A serial entrepreneur is often a creative type who continuously comes up with new ideas and builds a business off of that idea. An entrepreneur typically sees an idea through from inception to the day-to-day running of a successful business. A serial entrepreneur hands off the company to someone else once the core idea has been implemented.
A serial entrepreneur is a good thing if a talented person with many great ideas can establish a firm foundation and then step back or sell the business for a profit. In recent years, a more negative connotation of the phrase as emerged. A serial entrepreneur can also mean someone who has good ideas but lacks the initiative to follow-through. They often leave half-finished businesses floundering, or welch on financial obligations to investors. These people do not leave a legacy of success, and some very successful serial entrepreneurs shun the phrase. They choose to see themselves as entrepreneurs with more than one great idea.
Examples of serial entrepreneurs:
- Steve Jobs—the face of Apple and a well-known entrepreneur. Many people forget that he also started NeXT and Pixar.
- Oprah Winfrey—everyone thinks of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but Oprah started her rise to fame as a local TV anchor. In addition to her famous talk show, Oprah established Harpo Productions, O magazine, and has authored five books. This is in addition to the numerous charities she has founded and a school that she built.
- Michael Rubin—Rubin acquired a chain of ski-shops before ever attending college. He later bought KPR sports and then Global Sports, which was later called GSI Commerce.
- Josh Kopelman—Established Infonautics Corp., several online businesses such as half.com for used books and the anti-spam system, TurnTide.
There are numerous hugely successful serial entrepreneurs and thousands of others who are not as well known.
Entrepreneurs, especially serial entrepreneurs, tend to share similar traits. The traits that are common among serial entrepreneurs are:
- Time management—entrepreneurs harness the time so many of us waste on social media, TV, and other mindless engagement. They invest their time in developing new ideas and learning new skills.
- Drive to scale—serial entrepreneurs can quickly advance business through the start-up phase into the growth phase.
- They know learning is a life-long proposition. It is not something you do inside the walls of higher. Learning is a way of life for serial entrepreneurs. You will often see people develop ideas across wildly different areas of expertise. They had the vision but then had to start from scratch in learning how to make the vision a reality.
- The value of networking—serial entrepreneurs understand the importance of surrounding themselves with people who push the envelope. They nurture these relationships and use these alliances wherever they can.
- Curiosity and Creativity—serial entrepreneurs never stop learning, exploring, and chasing new dreams. They have found a way to turn their creativity into a money-making opportunity. They also know the deep satisfaction that comes from seeing an idea take on a life of its own.
- The ability to take a punch—for every success story, there is a list of failures. Few entrepreneurs make it rich on their first grand ideas. They see ideas wither and die despite hard work and effort. They have investors laugh at them. They keep going. They do not give up on their dreams and keep finding a new way to explore and promote their ideas.
Generally, serial entrepreneurs are intelligent, creative, and driven. They enjoy the thrill of developing a new idea and seeing it through to completion. Why should a person be limited to one great idea? Those who have the courage and drive to continue developing successful ideas wear the title of entrepreneur proudly.