Millennials have been getting some serious hate in the media for years, but they also have a lot of fans for their love of entrepreneurship.
Forbes called them the “true entrepreneur generation,” Fortune noted how millennials have launched twice as many businesses as boomers, and American Express claimed millennials may be the most entrepreneurial generation ever.
Just go to a co-working space in any major U.S. city, and it’s full of millennials working in startups. Studies have also been released in which millennial respondents overwhelmingly said they’d rather start their own businesses than get the corner office.
So it would seem, this lazy, entitled and self-absorbed generation (as it is labeled) actually wants to work hard, just not for someone else. I’m here to explain a few of the reasons why millennials are taking on entrepreneurship.
We know the economy has changed forever
Before I quit my last job to go into business for myself full-time, I was a recruiter that worked for a firm specializing in helping Fortune 500 companies find entry-level employees.
Toward the end of my employment there and after conducting nearly 1,000 job interviews, I had a major epiphany: the economy is never going to be what it used to. Jobs as we knew them weren’t coming back, companies weren’t going to suddenly pay people more money, the recovery was too slow and people were being replaced by computer chips.
As soon as I realized this, I quit my job and spent the next two years building my name as a finance and business expert while growing my content marketing business. Fast forward a few years, and I’m making more money than ever with no end in sight. My colleagues who also noticed the changes in the economy and quit their jobs to do their own thing are also much better off than they were before.
There’s data to back this up, too. Just last year, MSN reported on how companies are more open to hiring freelancers. Time reported a study that found most people who work for themselves earn more money than than they did at a regular job. Finally, companies like Uber and AirBnB have changed everything. Everyone is making money on the side these days, because that’s where the money is.
So what does this have to do with millennials? Considering we were royally screwed by The Great Recession, I believe we just stopped holding out hope that corporate jobs where you can work for 30 years until you get a gold watch and a pension plan even exist. It’s no longer our parents’ economy.
In some ways, we’ve been forced into entrepreneurship, due to economic changes and slow growth. In other ways, we prefer it.
We want to make a difference
Some studies on millennials and entrepreneurship have shown that millennials’ values oftentimes aren’t in line with the values of their day jobs, which makes sense. This is the generation that grew up in the era of climate change. Millennials are also known to be extremely socially conscious. Is it really surprising, then, that the “people over profits” model we’ve become so accustomed to doesn’t really fly with this generation?
For many millennials, the solution is to either start their own socially conscious company or join a startup that already is.
We love technology
Technology has made it easier than ever for people to make money on their own. In fact, this is one of the economic changes that has played a major role in how millennials view entrepreneurship.
A few weeks ago, I was at my co-working space having a conversation with someone who invests in FinTech. He was telling me how he knows a guy who runs a nearly seven-figure business from his laptop. His product? A membership site where people can learn how to dance salsa by watching video tutorials. The best part is that simply maintaining the site and scaling the business costs this guy almost nothing in comparison to how much he’s making, all thanks to technology.
Stories like these used to be nothing more than a dream, but that’s no longer the case. Writers are making $200K a year working from home, and bloggers are raking in six-figures a month. I’m making more money than ever and I run my business from my Macbook.
Does this happen overnight? Of course not, but there’s money to be had thanks to technology, and millennials know it.
We love flexibility
Technology hasn’t just made it easier to make money and scale a business on a dime, it’s also made it so that you can make money from anywhere in the world. Long gone are the days where you were bound to your current location for a source of income. As long as you have WiFi, you can work most anywhere.
Again, millennials know this and they embrace it. This is a generation that places a very high value on flexibility and work-life balance, and sometimes a regular job doesn’t provide these luxuries.
Due to economic changes and different value systems, it should be of no surprise that millennials are the startup generation. Are they all going to make it as a big shot entrepreneur? No, but one thing is certain: how people earn money has changed forever.