If you happen to live in an urban setting you’re likely no stranger to sustainable clothing stores, organic coffee shops and local art galleries popping up and spreading like wildfire. We have reached the age of the almighty millennial entrepreneur. However, this generation’s greatest strengths may also serve as our most profound weaknesses. How can you, the millennial entrepreneur, navigate the cutthroat business world while holding true to your values and aiming for longevity?
I feel like we don’t use the term “hipster” as often as we did five or ten years ago. These days, the majority of new businesses have adopted a “hipster-friendly-business-plan”. That is to say, the millennial consumer possesses innate so-called ‘hipster’ qualities and new businesses are quick to accommodate these aspects. What’s important for the millennial consumer is reflected in the mass of new and trendy storefronts: sustainability, mobile-optimization, originality, social networking, competitive pricing, and loyalty programs. Born between (depending on the source) 1980-2000, millennials represent a generation that has surpassed the size of the notoriously huge Baby Boomer generation. Between its impressive size and daily advances in the medical sector ensuring longer, healthier lives, millennials are here to stay. Appealing to their needs is the best long term business plan one could have. And who knows better what a millennial wants than a millennial her or himself?
“Millennial” is synonymous with a “never-settle” mindset. This is both to our advantage and detriment. On the one hand, this intrinsic need to explore, create, and ultimately be one’s own boss is the driving factor behind a multitude of millennial-run start-ups, just look at the co-founders of Snapchat Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy who boast a net-worth of over 1.5 billion each since nursing their idea to fruition in 2011. On the other hand, we often have trouble sticking to one idea, project, or job. And while Spigel and Murphy’s massive net-worth may blind then entice you--these are exceptional cases. Exceptional, but not impossible.
In the hopes of getting you to be one of those ‘exceptional’ cases, I’ve scoured the internet in search of the most essential and profitable tips for millennial entrepreneurs to get you on the path to success.
1 Go For It!
A lot of my research about millennial entrepreneurs boiled down to one key problem: not enough millennials are willing to take the plunge into the often daunting world of being their own boss. While a lot of us aspire to it, few of us actually do it. We often make up excuses, pushing our aspirations of grandeur to the back burner. Although I cannot guarantee you success in your endeavors, I can guarantee you that:
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” - Robert F. Kennedy
2 Keep your Energy Up!
I think this is an important piece of advice. Millennial or otherwise, it is incredibly important to hype up your idea, product, or service. And to maintain that hype. Excitement about your business begins with you— hopefully it won’t end with you. This is your passion and you want your effervescent enthusiasm to bubble to the surface and spread to everyone around you. An enthusiastic entrepreneur is a lot more likely to succeed than a lackluster one.
3 Embrace you Social Media Addiction (and use it to your advantage!)
Having grown up on the cusp of the technological awakening, both the millennial entrepreneur and the millennial consumer are a tech-savvy sort. According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of millennials own smartphones and a whopping 85% say they use social media. This is marketing gold. You need to curate and invest in your social media presence. As a millennial myself, anytime I want to know more about a brand or a certain product, I look it up on Instagram and I know I’m not alone. It’s 2019 and social media has grown beyond the simple selfie with a multitude of brands getting their starts on social media. Word to the wise: do your best to stay unique as these days, platforms are being inundated with new brands. What makes yours different and deserving?
4 Ask for Professional Advice!
As the ‘Google-Generation’ many of us (myself included) assume we can absorb all the information we need through a good Google-search. I read many-an-article on the dangers of starting a business with zero financial logic and let me tell you, don’t do it. Becoming an entrepreneur is already a risk and you shouldn’t make this risk any riskier. Invest in a financial advisor and/or any aid from someone older you may know who started a successful business themselves. Heck, invest in some (good) online business/accounting courses. Your business won’t run on dreams and soy milk lattes, you need a solid foundation of numbers and statistics.
5 Cultivate and Propagate your Story!
We are a conscientious kind, often opting for products or services with a story. Personally, I often choose products that my mother (a Baby Boomer) doesn’t understand. Her generation knows and sticks to well-known brands. Brands, for myself and many millennials, are just less important these days. I want to know where the cotton in my shirt comes from. I want to know who sewed it and if they were fairly paid. I want to know that this t-shirt company is sustainable and contributing to the local community. Whatever your story, share it. Share it in detail. Your millennial consumer wants to know. And if you happen to be sustainable, charity-oriented, or contributing to the preservation of the environment/mankind in any way, shout it from the rooftops! Millennials tend to care a lot about pressing issues (and the Earth will thank you)!
Despite pesky assumptions about narcissism and laziness, I’m really proud to be a part of this generation. I feel like millennials have an overabundance of innovative ideas. Although I do believe a lot of us have problems bringing these ideas to life, with a little flame or two under our butts, we can accomplish great things. We aim to create a better future and honestly repair the damage of past generations. Not to mention the marketing goldmine that is social media. There is SO MUCH opportunity for a millennial entrepreneur, there’s no excuse for not trying. Need some inspo? Leslie Crews, the creator of the Blurban Planner is a prime example of a successful millennial entrepreneur, on her daily grind and slaying it. I’m sure you too have a business idea in your head more than worthwhile, you just got to get it out there and share it. And don’t forget to sign up to this blog for more inspiration on your journey to entrepreneurship. Now get out there and cultivate your dreams, you ARE a creative, millennial mogul.