Every day that you rely on someone else to provide you with a paycheck is a day you’re making a really big gamble. It may sound counterintuitive, but being an employee in someone else’s business is actually pretty risky.
It’s true that working for someone else used to be the “safe” option. Twenty or thirty years ago, those that went it alone were the ones who were considered risk-takers. Starting your own business was expensive and without the Internet, the reach of many was limited.
But we live in a different world — a digital one. We’re connected on a global level and there are more ideas, resources, tools, and options for everyone than ever before.
The Great Recession showed us how we’re gambling every day that 100% of our income is derived from a single source, especially when that one source is someone else’s business. Employees are at the mercy of decisions made by other people, decisions that they may have no control over or influence on.
Entire departments were laid off in the late 2000s. Hundreds of thousands of skilled workers were suddenly out of jobs… and out of money. The good news is that there’s a solution to this kind of problem, and it’s called: becoming an entrepreneur.
In the past, I’ve talked about how entrepreneurship is the new job security for Gen Y. I wholeheartedly believe that, which is why today we’re focusing not on the why, but on the how.
Check out these three things Gen Y needs to know about becoming an entrepreneur and getting started in the wonderful, amazing world of working for yourself:
1. You Have to Make Your Own Opportunities
I’ll be honest with you. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a cake walk. Overnight success is a myth; it takes a lot of hard work, intense dedication, and strong belief in yourself to make your own career or business.
Becoming an entrepreneur means you’re willing to make your own opportunities. No one is going to give you permission to start on an idea — or to be successful. As a Gen Y entrepreneur, you have to take personal responsibility for making things happen.
You must have a desire to create, to make a difference, to bring an idea to life. You must desire to take action, in whatever form that takes for you.
2. Leave Your Fear of Failure Behind
All entrepreneurs fail. And way more than once. So what separates those who ultimately succeed from those who don’t?
The successful entrepreneur gets back up, every. single. time. And they’re not afraid of falling. They’re able to use their failures as learning opportunities. They can take a deep breath, pick themselves up, and then return to the scene of what went wrong to analyze and evaluate the experience so that they’re more knowledgeable and better prepared for the future than they were before they failed.
A successful entrepreneur is always ready for a fight. They’re prepared to fight for their ideas, their work, their business — they are driven and motivated to take a dream and make it a reality.
Becoming an entrepreneur means you don’t give up easily. Leave your fear of failure, uncertainty, and rejection behind by embracing these and turning them from negatives into potentially positive growth and learning experiences.
3. Don’t Ignore the Practical Stuff
Being tenacious will get you really far on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur. But it can’t take you all the way.
You have to be more than dogged. You need to plan, you need to validate your ideas, and you need to have practical systems in place to make things happen.
Getting fired up about your passions and your business ideas is an awesome start. But you have to channel that energy in a productive, intelligent, and fruitful way.
Take the time to do the following if you want to become an entrepreneur:
- Validate your ideas — do some research, educate yourself in areas where you don’t know the answers, and talk to friends, family, and peers about what you’d like to do for your business.
- …but don’t get too caught up in ideas. This leads to inaction. How to take action will ultimately define your success.
- Make a plan for your business (don’t make it complicated; you can do this in one page).
- Clearly define your target market. No matter what you’re doing, you can’t sell to everyone (and that’s okay).
- Think about the finances. The great thing about becoming an entrepreneur today is that most businesses can be bootstrapped — that means they don’t take out huge business loans to get started. Get creative and think of inexpensive or low cost ways to slowly start your work.
- Practice the abundance mentality. Don’t jealously guard everything. Give freely and enjoy providing value to others. And don’t fear your competitors when there’s plenty to go around (because they have the potential to be wonderful assets and amazing collaborators).
And don’t forget: just because you’re going to be working for yourself doesn’t mean you’re completely alone. Be sure to join communities, groups, and meetups for other Millennial entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side hustlers. Having a support group of likeminded people will do wonders for your success.