Gen Z’s Top 5 Entrepreneurial Superpowers
Contributed by Idea Collective Member:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you’re anything like me and every other human I know, you’ve been asked this question about a million times throughout your childhood. Some coaches will often ask adults what they want to be when they grow up, too. Most of us have given a number of different answers over the years. Maybe when you were little you wanted to be a firefighter, Batman, a racecar driver, a dragon, an artist, a circus performer or a truck driver. As you got a little bit older, maybe other professions like a professional athlete, construction worker, YouTuber, doctor, teacher or dance rolled off your tongue.
As you officially enter adulthood and find your footing, some of these careers might still seem exciting, even plausible. Or maybe you find most of them to be quite silly now, and you’ve come up with a more realistic view of your future as a mechanical engineer, physical therapist or accountant. Or perhaps you respond to this query with, “I honestly have no idea.”
When asked what they want to be when they grow up, most little kids don’t say, “I want to be a business owner.”
I know I sure didn’t. Yet, here we are. And here you are, facing your post-graduation future and wondering about the possibilities. You’re burdened with so much potential, your fields of interest are crowded with opportunities and you’re likely overwhelmed by all the options available to you.
So, what do you really want to be when you grow up?
Starting a business isn’t for everyone, but I want to share Gen Z’s top 5 entrepreneurial superpowers, ways that your generation is positioned well to rock entrepreneurship, if you choose to pursue it.
1. Technology, of course!
Where older generations have had to intentionally and consciously learn the language of technology, you are native speakers. Some of your esteemed elders might complain that you’re too attached to your phone, comment that it’s practically glued onto you and tease you for being unable to “person” without it. You know what you’re doing, though, when it comes to figuring out what you need to leverage the latest apps, digital tools and platforms to your advantage, and you could certainly teach us a thing or two about all this tech if we’re willing to learn from you.
You think outside the box and cringe when someone tells you to think outside the box. You are not afraid to put the status quo under a microscope and question why things are the way they are. While that might lead to disciplinary action under a more traditional boss or manager, when you’re in business for yourself, you get to do things differently, see what happens, make adjustments and try again to change the world. You’re willing to take risks in order to stand out, which can be more difficult for older generations to do on their own.
Maybe you’re tired of hearing how resilient you are after the last three years, but it’s true, and it’s an asset! You’re used to things changing rapidly and without much warning. Does it suck sometimes? Obviously! And you’ve grown up learning that you can change, too. You can adapt. You can even improve through difficult transitions. Entrepreneurship is full of challenges and setbacks, and you eat challenges and setbacks as part of a complete breakfast.
You want to create a better society for everyone. A lot of people want to make a difference, but many find themselves stuck in systems and structures that don’t allow them to do it, and they don’t know how to be the change they seek. Because you’ve grown up completely internet-connected to people literally across the globe, you are more aware of social, environmental, political and economic issues than the generations who came up before you. This ability to see the big picture will lead you to run your businesses with consciousness, equity and sustainability top of mind. Business owners who live their values and practice what they preach create brands and companies that form lasting relationships with their customers, who become loyal and raving fans, which all businesses are (sometimes desperately) seeking out.
5. You’re Diversified!
You have the ability to succeed at several different things at once. You’ve seen your parents go from job to job and the frustration they’ve experienced when they’ve been treated as a number or deemed “non-essential” in the only role they’ve ever pursued. You understand that the world that put your grandparents into a career at 17, earned them enough to buy a house and support a family and work for the same company until they retired no longer exists. And you are here for it! You get that you might not even want to be in the same field at 58 as you did at 18 or 28, and you know that it’s possible to make a great living (and a great life!) in multiple ways that have nothing to do with climbing a corporate ladder.
Starting a business can be lonely and hard, especially when you’re getting started as a young entrepreneur, but it doesn’t have to be. You deserve to be taken seriously when you decide to build your own dream. There are many ways to connect with established business owners who are willing to mentor and guide you. Joining the Idea Collective Small Business Incubator is one way to start connecting to folks who get it and want to see you and your business thrive, no matter how old or young you are. The Small Business Administration, mentoring and resources from SCORE, your local high school programs, college groups and community organizations are some other great places to start.