The Gig Economy is Giving Entrepreneurship a New Face. Here’s How
Millennials are known for their entrepreneurial chops; most of them even say they want to start a business. Yet, the Wall Street Journal reports that millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation of the last 25 years.
Twenty years ago, more than a third of new businesses were started by people the same age that millennials are now. Today, less than a quarter of startups are owned by people under 35 years old — meaning that of the 540,000 adults starting businesses each month, 75 percent are gen X or older. And for the first time ever, businesses are dying faster than they’re being born.
This begs the question: if millennials want to be entrepreneurs, how come so few of them are making it happen? Maybe it’s because they don’t have the same opportunity as older generations. They grew up during the Recession, and watched their parents’ financial struggles first hand. In many cases, they carry student debt and lack the experience required to secure a business loan. This makes them less inclined (and in some cases, literally unable) to take the financial risk associated with entrepreneurship. In short, millennials may want to start businesses, but they can’t do it on their own.
Fortunately, millennials haven’t abandoned their dreams of working for themselves — they’ve found opportunities in unexpected places. By doing so, they have changed the concept of entrepreneurship. Instead of settling for a job working for someone else, many have leveraged the gig economy and made a business of themselves as independent contractors. This used to refer to blue collar jobs, but now it applies to everyone from construction workers to coders.
Rethinking what entrepreneurship means has even extended to franchising. Our system is built on the entrepreneurial strength of people who had the drive to be their own boss. They prove that there’s more to entrepreneurship than simply starting a business or inventing a new product. It’s the ability to innovate, take risks, and seize opportunity — which is exactly what our business (and the gig economy) is all about. For us, it’s not about being the one with the big idea; it’s about building something bigger and better than any one of us could do alone.
You don’t need to be an entrepreneur in the traditional sense to be entrepreneurial. In fact, the gig economy demands the same constant grind as building a business from the ground up. Unlike their ancestors who became entrepreneurs by default, this generation are entrepreneurs by design.