10 Beginner Tips for Millennial Entrepreneurs
A major misconception about millennials is that we are entitled, that we have poor work ethic, and that our actions are self-satisfyingly irresponsible. On the contrary, we are deeply responsible individuals… just not in the way that our parents define the term.
In the last decade, there has been a global energetic shift away from working for a pension (in part, because the dynamics & availability of these jobs have shifted) to letting happiness guide the professional work that we do. That shift is being led by millennials. Defined as “born between 1981 and 1996”, millennials are highly motivated to be entrepreneurs, with 54% of us wanting to start a business or already having one. (Fun Fact: Black women are currently the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.)
“Gone are the days of businesses solely focusing on financial gains, as 87 percent of millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured on its impact on the world. It is about "balance," finding a gap in the market that is also fulfilling to the individual on a personal level.” -Forbes
About 4 years ago, I joined this rapid growing group of millennial entrepreneurs when I left a comfy (yet deeply unsatisfying) corporate job in Human Resources to become an independent fitness professional. Since that time, I have been through the highs and lows that come along with creating my own career. Now that I have been experiencing positive momentum with growing my personal brand and business, I can pinpoint specific strategies that helped me gain confidence in myself and my work. Here are 10 tips for millennial entrepreneurs looking to successfully launch their personal or professional brand!
Tip #1 Claim Your Domain
The first step to securing the bag is securing the domain! An internet domain consists of the name that viewers can enter into the web address search to access a website. Whether or not you plan on creating a website or blog, it’s imperative that you first claim ownership of your personal name and business brand by securing your domain name! When your name or brand is typed into google, you want viewers to see YOUR name, images, and work associated with the keywords.
I use Go Daddy to purchase domain names because it is extremely user friendly and helpful in creating a website if you choose to go that route. Type the name you want to secure into the search engine, and purchase the domain name for a minimum of 1 year so that no one else can create a website with that name. Depending on the popularity of the name, your domain can cost anywhere from $2.99 to hundreds of dollars. In the past 4 years I’ve purchased 3 domains: PlantBuiltBodies.com (my previous business name), MayasHealthyDay.com (my current brand), and MayaHoward.com (my personal name) at about $11 each annually.
Tip #2: Work With What You Already Have
A huge hindrance to starting your business is thinking that you need a significant sum of money to invest. Unless you have dedicated funds to invest in the start of your business or brand, it’s important financially to operate with the mindset of “I already have everything that I need to get started”.
There will be business tools that you will need to invest in (domains, web/blog hosting, business cards, internet access etc.), so reserve your startup funds for those necessities. Consider everything else frivolous.
You don’t need a MacBook laptop to start a blog. You don’t need camera equipment to launch a YouTube channel (hello iPhone + natural lighting). You definitely don’t need a home office with chic stationary to be a professional. Before you invest in tools that you think you need, first research to see if there is a free way to achieve the result you want.
Tip #3 Write Down Your End Goal
What do you specifically want to accomplish? As an ambitious individual with a multitude of things that I want to accomplish in my lifetime, this has been a crucial strategy in maintaining my focus. My end goal is to open wellness centers in underserved communities of color, so every project that I say YES to along the way needs to move me closer to achieving that goal. Defining your end goal will help you establish a clear vision and remain focused in the wake of failures, distractions, and lack of motivation!
Tip #4 Define Your Core Values
Social media is not only an amazing tool, but also a true devil when peer comparison drives you to engage in behaviors that are not in line with your values. In compromising your values, you may get more engagement and sponsorships, but do so at the cost of your self worth and dignity.
As an entrepreneur, the best way that you can be authentic to yourself and to your audience is to define your values and remain true to them throughout your journey! All of the content that you create, every brand that you partner with, and every bit of funding that you accept should truly be in line with your values. It may take you longer to gain engagement, but at the end of the day you will be content knowing that in your journey to success you have stayed true to yourself.
Tip #5 Discover Your Purpose
Purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. At the start of your entrepreneurial journey, it’s okay to be unclear about your purpose. You may start with a general purpose, such as “I want to help people.” However, it’s important that you continuously work to study yourself and determine what is your specific intention in deciding to launch a business in the first place.
As I’ve continued down my entrepreneurial path, my purpose has evolved into something more specific and dynamic: “I want to help people of color develop strategies to overcome obstacles that have prevented them from attaining authentic happiness.” Having this clearly defined purpose is my continuous motivating factor, helps me remain true to my values, and be authentic in the messages that I share.
Tip #6 Find Your Niche
The best business advice I’ve received is to “Stop trying to be everything for everyone. You will get exhausted and you will not succeed.” In the beginning stages of my health coaching business, I cast a wide net to reach literally anyone of any age who wanted help. I was exhausted and unsuccessful. Once I reeled in my net to focus on reaching millennial women of color, I stepped into an underrepresented market and started seeing success and increased engagement almost instantly.
When launching a business, you will save so much time, frustration, money, and effort if you know who your target audience is (age, gender, ethnicity, geographical location, sexuality, socioeconomics, etc.) and can tailor your products and services to that specific market. Knowing your niche is important so that you don’t waste your precious resources trying to reach the general masses, but instead can focus on the specific needs of those who engage with your business the most.
Tip #7 Research What’s Already Out There
No one on the planet has your unique talents. With that being said, it’s important to do your research to see what is already out there on the market and learn how you can take your ideas in a unique direction.
Tip #8 Create a Blog
Put that domain to use! Social media is a wonderful tool, but what would happen to your amazing content and engagement if that tool were to not be available anymore? Cue your blog. A blog is a tool that invites your audience to learn more about your brand and business, and furthermore allows you to establish your expertise on a subject. There are many websites that allow you to effortlessly create a blog for free, such as Wordpress.
Tip #9 Build a Toolbox of Resources
You don’t need a business degree to be a successful entrepreneur. In the digital age that us millennials thrive in, there are so many ways of gaining knowledge and expertise without racking up debt. Whether you need to learn about web design, legal contracts, email marketing, or personal branding, there are tools for that. Some of my go-to learning tools are podcasts, YouTube videos, free webinars, and other blogs.
Tip #10 Invest in Self-Development
When you are an entrepreneur, it’s important to attend events to meet and learn from other people in your industry. This is especially important if you run an internet business or are a digital content creator, as the absence of human interaction can negatively affect your interpersonal communication skills and your mental health. I often find events within my industry through Eventbrite and a simple internet search of upcoming conferences.
BONUS Tip: Re-Evaluate and Re-Brand as Needed
I have to leave you incredible millennial entrepreneurs with this extra bonus tip: don’t be afraid to start! You can always re-design your website, change the name of your brand, or operate in a different niche. Just don’t let the fear of potential failure stop you from taking the first steps in pursuing your passions! One of my favorite sayings is “You never lose in business. Either you win or you learn.”