Get Your Skin in the Game

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a few fellow entrepreneurs and one of them claimed to be an “intrapreneur”. I’d never heard that term before. She said she was an “entrepreneur working to grow someone else’s company”.

Google says this about “intrapreneurs”: An inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities.

Let me take a moment to redefine “intrapreneur” to what it should be: EMPLOYEE.

That’s right—if you have to go to work every day, have a boss and receive a paycheck, you are an employee, not an intrapreneur. Or if you’re a free-lancer or contractor with a steady paycheck, you are also an employee.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with this, but it lights me up because true entrepreneurs have skin in the game. WE TAKE RISKS. There’s no safety net, no comfy paycheck, and there’s rarely a backup plan. We are all in, fully engaged and completely invested. Our asses are on the line every single day as we work LONG hours to yank our dreams into reality. We take this journey in life because we have to. There is something deep within us that compels us to manifest our talents or ideas for the rest of the world. We can’t settle for the daily grind of working for someone else’s dream because our own are calling so loudly to us.

The life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone. When I interviewed Nashville-based entrepreneur Kia Jarmon, she said, “It took me a while to realize that not everyone wants this life. There’s only a certain type of person who does because it’s definitely not easy.” This was actually an “ah-ha” moment for me because I think I used to assume that most people wanted to work for themselves no matter how hard it was.

That doesn’t mean an entrepreneurial life can’t be full of ease. It can. But generally in the beginning, it’s not that way for most of us. When you’re in that place of daily struggle, you might find yourself slightly envious of other entrepreneurs (or intrapreneurs) who have a corporate backing, large trust fund, wealthy investors or rich spouses.

If you’re currently bootstrapping your business, it can appear that these people have more options than you or the potential to be more success. Think again. You have something more important—you have skin in the game. Because you have less money or fewer resources, you will quickly learn how to work smarter, use money more wisely and manage your time.

When the rubber meets the road later on, you will have learned all the skills you need to go the distance. The truth is that money will never be able to buy those skills. You don’t need lots of money or a big paycheck. Your ticket to success will come from putting your skin in the game.


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