Millennials have been called many things, from entitled layabouts to kobucha-swigging avocado addicts. But while many of the claims are obviously somewhat doubtful, one thing is for sure: millennials are the entrepreneur generation. 30% of millennials have started up their own business, and a further 49% plan on doing so in the near future. But why exactly are so many millennials choosing self-employment these days? Well, for a start…
It’s no secret that the generation that grew up with the internet is fully cognizant of the possibilities it opens to them. Today, there are any number of tools and services that make it easy for individuals to work better, easier, and smarter. There is a plethora of ways for self-employed millennials to stay on top of a business without resorting to expensive third-party consultants.
For example, automation tools such as Sprout Social and MailChimp make managing marketing quick and easy. Email and social strategies can be coordinated from a single interface, letting individuals orchestrate complex campaigns with relative ease. (And for a social media savvy generation, creating content like this is a breeze). And customer relationship management tools too are ideal for staying on top of contacts, sales, and so on. Zoho in particular is one such tool that is intuitive and affordable, and saves millennial solopreneurs time and hassle when they start their self-employed journey. It’s become a freelance favorite in a short period of time.
From project management tools like Asana to simple budgeting applications, there’s so many affordable tools out there to run a business, making self-employment an enticing option for entrepreneurially-minded millennials.
Between the rise of the gig economy and jobs offering assured security and decent pay becoming harder to find, the job market is becoming increasingly more treacherous for millennials. It makes sense then that Generation Y are instead looking inward to find that job security they so desire — they are creating their own opportunities, their own future. When you are your own boss, there’s no uncertainty as to whether you’ll still be there by the end of the day.
The grind of the nine-to-five is something many of us take as a given. Being chained to your desk for eight hours a day is a small price to pay for a regular paycheck and weekends off, right? Millennials don’t see it that way. Seeing previous generations spend years working for someone else’s profit has left them disillusioned, and working for oneself offers a far brighter future. Despite the long working hours and gruelling toil that it can sometimes entail, the independence provided by self-employment has a far greater allure for millennials. The option of working whatever hours of the day you want and in whatever office, city or country you desire is an appealing prospect to many.
It’s common knowledge that wages in the US have been steadily stagnating for years now. And with the economy still in the shuddering throes of a recession, it’s a state that doesn’t look likely to improve. As millennials move into the job market after college, many are finding the possibility of a significant living wage increasingly unlikely. But self-employment offers millennials, in some quarters at least, the option to earn more than if they were working for someone else. Of course, they are under no illusions — this is no golden ticket opportunity. But the fact is, better wages come with hard work. And while you could sweat blood and tears working for someone else and not see any extra income, self-employment lets you take that possibility into your own hands.
Millennials have never had it easier… when it comes to channels for starting their own business, that is. In a digital age, there are dozens of avenues for millennials to start an enterprise without leaving the house. Blogging is one such option. With the ready availability of platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr free and easy to use, savvy millennials with an eye for engaging (and popular) content can turn a passion blog into a bona fide source of income. And alongside blogging platforms have appeared DIY ecommerce store builders such as Shopify and Squarespace. These make it easy for anyone with an internet connection and ambition to create their own online store within days (and what better way to embrace the digital nomad and coworking revolution??).
And for millennials wishing to skip the legwork and start managing their own established business immediately, it’s easy to buy an existing venture and run with it. Right now, there are hundreds of businesses for sale in Florida (including Miami) that millennials can pick up and hit the ground running with — most of them have been set up (and are now being sold by) other millennials! It’s this kind of transactional approach to business that characterizes the generation who are most likely to become entrepreneurs and subvert big business.
While it’s easy to look on these options as a just-add-water instant business solution, the reality is anything but. Millennials have to work hard to succeed in these lines of business, but they are under no illusions. Generation Y know more than anyone the importance of hard work to achieve self-employment success.
Being your own boss is more than just a pipe dream for millennials. It’s an achievable dream that can provide them with greater freedom, greater independence, and greater personal fulfillment as they traverse the working world.
While Patrick Foster is by no stretch a millennial, he is still proudly self-employed. Having cut his teeth on various business enterprises in the past, today he writes and edits for Ecommerce Tips. Here, he shares his wealth of knowledge on ecommerce, marketing, and business with others to help them realise their solopreneur dreams. Find all the latest tips on Twitter @myecommercetips.