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What is a Serial Entrepreneur?

Did you know Canada is a nation of entrepreneurs? Every year, more and more people open small businesses. Many for the very first time. It can seem like an intimidating step to take, considering approximately half of new Canadian companies remain in business after ten years. 

However, there is a particular kind of entrepreneur who thrives at the opportunity to see a business plan come to fruition: the serial entrepreneur. Coined for the likeness to start multiple businesses despite success or failure of past projects, these creators are full speed ahead when it comes to a new business.

In fact, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the U.S. shows that a serial entrepreneurs’ previous experience indicates a higher chance of business longevity and financial success. Definition of a serial entrepreneur

While serial entrepreneurs may fail—that’s the price of business—they are typically defined by their successes. 

There is no particular level of success or profit, or number of businesses required to earn the moniker of serial entrepreneur. But, generally, they have at least one or two significant success stories under their belt.

Many have a burning desire to search for their next project, and they might even oversee multiple ventures at the same time. 

Commonly in serial entrepreneurship, businesses are built with the intent of becoming sustainable. Businesses might also be set up with the intent to be sold once established. Having the grow and sell mindset helps open serial entrepreneurs up for their next opportunity.

What is the difference between a traditional entrepreneur and a serial entrepreneur?

While both traditional and serial entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, one of the key differences is how much day-to-day involvement they have with the business.

Traditional entrepreneurs often see owning a business as a hands-on experience. Not only do they own it, but they tend to manage its day-to-day operations. This means that a traditional entrepreneur ends up wearing a lot of hats.

Serial entrepreneurs, on the other hand, take a step back and hire experts to manage the different aspects of their business. This helps them free up time to work on their other business ventures.

However, not all traditional entrepreneurs take a direct hands-on role in many or all aspects of their business. Likewise, not all serial entrepreneurs have a hands-off approach. All businesses are different, just like all entrepreneurs.

Common characteristics of serial entrepreneurs

There aren’t necessarily specific characteristics that will define you as a serial entrepreneur. But these three traits are common amongst serial entrepreneurs:

1. Resilience

Simply having a good idea isn’t enough to succeed in business. 

Many new businesses face serious challenges, and not all of them make it through. And those small businesses that succeed are more likely to see gradual success instead of instantaneous progress. 

Serial entrepreneurs tend to be resilient. They face failure head-on and don’t let it stop their future plans. They get up, dust themselves off, and move on to the next challenge.

2. Creativity

Being able to start multiple ventures requires a continuous flow of ideas and creativity.

While many serial entrepreneurs work with partners on specific projects (though not always the same partners at the same time), the idea still needs to come from someone, somewhere. 

Simply put, without the flow of ideas, the businesses dry up.

3. Good time management

You don’t have to be a serial entrepreneur for time management to be important. It’s important for all entrepreneurs. 

That said, if you’re going to be running multiple businesses, your time management game has to be that much better. With a constant flow of projects and opportunities presenting themselves, you need to be well-organized and good at managing your time.

Lacking expert time management skills can directly lead to the failure of your current or a new business. Especially in the early stages, when a company needs a little more TLC.

How do serial entrepreneurs manage multiple businesses?

Many small businesses fail due to lack of expertise in the market it’s trying to operate in, and the general knowledge it takes to run a business.

However, serial entrepreneurs have experienced failure enough times that they have built up the knowledge required to run a successful business. In addition, they’re not scared away by failure.

Serial entrepreneurs will start a new business with the idea of making it self-sustaining, which eventually means less involvement from them. Other serial entrepreneurs start businesses with the intent to sell the company once it’s established.

For serial entrepreneurs, the goal of wanting to let go sooner rather than later means that they are focused on streamlining their time and business.

What makes a good serial entrepreneur?

Serial entrepreneurs tend to have three things in common that make them good at managing multiple businesses:

1. Confidence

Confidence is key in supporting a product. 

Having confidence in one’s ability to produce a good product is more likely to attract potential investors. But an authentic belief in your ability to solve problems and restart from scratch, if needed, also allows you to continue on even in the face of obstacles. 

2. Dedicated

Continually working on your next project leaves little room and time for extra hobbies. But when you love your job, work is a completely different experience.

Serial entrepreneurs have a different love for their work, and their hobbies tend to coincide with new projects—which is almost a necessity. That level of dedication allows for success and growth to happen faster.

But there is a downside to this level of dedication. It’s important to manage your time properly and take care of yourself, otherwise you risk burn out.

3. Strong leadership

The final thing that makes for a good serial entrepreneur is strong leadership skills.

Being a good boss is necessary if you want to leave your company in the hands of capable people while you’re working on another venture. You need to build a good relationship with your team, so when it’s time for you to step away, you know the job is still being done.

Serial entrepreneurs need to build and step away from teams often, so having strong leadership skills is absolutely essential.

Are you a serial entrepreneur?

When it really boils down to it, the difference between being a traditional and serial entrepreneur is as simple as whether you’re someone who stays with one business or continues to establish new business and pursue other opportunities. 

If you think you have what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur, read some of the best books for entrepreneurs in preparation for your own thrilling, multi-faceted ride through entrepreneurship. And, if you’re ready to start your first adventure, Ownr can help you out.

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