wise man in realizing you can be your own business w/in a business; essentially your Me, Inc. Regardless if you stay corporate or go solo, you are learning valuable lessons on what it takes to get the job done. It also allows you to see the dynamics of a corporate environment so if you are on the outside looking in, you will have a better feel for the dynamics, personalities and use that to work to your strengths. Whereas I’m corporate, I essentially work… Read more »
bdorman264
4 years 9 months ago

PS – Now that you are rich and famous and on the speaking tour promoting your book; don’t forget you have some comments in that raggedy ass site you call home waiting on replies………………..just sayin’…………………….:)

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Al Smith Hey Al! The Attitude of Gratitude goes a long way for sure. I’ve come to a place where I appreciate having my job…a pretty dang good one at that….in a sexy industry too!

Thanks for stopping by Gini’s place to show support. Keep coming back…this place is a gold mine!

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@johnfalchetto Hey John – your words of encouragement have helped me a lot. I’ve been operating this way for years – but I was slowly starting to lose site of the positives. From you kind words, my hustle in corporate America has re-sparked and I’m making the best of it. I won’t be here forever…but while I am – I’ll be doing so as an intrapreneur.

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Lisa Gerber One thing I learned is that when you perform at a level that sets you as a standard, you get a little more freedom and leeway than those how are average. My employer knows that I’m not a company man…which is a good thing. They realize that having an employee who takes total ownership of his responsibilities produces good results with consistency!

Thanks for the opportunity to guest post here. What an honor!

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Marcus_Sheridan Thanks for the support buddy. It’s all about the mindset. I can choose to see myself as a peon or a owner. Many choose peon because they don’t realize that they control the switch or their not willing to work as hard as an owner has to work (hustle)…I choose the owner route. My arrangement has been working for me pretty well. It’s not my ideal situation…but as I lurk in this transitional state – it’s wonderful!

PEACE

lchristiemympds
lchristiemympds
4 years 9 months ago

Hi Jk your on the money here, I like the point about the training ground it take’s a keen eye to recognize the subtle Benefits and opportunities one has

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@marianne.worley Now that’s my type of talk right there Marianne! Utilizing ones resources in creative ways. I do this all the time. That’s why often times when I go to work I tell people that I’m heading to the LAB. This is just a lab experiment prepping me for what’s gradually alligning into my next big move.

Sorry to hear about the lay off last year. Hopefully things are working out for the best! I’ll be in touch Marianne!

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@bdorman264 Bill – I know, I have like 30 comments to reply to at my own blog. It’s been hard staying up to date as of late. Why? I’ve been in the lab crafting my next big move..the one that finally snatches me out of corporate for good! More to come in the months ahead!

And my sites not raggedy. That hurt my feelings man………………NOT!

Thanks for the support Bill!

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@lchristiemympds I’m a student (not in a traditional sense) and find that lessons reside everywhere if I’m willing to pay attention to them! Thanks for comment.

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago
@bdorman264 Thanks for the encouragement Bill. I appreciate it big time. Being in business for myself taught me a lot. So when I re-entered the corporate ranks, I did so with an entrepreneurial mindset. And, I vowed to myself that I would make the best of it and not fall into the depths with all the rest of the complainers. Sometimes it’s easier said than done – but so far…so good! I’ve been in the 100% commission zone before. Personally, I loved it…and during that time, I made the most that I’ve ever made. It was nice knowing that I… Read more »
TheJackB
4 years 9 months ago

I think that sometimes it is easier for salespeople to move into entrepreneurial positions than for others. When you have had to hustle to make a buck it is natural to keep hustling.

I am not saying that others don’t hustle because they do, but if you haven’t had to do it the transition can be harder.

