Each year between the months of April and July employment among 16 to 24 year-olds in the U.S. takes off. Whether they’re working in their first jobs, summertime gigs or seasonal side-hustles, roughly half of all young Americans are gainfully employed at the season’s peak, according to yearly reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Over 9,750 of these young workers are self-employed on Thumbtack, making up just under four percent of all pros on the platform. Who are these young entrepreneurs and what jobs are they working?
To find out, we turned to the numbers.
Optimism, Pride & Passion
In our monthly survey of three to five thousand small business professionals on Thumbtack, we found that young business owners — ages 18 to 24 — are generally more optimistic about the broader U.S. economy than pros in other age brackets. While roughly 69 percent of young pros have a positive outlook on today’s economy, nationally that number is only 66 percent.
These young professionals are also proud of the businesses they’ve built, with 89 percent of young pros agreeing with the statement “I’m proud to be running my own small business.” And this makes sense considering that the majority (65 percent) of young workers on Thumbtack are pursuing work that they are passionate about. Just over half are doing so full-time (51 percent).
Young Entrepreneurs = Savvy Marketers
A generation of digital natives,young entrepreneurs on Thumbtack tend to be smart marketers. Roughly 72 percent of young pros have a website for their business (beyond their Thumbtack page), and 85 percent have at least one photo on their Thumbtack profile.
And they’re certainly not camera shy. On average, small business owners of the Snapchat generation have uploaded 16 photos to their business profiles, putting them 4.5 percent above their older counterparts in picture volume on Thumbtack.
Outdoor landscaping is the number one occupation for young business owners on Thumbtack, an industry that tends to spike in popularity in late spring and summer. Also high on the list are makeup styling, photography and videography, services that heat up during peak wedding season between March and August.
Low Startup Costs
Young business owners on Thumbtack are disproportionately represented in industries with little to no startup costs, including hair and makeup styling, tutoring, and music lessons.
Eighteen year-old Jacob S., who runs his Little Rock-based lawncare company on Thumbtack, wouldn’t have been able to afford to start his business without help from his father (also a lawncare professional). “A lot of my machinery was handed down from my time working for my dad, so starting out wasn’t bad. Most of my customers pay me in cash, so my accounting work is easy too,” Jacob explains.
Top Cities for Young Entrepreneurs
Young business owners make up between six and seven percent of the workforce in Utah’s three largest cities: Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden (ranked one, two, and three in the list of U.S. cities with the highest proportion of business owners between 18 and 24).
Also on the list — New York City. In a city known for attracting young talent, five percent of all Thumbtack businesses are run by professionals under the age of 25.
Take videographer Andrew L. for an example. Andrew is planning to move his successful videography business from Minneapolis to New York City in the fall — and the 23 year-old business owner doesn’t expect to have trouble with the transition.
“Traditionally, it takes time to build networks. As someone who is young in my career, Thumbtack helps me cut through a lot of that. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding work when I move to New York. I expect to have more work if anything.”
For more on the youth labor force in the U.S. see the best 10 cities for millennial small business owners.