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Millennials as Entrepreneurs, Part 1 of 10: Huge Expectation for Life

This is the first of ten installments on why Millennials (and some Gen Xers) Have Great Potential in Being Entrepreneurs. In it, I will be discussing why many members of Generation Y shouldn’t be looking for any old job. Instead, they should be searching inside themselves for the answers to how they’re going to make a living as well as finding their purpose.

So a little introduction of why I’m starting this series…

I recently found an article in Forbes about what the millennials want in the workplace. It’s funny, but as a hybrid between Generation Y and X, I don’t see why X has so much angst for the Millennials. Yes, they’re different. But is that such a bad thing?

I found these numbers about Millennials from the article to be even more interesting:

  • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.

Now, current employers are going to scream and carry on that these numbers are crazy and down right scary. Why wouldn’t they? They might have owned a successful business for 10+ years and wonder why an established company needs to bend.

Well, that might be true. But as we all know, change is always immanent.

The thing is that millennials, as the article mentions, are going to be 40% of the workforce after 2020. That means that they’re going to be a huge part of the working force (possibly even a controlling segment??). That being said, their collective voice does matter. If the wealthiest business leaders are already doing this, then most businesses should and will follow suit. Otherwise they might find themselves low on workforce.

That said, who’s better at catering to millennials than those who understand them – other millennials?

Can You Really Blame Them?

Unlike previous generations who value hard work and sacrifice, millennials don’t necessarily feel the same way. They want lifestyle vs expensive items.

Or so we’ve been told. In an article by Ben Carlson at awealthofcommonsence.com, he explains that we have the same habits as our parents and grandparents. It’s just that we haven’t started our lives as early as they did. That makes sense, so many of us go to college anymore… and then play around for a couple of years.

But I don’t think that’s the only cause for the delay. I think that many of us want to be better at life then our parents or grandparents. We want to build on the foundations that they’ve given us. And why not? Hasn’t that been their goal?

Many Role Models

Us millennials have grown up with TV, movies, music, and sports as being the main things discussed about in culture. Few of us pay attention to world news and even fewer of us can picture what it would be like to not have media in our lives.  In the hierarchy of needs, I’d say that a lot of us haven’t had to ever struggle with the bottom tiers. We’ve been blessed to have the ability to look constantly at life and wonder how we’re going to be the next Brad Pitt, Eminem, or the next Peyton Manning.

Unfortunately, working a traditional 9 to 5 probably won’t let us get to that level. That’s why the above mentioned numbers are so huge. We can’t relate to just having a steady paycheck – even though that’s something that our grandparents aspired to have and made sure our parents saw the white picket fence as something worth chasing.

Nope. Each and every one of us millennials has a little rock star in us that is eventually going to want to come out.

It’s not OUR Fault! Our Parents Spoiled Us!

We’ve been programmed by society to think how we’re going to be the next celebrity. Many of us didn’t consider answering the question what do you want to be when you grow up with the answers Fireman, policeman, lawyer, doctor, etc. like our parents. We didn’t even know what we wanted to be until later in life when we were forced to pick a major in college. Hell, even then I don’t know how many of us really knew! We just wanted to succeed. And how did we succeed?

By doing what our parents told us to do… Get good grades, go to college, get a good job and have a family! 

But… but… that’s not part of me being the next Bam Margera,” your inner self protested as you followed the status quo.

End result? Now you have all of us who have gone through college seeking jobs that will allow us to be rock stars. Cause in our subconscious… that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.

So it’s not so much that we’re spoiled per say, it’s more along the lines that we’ve been influenced by old advice that our parents got from their parents (check out Generation Zero about that and more) and pop culture to an extreme. We’re to value the things that celebrities have but obtain them by how mom and dad obtained a house and white picket fence. There’s a huge disconnect there. No doubt, we’re all about the Me.

But what can we do about it now? Are we really naive enough to think asking corporations to treat us all as individual rock stars is really feasible? That each of us deserves $15 as minimum wage working at Micky D’s? Jobs that are typically reserved for teenagers??

Lol. When you really think about it doesn’t make sense.

We don’t fit the mold of the traditional employee. I mean, when you think of celebrities – do you really think of them as a typical employee or more of a freelancer?

