Not since the Great Depression have Millennials had a chance of this magnitude to become modern-day entrepreneurs.
In today’s economy, Generation-Y can enjoy seemingly never-ending opportunities to become important figures in their respective fields, provide themselves with financial stability and, perhaps more importantly, pursue their dreams.
The possibilities are endless, but are we taking advantage of them or are they slipping right through our fingers? A recent survey by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA seems to think so.
The study suggests, as stated by Entrepreneur magazine, that “Millennials are less interested in becoming successful entrepreneurs than Baby Boomers were when they were the same age.”
The reasons behind this drop are a lack of interest, preparation and money. Coincidentally, these are necessary qualities and resources to be an outstanding entrepreneur. There is more than meets the eye, however, and I’d like to shine a spotlight on the career choice that only a few can master.
Let me first start by asking you a question: How do YOU define success?
To some people, it might be a five-bedroom house, a yacht and trips to Fiji every year. Conversely, others perhaps define it as the joy of fatherhood or simply being able to cover your fixed expenses.
If you ask me, Tony Robbins shared the greatest definition of success I have ever heard:
Success is doing what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want as much as you want.
Essentially, success to him means having the freedom to live the way you have always wanted, and I for one happen to agree completely.
As an entrepreneur myself, that’s all the incentive I need to take that proverbial leap of faith, hire myself and become the embodiment of a dream chaser.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people out there have a 9-to-5 job, hate Mondays and loathe their bosses. I’m generalizing, of course, and it might not be true for all, but if you fall under this category, keep reading.
I’m going to do my best to make you fall in love with a dream, which is the first step to making it a reality.
Entrepreneurship has many benefits, most of which differ from the conventional careers that dominate the current workforce. There is a plethora of incentives from which to choose, but I’ve narrowed them down to my personal favorites. I trust you will find some of these equally as attractive as I have:
You do what you love
This may very well be the most important benefit of being an entrepreneur. There is absolutely no point in living your life without passion. There needs to be something that gets you out of bed in the morning, and your career should definitely take that blame.
Most of the people you probably know look up at the clock on the wall at least twice every hour. Why? It's simple: They don’t love what they do (at least not entirely).
If your heart is not fully committed to your employment, you’re wasting your time, and time, as we all know, is money. A great deal of your day is invested in work; you might as well enjoy it.
If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. -- Confucius
Let’s face it: One of the most attractive aspects of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility factor. Being tied down to just one area holds you back from fulfilling all of your skills.
Entrepreneurs carry a loaded agenda. You want to be able to complete every single task you propose yourself, and being flexible optimizes the chances of that happening.
Flexibility also means you’re not on a set schedule. Life throws curveballs at you and being an entrepreneur allows you to make adjustments, even if they appear to be last minute. Flexibility allows you to become a jack-of-all-trades, while giving you the option to choose which one you actually want to dominate.
You are your own boss
I’ve had many bosses in the past; some were excellent, showed me the ropes and made sure I had a great start right, but others micro managed me terribly.
At times, I felt I didn’t even exist. When you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have to worry about this because you are your own boss. You make the rules as you go along while figuring out what works and what doesn't.
You do, however, need to establish some sort of discipline in order to know how well you can work alone. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, but if you have the skill set required to develop on your own, then I highly encourage it.
Being a boss is great; you get to choose which 18 hours a day you work.
You create your future
Change has been and will always be something we have to deal with on a daily basis. We currently live in a world of uncertainty, and as an entrepreneur, all you have for sure is the vision that is embedded in your head.
Regardless of what happens, you will forever see yourself making that dream happen. Not knowing can be seen two different ways: as a problem, or as part of the fun.
Entrepreneurship is all about embarking on a journey fueled by gut instinct. If you trust that what you see inside your head is feasible, then you should do everything within your power to make it a reality. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Going back to what I stated in the beginning, being an entrepreneur doesn’t feel like work. As a result, freedom is a constant in your life. If you’re free to roam around and be yourself 24 hours a day and seven days a week, you won’t feel the urge to take time off in the form of a vacation.
Entrepreneurs don’t look forward to Fridays, and they don’t punch a clock. Entrepreneurship is basically a perpetual vacation if you manage your time wisely and follow your own rules. Once you learn that, the sky is the limit.
You are viewed as a leader
An entrepreneur is seen in the eyes of many as a figure that sets trends and innovates in his or her own right. These are just two of the qualities that separate a leader from a follower.
Leaders take risks and hustle; a follower simply goes with the flow. A leader asks questions while a follower aimlessly looks for answers. Being a leader can be a double-edged sword. Yes, it can make or break you, but the thrill of being in the driver’s seat on the road to life should be plenty of motivation to succeed.
All it takes is one idea, and nobody said you had to go at it alone. Just ask Tinder cofounders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen. Those two guys are revolutionizing the way we date with a swipe of our fingers. They’re only 27 years old, and unless they come up with another huge idea, they can both retire by age 30.
Unreal, isn’t it?! To think that’s just only ONE of many endless examples of success!
If the frustration of holding a college degree while still being unemployed is getting to you, do yourself a favor; sit down with a pen and a pad and think.
There is no doubt in my mind that you possess a skill so great that it can be monetized perpetually. If you find one worthy of your time, I encourage you to pursue it with every fiber of your being.
Truth be told, I’m making a business plan for two startups of my own. Without giving too much away, the first one has the potential to improve an existing product, and with Apple recently purchasing Beats from Dr. Dre, I knew I had something brewing.
Moreover, I think my idea is definitely worthy of being on ABC’s "Shark Tank," a show dedicated to funding the American Dream. Additionally, I saw the demand for coffee and came up with a great idea that’s going to make Starbucks hate me.
I need capital, so between these two endeavors, I became a certified life coach and specialize in helping businesses grow, as well as in improving the relationships of the people involved with their development.
I already believe in you, but you need to believe in yourself. The belief in one’s self is, after all, the foundation of what it means to be an entrepreneur.
So what’s it going to be, my fellow Millennials? Are you taking the red pill or the blue pill? I took the red one and I haven’t looked back since. Allow me to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn:
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
I couldn't live with myself if that happened. Can you?
Photo Courtesy: HBO/Silicon Valley