Who are millennials and what do we want?
Millennials often get a bad rap in today’s world. We are often termed the “me generation” and are stereotyped as lazy and entitled. In fact, the opposite is actually true. The term “millennial” is often used to identify any young person but, just like previous generations, it defines a group of individuals born within a set time frame. Today’s millennials are between the ages of 24 and 39.
Despite the negative labels, millennials still share much in common with their baby boomer parents (the original “me generation”). It makes sense right? If they’re the ones who raised us, we’re still likely to hold many of their values. Millennials are largely driven by the same goals: contribute to society, work hard, get ahead, provide for your family.
Obviously, this does not describe every millennial but it helps to paint a picture of what actually defines our generation. There is one small catch when comparing generations however, millennials did not grow up in the same economic circumstances and achieving these goals may not always come as easily as it did to our parents. Despite everything though, millennials are still on track to achieving greater financial security than Generation X.
getting creative and pursuing passions
All of this means that millennials are then forced to get ahead in creative ways. Millennials still hold down jobs and in fact, are actually more competitive in the workforce than previous generations. But, many are choosing to invest their time elsewhere. More and more millennials are pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors and their optimistic attitudes, competitive nature, and passion have paid off. Today, some of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs are millennials.
There is also a quiet trend happening in entrepreneurship. Millennial women are outpacing previous generations as small business owners and creative influencers. Some reports even share that millennial entrepreneurs are more likely to be women than their male counterparts.
I don’t know about you but the women in my world certainly put in work. Whether it’s in the office, at home, or in pursuit of passions. A quick scroll through my Facebook feed and almost every woman I know is hustling. From writers, bakers, coders, designers, photographers, musicians, artists, coaches, to direct sales, and small business owners. Some are full-time entrepreneurs and others keep up their passions as a side-hustle.
we are the female hustlers
So, why women? I think the answer is pretty simple and it’s an age-old truth: necessity is the mother of invention. These women seek to define themselves outside of the office or outside of the home. The cost of childcare, student loan debt, housing, and basic necessities sometimes make a side-hustle necessary. These women are working to create better balance in their lives after realizing that “having it all” in today’s world is an impossibility unless you get a little creative.
From my own experience, I can share that working full-time, trying to “mom,” and take care of myself felt like an unrealistic fairy tale expectation. It’s the little things that most don’t account for especially if you’ve never shared the same experiences. For example, I returned to work with my first son after four months and my second, after only eight weeks. I exclusively breastfed both so armed with the Cadillac of breast pumps, my Medela, I carved out time each day to express milk. Some might say, “that’s your choice and therefore your responsibility,” or “there are laws that protect breastfeeding moms.” Both are true but we don’t live in such a black and white world. Sometimes, we are forced to just do the best we can with what we have and in my case, everything I did was a half-assed version of what I knew I could give. Pursuing my passions in a different way is allowing me the opportunity to whole-ass my life and take back my control.
rewrite your own fairy tale
And that’s what is happening. We’re rewriting our own fairy tales as the heroines of our dreams. Female millennial entrepreneurship is an attempt to capture “having it all” for ourselves. In other words, if the system doesn’t work, we’ll make our own and do it our way. The reality is that most workplace structures don’t serve women well. Case in point, women still earn approximately 85% of what a man earns. Ultimately, as a generation, we’re not lazy. We’re just not willing to spend our lives waiting anymore. We go above and beyond to achieve our personal goals by removing boundaries and defining for ourselves what a fulfilled life looks like.
Thinking about entrepreneurship? Here are five questions to ask yourself to get started:
- Take an inventory of your skills. What am I good at?
- What am I passionate about and how can I help others or impact my community?
- What resources do I already have (or know) that I can connect with?
- Take stock of your life. What are my current limitations or realities of my life right now that I need to accommodate?
- What would I want my entrepreneurial endeavor to do for me (e.g. schedule, income, travel, change career path)?