Entrepreneurship is about risk and responsibility, but the approach can vary from person to person. One entrepreneur may be more of a team player, others preferring to be soloists.
We’ve covered the differences between an entrepreneur and a small business before, but what about the different kinds of entrepreneurs? In our experience, we’ve come across four common types: classic, independent, modern, and serial. Each type of entrepreneur may have different reasons and goals that help influence their business decisions. Which type of entrepreneur could you be?
What is a classic entrepreneur?
A classic entrepreneur focuses on developing long-term growth through stability. Other entrepreneurs may be more concerned about increasing profit margins or chasing innovation, while the classic entrepreneur simply wants to deliver enough goods or develop a compelling service to sustain the company’s team members.
Strengths and Challenges: Classic entrepreneurs excel through their patience and strategy, making sure they have all the right information and resources before making significant decisions, such as rolling out major ad campaigns or new product lines. Less experienced classic entrepreneurs may struggle with complacency or taking the next step.
Examples: You likely won’t hear about classic entrepreneurs on the news or see their businesses on stock tickers. Classic entrepreneurs are the ones setting up local restaurants and services. They’re the ones maintaining family businesses. What they may lack in recognition and money, they make up for in business longevity.
What is an independent entrepreneur?
An independent entrepreneur is like a lone wolf. Instead of building up a large team, they are able to operate a business on their own. Call them freelancers, independent contractors, or simply independents, just don’t call them lazy. As sole proprietors of the business, independent entrepreneurs are responsible for everything they do, from product development to marketing.
Strengths and challenges: Independent entrepreneurs enjoy a greater level of creative and strategic control. They don’t need to listen to stockholders or business partners- only to the customers or clients they serve. However, wearing multiple hats in a business can be extremely tiring and time-consuming. Multitasking can often lead to a lack of specialization.
Examples: Any person that freelances or is self-employed can be considered an independent entrepreneur. They can be graphic designers, writers, editors, consultants, or business owners. If you determine what to work on and how the work should be done, chances are you’re an independent entrepreneur.
What is a modern entrepreneur?
In contrast to the classic entrepreneur, the modern entrepreneur is more of a risk-taker. Modern entrepreneurs are better able to read the market, understand which trends are worth investing in, and take larger chances on speculative or emerging markets.
Strengths and challenges: As risk-takers, modern entrepreneurs can tap into popular and highly-lucrative opportunities. With enough experience, they can even be the innovators and inventors of tomorrow. However, modern entrepreneurs aren’t always lucky. They may misjudge the market, or make a decision that could cost millions of dollars.
Examples: These are the social media inventors and startup founders, the Mark Zuckerbergs and Sheryl Sandbergs of the world. They may also be investors and venture capitalists, like Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and Warren Buffet.
What is a serial entrepreneur?
Some entrepreneurs start one or two businesses in their lifetime. Not serial entrepreneurs. This type of entrepreneur is likely to build or develop dozens of different businesses. They may create numerous startups to sell off or bounce to and from various businesses and industries, accumulating experience.
Strengths and challenges: Serial entrepreneurs are masters of running businesses and managing their time. They typically understand what goals they want to accomplish in each business venture, whether it’s managing a business to reach a certain financial position, or experimenting in new markets. However, as serial entrepreneurs continue to transition, they may lack the same expertise and connectedness that comes from growing with a company long-term.
Examples: Peter Thiel is a popular example of a serial entrepreneur, having initially created Napster, a music delivery service, then Facebook, eBay, and PayPal. Elon Musk also worked on PayPal, before starting Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity. Both of these individuals continue to influence the business’s decisions of the companies they helped start, but do not worry about the daily responsibilities of running the brands.
Understanding which type of entrepreneur you resemble can be beneficial to help you identify your strengths and blind spots, ultimately furthering your career. However, these four aren’t the only types of entrepreneurs in existence. In reality, there could be hundreds. What kind of entrepreneur have you noticed that we didn’t include? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.
Want more entrepreneurial resources? Check out a previous post on successful hacks for entrepreneurs.