Sophia Smith delves into the psyche of Millennials.
Known as the avocado-toast generation that has inspired many 9GAG-worthy memes and has been ridiculed many times over, millennials come with quite a baggage of bad rap to shed. They are the generation that is guilty until proven innocent, the generation that is still in debt over student loans, and the generation that despite all of that still aspires to achieve independence.
With all of the stereotypes attached to this particular group of young, ambitious individuals, it might be difficult to acknowledge just how significant of a difference they are still making in the business ranks. It seems that they are actually taking a stand and building a legacy of entrepreneurial endeavors that is changing the global economic landscape.
Putting forth their values
Often dubbed “the me generation,” millennials are perhaps the most environmentally-aware lot to look to when it comes to starting a business. As they are often their own target demographic with $2.5 trillion of spending power in their hands, they do their best to infuse their business models with personal values. They are the generation that, despite their undeservedly selfish reputation, actually invests in creating socially responsible businesses.
They are the leading startup force when it comes to bringing ideas to life that no longer exist solely to make a profit, but also to make a positive impact on the environment, climate change, as well as equality and inclusion. Starting businesses with collective well-being in mind is the essence of their entrepreneurial spirit.
Flexibility over cubicles
What was once a definition of stability and security no longer gives the same benefits to the generation of millennials. Boomers may have appreciated the traditional corporate culture, with the classic nine-to-five discipline, but millennials no longer enjoy the same health insurance, financial stability, or any other perks that this work culture used to promise.
To that end, millennials have found a multitude of ways to make extra income, support their dream-chasing, and rebuild the economy with three simultaneous jobs at a time. You’ll see them juggling several positions from home in order to build a career in their desired field of interest. Many of them opt to sell photos to magazines, choose to get paid to take surveys online, work as content writers, or teach languages online. They do it all in order to devote more of their time to grow outside of their careers alone.
Redefining social interaction
Yes, millennials are famous for being active on social media, as this is an integral part of their collective identity – they have grown up with technology by their side, and they use it daily to advance in their lives. However, contrary to the popular belief that social media is only a source of entertainment, millennials have utilised them to grow their businesses and build brands that matter.
Studies show that despite the growing trend of digitalisation, which millennials have readily embraced, those who value face-to-face communication still greatly outnumber those who don’t. In fact, one particular study showed that 51% of interviewed millennials still opt for live communication rather than a phone conversation, an email, or a text. If anything, millennials tend to use digital forms of communication to grow their business well outside their work hours, and not as a mindless escape from everyday life and responsibility. They may have embraced the digital way of doing things, but they have certainly not abandoned the value of the basic human interaction.
Meaning over money
If they were in it for the money, they would probably stay in the cubicle. And yet, here they are, taking bold risks out of their basements, or rented apartments, still paying off loans, and starting families while tackling a business endeavour. Seeking out purpose and finding more effective ways to solve problems trumps earning basic income and ensuring security. Inspired by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and other millennial innovators, they have come to understand that running a business is no longer reserved for people in their silver years.
Let’s not forget that by the time millennials have become eligible employees, the market has changed so significantly that unemployment has become the new norm. Struggling with debt while being faced with limited options for work, many millennials used those circumstances as an opportunity to create, rather than complain. Many of them have built their own doors because none were open when they needed them. And they have not done it being driven by profit alone, but by being strongly focused on values and global issues that need addressing.
Innovation as a mindset
As the generation that was the first one to take its steps into a new era, one laden with technology, it comes as no surprise that innovation is in millennials’ DNA. They know how to spot a brilliant solution, but even more so, they are able to come up with it when they discover a particular problem with an unfitting fix.
Numbers show that almost one-third of millennials already run their business, while almost one half of them wish to start their business in the next three years. Comfortable with novelty and change, millennials are the generation that embodies the values of true entrepreneurship – no matter what memes may say.