The Chase of the Letter A

Those of us who have done what our parents wanted have probably gone to school and excelled. (Don’t worry if you didn’t – there’s good news coming up.) We have done the work that is necessary to get Good Grades. We also probably know what it’s like to not get good grades.

I remember the first time I got a C worth remembering. It was my first semester at Purdue. School had always come easy for me. I studied very little to be an A/B Honor Roll student in high school. By the time I got to Purdue, I didn’t even KNOW how to study.

Well, there I was in a remedial class doing algebra – a high school course. Day after day went by and I got Cs and Bs on my quizzes. As on my homework. Being one who never kept score of my progress, I thought I had it in the bag to get a B for the semester. Well, finals came and before I knew it – I was done with my first semester at school. I checked my grades the following week and… there was the proof the crappy semester I had had. 1 B, 3 C’s, and a D.

Omg, I didn’t know what to do. As far as I knew, I had put in the work and did as well as I thought I ever had done. Well, little did I know I was doing less than mediocre. I had to improve… and I eventually did.

The good news is that you can eventually learn to play the game. Just stick with it long enough.


 

The point of that story is that many of us don’t know that we’re living mediocre lives. We’re doing the status quo and expecting that it will get us the results we’re looking for. But if we’re following a plan that is outdated, how do we even know that it’s going to get us where we want to be? Hell, like me and “studying”, you probably don’t even know the plan of Getting good grades… is outdated.

The thing is that we live in a world where we’re really all a bunch of freelancers. Those of us who have been employees know that we’re going to go from job to job to job in our career. The days of hanging our hat in one place are over. The game has changed.

Sadly, many of us still seek the shelter of our employers with that W2 instead of going for the 1099. But when we opt for the W2, we’re telling the employer that we’re not his equal. That we are a servant. We’re selling our time for money. We’re playing the old game.

Whereas a 1099 could signal that you’re an equal.

A W2 tells the employer that you need him. Whereas as a freelancer (or consultant) you’re prepared to move if needed and you don’t mind having the responsibility of taxes. One less thing he needs to worry about.

Being an employee is using an old plan… and it’s going to get you a C in life. Being a freelancer, consultant, or other type of business owner gives you the opportunity to get an A. But like studying super long hours in college to get the A, being a freelancer comes with extra responsibility.

So it’s really up to us in whether or not we want the potential for a C life or an A life.

Which would you rather have? Your parents old desk job that they slaved away at for years or your self defined dream gig? Which one would you prefer to work towards?

Thoughts?

So real quick, what are your initial thoughts of millennials having huge plans for their life? Did you have any yourself? I know you wanted to be something (even if it was an astronaut or fire fighter) that some might consider a stretch.

Share what you thought (as a high school or college student) you were going to be if everything went your way in life by leaving a comment below. Did you arrive there?

By the way, stay tuned next week when we explore Part 2 of the series: Millennials as Trend Setters.

plague of millennials

The Plague of the Millennials: Impatience

Recently I became a certified John Maxwell Coach, Trainer, and Speaker. I did this by taking a trip to his home town of West Palm Beach and had a week long training session of learning the basics of being a coach and a speaker. It was a really unique experience and one that I had to do something I hadn’t done in 7 years – fly! (Which in itself as an experience getting down there, but that’s another story altogether!)

One of the things that I was thinking during the trip was what my niche is going to be in the near future as I start this very interesting career of adding value to others. I had several ideas, but I kept coming back to one main one: creating leaders in the “Lost Generation”.

What makes up this generation? Mainly Millennials. They are those who are commonly thought as Gen Y’ers or to employers: those who want to do little work but get big rewards. I know I’m guilty of having this mentality – it’s why I knew I needed a coach. And in return, I want to be the coach for those who realize they need that help as well. So I know there’s a market – and this post I read recently reinforces that.

I like to think of myself as a Gen XY’er. And while Jason has good points, one thing I disagree with is his perspective of Tim Ferriss. To me, what little I read from Tim’s book (I’m getting better at reading books all the way through!) – he’s pretty close to the ideal world of the Gen Y’er. However, it’s not Tim’s fault that they want this – it’s the environment of the current generation. People are products of their environment.

