My friend Wes Trochlil pointed out his favorite definition of entrepreneur in a post today:
…someone who organizes a business venture and assumes the risk for it.
That really does get to the essence of it, especially the part that comes after ‘and.’
Entrepreneurship is all about taking on risk in order to achieve something greater. The classic business entrepreneur puts their cash, assets, time and relationships on the line when she starts a new enterprise. The risks for an orgpreneur, someone who works within an organization in an entrepreneurial way, are different.
Orgpreneurial risk can include:
Rarely if ever does an orgpreneur put their house on the line when they start something new. The risks are significantly lower when working internally while the gains do not have as much direct financial reward for the individual.
So, why take on the risk inside an organization? Many people chose not to. But what a boring professional life! The risks for an orgpreneur are hardly fatal and, if you should lose your job over something (very rare), you have the skills and value to be back at it in short order even in the worst of economies.
The value of orgpreneurial risk taking internally include: achievement and tangible results; personal satisfaction; motivated teams; contribution to your mission; looking forward to work; career advancement; preparation for better work somewhere else.
The other benefit to taking risk within the organization is that you will achieve things, you will be more valuable. You will be more secure in your position and career than if you never took a risk internally. Taking no risk is simply too risky for anyone working in organizations today.