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Lately, I’ve started to think more about why young entrepreneurs seem more capable and ubiquitous than ever before. It seems as though all my peers, despite being in their early 20s, are starting companies, raising funds, and hiring their friends away from some of the larger Fortune 500s I’ve worked with in the past.
When I dig deeper into this trend, and after meeting with and discussing amongst various young entrepreneurs, I’m realizing that the writing’s on the wall. With student loans at all-time highs, business tools and new technologies priced at all-time lows, and the “Hollywood”-ization of starting a business, many young people feel like the choice isn’t whether or not to become an entrepreneur, but rather what problem(s) to solve.
However, a few of the larger companies I work with are slow to realize this trend. They think their star millennial employees are simply going to stick around because of loyalty, a steady paycheck, and clear lines of succession in upper ranks of management.
These companies don’t believe that young entrepreneurs are going to affect their business. However, here are seven reasons why young entrepreneurs are preparing to take over the world.
1. They’re hungry. “Millennials are screwed.” At least that’s what Google’s drop-down autosuggestion menu will give you if you type “millennials are” into the search bar. For years, this new generation has been chewed up by the media for various negative and, at times, undeserved stereotypes.
More than ever, millennials are out to prove that they’re actually breaking down age barriers and changing the world, and many young entrepreneurs are working longer hours, taking on more responsibility, and raising more funding than ever before to combat myths about their generation.
2. They’re talking. Young entrepreneurs are talking to each other and collaborating at unforeseen rates. Never before in history have youth been able to lead youth on a global scale like they have been today.
From the Thiel Fellowship, Enstitute, and Uncollege type of alternate education programs to online communities like 2 Billion Under 20 and Under 30 Changemakers, young entrepreneurs are helping one another get ahead and succeed, which means future business deals, networking, and success for many of them.
3. They’re learning from the inside out. Some young entrepreneurs are taking an “intrapreneurial” route, voluntarily taking on added responsibilities and learning opportunities, whether they are working for a startup or a Fortune 500.
What these ambitious intrapreneurs are doing is learning how to run a successful business from the inside out, so when they finally decide to break out on their own, they’ll have the upper hand to older, more complacent office counterparts.
4. They’re understanding. By 2018, millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce, and by 2030, almost 75 percent. By 2020, millennials will also outspend boomers and become the most influential consumer group on the market.
Young entrepreneurs eat their own dog food when it comes to creating companies and products that will be primed to not only hire the best young talent available but also deliver the highest quality products and services to their generation because they’ll simply understand the market better.
5. They’re studying. This may be a surprising statistic for some, but millennials are actually reading more books than older generations. According to the Pew Research Center, 88 percent of people under 30 said they’d read at least one book in the past year, compared to 79 percent of people over 30 in the same timespan.
Not only are millennials reading more, but with the rise of podcasting, vlogging, and blogging, young people are consuming other forms of education-based (as opposed to entertainment-based) content as well, and learning from “virtual mentors” how to build businesses, write code, develop intricate marketing strategies, and more.
6. They’re creating. While older generations mistake millennials as “entitled” or “narcissistic,” in part because of their social media usage, opportunists will see that this generation is equatable to an army of editorial interns and content creators. Young entrepreneurs are creating more and more new ideas, services, and products, and their work is being shared farther and wider than ever before.
In fact, in their new book, young entrepreneurs Jared Kleinert and Stacey Ferreira profiled people who, before turning 20, had created everything from nuclear fusion reactors to successful tech companies, popular YouTube channels, apps that drove more traffic than Angry Birds, and even tests for various types of cancers.
Whether it’s social media content or real-world solutions, young entrepreneurs are creating things at exponential rates.
7. They’re obsessed. With more ads, technologies, and content available to sway their attention than ever before, millennials who decide to pursue a specific business idea must be obsessed with that one idea so much that they’re willing to forgo other opportunities, lifestyle choices, and attention-suckers that come their way. For a generation used to watching TV with one hand typing on a laptop keyboard and the other texting friends, starting a business takes tremendous focus and signals an obsession.
For young entrepreneurs, that obsession will be their greatest calling card when it comes to having the passion required to succeed.
Young entrepreneurs are preparing to take over the world. It will only be a matter of time before they end up creating and operating the largest companies in the world, and perhaps employing you.
Who are some of the most impressive young entrepreneurs that you know? What do you think makes them so successful, despite their age?
Chirag Kulkarni is cofounder and CEO of Insightfully, a predictive analytics and cross-platform search company. He was previously CEO of C&M Group, an entrepreneurial strategy consulting firm, and cofounder of STR, a B2C and B2B racquet-stringing company, which he sold in 2013.
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