Last week a friend sent me an article about how Millennials are twice as likely as the general population to want to start their own business in the next year. While I’m sure that there are many factors that contribute to this statistic (where they are in their life cycle, unemployment double the national average), but I think that there is something more hardwired than any of the more macro reasons.
This is more of an observational statement, but it is something that I’ve heard so much of that I can’t help but start believing it: The Millennial generation, my generation, thinks that they (we) are entitled.
This statement typically raises my ire, because as with all generalizations, it obviously doesn’t apply itself to all individuals. However, when I’m forced to take a long hard look at how I know that peers of mine have acted (and I sure hope that I haven’t), I can definitely see where that conclusion can be drawn.
Since university and beyond I have known people that think they should have a job with complete autonomy and flexibility, along with a six-figure salary with the title “Social Marketing Guru” upon walking into a company. And don’t even get me started about any entry-level position with “Guru” in the title.
Although someone may be able to find this, I would wager a bet that it would be the exception, not the norm. That is exactly the issue, though, we have been taught all our lives that we can do anything and are special, therefore we always identify with the exception, rather than the rule.
So this entitlement, I think, is a major reason that Millennials want to go into business for themselves. After being in the job market for a few years they realize that they can’t do everything that they want (making what they want) right away, but realize if they are their own bosses, then it’s completely in their control. Or so they think.
I tend to think that once many of the people saying they want to start their own business give it a try, it’s not going to be what they had thought it would be like. Often, especially as a starting entrepreneur, your time is not your own. You have to do tasks that you would rather not, but have to get done. Your time isn’t as flexible as you think it will be, because you are usually working as the service provider / product maker, as well as operations manager and sales person. Basically three full-time jobs for one person. And if you think huge money is coming in year one, I would think again.
So if you want to start a business and have romance in your eyes, it may be prudent to speak with a few business owners. See what it was like during their starting years and determine if it’s in line with what your expectations are. If it’s not, it may be worth it to start your business as a side-gig to see how you like it. Or to continue to be an employee for a few more years, because there is nothing wrong with that.