True, many Gen Y’ers don’t know what it’s like to have to work for something. And when they do, they expect results quickly (again, I understand this perspective from first hand experience!).

However, I do understand the “farmer’s” perspective. You put enough seeds in the ground then you’re going to get a harvest. The more seeds, the larger the harvest. Meaning, anything you stick with for a long time and consecutively work at, you’re going to get good at it – at least. The problem I see is that people aren’t patient. They never learn fully how to use the farming equipment. Furthermore, if those people have kids, then those kids are even less patient.

This is what happened with many Millennials. And I believe it can completely be altered into something productive. However, too much patience can be a problem as well (as I’ve found out).  Why? Well, going back to the farming analogy, if you spend too much time with one seed and not planting others, there’s a good chance you might not any harvest at all. Put that impatience to good use and you can get reward from the ideas of the “4 Hour Work Week” – just like Pat has.

What are your thoughts in impatience in Millennials? Is that’s what “wrong” with them?

Tip #2 For Young Entrepreneurs – Taking Small Steps

One of the things that I think is key in developing a successful version of yourself is by doing things that most others wouldn’t do. This is true. However, there’s another thing that makes people more successful than this. Its when you choose to do those other things – over and over and over again – that actually leads to success. For example, what makes the difference between sport champions and other athletes? What makes Peyton Manning and Tom Brady different than other QB’s in the NFL? It’s taking those extra steps to prepare – to practice. It’s taking those steps to study the other team.

What made Tiger Woods who he is? He prepared throughout his entire life to be great. In the following video, “Tip #2 For Young Entrepreneurs”, Mark Nathan asks Derek Kosek what he has done to be successful in his entrepreneurial career. He makes great points.

Obviously being a successful entrepreneur and sports player isn’t the only way that you can put this principle to good use. I’m sure some of you have already put this principle to use. I’d love to hear how you might have already used it in the past… but maybe you weren’t aware that you were doing it?

Where to Start in Your Search for Health and "Self-Help" Knowledge

“How Old Would You Be if You Didn’t Know How Old You Wuz?” – Satchel Paige.

More often than not, whenever I have gone to the gym, I see people typically running on treadmills. Some of them are watching TV, others are just listening to their iPod’s while others are reading. When they are reading, many times they’re reading a self help book. Most of the time it’s for health, but other times it’s been for other topics. One time, I was curious about a particular book I saw and struck up a good conversation with the reader. Obviously, I was surprised that she was able to keep a conversation going on the treadmill as well as she did. But what was really astonishing was how we ended up talking about how most men are not interested in self-help. Ultimately we determined that men tend to not pursue self help because they don’t want to show signs of weakness.

I mean, this kind of makes sense because for the most part. Because everyone is in charge of their own lives. However, most of the time people, especially men, find themselves in a state of denial. The problem is that, “He who buries his head in the sand leaves even more open to vulnerability”. Think about it, whenever you see an ostrich putting its head in the sand… it’s still vulnerable, right? It’s not realizing that its far greater at risk now because it’s a.) not moving and b.) it can see the danger now.

Are you an ostrich or are you going to seek help? To acknowledge the problem right away and recognize ones’ vulnerability is not only a powerful means of self-protection, but it’s also showing strength in that you’re realizing that the solution is better than the current situation. Especially if it’s health related as the solution might mean for you to have a longer and more prolific life than not seeking help.

First Steps In Seeking Help

Now that you’ve chosen to seek out help (congrats), where do you start? Well, obviously it depends on what you’re having issues with. Many of us have problems with confidence, general people skills, and all kinds of health issues. These are just a few of the topics, obviously, but it will definitely get you started. However, with so many books out there with “so-called” experts, where do you turn? Well, here’s some criteria:

1.) Read material from people recognized as experts. Don’t put all your faith in someone that hasn’t been declared as an expert by other sources or isn’t highly recommended.

2.) If you have mentors in your life and want to be like them in that aspect of your life, find out what their sources are. Let those be a guide.

3.) Do your own research. Combine what multiple experts say. Draw your own conclusions – not what others tell you the answer is.

4.) Time tends to verify information. Just like bad theories are thrown out over time, so is bad advice. Just like new theories, new advice hasn’t had the time be proven. Self Help books that have stood the test of time (such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie which is going on 80 years old) are more often than not still the best practices. Remember that humans really haven’t changed that much for at least 2000 years. Health information changes more often, so make sure you check with newer resources that has older information as its foundation.

