Our business world is filled with much ado about millennials in the workplace. I’ve long noticed many generalizations about this extraordinary group, and know generalizations can’t be a measure of an individual’s deep desire to succeed.
While generational “identifiers” shouldn’t be used as a box to plop everyone in with absolutes, “All Millennials do________” and “Boomers never _______”. Being aware of differences, similarities and preferences of each generational group you may work with either internal to a company or as a business owner serving one group or another is essential to your business success.
I feel pretty in touch with the unique offerings of Boomers, I grew up with that generation as a main influence in my life, I understand their values and drivers and can coach and relate well to this group. Gen Xers? Well, that ME. I get this group, I understand our quirks and values, and because I am one, it is easy for me to relate and be a business coach for women in this group. 75% of my current coaching practice is with women in this group.
That brings us to millennials, a highly discussed, in fact in could be argued the MOST discussed and researched group in contemporary history.. I must admit for some time was intimidated by this group. If I believe what mainstream media has said about them, that they are lazy, narcissistic, entitled “selfie lovers”, my business would never grow.
Several years ago, as a business coach for women, I set out to understand how to support this great group who has grown up totally immersed in a digital lifestyle, with strong drivers for social justice and equality. Heavily influenced by their technology access since birth - they see the world in a way that no other generation has ever had the opportunity, and they are entrepreneurially driven.
Millennial entrepreneurs worldwide have launched about twice as many businesses as boomers and millennials are discovering entrepreneurship significantly earlier than boomers did: while the boomers launched their first businesses at roughly 35 years old, so-called “millennipreneurs” are setting out to start their companies around age 27. Over ⅔ of surveyed millennials want to start their own business.
This group will continue to need service providers like myself who can assist them in navigating their entrepreneurial journeys.
For over two years, millennial entrepreneurs have been inquiring about hiring me as their business coach. Here are the best lessons I’ve learned from working with this group, and four takeaways for you:
Millennials are highly collaborative. As a business coach this lights me up. Having clients who come prepared to sessions with ideas to share, questions to explore and to be open to ideas that stretch them make our relationships a win win. My millennial clients come to coaching sessions with a “no idea is a bad idea” mentality and check their ego prior to our time together. They don’t use a “filter” to determine which ideas they want to share, they bring them all and then use me as a guide to sort and determine what is their next best step. Your takeaway: Don’t keep all your best ideas to yourself, find a trusted colleague, coach or accountability partner to brainstorm your craziest ideas. Don’t be afraid of having holes poked into your plan, it is not being done with malice, it is being done with the intention to move you closer to your biggest wins.
Millennials are digital dynamos. With their access to technology throughout their life, they have little to no fear about exploring tech options and solutions. When a solution for their business lies with technology they readily jump into it with curiosity and a great desire to figure it out and get it done. Your takeaway: Not every digital task in your business must be accomplished by you. If you know tech is not your friend, when in doubt, hire it out. Talk with your coach or other counterparts to determine what tech you need, and who they know who can make it happen for you. Yes you will invest dollars, but the time you will free up to do YOUR best work is invaluable, focus 75% of your day on activities that generate revenue.
Millennials are motivated by purpose. While money is not always the lead driver for millennials, I have found ways to tie their purpose to their profits and show them that great business cash flow influence how they can pursue their purpose. Your takeaway: Share in your business the causes that are important to you. Maybe you share a certain percentage of profits to a cause you care about, or volunteer your time in proportion to business milestones. The saying is true, that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In my coaching practice, for every third client who says yes to business coaching together for a year, we send a girl to school through Heifer International. Since implementation of this initiative, my clients and I have sent 20 girls to school.
Millennials yearn to learn. Their natural curiosity of how and why make them fantastic entrepreneurs. How things work and why people respond are motivators for millennials. They consume information at a rate that is astounding, audiobooks and podcasts are listened to and implemented with lightning speed. Your takeaway: Commit to your personal/professional development and read/listen to one business book each month. Here are 8 of my favorites:
The Success Principles - Jack Canfield
The Big Leap - Gay Hendricks
The Slight Edge - Jeff Olson
Barking Up The Wrong Tree - Eric Barker
Grit - Angela Duckworth
Be Obsessed or Be Average - Grant Cardone
The Firestarter Sessions - Danielle LaPorte
Profit First - Mike Michalowicz
I’d love to hear your thoughts about working with millennials as clients, vendors or strategic partners! Share your stories here.