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[…] just finished reading a blog post by JK Allen over on Spin Sucks and he talks about being an intrapreneur and the lessons and concepts that he has learned while […]

KenMueller
4 years 9 months ago
My self-employment was somewhat forced on me, over time, due to being cutback from full-time to part-time, and then a year later, being fully laid off. Fortunately, I did just what you said. I used my skills internally to help my company out. When I was cut back to 20 hours a week, I had the good fortune in timing to have someone come to me and ask to be my client. So I launched my business part time, while still working for my former employer. I was then able to build a client base which helped soften the blow… Read more »
Frank-A Spark Starts
4 years 9 months ago
Jk, I haven’t made the jump into the self employment realm as of yet but you have forever changed the way that I view my corporate employment. I have never thought to use the current environment as a training ground to prepare myself for being in business for myself. Living in this light has given me a much needed change in perspective and motivated me to find avenues which I may be missing with my current situation. This is the greatest opportunity to learn how to manage the business that really matters, which is ME. I need to manage my… Read more »
MADphilips
MADphilips
4 years 9 months ago
Really, we all at some point my find ourselves within the corporate ranks and that doesn’t hinder the spirit of business in us. Ideally this is the essence of working in a great organization because they give you the autonomy to express your creativity. The most important thing in my view is this; employee or entrepreneur, are you making a positive contribution with your uniqueness as a person? This is what counts in the end, the context in which we do this is really immaterial, except if the job is not giving you the room to do this. JK, you’ve… Read more »
bdorman264
4 years 9 months ago

@Jk Allen I knew that would get your attention; you had to go back and look at it just to make sure it was still intact……………..:). Good luck on the lab experiment Dr Frankenstein, I’m sure it will be epic. In all seriousness, good luck with it buddy.

Lori
4 years 9 months ago

Hey Jk, I think it’s awesome the way you reframe your job and glean all the value from it. The way you look at things can make all the difference.

I’ve never really been in a regular job unless you count four months in a card shop and working for my Dad when I was young. One thing I always wondered about; what is it like to know how much money you’ll have at the end of the week?! LOL Just one more perk from working in a corporate setting, I think.

Lori

Justicewordlaw
4 years 9 months ago

@Jk Allen Yeah I had to focus on the income side because I didn’t want my life to alter that much. Yeah I knew I was going to be doing something different I just didn’t want things to majorly turn.

DannyBrown
4 years 9 months ago

Hey there Jk,

I love how you’ve positioned yourself, and how you offer advice for others on doing the same. Many people would never correlate a career position with an entrepreneurial one. But guess what? Either or can prepare you for the other. Then it’s just gravy. :)

Cheers, sir, great to see you at Gini’s house.

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@TheJackB – Hey Jack…Sales folks definitely have to hustle. I’m not currently in a sales role, but I’ve been there and ate well doing it. I think that’s the part that a lot of business struggle with…client acquisition. So yes, it’s important to have that sales hustle down. But to build an empire, a salesperson alone needs many more skills along the way (and that’s why he hires them, or develops those skills).

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@KenMueller Hi Ken. It’s crazy how things fall into place. I think your situation sounds very ideal given the situation…but I’m sure there were some obstacles along the way.

You made the best of your situation and look at you now, happier than ever…

Great sorry you shared. Thanks for doing so!

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago
@Frank-A Spark Starts Hey Frank – give it a test drive. Take 6 months and completely allow your attitude to change in a way that you see you as the boss. Sure, you follow the rules and conform (strategically) where you have to. But you see your work as your business. It makes it easier to do well; to want to give the extra effort…instead of trying to figure out ways to do the minimum. When I adopted this philosophy – I started getting promotions (role wise and pay wise)… And I’ve never in my career applied or a promotion.… Read more »
adamtoporek
adamtoporek
4 years 9 months ago

JK, I love the three points and the perspective. One thing I would add that is another great benefit of working in or with a larger corporate entity is the perspective you get on organizational decision making and organizational politics. I’ve seen so many people opine on what Company X should do with social media, and its obvious they have little concept of the differing regulatory, legal, and organizational issues that play a part in the decision making of many companies.

Love the outlook! Hope you can absorb everything possible out of the experience.

