Rise of the millen-preneurs

  • 1 in 4 millennials already own their own businesses
  • 41% millennials plan to start their own business in the future compared with just 14% of over 35’s
  • Entrepreneurs most likely to reside in CBDs and metropolitan areas, New South Wales and Victoria are the biggest start up states
  • 29% of business owning Aussies started up their own business because they were sick of working for someone else

Once upon a time, owning your own business was considered the great Australian dream, but now with millennials now making up a third of the workforce, it’s set to become the norm.

Vistaprint Australia, marketing specialist and small business advocate, polled more than 2,000 Australians on their career and business ambitions. The survey found that 25% of millennials currently own their own businesses with a further 41% planning to do so in the future. This is compares with, just 14% of over 35’s who own their own businesses and 15% planning to do so.

The reasons behind owning a business vary by generation; with 53% of over 35’s citing their key motivation as earning more percent while millennials look to become entrepreneurs to follow a passion (48%) or have more work flexibility (40%).

Partnering with Vistaprint on this research is award winning entrepreneur Julie Stevanja, co-founder and CEO of Stylerunner. Stevanja started the groundbreaking e-commerce business in 2012 after identifying a gap in the fashion retail market for premium activewear. Her instinct proved right and Stylerunner has grown into one of the most successful fashion start-ups in recent times.  Stevanja has also become an advocate for entrepreneurial pursuits and supports people going it alone as she did.

“A lifelong career in a safe, well paid, corporate environment is no longer the end goal for millennials with a sense of purpose. With technology moving so quickly, many of the traditional barriers to starting a business are being removed. Leveraging social media allow you to quickly reach consumers, sites like eBay, Etsy, podcasts and apps are all providing an environment where becoming an entrepreneur can be a legitimate career path for almost everyone.”

Stevanja warns however that the old rules of business still apply “Having a great idea that fills a gap or solves a problem, a clear business plan, adequate funding, correct business structures to manage risk and marketing strategies are as important as ever to ensure success. I’ve teamed up with Vistaprint to pass on some of my knowledge, in the hope that it might spur on the 41% of millennials who want to set up their own business do exactly that. I’ve never looked back.”

Melissa Haywood, Head of Vistaprint Australia, agrees and comments that:

“This research paints a promising picture of Australia as a nation of entrepreneurs. At Vistaprint we’re committed to helping small business owners reach their potential with our marketing and branding expertise. Teaming up with Julia, who has done exactly that, we hope to inspire even more budding business owners to take the leap and look forward to seeing many more Stylerunner-type success stories in the future.”

The most entrepreneurial states are NSW and VIC where 35% and 30% of respondents plan to set up their own businesses in the future. The least entrepreneurial are NT and ACT where just 1% have the desire.

When it comes to inspiration, family came first for all respondents, with more than a third stating that as their primary motivation. For millennials, who have grown up on a diet of Shark Tank, The Apprentice and celebrity entrepreneurs, it’s no surprise that 34% said they were most inspired by successful entrepreneurs – among those, 42% quoted Steve Jobs as their biggest inspiration, followed by Richard Branson (34%) and Mark Zuckerberg (27%).

Of all respondents who plan to set up a business in the future, 64% said saving enough money was holding them back, compared with 31% who wanted to build courage and 28% who had concerns around stability of family income. For millennials, 69% said money/funding was holding them back with a further 32% feeling they needed further education/ qualifications before becoming an entrepreneur.

Those who have taken the leap and started their own businesses took, on average, 10 months from planning to opening. During that period, those business owners saved money (37%), built courage (24%) and developed credibility (20%).

Those that had an entrepreneurial idea for a business but were not willing to turn that into a business, 74% of them said that “lack of money/funding” was holding them back, 30% worried that “They were not business minded” and 13% stated that they didn’t think they were “creative/talented enough” The study was commissioned by Vistaprint, who has been providing advice and tips to the thousands of Aussies planning to start their own businesses over the years.