Forbes quoting a Bentley University study, says that 66% of millennials want to become entrepreneurs (though a couple of sentences later it says that by 2013 only 3.6% of those under 30 had done so). On the other hand Rieva Lesonsky, who used to be at Entrepreneur, quotes a Harvard study that says the entrepreneurial route appeals to far fewer millennials. Only 31% of millennials in that study say that starting their own business is very important to them.
Well do they or don’t they?
The key to knowing which millennials may have the fire in their belly to go out actually start their own business may be in a set of characteristics that Alex Charfen, CEO of his own training and consulting company targeting small/medium business owners, calls “the entrepreneurial personality type (EPT).
The Entrepreneurial Personality Type (EPT) begins and ends with momentum, as EPTs are momentum-based beings. This means they are highly attuned to the sensation of moving forward. It affects emotional states and the fundamental understanding of their position in the world. Going forward is elation; going backward is a crushing learning experience; but going nowhere is like dying. Put another way, EPTs are affected by constraint, anything hindering their momentum.
For me personally, this resonates. My own predilection to start businesses throughout my life–an expression of an almost unconscious feeling of compulsion. Keep booking forward. Don’t get stuck looking through the rear view mirror. My energy manifesting as “restlessness,” and a desire to move out of quickly those positions that didn’t possess a huge (and stimulating) element of creation or companies that weren’t oriented to disrupt, to think and do differently…taking as an affront my dare to be counter-cultural, to take advantage of new trends and opportunities in the marketplace to grow business forward.
Lesonsky later in the article says that the reason millennials aren’t starting more businesses (or even desiring to do so) comes down to money. Read: student debt. Pointing to the more than 60% of those students polled for the Harvard study who said that it was VERY IMPORTANT to them to be successful in a high paying career. Established companies don’t look to the untried and unknown when innovating but want the tried and true. Even if that means moving backwards or staying put.
You can’t hate on those who decide on the more established route, of course. Especially if you’re getting out of college with a mound of crushing debt, hunting for “that good job,” in what’s been an uneven and slow climb out of the Great Recession.
If on the other hand, constraints crush you. And you feel compelled to take chances on those things that others tell you NOT to, that it’s way too risky. If you thrive in those circumstances even…
Then don’t feel bad for ignoring the reasonable advice to take the path less traveled. There might be an entrepreneur inside of you, with the forward energy to create something exciting and different.