We’ve all heard the cliches. Millennials are lazy. Entitled. Self- (and selfie) obsessed. Get off my lawn!
But we also know sweeping generalizations don’t define an entire generation. Not only are Millennials working just as hard as their grandparents did, they’re working hard for themselves… by starting their own businesses.
According to a survey of 2,653 workers commissioned by Metlife Insurance, 40% of Millennials plan to leave their full-time employers to work as a freelancers within five years. Only 23% of workers of Gen X-ers and 13% of Baby Boomers plan to do the same. And according to a study by the Department of the Treasury, Millennials are disproportionately more likely to have “side hustles.”
Let’s take a closer look.
Millennials are comfortable with technology, which they rely heavily on to grow their businesses. They use social media and search engines as a main lever for marketing, and they use YouTube as a channel for answering customer FAQs.
“Social media has been an incredible means for us to acquire customers, which we haven’t seen our older competitors use as much. We started posting marketing videos of our team, and it made a huge difference in growing our business,” said Jonathan Moeller, a deck and porch remodel Thumbtack Top Pro in Denver. “Potential customers started watching the videos and were ready to hire us before we even gave them a bid, because they had already seen proof that we knew what we are master craftsmen.”
In our conversations with Millennials around the country, it was clear they find business ownership personally and financially rewarding, although financial incentives aren’t the main reason they choose to become entrepreneurs. They’re motivated by work they are passionate about, as well as quality of life – choosing how and when to work.
Millennials are also slightly less likely than older workers to engage in continuing education, though the percentage is still high at 75%.
Although 61% of Millennials who are engaged in continuing education say that they’re currently taking online courses, they are actually less likely than older workers to use online classes. They prefer in-person training methods, like apprenticeships and classes offered through local colleges.
The list of top cities for Millennials span the coasts and the heartland including Kansas City, MO, Seattle, WA, and San Antonio, TX.
“Photography is my passion. I can do whatever I want in my own space, and I’m the one ultimately deciding my destiny,” said Danielle Powell, a Thumbtack Pro photographer in Kansas City. “Having my own company is very liberating — the sky’s the limit. And being self-employed, you don’t experience any age discrimination or workplace politics.”
Millennial entrepreneurs are not tied down to a traditional office setting. Only 11% of Millennials report working from an office, while 27% work from home. 27% use public spaces like coffee shops or libraries and 12% use co-working spaces. And for Millennials in occupations that don’t require a desk at all? They reported working from dance studios, flower shops, tennis courts and swimming pools. Teaching, coaching, and making their products by hand.
Are you concerned automation will negatively impact your occupation?
- 11% — Yes
- 89% — No
Despite the stereotype of Millennials jumping from job to job, our Millennial survey respondents indicated that they’re committed to making their small businesses last. Over 51% say they expect their current business to last more than 20 years. And perhaps more surprisingly – for a generation that’s grown up in the technology era – Millennials aren’t very concerned about job automation. Only 11% believe automation might negatively impact their occupation. 89% said no.