Members of Generation Y, also known as the millennial generation, are making a big impact on the workplace in a way that no other generation has done before. One of the biggest ways that Millennials are changing the workplace is with their attitudes (and aptitudes) toward entrepreneurship. Here are some tips for starting your own business.
According to a survey of independent professionals from the MBO Partners State of Independence Report, many Millennials are charting their own career course and responding to a challenging job market by working as independent solopreneurs, freelancers, and contractors.
Millennials are well represented in America's 17 million and growing independent workforce of freelancers, consultants and solo professional contractors. Of adults 21 years and older working at least 15 hours per week, 21% are Generation Y (approximately 3,549,000).
There are several key trends driving Generation Y to embrace entrepreneurship:
If you're a member of Generation Y who is looking to become a solo entrepreneur, here are a few tips and questions on how to launch a solo business and succeed as an independent professional:
Depending on what type of professional service or business you want to run, you might not need a highly elaborate, formal business plan. But every solopreneur needs to have a clear "road map" showing how you intend to make money. Your business plan might be as simple as asking these questions, and answering them in writing:
You can do anything, but don't try to do it all. As an independent consultant it is essential to have a clearly defined, marketable expertise. This will help you to develop a much stronger brand. You will also be able to direct your efforts to a specific audience rather than attempting to generalize to the market at large.
Your network can provide leads and support. Take time to nurture meaningful connections. Integrate digital networking with offline networking to develop even stronger relationships.
Be generous with your time, skills and expertise. Offer to speak at local business groups - share what you've learned with others. Volunteer. Be active in the community. Strike up conversations on social media with people who are influential in your industry - don't feel intimidated just because you might be younger or less experienced. Everything that you can do to get your name out there and build up a strong network of people who know you is a valuable part of marketing your solo business. Every single small project can give you a foothold on an even larger (and more lucrative) project in the future.
The most important job of a solopreneur is marketing. You need to constantly keep a fresh stream of opportunities in the pipeline at all times. Start by reaching out to your inner circle of family, friends, former classmates and co-workers. Tell them about the valuable services you offer as a solopreneur, and ask if they know of anyone who needs the kind of help that you provide. If you have a client who loves your work, ask them for referrals - or ask them if you can help tackle an even bigger project. Repeat business and referrals are the lifeblood of a successful solopreneur. Before long, instead of constantly pounding the pavement looking for new clients, you'll find that more of your clients will start to find you.
Independence is a viable career alternative for millenials. Rather than trying to compete for one traditional job, you can build a project based solopreneur business with multiple small jobs. Working as a solopreneur can be one of the best ways to enjoy a flexible schedule, personal freedom, a comfortable income, and a fun, rewarding career.
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