When I meet people for the first time and tell them that I’m a businessman, their usual response would be the question, “What’s your business?”
And my answer would automatically be, “I have an internet cafe.”
But did you know that that was not always my reply?
Before, I’d answer “I have several,” then I’d give them a rundown of my entrepreneurial ventures – an internet cafe, an eLoad station, a photocopying kiosk – among others.
Until I realized that my “old answer” not only arrived as somehow contemptuous, but it also does not fit the common notion that a person usually has just one business.
And that’s why I decided to change my old response and simply give my most successful venture; and consequently avoid giving the wrong arrogant impression.
But it does raise a question in my mind, why is serial entrepreneurship not a widely accepted idea?
I believe that most people want to start their own business, become their own boss – and that usually means building a successful venture that will become a big company someday. One that has several branches and even franchisers – catering to thousands (or millions) of customers.
However, the idea of putting up several small-scale businesses is not a common dream, which is quite surprising given the relative ease (at least in my opinion) at which you can accomplish this.
What exactly do I mean?
Well, let me go back to the time when I first decided to put up that internet cafe of mine. After almost a year, I saw that the business was doing quite well. Many urged that I should expand – add more units, start offering more services and even consider opening a second branch.
At first, I did try to expand the business, and I must say it was exciting to see your “baby become a child”. But along the way, I found myself… for lack of a better term – bored.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved working on the business, and still does – but deep inside me, I wanted a challenge – and expanding the business was not the answer.
Then came the idea of starting a completely new business. Nothing really big, just something that would give me enough “adrenalin”.
And that’s how it started…
After the eLoad station, the photocopying kiosk came, then the school supplies store and many other one-employee businesses – and that’s how my serial entrepreneurship began.
During all these years of starting (and also closing down) several businesses, I’ve learned some valuable lessons – particularly about serial entrepreneurship:
- Opening a business gets easier and faster every time you start a new one. All the mistakes you’ve made in the past are usually prevented and you eventually learn and get used to the bureaucracy of registering a business.
- Small businesses, although it gives little profits, are easier to manage – there’s less paperwork and usually just one employee to handle. Consequently, if it does not take off well, it’s also less painful to close down.
- Being a serial entrepreneur forces you to automate your businesses – to make your business run without you – which is actually a good thing for it veers you away from the trap of self-employment.
- Having several businesses lets you enjoy multiple sources of income. And when the market of a specific business declines, there’s less worry that your finances will be affected and you have more courage to simply close down (or sell) and start a new and more profitable one.
To end, please understand that I’m not writing this to convince you to become a serial entrepreneur. It’s a cup of tea that you should decide for yourself – call it simply an option you can consider.
But take the lesson that serial entrepreneurs are people that do not shy away from failure, that’s why they become successful.
And If you have to take anything from this post, let it be the fact that when it comes to entrepreneurship – all you can really do is to try your best, knowing that trying leads to learning, and learning eventually leads to success.
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