JKtheHustler
JKtheHustler
4 years 9 months ago

@amyaddventure @ginidietrich | Yes, we should make the best of whatever situation we’re in. Thanks for the RT! http://t.co/pxl34sm

JKtheHustler (Jk Allen)
4 years 9 months ago

My Guest Post is Live: Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

justicewordlaw (Justice Wordlaw IV)

RT @ginidietrich Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

torreymcgraw (Torrey McGraw)
4 years 9 months ago

RT @JKtheHustler: My Guest Post is Live: Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@MADphilips Hey Tito – thanks for coming through. As long as you’re a performer, an organization is willing to allow you to express your creativity. If I can’t be creative, then I lose interest – so this is important to me. And I think others are the same way, but sometimes the correlation isn’t identified…they simply think that they don’t have freedom, but that’s only because they haven’t earned it.

It’s a fine line between making it work for you or against you.

Thanks for the kind words Tito!

JohnFalchetto (John Falchetto)
4 years 9 months ago

RT @ginidietrich Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Lori Yeah, I must say that there are benefits in knowing when the money is coming and and where it’s coming from. Having kids…that’s a nice peace of mind.

But in this day and age – you can’t put your faith into these loyalty’less entities. They’ll lay you off in a drop of a hat.

Yes, it’s a perk to know when the money is coming. But I know for a fact that I’m not maximizing my potential.

I have to connect with you to find out what you do for a living…only having a regular job once!

Take care!

RyanCritchett
4 years 9 months ago
Nice man. I’ve really been thinking about what you’ve been saying about this, and simply put, you have the right attitude. That matters a lot. EVERYTHING seems to have it’s substance based on what you’re doing with it in your head. Lots of respect J.K. I’ve been in that position, and trying to look at it from that frame helped me tremendously. Right now, I’m juggling a 3/4’s kind of solo position and starting a company of my own. I do contract IT work (and no, I’m not a hitman. I got out of the military in 08!), which allows… Read more »
Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago
@DannyBrown Hey Danny! I promote this topic a lot offline too. Even been asked my by previous employer to do presentations to new hires at some point in the future. I grew up having to be very resourceful. I’ve had to learn quickly and be strategic in my maneuvering. While I hated those days as a kid – I love them now. I feel like there’s no situation that I can’t find a way to learn how to be successful in. That sounds a bit arrogant…but that’s not my nature. I just believe that I experienced things for very definite… Read more »
Lori
4 years 9 months ago

@Jk Allen I hear what you’re saying. Whenever I’d talk about security (or our lack of security) to my husband he reminded me there was no security “out there” and that was years ago!

We definitely have to connect Jk! Skype chat sometime?

Lori

TheSalesLion (Marcus Sheridan)
4 years 9 months ago

A must read for any corporate folk>RT @ginidietrich Entrepreneurial thinking in the corp. ranks by @jkthehustler http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

MarianneWorley (Marianne Worley)

3 Ways to Become An Intrapreneur by @JKtheHustler http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl via @ginidietrich (great insights!)

Tinu (Tinu Abayomi-Paul)
4 years 9 months ago

RT @JKtheHustler: My Guest Post is Live: Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

DannyIny (Danny Iny)
4 years 9 months ago

RT @ginidietrich Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

bdorman264 (Bill Dorman)
4 years 9 months ago

JK gettin’ it done! Entrepreneurial thinking in the corporate ranks by @jkthehustler | Spin Sucks http://tinyurl.com/6xjo2yl

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 9 months ago
I love this post. I spent 14 years working in the corp world before setting out on my own. I was lucky. I have at least some experience to tons of experience in every aspect of business except account, though I do have a finance degree, and HR. I have also had as customers clients in every industrial type of business except mining as well as manufacturing. I have seen the good the bad and the ugly from the companies I worked for and my customers. It really helped my growth. Now I am ‘learning’ a lot of lessons which… Read more »
Jk Allen
4 years 9 months ago

@Lori Yes, either skype or the NEW FAV in town… G+!

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