Hi, I’m Kasper Vancoppenolle and I’m a Belgian student-entrepeneur living in Berlin. At the moment, I’m doing an “entrepreneurship internship” at Patience.io, a SaaS-company that offers solutions for online educators. As an entrepreneur, I help B2B companies communicate online through websites, social media, online marketing and all that stuff. And that’s basically what I’m doing at Patience too, for their clients.
I didn’t realize it before, but my role as an “entrepreneurship intern” is actually just me being an intrapreneur. I’m being an entrepreneur on the job – at least, I’m trying to – and that’s kind of the definition of being an intrapreneur. I truly believe that this is the future of great employees, so I decided to write a short article about intrapreneurship, and in particular, what it means to me.
Organizing Your Time
It seems that millennials can’t stop talking about this topic of ‘work-life balance’. Being a millennial, I feel that I should have my own opinion about it. And being an intrapreneur, I’m just going to say that it’s one of the biggest buzzwords of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s important to live life to the fullest by having fun and enjoying yourself, but for me that doesn’t mean having a 9-to-5 mentality. If you split your day up into the two big blocks of work & fun (counting sleeping as fun), I think you’re getting work-life balance all wrong. A balance doesn’t mean: first do this thing for 50% of your time, and then the other thing 50% of your time. Instead, having a balance is about figuring out how you can have both things at the same time. For me, this basically means both having fun at work, and working at home.
Knowing your field of interests
I’ve always had an interest in the field of work that I’m in. I was making simple crappy websites (with games), building communities (for gamers), and communicating online (with gamers) when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I’m not working in the field of games at the moment, but I don’t mind because I’m working in the far more interesting field of online education. And it actually makes a lot of sense! I didn’t learn to make websites, build communities and communicate online at school – duh. I learned it through online video tutorials, blogs and forums. I’m working in the field that got me to where I basically learned everything I currently know. And now I can even combine both of my fields of interest (online communication and online education) at the same time. For me, this is also a part of intrapreneurship – knowing your field of interests and actually doing something with it. Being interested in something really has a great impact on your work and your engagement, which brings me to my next subject.
Engagement and commitment
What if I told you that if you’re interested in something, you will likely be more engaged to do something for it? I’m obviously not telling you anything new here, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up. I don’t mind going to an event about technology and startups in Berlin on a Thursday night after 8 hours of working when the sun is shining and your friends are having a beer in the park. It’s both engagement and commitment that makes a good entrepreneur and intrapreneur. It’s not something I have to do. It’s something I want to do. You might ask, don’t you want to drink beer in the park and enjoy the sunshine? Of course I do, but it’s about priorities and commitment. I know I can drink beer in the sun anytime, but if there’s an event about something I really like, then I’m just going. Or it’s because the beer in Berlin is just awful compared to Belgian beer… you get the point.
Complaints About The Job
A lot of people complain about their current job. The main complaints of employees are about salary, pressure, work-life balance and their bosses. As an intrapreneur, I think these complaints are plain ridiculous. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think about these things, but I don’t feel the need to complain about these things. My salary as an intrapreneur is of course very low, but hey, it’s not all about the money. I see this internship as a long-term investment and I know that it will pay for itself eventually. There’s a lot of pressure. But hey, it’s my first real job and I’m working at a startup… what did you expect? Luckily, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t get things done if I’m not pressured at all. My life is in balance. I think I work almost 60 hours a week (not bragging here) and I divide these hours over weekdays and weekends. I work whenever I want, wherever I want. And this relates to the next subject: my boss. Since day 1 at Patience.io, I’ve had the feeling that it doesn’t matter when and where you work. I just have to make sure that I get my things done, which is way more important than clocking in at 9:00h and clocking out at 15:00h. Hell, I’m writing this article and it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning….
I hope I don’t come over as some kind of workaholic that is full of himself, but I just wanted to tell you why I do all the things I do. And maybe I can inspire you to become an intrapreneur yourself one day. Feel free to tell me your intrapreneurship story, and maybe we’ll have a Belgian beer together!