Which Are You: An Intrapreneur Or an Entrepreneur?

Are you the next, inspiring visionary or are you more of a dreamer that does? I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. The problem is, I’ve never possessed a desire to run my own business. I’ve never had an eye for expoliting gaps in the market. And I’ve never had the confidence to go it […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
A horizontal shot of a person climbing the rocky hill with beautiful snowy mountains in the background
A horizontal shot of a person climbing the rocky hill with beautiful snowy mountains in the background

Are you the next, inspiring visionary or are you more of a dreamer that does?

I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. The problem is, I’ve never possessed a desire to run my own business. I’ve never had an eye for expoliting gaps in the market. And I’ve never had the confidence to go it alone.

But I’d had this unfounded belief that creating and running a successful business was the absolute pinnacle of success, so I’d always felt disappointed by this lack of drive and enthusiasm to become an entrepreneur.

Until a few months ago when I discovered intrapreneurship. It was then that I realised that I didn’t have to be entrepreneurial to be successful.

Before we get into the differences between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs and discover which personality you are, let’s quickly define what…

An entrepreneur is

An entrepreneur is commonly referred to as a ‘visionary’ or an innovator. But they’re more than that. They not only think up exciting and ground-breaking ideas, but they also possess the foresight, passion and drive to turn those ideas into reality. Even though success is never guaranteed, they possess an unwavering belief and level of tenacity that allows them to handle all the risks and worries that come with developing a business from the ground up.

An intrapreneur is

‘’Intra’’ means ‘on the inside’ or ‘within’. Combine that with the ‘’repreneur’’ from entrepreneur and you’ve got the definition of an intrapreneur: Someone that sits within an organisation that possesses certain entrepreneurial skills. Usually referred to as a ‘dreamer that does’, intrapreneurs use risk-taking and innovation to take an idea, execute it, and turn it into something profitable, from within the safety of an established company.

Intrapreneurs vs entrepreneurs  

As you can see, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs are surprisingly similar: They’re mutually comfortable with uncertainty, neither are afraid to take risks and both are innovative problem solvers.

But there are a couple of key characteristics that differentiate them.

Entrepreneurs are…

Happy to suffer the lows so they can ride the highs. Although both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs are risk-takers, entrepreneurs take it that one step further. Starting a business is probably one of the biggest risks you could take. You need nerves of steel and a fierce belief in yourself and your business to stomach the extreme ups and downs.

Independent creatures who like to go it alone. Entrepreneurs are inspiring ideas people. They don’t like to get bogged down in office politics, small details and irrelevant practicalities. They’re too super-focused on scale and growth to care for building internal relationships.

Intrapreneurs are…

More comfortable with stability than all-or-nothing risk. Intrapreneurs cherish a secure and stable lifestyle with a regular pay-check. They have the best of both worlds: the chance to innovate and bring new ideas to fruition, but from within the secure, four walls of an organisation.

Keen to leverage internal relationships. Whereas entrepreneurs prefer to work solo, intrapreneurs like to nurture internal relationships. They’re team-spirited and like to work with people to overcome corporate hurdles and achieve great things.

So, although both possess an instinct for innovation, an ability to think outside the box, and an inclination to push boundaries, an intrapreneur will always choose stability and relationships over extreme risk and total independence.

Which are you: an intrapreneur or an entrepreneur?  

So, having read the definitions and compared the distinct characteristics, which ‘preneur’ are you: an intra or an entre?

7 signs you’re an entrepreneur

If you can relate to most of these statements, chances are you’re a natural entrepreneur:  

  1. You’re always striving to reach new heights and achieve new things
  2. You like to be in full control
  3. You’ve always felt a bit different to others – like you wanted different things out of life
  4. Deep-down, you’re quite introverted
  5. You don’t sit on things; you make them happen
  6. You don’t give up easily
  7. You tend to see the bigger picture, rather than obsess over the smaller details

7 signs you’re an intrapreneur

If these seven statements feel more ‘’you’’, you’re probably a born intrapreneur:

  1. You approach ideas, problems and situations from multiple different angles
  2. You’re a dreamer who loves finding better ways of doing things or overcoming problems
  3. You’re proactive and self-motivated – you dislike being micro-managed
  4. You like to build relationships and work with people to get the best outcome
  5. You always give it your all – your work brings you a sense of purpose and you take that seriously
  6.  You’re so focused on output that uncertainty doesn’t bother you – if it doesn’t work out, you’ll simply find another way
  7. You’re incredibly dedicated to the cause and loyal to your company

To be honest, I think I possess both intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial qualities: Most people probably do. The point is, you don’t have to run your own business or be your own boss to have a chance at success. You have the ability to be successful regardless of whether it’s with your own company or if it’s inside someone else’s.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Allan Dib of Successwise: “Think of your email list as a gold mine”

    by Jason Hartman
    New Africa / Shutterstock
    Work Smarter//

    What Is an ‘Intrapreneur’ and Is It Right for You?

    by Lindsay Tigar
    Community//

    How to Be Successful as a Multi Passionate Entrepreneur

    by Livia Boerger
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.