THE BLOG
04/27/2016 04:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Transitioning From an Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur

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According to a report by the Gallup Institute in April 2016 just 13% of employees globally are engaged at work, that's a scary statistic.

That means the remaining 87% of employees are either not engaged or indifferent -- or even worse, are actively disengaged and potentially hostile -- to their organizations.

With stats like this it's no wonder why more and more people are leaving their day jobs to start their own business.

But how do you know whether you're cut out for it and whether or not it's the right time to make the shift?

To best answer this question, you first need to decide whether you are an Intrapreneur or Entrepreneur?

An Intrapreneur is someone who enjoys the act of behaving like an Entrepreneur while working within a large organization.

If this is you; then you're 'hard wired' to think like an Entrepreneur.

You're probably innovative, creative and able to turn ideas into profitable services and products while operating as an employee in a corporate environment.

And at some point you've probably hit some roadblocks throughout your career such as bureaucracy and hierarchy that don't align to your values and hinder your rise to success.

At which point you consider quitting your role to venture out on your end outside of the safety and confines of an organisation.

When you do, it's then time to stark asking the big questions:

- When should I make the shift?
- How do I choose the right business?
- What are the ways to minimise the risk of the transition from Intrepreneur to Entrepreneur?

To gain some insight into these questions and what it takes to transition successfully I recently sat down with Rachel Sparkes, Australia's leading Career Transformation expert.

According to Rachel, the number one mistake Intrepreneurs make is quitting their their job the second they decide that they want to run a business for themselves.

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Not a smart move if you don't have the right foundations set. Before you even think of quitting your day job you should put a plan in place;

- Build your minimum viable product (MVP)
- Spend time understanding the market,
- Get a business plan together,
- Secure your domain name,
- Register your business name.

I could go on and on here, basically make sure you get a plan in place.
Think of your day job as your Venture Capital while you get on with how to get your idea out there in the world.

According to Rachel, the second biggest mistake she sees a lot of Intrapreneurs making is choosing the wrong business for the wrong reasons.

"Most people, when they consider an entrepreneurial venture start with a gap in the market or how they think they are going to make money.

These are OK reasons but they are not going to keep you going when times get tough. The best businesses 'start with why'. They have deep, values based reasons on why they are doing what they are doing - a deep purpose.

Then when it gets hard, and it will, that idea and vision for your business and life keeps you going." Rachel explains.

And the 3rd biggest mistake is not validating their hypothesis with real data.

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'I have so many people who say they want to start a business and then go on to tell me about how fabulous it will be to create X and how much they will sell that product or service it for.

Little actual 'hard data' research has gone into identifying their entire possible market or their current competition or research of their target market at all." says Rachel.

So now that you know what not to do, here are a few tips to consider as you transition from Intrapreneurship to Entrepreneurship, courtesy of Rachel.

1) Get a Mentor

First and foremost pay good money for a Mentor who has been there before. Someone who is in the industry you want to get into or has been through the start up phase before.

You want to make sure you are receiving advice from someone who has learned lessons you can avoid costly mistakes and be guided to a faster path to success.

2) Manage Your Expectations

Being an Entreprenuer is exciting as well as challenging. Yes it's flexible and autonomous but you will work longer and harder than you did in your corporate.

Don't under-estimate the challenge of financial insecurity or the ability to become obsessive. I like to think that being an entrepreneur is as a choice - choosing which 80 hours a week I work rather than not having to work 80 hours. Big difference!!

3) Make a Decision

The biggest challenge budding entrepreneurs have is actually making the decision to be one. There are plenty of people who 'say' they want to do things, who have 'ideas' about creating products or disrupting industries - but it's the brave and courageous few who take 'action' and do something about it.

This all starts with a decision to say 'the time is now, I'm doing it'. Don't be a 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' make a decision and take action and get 'sh!t done'."

4) Find Your Tribe

The hardest transition you will face by going from an Intrepreneur to steering your own ship is the community of people you lose around you.

As fast as possible go out and build a tribe of like-minded people around you, if you don't have a network join a co-working space

Over the past few year's the rise and ever growing interest in co-working has transformed the way solopreneurs, freelancers and small companies do business.

A place where you can connect with other budding entrepreneurs or established small businesses, this will not only reduce your overheads but it also gives you the opportunity to create new connections and work in a supportive environment with other like minded entrepreneurs.

There are plenty around but it's important to pick one that shares your personal and company values.

I personally choose The Cluster because it's Australia's leading co-working space but at the same time I feel like I'm part of a tight knit supportive community.

Making this choice has saved my current business (Linkfluencer) thousands of dollars per year and plugged us into a vibrant and energetic environment.