Millennials and Entrepreneurship
Millennial Entrepreneurs came into adulthood in the early 2000’s and takes on great financial risk to conceptualize, launch, and manage a business.
Millennial Entrepreneurship: Barriers-to-Entry
Millennial Entrepreneur Problem #1: Student Loan Debt
Despite a strong economy, millennial entrepreneurship faces many challenges in 2019. Student loan debt and the lack of high-paying jobs makes it difficult for aspiring millennial entrepreneurs to fund startup ventures.
American millennials were programmed since birth to equate college attendance with financial freedom. This antiquated advice led to a $1.4 Trillion student debt bubble and the crippling of millennial entrepreneurship.
The average millennial college graduate earns $45,500 per year according to the Pew Research Center. Accordingly, one has to question the intelligence of incurring $30,000+ in student loan debt at 2%-8% interest for a college degree. A $45,500 annual income does not allow an aspiring millennial entrepreneur to save enough money to launch a business. Furthermore, the debt-to-income ratio makes it nearly impossible to leverage credit to fund a business.
When factoring in the time spent in college, this reality gets a little more grim. Most states require 180 class days per year. Accordingly, we estimate that a full-time college student spends 1,440 hours on college related tasks per year.
If an aspiring millennial entrepreneur applied that same time to a minimum wage job (1,440 hours X $10/hr) they would end up earning $14,440 instead of going into debt approximately $10,000.
If you play out this situation for four years, the non-college graduate would earn $57,600 and be debt free. The college graduate would be in debt about $45,500 plus compounding interest. One could argue that the value of a college education pays out over a lifetime. However, the value of a college education is diminishing as student loan debt rises and wages remain stagnant.
Outdated Advice to Millennial Entrepreneurs
Baby Boomer and Generation X parents encouraging their children to attend college at all costs are making a tremendous mistake unless they are paying for it. However, it’s easy to understand why and how this occurred.
The Baby Boomer and Generation X generations had less student loan debt, and earned more money after college when adjusted for inflation. Only 14% of Americans are entrepreneurs according to Inc Magazine, so few parents we’re able to suggest entrepreneurial advice based on experience.
Furthermore, attending college has always been the “safe bet” when seeking financial stability. However, is unaware of their earning potential after college, attending college could be a crippling blow. Sadly, most students are unaware of the financial impact of student loans prior to enrollment.
While a college degree is mandatory for many stable careers paths such as medicine and law, millions of millennials were instructed to attend college to discover their passion. Needless to stay, there are cheaper ways to discover purpose and passion. Self-education and exposure to different career options is just a few clicks away via the internet.
WealthHunters encourages millennials, and younger generations, to firmly identify your passion and the exact reason you are attending college before incurring student loan debt.
Millennial Entrepreneur Solution #1: Self Education
Business is being rapidly affected by technology. We have the ability to learn about nearly any subject matter imaginable within seconds. Millions of millennials have began to educate themselves in software and technology via online courses.
There are tons of online courses that teach aspiring entrepreneurs technical skills that are valuable to any business-such as website development, computer programming, sales, and marketing. Even better, many online courses are free. Even paid online courses are much less expensive than college. The aspiring millennial entrepreneur can leverage these skills to save money launching their business as well as doing freelance work for other entrepreneurs.
In the words of Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki, “In the world of entrepreneurs, you don’t need a college education, you need a proper education.” Clearly defining the type of business you want to start, how much it will cost to start the business, and how your business will earn money.
After creating your business plan, it’s wise to educate yourself about every moving part of your business. It’s important to understand what you can feasibly do on your own and what requires professional assistance. After identifying tasks that match your strengths, complete them as soon as possible. Delegate all tasks outside of your skillset to verified professionals.
Millennial Entrepreneur Problem #2: The Great Recession of 2008
Most Millennials were teenagers or young adults during The Great Recession of 2008. Coming of age during rough economic times delayed many traditional rites of passage- planning to buy a house and having children to name a couple. Generally speaking, millennials were considered spoiled prior to The Great Recession. Thus, millennials we’re ill-prepared for its after effects.
Millions of millennials live paycheck to paycheck- struggling to pay off student loans with modest paying jobs. As unemployment recently reached its lowest level in over a decade, many millennials have been able to stay financially afloat. However, few have been able to increase their discretionary income enough to build a savings account.
Despite our booming economy, millions of millennials are susceptible to poverty during the next economic contraction or recession. In fact, according to an article by CNBC, 67% of millennials ages 18-24 have less than $1,000 in their savings account. CNBC also highlights that only 61% of older millennials, ages 25-34, have over $1,000 in their savings account.
The Great Recession of 2008 wiped out generational wealth for millions of Americans. The Great Recession of 2008 did not give most Baby Boomer and Generation X parents time to financially recover prior to their children coming into adulthood. Although millennials we’re considered spoiled by older generations prior to 2008, this sentiment did not hold true after The Great Recession.
Millennial Entrepreneur Solution #2: Current USA Economy Strength
While their have been minor contractions in the economy since 2010, generally speaking, unemployment has decreased and wages slightly have grown. With the recent tax cuts implemented under the Trump Administration, many companies are aggressively expanding. However, corporate expansion has not led to significant wage growth.
Despite stagnant wage growth, millions of millennials are currently reaping the benefits of a stronger economy. In fact, the economy is doing so well many economists believe it may be overheating. Unfortunately, this may indicate we’re due for another recession- even larger than The Great Recession of 2008!
Aspiring millennial entrepreneurs must capitalize during our bull economy by generating enough income to save prior to the next recession. In fact, the astute millennial entrepreneur can even make money while the economy is tanking! The goal is to have a decent amount of money when the next great recession comes so you can purchase assets for cheap!
Millennial Entrepreneur Problem #3: Wages
Although the United States’ economy has been strong for about eight years, millennial wages are low. In fact, according to an article on Smart Asset, the average millennial’s annual income is only $35,592. Considering credit card debt and student loan debt are both extremely high, this leaves very little money for millennial entrepreneurs to launch a business.
Why are millennial wages so low while the economy is booming? The reason is the United States’ increasing wealth gap. A wealth gap is the difference in income between the richest 1% of Americans and everyone else. The concentration of wealth in America makes it extremely difficult for the aspiring millennial entrepreneur.
Millennial Entrepreneur Solution #3: Reduce Living Expenses
With another recession looming, millennial entrepreneurs must reduce living expenses in order to launch a business responsibly. American culture promotes the idea that if we work during the week, we deserve to “treat ourselves” during the weekend. American culture also promotes several large holidays that encourage spending money in celebration. While these cultural norms may be harmless to the average American, they symbolize death to millennial entrepreneurship.
Accordingly, wise millennial entrepreneurs must consider downsizing in order to fund their businesses. Downsizing may lead to less immediate “fun”, but saving extra money not only provides safety for an economic recession, it can also convert you from wishful thinker to millennial entrepreneur.
Millennial Entrepreneur Problem #4: Digital Distractions
In our Age of Distraction, millennial mindshare is occupied by massive amounts of digital information. These digital distractions prevent millennials from evolving entrepreneurial goals and skills to their full potential. Social media has dampened the millennials’ pursuit of wealth. In fact, according to a study by Mediakix, the average millennial will spend over five years of their lifetime on social media alone!
Millennial Entrepreneur Solution #4: Quit Social Media
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft. Accordingly, if a millennial entrepreneur we’re to quit social media, that would create enough time to master four skill sets. Considering the fact most humans rarely become a master of anything, this provides millennial entrepreneurs a tremendous advantage!