Small business

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.

The 5 Essential Steps to being a Girl Boss.

With 125 women elected into office last November, what a wonderful time to be a strong, independent, and determined woman! 2019 is your year to [professionally] shine, sister!

Female-led businesses have increased 58 percent from 2007 to 2018: there’s no denying women’s impact on the business world. However, women still earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Even worse off, black and Hispanic women earn about 60 cents and 55 cents for every white man’s dollar, respectively.

These are both uplifting and sobering statistics. It’s great that women are taking on the small-business-challenge but the never-ending wage gap remains disheartening. What better way to change the tide than participating in the wave?

In my quest to uplift and empower you, the entrepren-her, I have combed the internet for quintessential and significant tips on how to excel at being a female entrepreneur.

But first, a little tip from yours truly: deep breath and don’t ever forget: girl power.

1) Know your passion and construct your brand.

I believe it goes without saying that the most successful CEOs are passionate ones, albeit male or female. In order to get your business on its feet and sprinting to success, you must have a clear and concise concept in mind. Stay committed to this image as you forge your brand. These are the days of social media, and you should be employing this formidable tool to your advantage. Create an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page all dedicated to your business. Get the word out and get your logo engrained into the mind of your prospective clients. You ARE passionate and you have a GREAT idea— now get it out there!

2) You don’t have to have hair on your chest to gain respect.

Society has led us to believe that being a business owner is intrinsically tied to a stereotypical “male” attitude: aggressive, harsh, competitive. In a word: macho. You do NOT have to adopt any or all of these qualities to find success. On the contrary, you should be unapologetically you. If we continue to associate these qualities with a successful entrepreneur, or worse, propagate these qualities whether or not they suit us, we will be contributing to the problem. A business owner can be approachable, non-confrontational, and supportive of her counterparts and still find success. And if you do possess some or all of these “male” qualities, then don’t be afraid to assume it. Male and female roles are social-constructs of the past, girl!

3) Your capacity to be a boss, a mother and a wife is your fortitude.

I’ve always found the cliché that women multitask better than men to be conspicuously true. A woman-run business is simply an extension of her already innate capabilities to multitask. Having a family should not be a hindrance but rather proof that you got this! As for the time consumption problem of the equation: I ask you to consider a man in a similar role. Do we patronize the busy businessman? No. Besides, what better a role model than a mama building and securing her future from scratch?

4) Know that you deserve respect then demand it.

I can talk about girl power until I’m blue in the face but talking about it and enacting it are two different things. As a female business owner, you need to exude confidence. Now, be careful not to confuse confidence with the stereotypical “male” attitude we talked about before (unless that is already a part of your personality, in which case, rock on). No, you are confident because you know your product or service inside out. You are confident because you know the brand you have created is exceptional. You are confident because you earned it. Your confidence is your tenacity. This is what will set you apart from your industry counterparts. You may fall victim to others’ ignorance or sexist remarks. But girl, you do not have time for ignorance. You have a prosperous business to run. Shrug it off as best you can because as an entrepren-her, you are constructing a better future for all of us. Don’t shy away from support groups either, we are our best ally. Check out Ewomennetwork or Ellevatenetwork for great advice and support during your path to success. Women supporting women! Disclaimer: Your self-assurance may cause men to shake in their boots.

5) No shame in seeking financing!

During my quest for pertinent information relating to this blog topic, one statistic in particular really shocked me. Just 25% of women seek financing for their business compared to 34% of men who seek funding for their businesses. Queen, there is nothing wrong with getting financial help to get the ball rolling. If you use cash as your main means of capital and shun your back to the lucrative aid of investors you may be cutting yourself short. Starting a business should not be synonymous with bankruptcy, honey. Bear in mind, men usually inflate their financial pitches and investors will, in turn, adjust their numbers right off the bat. It is important to know how to ask concisely for how much you want and adjust your number based on the “exaggeration-effect”.

Female representation in the business world is well overdue. We represent 50% of the population, and eventually…hopefully…50% of all businesses. It is a woman’s right to scoff at stereotypes, demand equal pay, and occupy leadership roles. We seem to be at a turning point in history, so what better time than now to pursue your entrepreneurial dream? Create your brand, be true to yourself, know that family and work DO mix, and command respect. Need more inspiration? Look no further: Leslie, the creator The Blurban Planner, is building her writing empire right before your eyes (and slaying to be perfectly honest). Sign up to this blog for regular inspiration to help construct your own empire and repeat after me: girl power!