Serial Entrepreneurs

Serial Entrepreneurs

Workaholics, gambling addicts, internet addicts, all these terms are relatively familiar to all of us.

But a recent study co-authored by J. Michael Haynie, the Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship at Syracuse, and April Spivack, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh claims that entrepreneurs who start one business after another might not just be interested in building up their portfolios — they may be addicted to the process.

Serial Entrepreneurs, people who launch multiple startups throughout their careers, they exhibit symptoms similar to those of other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, Internet usage and workaholism.

These symptoms include obsessive thoughts, feelings of withdrawal, and neglect of previously important things and activities. An addiction can also involve destructive emotional consequences, such as guilt and high levels of strain.

Based on interviews with habitual entrepreneurs, the study offers a psychological explanation for a potential "dark side" of entrepreneurship, said Alexander McKelvie, one of the study's authors and chair and associate professor in the Syracuse University department of entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises.

"Being an entrepreneur takes a psychological and emotional toll on people. It's not always what people think are positive outcomes, such as gaining fame, fortune or self-fulfillment," McKelvie said in a statement. "The costs of these behavioral addictions are borne by families, communities and economies in the form of social services, health care and public benefits programs."

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