Tag Archives: small business

Gen Y Wants to Work It!

With the new website coming to life (huge thanks to Andy Merrick) and a few exciting meetings last week, I’ve been tied up and unable to blog as much as I usually do. All of these developments for my business are so exciting but have sapped some of my creative juices away. In attempt to get back into the swing of things, I’ve been sitting here contemplating what topic to kick off the week with.

Thanks to the newest poll feature, I noticed that of the few people that actually took the poll, everyone had the same answer. To the question, “What’s your biggest career fear?” Everyone’s response was: “working for someone else my whole life.” Very interesting.

I know that entrepreneurship has always been a dream of mine, but is it also a dream for the majority of my generation? According to a recent article written by Michael Malone in the Wall Street Journal, “An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine.”

Wow, a career “failure” is working for an established company? That might be a first. What about these shocking statistics: Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. Magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today’s high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.

So as Gen Y continues to get the reputation of being self-centered, obnoxious, lazy and under-dressed, we are apparently also quite ambitious and independent as well.

Owning your own business is no walk in the park. It requires managing money, marketing, selling, paying attention to details, using your life savings for start up costs, making tough decisions, taking risks and wearing many hats at once. In my short time in starting a business, I’ve learned how completely consuming it is. It is definitely NOT something that I can stop thinking about once the clock strikes 5pm.

I do wonder though, what is it about how us twentysomethings were raised or the times that we live in that make us want to take on owning our own businesses so much? Perhaps we saw our parents get laid off from their big safe job after 30 years with no loyalty back from their company. Perhaps we saw large politicians and CEO’s break our trust after we initially looked up to them so much.

Or, maybe we really are just too damn selfish to want someone else to tell us when we can take off work or how we are supposed to run our division. Maybe we hate rules and authority. Or perhaps we are just so creative that we feel stifled when we have to work under someone else’s vision rather than our own. We’re not afraid of technology and we feel we deserve everything that we want in a career.

So, my little poll question quickly gave light to a huge topic I need to spend more time writing about because apparently I’m not the only twentysomething who wants to talk about starting a business. I’m sure many of us are nervous about the economy, nervous about keeping our jobs and also nervous about how to pay down our debt. The answer might be starting a business to hedge the risk and do something you love.

I get super irritated when people complain but don’t do anything about it. If you dream about working for yourself someday, why can’t you start now? You’re the only one who can get yourself to the next level, so start dreaming about what you want and then figure out how to get it. Anything is possible, right?

And if you have questions along the way, ask me and any other person who is passionate about entrepreneurship because we are all willing to help.

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The Double Edged Sword of Working With Family

If your family has their own business, the question of whether or not to work with them will inevitably come up at some point. Society has many views on young people joining their family’s business. Some say college grads are under qualified. Others think that the next generation are getting hand-outs, even though they are probably making a modest salary.

As you may know from reading this post my family has their own business so this thought definitely crossed my mind. I also have close friends who work with family and it seems to be both a blessing and a curse.

Many parents won’t allow their children to work for the family business until they have gained the necessary experience and proven a passion for the business. Other parents seem to lay a guilt trip on their children to join the business. It’s a really tough decision to make and it can have a huge impact on your relationship with your family.

59242515_934dbc0711_mIf you are in this situation here are a few things to consider:

-Do you have the skills and desire to manage the demand?
-Are you OK with blending your personal and professional life?
-Do you mind receiving work related phone calls early in the morning and late at night?
-By joining the business, would you be fulfilling your own legacy and dreams or your parents’?
-Would you be more valuable to the company if you got outside experience first, and then joined the company?
-Are you considering working for the family business because you assume you will get more second chances, more pay, more days off, and work less hours? If so, re-consider because the opposite is probably true.
-Have family members joined the business in the past? If so, how did that turn out?
-Can you handle working with people who know all of your “hot buttons”?
-Are you ready to accept criticism for your work from your family?
-Will joining the company continually challenge you, stretch your mind and interest you?
-Are you ready to talk about money daily-the most sensitive topic in most relationships?
-Are you willing to challenge the status quo to make things better, even if it is difficult?

I think the scariest part about joining the family business is the possibility for disagreements to ruin relationships or break families apart. It happens more than you would think. In my family, it caused a six year separation from my immediate family and our extended family. It’s pretty hard to fire a son, or quit your parents’ business because there is so much personal baggage at stake. Yet everyone has to do what is right for them to be happy and advance their careers.

I also think that parents are the toughest bosses (I cannot even imagine working for my parents right now!): they have much higher expectations for you than they do of other employees. Parents are likely to think they have the “right and obligation” to push you harder, to hold you accountable, and to make you learn lessons the hard way.

Again, I think that working for your parents can be the best and the worst of situations. I think that you would learn more about work ethic, dedication, and dealing with your emotions than you would working for anyone else. At the same time, make sure you’re not putting your dreams aside to make someone else happy. Also make sure you have a backup plan if things don’t work out!

Focus Only on What You Can Control

Happy Monday Morning! It is officially 2009. For most of us that means packing our gym bag and salad2434937424_1724677f60_m today, and bringing an unusually positive attitude with us to work. We are hoping to make things a little better than last year.

Today will be full of meetings, 2009 planning and organizing. There may be new policies and procedures that you aren’t comfortable with. Your email box may be flooded from the long holiday break.

If you are truly committed to making 2009 the best year yet, remember this: ONLY FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.

My first manager gave me this simple advice. When followed, it can change many aspects of your life for the better.

You may not like all of your co-workers, you hate the new computer system, or you are stuck with a difficult client: if you can’t change it, adapt and start caring about something you CAN change. Like your attitude.

Dwelling on the bad weather, the traffic jam or a down economy is a waste of your time. If we do this, we are basically letting all of our co-workers and competition pass us up. Winners don’t have time to moan and complain about things they cannot change, they are busy innovating new ways to make their conditions work for them.

Try it out today and let me know how it went. I guarantee you will have a lot more time in your day and attract more good things by thinking positive and focusing on what you can control.