Are you one of the missing entrepreneurs, that is? In an American Express Open forum article from 2014, James O'Brien said that our generation was poised to be the most entrepreneurial ever - more entrepreneurial than our baby boomer parents. In July 2016, though, the Atlantic called the millennial entrepreneur a myth. The article pointed out that a week before, John W. Lettieri, co-founder and senior director for the Policy and Strategy Economic Innovation Group, testified before the U.S. Senate that millennials were on track to be the LEAST entrepreneurial generation in recent history. So, what happened?
At Least We're Entrepreneur Minded
Remember those career goals surveys we took when we first started college? A big 40 to 50 percent of us said we wanted to own our own businesses. You were likely one of them. I was. "Entrepreneurial" was the way we were described. Why hasn't that attitude translated into an explosion in millennial entrepreneurs?
It's the Economy, Stupid
Despite the fact that some very famous millennials, such as Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, have achieved phenomenal success, the still recovering economy has put a damper on startups. Many of us are still paying off student loans, too. Is the economy the only holdup, though?
Keeping Up With the Joneses? Not Me!
Most of us grew up thinking less about money and more about purpose. We were old enough to see what happened when greed tanked the economy. We're paying the price. Making a lot of money just doesn't do it for us. Making a difference does.
We Do It Our Way
Katy Aucoin cut her teeth as an IT consultant. The experience gave her a great foundation, but owning her own business was always in the back of her mind. She wanted to find a way to enrich people's lives and satisfy her creative streak as well. In 2015, she founded dearduck, a personalized gift recommendation service. Aucoin says, "My goal is to strengthen relationships through confident gifting." She believes that people lose track of the importance of friends and family in the clutter and technology of today's world. To prepare the way, she sought out national and local mentors and built a team of experienced partners. She credits her parents with encouraging thoughtfulness and teaching her how to expand her vision.
Brothers and animal lovers Luca and Sevryn Shelesky want to improve the quality of your life as well as your pet's. When Sevryn finished pre-veterinary school, he decided his personal goals would be better met by starting his own business. A pet nutrition specialist, Sevryn believes that holistic, organic and raw foods are more healthy for dogs and cats than the typical kibble. Luca had a career in the financial sector, but the brothers decided to co-own a Thomaston Feed franchise. Sevryn explains, "I want to help people and make the differences in people's lives the way I would have as a vet."
Aucoin and the Shelesky brothers aren't alone. We may not be starting as many businesses - yet - as generations past, but the businesses we start make a difference. Clearly, as more of us regain a financial footing and cycle through ideas to find the one idea that speaks to us, the more business startups we'll see. Your business may not be the next Facebook, but it could be.
How about you? Are you ready to start a business?