Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, is fast becoming known as the most entrepreneurial generation in recorded history, with 62 percent of its members having started their own business or planning to do so. Those who have already started this journey are not only fully immersed in the entrepreneurial spirit, but also reshaping it through novel methods of brand development, skill acquisition and business operations. Gen Z’s entrepreneurial endeavors, including apps, YouTube channels, beauty products, and hand-tied bow ties, are achieving widespread success, even though the oldest members are just 24 years old.
Despite the fact that most of them have lost crucial years of their lives due to a major global pandemic and a widespread economic downturn, they are convinced that there is so much more they can achieve now. Although the business world has some prejudices, Gen-Z defies them and shows that their methods and ideas, sometimes called “frivolous”, are actually useful. With high ambitions, her goals go beyond self-actualization to address issues such as social justice and climate change. They are aware that their survival may depend on their success, but it doesn’t matter how they achieve it.
Despite many similarities to their millennial predecessors, today’s successful Gen Z entrepreneurs also bring something unique with them: the qualities and experiences that shaped them and give them an edge in the workplace.
What exactly are these qualities that these Gen-Zers have? Below are five unique lessons to learn from Gen Z entrepreneurs.
1) The importance of flexibility
Today’s youth are more open to new opportunities and less committed to a single career. When it comes to change, they are open, unrestrained and versatile. Generation Z is flexible and adaptable to new circumstances. This adaptable mindset, coupled with Gen Z’s lifetime exposure and familiarity with technology, has likely helped this generation in its adjustment to the “new normal” that will emerge in the years to come. As one of the first fully digital generations, Gen Z have developed the habit of being able to learn anything, anywhere, on any device. For the simple reason that they can adapt to almost any circumstance. They expect the same level of adaptability from their employers. It would do executives well to use this flexibility not only as a business enabler, but also as a leadership mentality.
2) The power of social media
With the growing emergence of social media and social e-commerce, Gen Z has the whole world at their disposal. Because they have always had immediate, real-time social connections, they have been exposed to a multitude of influences, opinions, ideas and opportunities from the comfort of their own homes. Because of this, Gen Zers have an innate understanding of branding and self-promotion because they spend so much time online (about two hours and 55 minutes a day, nearly an hour more than the average millennial). They are open to collaborating with others and welcome new perspectives, and they use existing relationships to see which ideas resonate.
The new group of creatives aren’t afraid to promote their creations and identities in hopes of garnering a following and eventually making money from ads, sponsored content, or merch. A prime example is the clique of 20 million GenZers of 50 million YouTube creators making six figures a year. Apparently, this “new” social way of doing business feels as natural to them as renting a shop or building a website felt to previous generations.
3) Numerous role models
Pursuing entrepreneurial interests as a child was unusual for millennials as their entrepreneurial inspiration was limited to relatives and family friends. Gen Z, on the other hand, has a wealth of role models ranging from Elon Musk to YouTube influencers, and mentors are readily available. Case in point: Tara Bosch, the 23-year-old creator of SmartSweets, watched Shark Tank religiously as a child before experimenting in her kitchen to create sugar-free treats. When she was still a student, she researched the internet and found a two-day course on the subject "Establishment of a food company" before connecting to a young entrepreneur accelerator.
After working on it for a few years, she sold her company for $400 million just last year! All of this is evidence enough to show what happens when a generation “entrepreneurs” as a career on par with all others.
4) The value of efficiency
Gen Zers excel at task optimization and dislike the traditional practices of boring 9-hour shifts. Gen Z professionals are characterized by two skills: work smarter, not harder, and adaptability. While some might call this laziness, it is essentially cleverness. Finding a way to get a job done more efficiently through technology or innovation without sacrificing is wise. Leaders should take note of this example and realize that just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t always mean it’s the best way.
5) Learn the on-the-go attitude
Although Gen Z has the best education available, they typically don’t learn in the traditional ways that previous generations did. They understand that it is no longer necessary to have a four-year degree or a business degree to be successful. They learn wherever and whenever they can (often online), from online incubators to MasterClass and Google’s new job credentials. Also, Gen Z seems to have the guts to step in, get their hands dirty and fill in the knowledge and skill gaps as they go, leading to the creation of new businesses without waiting for them to figure it all out.
Additionally, Gen Z seems to be less concerned about boundaries compared to previous generations. They are not afraid to achieve their goals because they lack official qualifications.
The views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE