As a generation that represents eclectic tastes and delves deep into what interests them, millennials are beginning to seek out entrepreneurial avenues to help turn their niche-interest hobbies into businesses. However, the recession seriously impacted their confidence, and being risk-averse in nature, some are hesitant to focus solely on entrepreneurial pursuits. Many are still looking for stability and may not be willing to risk everything as entrepreneurs—though they are trying their hand at freelance work and the flexible lifestyles that align with startup culture. Low-risk entrepreneurship has huge appeal, as do platforms that let them feel like entrepreneurs without putting everything on the line.
A study of 1,000 14-to-30 year-olds was conducted last November by Ypulse, a leading authority on tweens, teens and young adults that provides strategic insight to marketers. Participants were asked for their thoughts on entrepreneurship—here is a summary of the survey results.
Risk-averse. Though this generation craves new experiences, they stay within their safety zone and rarely take risks when it comes to their investments, time and money. Economic conditions have had an impact on their decisions, and they are becoming smarter with their money since, in reality, most don’t have a lot to invest. According to the survey, 46 percent of millennials would rather have the stability of working in a big corporation than risk losing their money to start their own business, while 25 percent wished they could start their own business but were unwilling to take the risk.
Distrust in the old, embrace of the new. Traditional institutions like schools, banks and the government have contributed largely to the stresses of millennials, fueling their distrust of traditional systems. New platforms available for entrepreneurs to gain exposure and get their projects off the ground include crowdfunding sites, online marketplaces, skill-sharing centers, and more. When it comes to traditional loans, 60 percent of millennials would be willing to take out a loan to support their career aspirations—should the looming effects of the financial crisis subside. When asked if they would rather continue their education for free or jump right into a high-paying job, 64 percent chose the job; of those who chose schooling, 45 percent were females.
Collaboration. This generation includes a slew of leading figures that represent the entrepreneurial dream come true, from Mark Zuckerberg to Tavi Gevinson to Lena Dunham. They see that hard work can pay off, with a little help from their friends. They turn to each other to hash out new ideas, and corporations are quickly catching on by implementing mentoring programs that encapsulate the idea of “peer-enting”—gaining insight from peer-to-peer collaboration that combines skills from a variety of areas. Despite the recession putting a check on millennials’ risk-taking abilities, they cannot help but look up to those who have taken the leap. According to the survey, 81 percent of millennials admire those their age who start their own companies.
Happiness above all. When given the choice between a high-paying position and a job that millennials love and respect, they will almost always choose the latter. They want to find their true passions and believe that loving their work is possible, especially through entrepreneurial pursuits. Freelancing and entrepreneurship allow them to cultivate the work-life balance they desire. In addition, 71 percent would rather have a job that serves others than one that promotes their personal brand. iBi
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