This review explores the emerging debate relating to habitual entrepreneurs. Habitual entrepreneurs (also known as experienced or, latterly, repeat entrepreneurs) are a widespread phenomenon. An entrepreneur's business ownership experience may differ according to the number of private businesses s/he has established, inherited and/or purchased. The nature of an entrepreneur's business ownership experience may not be homogeneous. Some habitual entrepreneurs may exit one private business before owning a subsequent one (i.e., serial entrepreneurs), while others may start/purchase and retain ownership of several private businesses concurrently (i.e., portfolio entrepreneurs). This review compares the profiles, behavior, and contributions of habitual entrepreneurs (i.e., serial and portfolio entrepreneurs) and novice entrepreneurs (i.e., entrepreneurs with no prior business ownership experience). The theoretical and policy cases for distinguishing between different types of entrepreneur are made. Differences between types of entrepreneur are examined in terms of their human capital profiles (e.g., education, motivations, and skills). Behavioral differences are examined with regard to the acquisition of resources, opportunity identification, pursuit and mode of exploitation, and organizational strategies. Finally, entrepreneur and firm performance differences between the different types are reviewed. Policy and practitioner implications are raised and assuming an interventionist stance, the case for targeted assistance toward habitual, serial, and portfolio and novice entrepreneurs is discussed. Avenues for additional research attention are highlighted relating to the following themes: the nature of opportunities; information search; leveraging human capital; entrepreneurial teams; measures of habitual entrepreneurship; the role of the external environment; contexts for habitual entrepreneurship; and methods and data issues.
Habitual Entrepreneurs focuses on the business ownership experience as an important defining feature of entrepreneurship. Variations in business ownership experience have led to the distinction between experienced ('habitual') entrepreneurs and first-time ('novice') entrepreneurs. Habitual Entrepreneurs focuses on entrepreneurs who have the potential to leverage their business ownership experience in subsequent ventures. Habitual entrepreneurs are compared to novice entrepreneurs who do not have any prior business ownership experience to draw upon. The authors examine the theory and evidence relating to different 'types' of entrepreneurs with specific focus on the level and nature of their prior business ownership experience. Habitual Entrepreneurs examines the scale of habitual entrepreneurship and uses insights from human capital theory and cognitive theories to present a theoretical case for distinguishing between different types of entrepreneurs with reference to their prior business ownership experience. Despite recent research progress, several gaps in the knowledge base relating to the habitual entrepreneur still exist and avenues for future research are presented.