A couple of years ago, I went to a real estate seminar and met a successful businessman. He was in his sixties and I was amazed to learn that he had more than a dozen small businesses going and was also trying to start his own bank.
Since I wanted to find out how did he manage to run so many different ventures, I offered to buy him lunch. (Incidentally, that’s a great way to cheaply pick the brains of someone who normally wouldn’t give you the time of day!)
Most of the various businesses he ran were some how interconnected and did a lot of business amongst themselves. Since they were in somewhat related fields, the management was a lot easier. For example, one of his businesses was writing newsletters for Trade Unions and another one was printing & mailing services.
I also learned that he had small interests in a dozen more businesses. He had cultivated great relationships over the years and whenever one of his friends needed advice on starting a new project, he would get the right people involved and help get them up and running. In return get a minority ownership stake in them, but then he moved on to other ventures. He also got a seat on the board of directors, so he had involvement in the general direction of the business but his actual time commitment was pretty small after the initial push.
I’ve always thought that was a great model to follow, especially for someone like myself with a short attention span! Not only do you not have to work a whole lot, but if have enough of these going, they provide economic diversity and lower your financial risk.
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And the best part is that my partners know I’m going to be studying for my MBA full-time and are OK with me working only part-time.