If you read the business press or national newspapers today, it isn’t difficult to find articles complaining about the attitudes of young people today. There is a debate among employers about how to actually engage and motivate millennials, while others in society view the new generation as indecisive, entitled and oversensitive.
However, there is a flipside to this argument. Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with free access to the internet and digital technology, and having the world literally at their fingertips has seen the rise of a mindset in many young people that is perfect for the modern entrepreneur.
Far from the unmotivated, disengaged stereotype, there is a growing trend of young millennials determined to take control of their own destiny. Young people are now starting out on their own younger, running businesses while they are full-time employed and setting up enterprises in order to pay their own way through university. This trend was highlighted in a recent survey from BNP Paribas which found that millennials will launch twice as many as businesses as their equivalents in the boomer generation.
So what is it about the millennial generation that makes them determined set up businesses, pursue their passions and climb the career ladder? Through my global networking community, MYCOMEUP WORLD, I am connected to more than 125,000 young entrepreneurs, creatives and talents, and I have observed some common characteristics they share.
The pace of business and the workplace today is quicker than it has ever been before. Millennials are starting their careers in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, but they are also equipped with the tools and attitude to react quickly to changes and spot new opportunities. More established, rigid company structures often restrict the ability to respond quickly, but today young people can set up their own simple enterprises in a matter of hours using only technology they already have in their laptop of smartphone.
There are thousands of young people who transfer skills between a day job and their own personal projects. In the past this might have been frowned upon by employers, or viewed as “moonlighting,” but these young people are increasingly recognised as “intrapreneurs” whose resourcefulness and ingenuity can be harnessed to improve how things work for their employers too.
While previous generations may have seen a failed business as a reason to stop, we have hundreds of users who are already on their third or fourth business by the time they reach their mid-twenties. There is definitely a growing mentality that mistakes are something to be learned from, and that includes being open so others can benefit from that experience too.
In fact, in some ways my own failed business led to the creation of MYCOMEUP WORLD. A few years ago I moved to the Philippines to start a business after hearing about an opportunity to recruit overseas nurses to the UK, but legislation changes killed my business almost overnight. I blogged about my own experience and quickly realised there was an audience of likeminded people around the world who wanted advice and motivation tips to overcome their own challenges.
What’s interesting is that while more and more young people are determined to take control of their own destiny, they also recognise they cannot do everything themselves. There is a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something, but you can hire that expertise in minutes, and young entrepreneurs are increasingly taking that approach, collaborating with other talented young people.
One of the MYCOMEUP WORLD community, William Adoasi, founded the designer watch brand Vitae London at just 19 years old. One of the keys to his success has been collaborating with other talents around the world, from Los Angeles to Johannesburg, to help make his vision a reality – an approach which helped attract investment from Sir Richard Branson.
— Leonard Sekyonda (@leonardsekyonda) February 10, 2017
The rise of digital technology really has made the world a smaller place. Today, I can work as quickly and effectively with someone in Tokyo or Trinidad as I could if they were in the same room. This means millennials not only have a potentially global audience for their projects from the start, they also have the potential to find and connect with the best talent in the world.
Young entrepreneur Ashley Ramos is a great example of a millennial achieving success in this way. Having built up sales and marketing experience working for employers, she decided to set up her own consultancy, ARPR at the age of just 21. Tapping into expertise of designers in Italy and business partners in New York, she is now able to focus on projects she really feels passionate about, rather than just acting on employers’ instructions.
Leonard Sekyonda is the founder of MYCOMEUP WORLD, a global networking community that connects young entrepreneurs, creatives and talents. For more information or to join go to www.mycomeup.com