It seems like everywhere you turn lately, there is a push toward entrepreneurship and freelancing. The latest data shows that more than 62.5 million Americans are freelancers, and the number is expected to increase nearly 50% by 2028.
Business leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk and others are encouraging young professionals in their 20s and 30s to start their own businesses and side gigs.
There’s certainly an allure to an entrepreneurial or freelance life. Set your own hours, no boss to tell you what to do, no literal cap on your earning power, take your big ideas and put them into motion…but there is also plenty of uncertainty. Specifically:
Income stream. Not knowing where your income will be coming from every month can be incredibly stressful, and can make it difficult to save money or pay off debts like student loans.
Pressure of being the boss. Depending on the nature of your business, you may eventually bring on employees. Then, you have a whole host of additional stressors, like HR problems, covering employee pay checks, providing benefits, hiring and firing, and many, many more.
No work life balance. When you are a freelancer or business owner, your work becomes your life. You will probably find yourself working until 11 o’clock at night, or at least answering client phone calls and texts while you’re with family or friends (including the weekends). It simply goes with the territory of being “in charge.”
Why you should choose an “intrapraneurial” life. Rather than going the entrepreneurial or freelance route, more professionals are choosing an “intrpraneurial” journey instead. Although the word “intrapraneur” probably isn’t in the dictionary, it has been used by business experts since the 1980s. It’s a term becoming pretty popular in business blogs today to describe an employee who is empowered to make decisions and take control of their career and their work. It’s a major change from the traditional workplace hierarchy, and aims to create a more engaged, empowered workforce.
And there are some major benefits for employees, including:
Stability. One of the biggest challenges that accompanies freelance or entrepreneurial life, as mentioned above, is the unknown — particularly when it comes to income. When you take a job that has more of an intrapraneurial bent, you regain the stability of a full-time role.
Freedom to pursue innovation. You can absolutely contribute in big ways without needing to be the business owner. Google and other large companies have found success by nurturing an intrapraneurial culture. Their employees are free to spend 10-20% of their time working on passion projects that have nothing to do with their 9 to 5 jobs. Gmail, Google News, AdSense, driverless cars, Google Glass and other Google innovations all arose from their employees intrapraneurial time. With freedom to be creative and get your juices flowing, what could you create? How could you help an employer?
Employers today realize that to attract the best talent, and to get their best work, they need to offer more flexibility to meet the needs of their team. Here at Tech2, we hear from more employers than ever who offer remote work, flexible hours, and other flexible benefits that were once extremely hard to find. You may even find an employer who will nurture your side gig and contribute in your 9 to 5, giving you the best of both worlds.
More resources. When you’re the boss, you have to come up with the resources (i.e. funding, loans, or other sources of extra income outside of your personal income) to cover the cost and materials of working on new ideas. But, when you’re an intrapraneur, you have your employer’s resources at your disposal. Those resources can make or break your project (and can certainly make it a lot easier). More autonomy.
Companies that nurture an intrapraneurial spirit in their employees avoid micromanaging, instead trusting their employees, and empowering them to do their work without someone standing over their shoulder. You deserve a job that supports your interests and goals.
Here at Tech2, we work with companies in a range of industries and sizes across the country. Check out our current openings or send me a message to talk about your goals. We’re here to help!