The term serial entrepreneur is fairly common in describing an entrepreneur that successively starts one business after the other. There’s another less common term, parallel entrepreneur, that describes an entrepreneur creating multiple businesses at the same time. If making one company successful is difficult, what are the odds of simultaneously making two or more successful?
For many parellel entrepreneurs, the goal is to have a few different things going at the same time such that when one of the projects starts to take off, all energy is focused on that startup and the other startups are phased out or ignored.
Here are a few challenges being a parellel entrepreneur:
- While the main challenge with starting a business is to make it successful, there’s also a secondary goal to figure out as quickly as possible if it isn’t going to be successful so that you can move on
- Multiple projects at the same time results in many little tasks that it becomes even harder to work on the business (most entrepreneurs spend significantly more time working in the business as opposed to on the business)
- When seeking help from others, networking, or raising money, a parallel entrepreneur can come across as less committed and less likely to succeed (a VC cited this to me personally when I tried to raise money in 2009)
One way to make parallel entrepreneurship work is to be less of a parallel entrepreneur and more of an investor/advisor in multiple ideas you come up with whereby someone else is focused 100% on the startup and you help out without any day-to-day responsibilities. Being a parallel entrepreneur is exceedingly difficult and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What else? What are some other challenges of a parellel entrepreneur?