Tip #1 for Young Entrepreneurs: Know What YOU Want Out of Life

Imagine, if you will, that you’re a basketball player. You have all the talent you need to be successful and you’ve come up with a regiment for yourself to succeed at your current level. Part of that regiment is just showing up. Another part of that is having someone there for accountability purposes and helping you progress – a coach. But a major MAJOR part of it is having a vision of where it is that you’re going to go and how you’re going to get there (a coach helps with this too!) Because you can run drill after drill, and shoot free throw after free throw – that’s true. But why are you doing that? If you don’t have a picture of yourself winning the game, then there’s not too much incentive to actually do that. To be frank, if you don’t choose to win, you automatically choose to lose.

In life, most of us believe we have a great plan that will get us what we want out of life. Usually it goes like this: Go to school, get good grades, go to college, get good grades there, (some random event???), get a well paying job, be able to support for your family of 2.5 kids and own your white picketed fence house.

That’s one scenario.

Here’s another scenario: Instead of your parents telling you that you should want, or what your boss thinks you should want, or even caring about what your buddies think of you, you should actually do what you want to do. Crazy, huh? Is that previously mentioned lifestyle what you want? Or did someone else give you that goal?

Most people who want to start their own business do it for one of two reasons. They have a great idea and they want to make it a reality. Another reason is that they want to live like a “rock star”. For me, the second was the case. Is yours? If the answer is yes, then would you mind doing a lot of work over a short period of time, that in the end, you’d have a lifestyle with time AND money? Maybe? Depending on what it is, huh?

Well… while you said you might do that, many of those that are considered great at life have already done that. Players in the NFL and NBA – they’ve spent their dues practicing day in and day out. Did they really want to spend all that time playing ball? Hip hop and rock stars? Yeah – they had to practice their talent as well and build up a fan base. Did they really want to do that show in that small town in that crappy bar? Probably not. But the entire time they had a visual for what they were seeking to accomplish. And that’s why they were willing to put the time in. Stardom just doesn’t happen. The lifestyle that goes with it – that just doesn’t happen.

The simple truth is this: right now, whether you know it or not, you’re putting together a picture. Like the picture on the front of a puzzle box. Each decision you’re making in life is a piece of the puzzle – right or wrong. What does your picture on your puzzle box look like? If you figure out out what you want that puzzle picture to look like, decisions in life get so much easier. You stop living just for the now, but you start living for the future.

When you start living for the future, then your best days aren’t behind you – they’re in front of you. That right there should help you get up every day because then you have something to live for. You have a vision. Start making every decision based on where you want to be in 5 years. A wise man once said, “A man without vision shall perish.”

Innovation in Indiana 001: Techpoint Innovation Summit 2010

In the past year that I’ve been in Indianapolis, one of the groups that I’m glad to be plugging in with is Techpoint. Essentially Techpoint’s goal is to help foster up-and-coming companies from around the state. Also, they act as a podium to bring together speakers from various backgrounds to come and give their two cents on given topics.

On a yearly basis, Techpoint holds two large events that recognize entrepreneurship in Indiana. One, the Mira Awards, features companies from around the state that have done well in their respective field. It is generally sponsored by several schools including Purdue, Indiana, and Ivy Tech as well as several other key names within the state such as Indiana Business Journal, Barnes and Thornburgh, and ExactTarget. While seeing the companies being recognized for their achievements is great, the networking opportunities are awesome. And considering that this is a site dedicated for helping you with your new path(s) in life, if you are in Indiana and specifically Indianapolis, don’t pass up next years Mira Awards!

Secondly, the Innovation Summit is a place where a collection of speakers and business owners can get together and share ideas. In a way, you could think of it as Indiana’s Innovation TED. While I have not attended the Summit, I am looking forward to attending it next week on October 27th. Here’s a video for you to get a glimpse as to why I’m looking forward to it!

Link to the full story via their Blog.

If you’re an Indiana based Entrepreneur/business owner who would like to mix with some of the best minds in the area, I would say it’s in your best interest to make it to a Techpoint meeting in the near future!