Have you ever heard the phrase "lifestyle businesses" in venture capital circles? It has a condescending undertone--those are little companies that might not grow 100 x, so they're not interested in them. The entrepreneurs who hang out in these circles are often referred to and revered as "serial entrepreneurs". Their life mission is to start and sell multiple companies.
I will never forget the first time I heard the phrase "serial entrepreneur". A woman told me she was a "serial entrepreneur" instead of telling me that she was the CEO of her company. At first, I thought that her company manufactured cereal that you eat for breakfast. But it didn't take me long to realize I was wrong.
I would bet you if I asked her to define how a "lifestyle entrepreneur" compared to her, her answer would have been something like "they build nice little companies". When venture capitalists think about "lifestyle businesses" they minimize them.
Next week I will celebrate the seventh anniversary of launching my company with my team. As I have chosen not to raise multiple rounds of venture capital, I am sure that my "serial entrepreneur" friends think that I am building a nice lifestyle business. I don't like the phrase.
It's time for different terms. I would argue that there are "flipper entrepreneurs" and "builder entrepreneurs". And their philosophies are very different.
Flipper entrepreneurs want to build several companies in their career, try to do it quickly, and sell them. They're more passionate about the process than the actual entity they're building. Their goal in life is multiple exits. The game is to get in and out. They would never put up their house for their company--they're never that emotionally tied to it.
A builder entrepreneur doesn't think about their business in the short-term. It's a long-term venture and a legacy. They're patient and persistent and want to build for the long-term. They're not thinking about the next quarter--or the next round. They're thinking about the long-term. They will do what it takes and build their company for the long run. Their business is their baby--and they won't give it up easily.
So instead of "serial entrepreneurs and lifestyle entrepreneurs" I would argue that we should talk about "flippers and builders". The styles and philosophies are very different. And you should understand which one you are and be content and transparent about it.
I am a proud "builder entrepreneur" !! How about you?