It takes a certain type of person to be a successful entrepreneur, and recently that type of person is a millennial. These young professionals are changing the game by starting companies younger and younger and outperforming those in the generation before them. How should a millennial start their business? What are millennials doing differently than Generation X? And what does it take to be a successful millennial entrepreneur? I spoke to some millennials that were each in different paths of their entrepreneurial journey; Cody, a podcast show host, Matt, founder of a successful outdoor wear company called Freak Outdoors, Leland Wright the creator of a clothing brand, Le.landd, and Sarah Smyth, the creator of a successful jewlery business, Raw and Rebellious. After talking to these four, I found some awesome advice for all of you aspiring, young business owners out there.
PLAN AND RESEARCH: If you are a millennial starting a business it's inevitable that you’ll have to take a huge risk, the key is to execute that risk at the right time. In order to turn your risk into success, it’s best to research your market and plan your strategies before fully launching your business. I spoke with Cody, age 23, who launched a Podcast network with two other partners. He explained why their network did not succeed at first. The reason for this? They didn’t plan. They are working on a new show now, but this time he’s determined to do it right. Cody and his partners now realize the importance of planning, finding a consistent format for the show, and strategizing how to increase viewership all before they begin airing their new and improved podcast.
INSTAGRAM, INSTAGRAM, INSTAGRAM: As a millennial entrepreneur, social media is a tool that you will need to utilize. Social Media is probably one of the main tools that separates millennial entrepreneurs from the generation before them. Social media allows young business owners to stay close and connected with their customers, and make themselves available anywhere at anytime. Instagram has been the most common platform for millennials to use. Instagram is ideal because it makes you easy to find, allows you to gain followers organically, you can post pictures of your brand, and best of all? It’s free!
When Matt Howell, the successful CEO of Freak Outdoors, first started to grow his brand on social media, the place he started was Instagram. He originally had a goal of gaining 1,000 followers and now has 97.8K followers. Leland Wright, the founder of Le.landd a clothing brand, also highlights Instagram as his most successful social media platform. It's the only place he advertises the stylish visors that he designs. Sarah Smyth first presented her business on social media using Instagram as well. From her experience promoting Raw and Rebellious, she said the best way to promote a business is through social media and the connections that you have. She now has an online store, and her jewelry is featured in 35-40 boutiques. The power of social media is HUGE, use it to take you where you want to go.
ADAPT: When it comes to having a successful company, you have to be aware of your buyer personas and their changing needs and wants. This is something that millennials seem to be good at staying on top of. When I spoke to Matt Howell he said that one of his mottos is “Adapt or die.” Consumers are constantly changing their minds about what they want and that’s why you have to be ready to change with them. I think this is extremely important advice for young entrepreneurs because if your goal is to be successful, you need to sell something that sells, bottom line. In order to find out what your buyer personas are interested in buying you have to stay close to them and follow their moves through the internet and especially through social media. If something becomes unpopular, adapt your strategies and products to what is popular.
DON'T GIVE UP: Something to always keep with you on your journey to starting your own business is: don’t give up. If you aspire to be a successful millennial entrepreneur, then giving up isn’t really an option. Leland Wright says that “perseverance is key.” If you do not persevere then your ideas and business won't go anywhere. Creating a business isn't simple or quick. When starting a company, everyone has their ups and downs but those who keep pushing are the ones who end up on top.
These tips are very important if you are trying to become a successful entreprenuer, millennial or not. Millennials know how to run social media like the back of their hand and find ease in adapting to the ever changing world. These unique skills have made millennials increasingly more successful than the generation before them. But, success relies on how determined you are and how hard you chose to work. Sarah Smyth's advice is: "Just go for it!" It's simple but true. The only way to find out if your business idea will grow (after plenty of planning and researching) is to go for it and don't turn back. So in other words, your ticket to entrepreneurial success is in your hands but it's on you to take the next step.
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