A serial entrepreneur is someone who constantly comes up with new ideas for businesses, exiting or starting a new venture when they see an opportunity. They are different from your average entrepreneur, who found and then oversee a company’s day to day running for an extended period.
Examples of serial entrepreneurs include Rod Drury, who founded Glazier Systems, AfterMail and Xero, as well as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia who founded Euro Car Parts, before the creation of Dominvs Group, which is involved in industries from hospitality to property, to aviation. Some other well-known examples include Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.
The career of a serial entrepreneur may seem erratic to you, jumping around from one venture to the next. It might even seem like a bad decision financially, but the opposite is often true. There are countless life lessons that serial entrepreneurs can teach us and in this article, I will go over just a few of them.
You might scoff at the idea of CEOs and business owners being organised, given that the vast majority of them have PAs who help with scheduling. However, you don’t get to be the head of a major company without properly allocating your time. A Havard study found that the average weekly hours worked for a CEO in the US was 62.5, compared to the national average of 44 hours per week. So not only is the day of an executive highly organised, they also work much longer hours on average, making this no mean feat.
Getting your diary in order is much easier with an assistant, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for the average Joe. Plan your time properly, even for the little things in your life. Dedicate a certain amount of time for your hobbies, as well as chores and other errands. There’s no doubt that many of us have wasted evenings and weekends in front of the TV or absorbed in our phones.
If you properly plan your day, you can consider boredom a thing of the past, because you’ll always be aware of what you’re doing next. This is as much a work lesson as it is a life one. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve with proper organisational skills.
Learning to fail
It’s rare to come up with the perfect business idea your first try. But for a serial entrepreneur, they will keep trying whether they succeed or not. Even Thrive Global’s founder, Arianna Huffington, faced 37 rejections from major publishers when trying to release her book. Similarly, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison had their own share of failure. Ford initially alienated investors in his cars by taking too long, so much so that he lost funding twice. Edison, on the other hand, is famous for inventing the lightbulb on his 10,000th try.
This is one of the most vital life lessons you can learn. Throughout our lives we’re all faced with challenges, and if everyone stopped trying the moment they were faced with a roadblock then we would only have a fraction of the success stories.
Equally, just as you can learn from failure, you can learn from your success. An MIT paper found that serial entrepreneurs are much more likely to have another successful exit after their first. It makes sense that those who are successful in the first instance will find success again. Likewise, the same paper found that unicorn companies were more likely to have a serial entrepreneur as one of their co-founders.
Find your focus
A serial entrepreneur, when they are dead set on doing something, will see it through until the process is complete. While they may sell the business or eventually find it unsustainable, they have the drive to see it through enough to reach their goals.
According to research, the average human attention span has markedly decreased in the past fifteen years with the advent of the smartphone and social media. To the point where some research suggests that we are lagging behind even goldfish, the poster child for short attention spans.
Focus helps us complete tasks more efficiently, which in the modern age isn’t easy. If we could all have the drive and focus of a successful entrepreneur, then our productivity would skyrocket. The good news is that you can train your brain just like a muscle. If focus doesn’t come naturally to you, small steps like the right diet and exercise regime could really up your mental game.
Address your problems
An entrepreneur that ignores the problems in their business will soon find themselves with too many problems to handle. Likewise, everyone should learn to address the problems in their life, or risk them piling up.
In the working world and in life, ignoring problems only makes them worse. In business, if you ignore not meeting sales targets or that your overheads are too high, this will end up costing you in the long run. Part of what makes a serial entrepreneur different is that they know when to quit, whether they are ahead or not.
The lessons listed are just a few that we can learn from successful business people, but I’m sure most would agree that in life or in business, it doesn’t hurt to aspire to improve.