Each year, around 627,000 businesses start up in the United States. Nearly the same amount fold each year.
And with millennials now outnumbering baby boomers, a large portion of entrepreneurs are in that age range.
While many people erroneously think that millennial entrepreneurs mean any young person, millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996.
They mostly represent individuals who have been in the workforce a while and are ready for a change. They may also represent individuals who are fresh out of graduate school or are still at the beginning stages of their career.
Millennials grew up in a world of technology, so they have a very different approach to entrepreneurship than those that came before them.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the ways millennials differ from the predecessors when it comes to entrepreneurship.
1. Millennials Have Technology in Their Veins.
Millennials grew up with technology and are often early adopters. Most of them had computer classes at a young age in school. Social media was budding during their college days, and it was made for them: Facebook was originally for university students only.
Because of this, millennials never had the issue of struggling with technology that baby boomers and some gen x members had. Instead, it’s almost always come second nature to them, and something they know how to leverage.
They come to the workforce already knowing how to do almost anything necessary with a computer and smartphone. Therefore, it’s no wonder their businesses are tech-savvy as well.
If their start-up isn’t technology based, it’s likely there’s still a lot of technological involvement. Even if they’re selling handmade cheese in a yurt, it’s likely a millennial business owner has already set up a social media strategy for it.
2. Millennial Entrepreneurs Are More Optimistic.
While millennials are a fun generation for the media to mock for their technological aptitude, they’re generally more optimistic than their predecessors.
This optimism can sometimes lead to decisions that aren’t in their best interests, it also means they’re more willing to take a leap of faith. Although we already know a huge percentage of businesses fail, a millennial has the guts and gusto to go for it anyway. At least generally speaking.
Optimism can mean the millennial entrepreneur could be setting him or herself up for failure. But they’ll never know if they didn’t try. It’s an admirable trait, especially when starting a business takes a great amount of gumption to begin with.
3. They Already Know a Little Bit About Marketing.
Since millennials are the hot group to market to, and they’re great at social media, they inherently know a little bit about marketing.
Sure, not every millennial is going to be a marketing whizz. Most millennials who start businesses will need to brush up on their marketing knowledge. But, instinctively, they know a little about what works and what doesn’t.
This is because they’re native social media users and have seen the platform grow and adapt. They know what advertising grabs their attention and what makes them want to click away. And, they know that people their age and younger are best marketed to in spaces other than the radio or television, except in certain instances.
This company has an excellent write up about marketing advice for the millennial entrepreneur who wants to take it a step further.
Don’t take for granted a millennial can revamp your marketing strategy without any training. But, do run things by them, especially if you’re targeting people under the age of 40 for your product or service.
4. Millennials are More Flexible as Entrepreneurs.
Millennials know that in today’s day and age, you don’t need to be chained to your desk. In fact, many of them have had a freelance gig or prefer to work remotely. Because of this, as bosses, they’ll likely be a bit more flexible when it comes to working hours and conditions.
A startup owned by a millennial may entail an entirely virtual office where all employees work from home. Or, they may ask their staff to work in person part-time. In some cases, remote work isn’t possible between staff members because of the nature of the job.
Generally, however, they know that with current technology, they don’t need all staff members present on site. They can still hold discussions, meetings and even keep tabs on assignments and work without seeing one another in person.
Because millennials value their time, many make 9-5 hours obsolete.
5. They Want a Purpose for Their Work, Including Their Business.
Sure, making a lot of money is nice. But for most millennials, that isn’t enough of a motivator to get them out of bed in the morning. Most would rather do a job they love for less money than to do a job they hate for a huge amount of money.
Because of this, many startups will either be socially focused or have social programs attached to them. They may do something like TOM’s Shoes, which makes a hefty profit, but also helps clothe kids in poorer countries. Or, consider a startup like Ecosia that functions exactly like Google, but promises to plant a tree for every search you do.
It isn’t enough to just want to make money so you and your family can feel secure. Millennials want a sense of purpose, and this is reflected in the way they operate their businesses.
6. They Value Work-Life Balance.
In the past, work-life balance hasn’t necessarily been prioritized. Depending on the job, you may be expected to put your all into your work, often at the expense of your hobbies and your family life.
Millennials see things a little differently. As many have young families and other parts of their lives to attend to, they don’t want to push all of that on the back burner. They’ve seen some of the burnout older generations have experienced, or they’ve experienced themselves, and aren’t interested in it.
This doesn’t mean every millennial-owned company is going to care immensely about work-life balance, but a lot of them do. Because of this, they may include perks for their employees like on-site gyms and childcare vouchers. As mentioned previously, they’re also into flexible hours, which can help with productivity and contribute to an excellent work-life balance as well.
7. Their Office Attire is Much More Casual.
Gone are the days of wearing a stuffy suit or co-ord every single day. Millennials are much more casual with their office attire, with many formal businesses relaxing their dress code here and there.
While there will always be professions where you’ll need to show up in a suit and tie or formal co-ords, millennials bosses are more relaxed when you’re not seeing clients. If you’re just around the office, many will allow you to get away with business casual so that you can be a little bit more comfortable.
Other businesses may allow you to show up in a full-on casual look from head-to-toe. Workers may be allowed to wear t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, but this depends on the atmosphere and the brand they want to portray.
Since they’re also more attuned to hire remote workers or allow staff to work remotely, this also includes the ability to wear pajamas some days.
8. They’re More Likely to Offer Benefits.
Millennials are more likely to offer “fun company culture,” that could include movie nights, casual dress days and half-days once a week. They’re also more likely than baby boomers to offer benefits like paid time off, medical benefits and 401k. Many, who have traveled extensively or studied abroad, may also be more inclined to offer maternity leave or paternity leave than the older generation.
In general, millennials are more likely to let their employees know they value them. As such, the perks from a business they run are going to be much more robust.
Every Business Owner is Different.
While millennial entrepreneurs all share some similar traits, each person’s style is unique. And that couldn’t be truer than for the generation who is criticized for having been given trophies for participating and to always be themselves. In some ways, that celebration of individuality has created a generation of startups that know to think in creative ways.
If you’re a millennial entrepreneur, you’ll appreciate the rest of our site. We’ve got lots of information for young people interested in dipping their toe into the world of startups or making their existing business even better.