In the dynamic realm of entrepreneurship, understanding where you fit can be the key to unlocking your potential.
Doe you know what type of entrepreneur you are? It’s important to figure out which you are so you can scale accordingly with your particular traits.
In this post, I’ll go through the three different types of entrepreneurs so you can see which one might resonate with you.
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The Parallel Entrepreneur
The Parallel Entrepreneur is someone who thrives on managing multiple ventures at once.
Think of individuals like Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s behind multiple successful brands, such as VaynerX, VaynerSports, Vayner3, Empathy Wine and VeeFriends:
Who knows what else he has going on, but he likes to do a lot of projects at the same time. With a workforce that might be around 1,300 to 1,400 people worldwide, this approach is about diving into various projects simultaneously.
However, this approach isn’t for everyone. I’ve personally experienced the difficulty of managing multiple projects. About ten years ago, I took over my agency Single Grain and a year into running this agency I started a senior living business, I started a SaaS quiz company, I started another SaaS company, I wrote a book, and started two podcasts.
I was doing so many different things at once, but I soon discovered that for me this is not the best path. Nor do I think it’s the best path for most people.
The key challenge with this type? Spreading yourself too thin can hinder growth and focus.
Success with parallel entrepreneurship is a testament to brand strength and resource management. But for most entrepreneurs, splitting resources among multiple ventures can be detrimental. It’s essential to ensure that each team and project receives the attention and resources it deserves.
For many, parallel entrepreneurship can be more damaging than beneficial, especially if they haven’t reached a certain level of success or brand recognition. You’re dealing with resource (finances, time, people) constraints, it’s too easy to lose focus and miss opportunities or overlook details, and you can easily get burned out.
The Serial Entrepreneur
The Serial Entrepreneur is the middle ground.
This approach allows entrepreneurs to dedicate their full attention to one business or project, ensuring its growth and success before moving on to the next. It’s a balanced strategy that combines focus with the thrill of starting something new.
Kevin Rose founded a company called Digg and then he went over to Google Ventures and then he decided to start the Moonbirds project. I think that’s a very viable way to go about entrepreneurship because you are putting all your resources into one thing before you take your eye off the ball and move to the next thing.
I certainly had to learn and go through the entrepreneurial ADD before I understood the value of focus.
Focus is the key to success – a sentiment shared by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. When they were asked what the secret was to their success, they both wrote down one word on a piece of paper and then were asked to turn it over at the same time. Both of them had written: Focus.
By concentrating on one project at a time, serial entrepreneurs can channel their resources and energy more effectively, leading to better results.
Being the middle ground type of person, the serial entrepreneur is a unique figure in the entrepreneurial landscape. While they might seem to have the best of both worlds – the thrill of starting anew combined with the focus on a single venture – their journey is not without its challenges.
Because this type of entrepreneur often pours their heart and soul into a single venture, moving on from it, especially if it’s successful, can be emotionally taxing. This type of entrepreneur must constantly adapt, learn and recalibrate their strategies, which can be mentally exhausting.
The Repeat Entrepreneur
The Repeat Entrepreneur sticks to what they know best. After building a successful business and selling it, they might start a similar venture after a few years, leveraging their expertise and contacts in the industry.
This type of entrepreneur might be someone like me, for instance, who has an ad agency. Let’s say I dedicate 10 to 15 years to this agency, sell it for a substantial amount, and then enter a lockout period where I can’t engage in any agency-related work for a two or three years.
Once that period expires, I might be inclined to start another agency business. Why? Because it’s a domain I’m familiar with. I’d continue this cycle repeatedly since I’m well-acquainted with the industry players, understand the intricacies of the game and have a vast network of contacts. This strategy allows me to potentially bring back many clients, ensuring even better results.
There are plenty of examples of such repeat entrepreneurs. Some persistently venture into the agency business, while others diversify. Take Stuart Butterfield, for example. He founded Flickr and later moved on to establish Slack. It’s intriguing to ponder what his next venture might be.
Which Is the Best Type of Entrepreneur?
The quickest path to success is probably to go with either the serial route, although it’s a little risky. The repeat route is probably the least risky. And the most risky option would probably be the parallel route, just from a resourcing standpoint.
Ultimately, of course, there’s no definitive right or wrong approach. But, based on my experience, opting for what you know best is often the safest bet.
While the parallel type might be riskiest in terms of resource management, the serial and repeat types offer more focus and leverage existing expertise, respectively. But the key is to understand your strengths, resources and goals, and choose the path that aligns best with them.
Whether you resonate with being a parallel, serial or repeat entrepreneur, the ultimate goal is to stay in the game, manage your resources wisely and achieve success.
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