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Hobby or Hustle: Understanding How Millennials View Entrepreneurship

Among millennials, currently there is a growing theme of people attempting to monetize hobbies. As opposed to previous generations, millennials (born between 1980 and 1996), have adopted a stronger entrepreneurial mentality. Economic Innovation Group along with EY, a professional services firm, polled millennials. The survey showed 62 percent of millennials have contemplated starting their own business, and 72 percent believe entrepreneurship is “essential for promoting innovation and jobs.” They either try and profit from something they are already good at, invest in something they believe in, or learn a new trade or craft all in hopes of launching a successful business. A 2016 study conducted by Paribas Global Entrepreneurs found millennials started their first business nearly eight years earlier compared to the baby boomer generation. Additionally, on average, they started twice as many businesses in comparison to baby boomers. What baby boomers may have considered a hobby, millennials now view as a potential side hustle, but where did this originate?

Millennials are driven by purpose.

According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 71 percent of millennials aren’t engaged at work and at least 60 percent are open to new job opportunities.

“They aren’t putting energy or passion into their jobs,” Gallup reports. “They’re indifferent about work and simply show up just to put in the hours.”

Forbes attributes lack of workplace morale to a disconnect between employers and millennials. Their research found, “63% of young professionals believe that employers successfully integrate young talent, only 31% of recent graduates feel that companies properly integrate new employees.”

It makes sense why millennials push their passions outside of their 9-5. They consider running their own business as a way to operate in their purpose with the hopes of being successful enough where they may not even need a “day job.”

Millennials crave financial flexibility.

The Atlantic reports, “Since 2007, outstanding student debt has grown by almost $1 trillion, roughly tripling in just 12 years. And since the economy cratered in 2008, average wages for young graduates have stagnated—making it even harder to pay off loans.”

Millennials aren’t satisfied living paycheck to paycheck. According to Gallup, 69 percent say they have enough money to meet their needs. Meeting wants however is a different story. Only 28 percent said they have more than enough money to do what they want and 38 percent said they have enough money currently to make a major purchase like a car, furniture, or appliance.  Additionally, compared with all other generations, millennials reflect the highest rates of underemployment and the lowest earnings in the nation. Millennials are pushing for profitable passions.

Millennials are influenced by what they see online.

A 2019 Emarketer study found 90 percent of millennials use social media. Other generations’ usage rates weren’t nearly as high. Gen X reported 77.5 percent and baby boomers at 48 percent. A recent 2020 report released by 5WPR indicates 57 percent of millennials use social media to discover fashion trends and 82% will purchase a product for the first time to see if they like it enough. They make impulse purchases at higher rates too. Millennials are looking to their peers and trying to capitalize their consumer spending power.

Not to mention online, if you’re a millennial and don’t own a LLC, have a business plan, or any type of side hustle you are somehow “behind.” Contributor Molly Conway of wrote,

“We live in the era of the hustle. Of following our dreams until the end, and then pushing ourselves more. And every time we feel beholden to capitalize on the rare places where our skills and our joy intersect, we underline the idea that financial gain is the ultimate pursuit.”

However, in that pursuit, millennials should not treat entrepreneurship like the latest fashion trend. Starting a business, they are not emotionally invested in is a terrible financial investment. Plus, one cannot casually approach entrepreneurship.

“There are very hard moments, especially in the beginning where you want to give up…Ultimately it’s a mindset. Do you have the determination to figure it out,” said Ashley Williams, CEO of RIZZARR the Millennial Marketplace. “A lot of entrepreneurship focuses on persistence and not giving up.”

Starting a business may allure millennials but turning passion into a paycheck requires commitment.

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