Business Spotlight

Ready to Become a Millennial Mogul? Read This First.

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.

Businesses in DUMBO, Brooklyn Create a Sense of Place in an Unlikely Space

DUMBO Brooklyn, or the District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, went from a manufacturing no-mans-land to a booming start-up hub and hipster haven in just a few short decades. In the 1970s, you could buy a square foot of land here for under six dollars. Today, you’ll need to shell out $1,000 for the same square foot. How did DUMBO transform itself from the ruins of the industrial revolution to the hip, cool, waterfront neighborhood it is today?  


It should come as no surprise that New York City’s start-up-hub was in fact, created by the ‘OG start-up mogul’: David Walentas. Raised poor in Rochester, N.Y., Walentas was no stranger to hard farm work and delinquent tendencies. Despite his rascal demeanor, he finished his degree in mechanical engineering in 1961 and went on to clean septic tanks in Greenland. Following a trip to visit his brother in Madrid, he soon found himself in Casablanca hanging out on the wharf looking for a ship to take him and his new white Volkswagen back to New York. A Danish freighter landed him on Brooklyn’s west shore in 1962. Like a precursor for things to come, Walentas would leave the squalor of this part of the city only to return four years later with the burning urge to become a real estate developer.

Fast forward to today and the beautiful, sun bathed, waterfront properties of modern-day DUMBO. Breaking briefly from the history of the neighborhood, what is it that draws so many tech moguls to this neighborhood? First and foremost, DUMBO has space. Space that Manhattan can not provide. Tech startups, notably Etsy, have the space and freedom to develop and branch out in a unique area just minutes from the heart of new York City: Manhattan. Now, following this commercial boom, DUMBO is not only an entrepreneur’s dream locale but also a wealthy residential hotspot-- affiliates of Donald Trump are now buying up pieces of DUMBO with the intention of creating luxury residences.


But how did David Walentas truly redefine this overlooked area of New York City? It was a veritable industrial wasteland surrounded by crime-afflicted areas, how did Walentas convince business to move to Brooklyn? Walentas has been known to attribute his success in part to the artists’ of the time who told him DUMBO was the next big thing--they had even named it DUMBO as a way to alienate developers and to keep the community amongst themselves. It took a man like David Walentas to see the beauty through despair and to capitalize on it, in true entrepreneurial fashion.

David Walentas befriended an affluent New Yorker, Jeff Byers, and sought funding through  his wealthy connections and co-founded Two Trees Management Firm, a real estate firm. The firm went on to buy properties all over New York City as well as Atlanta and Baltimore. Yet, Two Trees Management Firm only knew true DUMBO success after the controversial suicide of one of its founding members, Jeff Byers, as well as the aide from pro-development mayor, Rudy Giuliani who made it easier for developers like Two Trees to buy up DUMBO properties at a relatively low price. Two Trees hopped on the opportunity and geared it’s commercial properties towards startups. With short-term leases and lowered credit requirements, DUMBO was poised to welcome young entrepreneurs with open arms. With tech startups come businesses and affluence, and soon, DUMBO was booming.


Today, with the brand new Brooklyn Bridge Park situated on prime New York City waterfront as well as a plethora of chic coffee shops and hip classes, business in DUMBO is truly flourishing. Refurbished warehouses serve as homes to tech giants and its renovated cobblestone streets, relics of its post-industrial past, are now lined with art galleries and hipster boutiques. The brainchild of a true visionary, DUMBO is proof that sometimes success takes a particular sense of perception-- who would have thought in the 1970s that DUMBO would be the modern, exclusive, trendy Brooklyn neighborhood it is today? Although now this particular neighborhood rents at about the same price as Manhattan, it is still a world apart. Echoes from the past through its’ architecture, the space for businesses to truly grow, and the culture that only Brooklyn can supply, DUMBO is the place to be for anyone willing to take the plunge into the [mostly] lucrative world of startups. Or, live like Walentas, and keep your eye out for other industrial wastelands to transform in a matter of mere decades. In case you don’t discover the new DUMBO, sign up to this blog to keep yourself informed on all things business and travel!