From Baby Boomers and those that grew up at a time of dramatic social change, to Generation X and those that saw the dawn of the age of technology and then to the Millennials who were born into the age of information. A generation that has been described as lazy, narcissistic, entitled and unable to stay in one job, have also been described as the most purpose driven and potentially the most entrepreneurial of all previous generations.
Every generation has its stereotypes, they all have their good, their bad and their ugly characteristics. I will not go on too much about how it is our parents’ fault, as mentioned by Simon Sinek in his chat on Inside Quest. He believes four characteristics make up the generation, one of which is failed parenting strategies. The others being our addiction to technology, particularly social media, as well as inpatients and environment. Overall, he says we are a depressed generation, yet ambitious, as millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are supposed to be the most entrepreneurial. John Smart, CEO of Foresight University, believes that the “real issues” faced by millennials are related to social imbalance, a society governed by the wealthy and the problems they create. “Within every generation, there are always many subgroups by culture, ethnicity, wealth, class, education and other factors, which makes generational generalization very difficult.”
Millennials are believed to be the most purpose driven than previous generations, but, where does the purpose lie? According to USA Today, interests in saving the environment dropped by 30% since the baby boomers. Paw Research Centre speculates, “Millennials have become more detached from major institutions such as political parties, religion, the military and marriage.” In her book Generation Me, Jean Twenge writes, “The trend is more of an emphasis on extrinsic values such as money, fame, and image, and less emphasis on intrinsic values such as self-acceptance, group affiliation and community.” After a survey of over 2,000 respondents, author Zach Mercurio wrote, “for the first time, we see a generation prioritizing purpose in their work.” It would seem in the abundant amount of research done into millennials that they are driven by growth, a balanced lifestyle and security. Though, the elders of this generation are more driven by passion and impact.
Regardless of an individual’s conditions, this generation has been generally influenced by an increase and fluency within communications, media, and technologies. Never has a generation been so aware of their options, thanks to the internet. Over half of millennials would rather make $30,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at one they don’t, according to Millennial Career, lifestyle and travel blogger, Hannah Becker. With a multitude of possibilities at their finger-tips, digitally savvy millennials are using social media and the internet to build communities and a following of customers. According to Inc.com, the top 20 most influential millennial entrepreneurs all created an internet-based service. Gone are the days of businesses solely focusing on financial gains, as 87 percent of millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured on its impact on the world. It is about “balance,” finding a gap in the market that is also fulfilling to the individual on a personal level. Mark Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook was created to accomplish a social mission “To make the world more open and connected.” Ben Silbermann believes that Pinterest will connect you with the most important things in your life.
So, what does is it take to be a millennial entrepreneur? Inc.com wrote, “Although many millennials have an entrepreneurial mindset, fewer in this generation are starting their businesses before the age of 30 than their baby boomer counterparts were.” Becker believes, “So the odds may be stacked against millennials for landing that postgrad job, the world of entrepreneurship is abounding in opportunity for the ambitious Gen Y member.” In a “super-connected world” it is easier now than ever to start up a business. With focus, an ability to adapt and open-mindedness there is nothing to lose.