Millennials have a reputation for being self-entitled individuals with an insatiable need for praise. I will be the first to admit, we aren’t perfect; but don’t underestimate this group.
According to The Millennial Generation Research Review by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation not only are we the main focus of marketing dollars, as most young generations have been, but due to a poor economy and innovative qualities – millennials have developed many of the characteristics to become successful entrepreneurs. I am no different.
As a millennial myself, I always knew I wanted to start my own business since the idea of doing anything status quo was not only unacceptable but actually terrifying. And I am not the only one taking the leap. According to The Kauffman Foundation’s Young Invincible Policy Brief, in 2011, millennials launched 160,000 startups each month and 29 percent of all entrepreneurs were 20 to 34 years old.
Here are four reasons why millennials should jump into the world of entrepreneurship.
1. We aren’t afraid to take (calculated) risks.
Deciding to launch The Pontes Group, a fashion PR agency, was the biggest risk I had ever taken, but I believe that you need to take big risks to do big things. I could spend the rest of my life working to build someone else’s dream, or go off and build my own.
Many millennials are making the same decision, taking the jump into entrepreneurship because the benefits of doing so far outweigh the negatives. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a weak job market has lead millennials to take entry-level positions that are not a good match and oftentimes with lower wages. Millennials are taking big risks to start their own businesses, but they are always calculated. While past generations may have relied on the government for social security or a pension plan from a life-long employer, millennials have experienced an economic landscape where taking the risk to bet on themselves is actually a very viable option.
2. We not only think outside the box, but often we prefer to build a new one altogether.
As a business owner, you need to offer your clients a value that they won’t be able to get anywhere else. Millennials are creative and often like to challenge the "normal way."
According to The Millennial Generation Research Review by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, millennials prefer to identify their own passions and determine their most beneficial path, rather than having others set a path for them. Doing what has already been done will never be good enough. Forget thinking outside the box, we are building new boxes every day.
3. We are social-media savvy.
The ability to harness the power of social media is a necessity for businesses. According to the Boston Consulting Group’s 2011 report, millennials are 2.5 times more likely to become early adaptors of technology than older generations. Approximately 60 percent produce and upload online content, compared to only 20 percent of non-millennials.
Social media is constantly evolving with new platforms frequently being introduced. Being early adaptors gives millennials a head start in learning how to utilize them to better engage with both fans of the brands and potential customers. The ability to connect on a social level comes easily to millennials and is a marketing tool that will facilitate the promotion of any business, big or small.
4. We want to make a difference.
Millennials truly care about the world they live in. According to The Millennial Generation Research Review, more than half of millennials volunteer, proportional to that of Generation X. There are programs connecting millennials and nonprofits such as Florida-based Emerge Broward’s Board Engagement. Another big influence millennials have made in giving is the influx of cause marketing and companies that give back. Brands such as TOMS and Headbands of Hope have employed a giveback model that for every product purchased, one is given to someone in need. This quantifiable way of giving has revolutionized the way that businesses give back.
Many of the characteristics sometimes negatively associated with the millennial generation are actually what makes us prime candidates to become entrepreneurs. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), David Karp (Tumblr) and Peter Cashmore (Mashable), a few of the most well-known entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of these traits to start extremely successful businesses. The world is for the taking for millennials, and considering the state of our economy we just might be our own best bet.