Working At Home 10

Millennials have been called the ‘Entitlement Generation,’ ‘Gen Me Me Me,’ and are often viewed as narcissistic and lazy by their generational elders. Recently I stumbled on another description that struck a chord: The Entrepreneur Generation.

In May of this year, Gene Marks of pleaded the case to rename Millennials, or those born roughly between the years 1982-2000, ‘The Entrepreneur Generation’ due to the entrepreneurial spirit running through so many members of the cohort.

I can see where he is coming from. I have witnessed countless peers who have a drive to create and succeed on their own terms launch their own ventures. But it extends beyond that – in an article from The Atlantic titled, ‘The Outsiders: How Can Millennials Change Washington If They Hate It?’,   it is looking like our generation is hoping to change the world through our own social ventures as opposed to the traditional government related-channels.

Personally, I’m a textbook Millennial in this sense. I have been an entrepreneur for many years, in fact, I can barely recall a time when I was not creating a product or service to help solve a problem for others and earning an income doing it.

My years of experience have served me well, and as with all of life’s experiences I learned valuable lessons throughout the process.

Through trial and error, failure, and small victories I have discovered that entrepreneurial success requires us to have well-rounded and unique perspective and today I’m sharing my six valuable tips to help Millennials thrive as entrepreneurs.

1. Examine your definition of success

One very important question any entrepreneur should be asking themselves is this: “What does success feel like to me?”. This answer will be completely unique to each of us. Some will say an abundance of money, others will say free time. Examining how you define success will immediately add an emotional element to your business planning that you may not have known existed. Once you understand your true motivation or desires, you will have more clarity. Clarity opens up the creative floodgates.

2. Learn to Embrace Failure

When we envision the future of a new business, shutting the doors and closing up shop is not what we see. The reality, however, is that over 40% of small business close within the first year, and yours may be one of them. At some point we must accept the loss and embrace it as a learning experience. Think of every job and internship, and all of our entrepreneurial endeavors as layers, one upon the other, helping us to move closer toward our greatest project.

3. Re-evaluate your approach

If your business is experiencing turbulence, you may just need to step back and re-evaluate your approach. When go in to business we often learn that we do not have the knowledge that can only be gained by experience and running the business every day. If you truly believe in your work, head back to the drawing board using the knowledge you have gained and create a new strategy.

4. Seek a Mentor

There has been much talk about Mentorship and the need to connect Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers with Generation Y. They have practical business and life experience that we are lacking. Find a mentor in your field and absorb their wisdom. In return share your skills and knowledge with them.

5. Crawl Before you Walk

As a generation so apt to have a quick answer and immediate results, it can be tempting to dive head first into projects and businesses – but this is not always the best option. Take your time, create a business plan, research your competitors. This work can feel tedious and time-consuming, but there is a reason so many successful businesses start with a very detailed plan.- it works!

6. Do Not Be Afraid to Take Risks

After all is said and done, life is truly a journey and should be lived to its fullest. Don’t be afraid to take leaps in business – don’t avert risk, even if you feel like it may be a mistake. Sometimes the most incredible events or ideas are birthed out of of fear. Fear can be an indicator that we are close to doing something big and life-changing. We all remember Steve Jobs’ wisdom: “Here’s to the crazy ones… Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Despite what the critics say about Millennials, we truly are a resilient group. This trait will come in handy as we wade our way through the muddy waters of the current economy and are forced to think outside the box and be creative in our money making endeavors. As you pursue your entrepreneurial endeavors, keep these six tips in mind and be remind yourself to be open to change. The new businesses of today require continuous evolution and shifting to meet the demands of a changing world, and Millennials are undoubtedly up for this challenge.

This post was originally published on Heidi on Sept. 12/2013