by| Featured Contributor
All throughout the month of May, college seniors everywhere flung their mortarboards into the air and celebrated their graduation into the real world. For many post-grads, that means opting to become an entrepreneur and fulfilling their dream of becoming their own boss.
However, despite more than 2,100 U.S. colleges and universities boasting entrepreneurship curriculums, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation revealed that more than half of the students offered these classes don’t feel that the course work fully prepared them to start a business. What does this mean for grads today? Do they still have what it takes to become entrepreneurs? My answer is yes. Entrepreneurship may be a road less travelled and filled with more obstacles than a traditional 9 to 5 position, but millennials have more than enough talent and essential traits needed to navigate it successfully.
They’re tech savvy — but it’s about more than just being on Facebook.
Perhaps one of the first, and typically most correct, assumptions about millennials is that their relationship with technology is practically second nature. Being “on” has allowed them to establish relationships with brands via social media. Trust between the brand and consumer is built here through conversations and mutual following. If the brand gets caught in a scandal or does something to hurt the millennial, the trust is broken. Just like a relationship in the real world, it takes time to repair which is why millennial entrepreneurs understand that it’s critical for brands, particularly their own, to establish and maintain positive relationships with their consumers and beyond.
However, the one aspect of being tech savvy that might prep millennials most for entrepreneurship is personal branding. Early on, millennials are taught to think before they tweet because the space they’re in is a highly public one. It’s also one where you can mold yourself to become an expert in your field through contributed written and visual content on topics you’re passionate about. Personal branding is hard work to set yourself apart from the pack, but it’s worth doing before starting a business to generate buzz and showcase your credentials.
Families are on their side for extra support.
One of the greatest challenges facing millennial entrepreneurs is juggling student loan debt with funding a small business. While a study from Wells Fargo revealed that many young entrepreneurs use personal credit to fund their businesses, 82% seek assistance from their friends and families to ensure financial success.
For many millennials, this is just as second nature as growing up with technology. They’ve been encouraged by their parents to reach for the stars and fulfill their dreams, often with plenty of parental advice provided along the journey. Because of this, it has even been suggested that entrepreneurship is considered to be a “way of life” and one that millennials feel more than prepared to take on because of all the support they received along the way.
Entrepreneur or not, they’re (already) reshaping the traditional workplace.
The more millennials enter the workforce, whether they’re entrepreneurs or not, the more they’re reshaping it as the most diverse generation yet. Here, work/life balance comes first along with a workload that challenges and excites. Feedback for both the boss and employee is a must, along with knowing what the brand’s values are and how team members can advance upward within the company. Oh, and they’ve got one other invaluable asset too — positivity and optimism which carries startups further than one might think. Go on and draft your business plan, incorporate your company, and get the word of mouth going on your business, Class of 2017. You’ve got this.
Deborah Sweeney – Legal Expert, CEO, MyCorporation.com – Calabasas, CA
As CEO of MyCorporation Business Services, Inc. (MyCorporation.com), Deborah Sweeney is an advocate for protecting personal and business assets for business owners and entrepreneurs. With her experience in the fields of corporate and intellectual property law, Deborah has evolved from lawyer to business owner. She has extensive experience in the start-up and entrepreneurial industry as she has been involved in the formation of hundreds of thousands of businesses for MyCorporation.com’s customers.
Ms. Sweeney received her JD & MBA degrees from Pepperdine University. She is active in the community and loves working with students and aspiring entrepreneurs. She serves on the Board of Regents at California Lutheran University and is a founding member of Partners of Pepperdine. Deborah has served as an adjunct professor at the University of West Los Angeles and San Fernando School of Law in the areas of corporate and intellectual property law. Ms. Sweeney is also well-recognized for her written work online as a contributing writer with top business and entrepreneurial blogging sites. She is a regular contributor on Forbes, American Express, Social Media Today, and BlogHer among many others.
In her ‘free’ time, Deborah enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, Benjamin (8) and Christopher (6). Deborah believes in the importance of family and credits the entrepreneurial business model for giving her the flexibility to enjoy both a career and motherhood. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.