What is a serial entrepreneur? You maybe one and you don’t realise it?! In keeping with the entrepreneur theme of late; I have become quite interested in speaking to entrepreneurs and listening to their evolutionary stories.
At first the stories focus on their current initiatives; the empires in the process of being built; the niches that are being occupied and the path to fame and fortune. After a short while though there is a slight shift in the conversation and the inevitable happens; there is an utterance, “at my last startup….”
Now there is nothing inherently wrong with being a “serial entrepreneur” as long as you are learning and growing from each startup and not making the same mistakes again and again.
In a Harvard Business Review research piece they interviewed serial entrepreneurs and found the following:
298: About half of the 576 entrepreneurs were repeat entrepreneurs. 34% of repeaters reported an experience of failure. 59% of those with failures were serial entrepreneurs
So how do you know if you are a serial entrepreneur? To borrow a bit from Jeff Foxworthy; you might be a serial entrepreneur if……….
- you get restless after about 3 or 4 years
- you have more fear of regret than of failure
- you are involved in more than one business concurrently
- you recognize your current startup won’t make money
There is something to be said for those among us who are constantly curious and are pushing boundaries and forcing change. They are the societal change agents (I literally cringed as I wrote that) who are not content to be average.
The biggest caution I can give from my experience and entrepreneurial interactions is that sometimes pain is worthwhile; roadblocks are useful and failure is rewarding. Entrepreneurs by their very definition are doggedly determined; not giving up and changing course when the going gets tough.
Serial entrepreneurs need to be sure that they are not marked as being ones who give up too easily. Investors and backers are looking at you when they invest in your organisation to help grow it. If they see that you bolt and sell out as soon as there is a bump in the road; then they are going to be incredibly speculative about investing in you!
I guess what I am trying to say is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a serial entrepreneur with a string of successful companies in your wake; but don’t be a serial entrepreneur floating in the detritus of your petulant past.