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Graduate high school… ✔️
Go to college… ✔️
Get a degree… ✔️
Land a full time job… ✔️
Buckle down and work until you’re 65 (or until you die, whichever comes first) 😰
Or at least, that’s the “standard” life plan that we all think we need to follow because that’s what we’ve been taught since, well, forever.
The problem is, life isn’t a one-size-fits-all adventure!
But unfortunately when we’re all taught to follow the same general path in life, it can feel hard to even SEE an alternative.
Everybody around us is grinding away, dreading every Monday, counting down the minutes til Friday, counting down the years til 65, and using up their vacation time on little things – leaving practically no time leftover to ACTUALLY take a vacation (or live)!
That’s what we consider to be “normal”, or “the real world”…but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re reading this and thinking that that path does kinda make you want to puke – you’re not alone. I’ve been there! As have MANY others!
These days, many young, millennial-aged workers are looking for something more.
Among other things, common workplace desires of millennials include:
A place where they’re valued, challenged, and able to grow.
A sense of purpose and impact.
In short: If millennials, like myself, are going to spend the vast majority of their life doing something, we want to actually enjoy it (gasp!).
This generational mindset shift, which places job satisfaction above the paycheck itself, has many searching for another way of making a living – one that allows them to put LIFE first.
So let’s talk about a few reasons why starting an online business appeals to so many! Who knows, maybe it’s even a good fit for you!
6 reasons why millennials are leaving their 9-5 job to start an online business:
Location independence is exactly what it sounds like: having a job that is not dependent on you working from a specific location (i.e. being able to work from anywhere).
Personally, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to start my own online business was for the ability to work from anywhere in the world.
Back in 2015 I took a trip to South America that totally changed my life. That trip, in short, opened my eyes to so many things – most notably the concept that you CAN have a job that allows you to travel and explore the world for more than just the standard 2 weeks most employers give us young workers.
But location-independence doesn’t always mean working from faraway places as you globetrot around the world.
Location independence can be beneficial for just about anyone. When you’re location independent, your career opportunities (and salary) are no longer dictated by where you live. Plus, you also have the flexibility to move from place to place without the stress of worrying about your new location’s job market – because you already have a job!
With WiFi as accessible as it is these days, working from just about anywhere is easier than it’s ever been – making location independent businesses highly feasible, and a huge factor for why many millennials are leaving their 9-5s in favor of creating online businesses.
Online businesses are inexpensive to start
When you work online the bare necessities include two things: Laptop and wifi.
And the expenses for these two things over time are SO minimal. (Plus we all know you’re gonna pay for the Wi-Fi anyway 😉)
When you run an online business you have no rent for an office space, no utilities, no office supplies, no inventory. Just you and your laptop.
In some cases, depending on what your online business is, you may have some software requirements. But overall, the expenses as compared to a brick-and-mortar business are so small.
I’m a big believer in not willingly putting yourself into debt (read: spending money you don’t have) for unnecessary reasons. And that’s how I run my business.
Sure, there are certain things in life that you can’t avoid debt for – buying a car, going to college, buying a house. But business, in my opinion, is NOT one of those things.
If your business isn’t earning the money to cover something you want, wait.
Once you start earning more money, you can then start putting that money into things that may help your business – either by making your life easier or by helping you grow faster.
But until then, there are plenty of free online business tools to help you run your business as cheaply as possible!
Let’s drop some real numbers, because being vague is annoying and not helpful to anyone.
In order to start my business, my non-negotiable expenses included:
- Laptop, which I needed anyway: $1000 (I got $150 cash-back through Dell by using Ebates, now Rakuten 🙌)
- Adobe Creative Cloud Software: $21.29/month (I now pay $220 annually, because it’s cheaper. But initially I paid monthly)
Another point, to further emphasize my belief that almost all expenses are non-essential, is that as a website designer, I ran my web design business for over 6 months without a website.
Yes, you read that right.
People were paying ME to design their website, before I had a website of my own.
I’m not saying this is the only path or that you have to run your business THAT lean when you start, but if you can’t afford something, persist and find another way.
Additional business expenses I’ve added since then:
- Website Hosting – $143.40/year
- Website Domain – $20/year
- Google Drive Storage – $20/year
This brings my total recurring monthly business expenses to an average of: $33.61 per month.
Beyond that, every penny I spend is for non-essential expenses like client appreciation gifts, online courses to further develop my business, software for sending proposals, etc. – all things I love, but not a requirement to run an online business and not an expense I took on until my business started turning a profit.
Being able to start an entire business for little to no money up front gives you a great opportunity to test the waters and see how it goes, without having to take a huge risk – making it a highly attractive option for many millennials in tight financial circumstances.
Endless potential clients
When you work online, your client base is not limited to your local area.
You have the whole internet (i.e. the whole world) at your fingertips, giving you quite literally billions of potential clients, right on the other side of your screen.
One side effect of this that I’ve found to be really amazing, is that this seemingly infinite availability of clients has fostered a huge #communityovercompetition movement/mindset in the online business world.
When you have a shop in a small town and someone else pops up the same exact type of business right next store, they’ve now taken some of your business – because your “pool” of clients is likely limited to your area.
However, in the online business world, your pool of clients is enormous – which decreases the need to be competitive with businesses that do what you do.
In my case, some of my best online friends do the exact same thing as I do…
I have a great online friend named Morgan.
Morgan’s a website designer and Registered Dietitian from Houston, Texas who works with business owners in the eating disorder space. Morgan designs websites exclusively using website platform called ShowIt.
Then there’s me. I live in upstate New York, work with creative women solopreneurs, and design websites using WordPress and Squarespace.
We are both website designers, but we both know (and are good at) different things.
I can’t tell you how often we’ve reached out to one another for advice on a client website or for help with something we simply can’t figure out. We’ve also referred clients to one another when we know the other would be better suited for a certain project.
Now, don’t get me wrong – we’re both pretty cool people 😉… But Morgan and I aren’t just a random, super kind exception to the rule – this type of collaboration is REALLY prominent in the online business community, because there is no scarcity of clients.
And with so many potential clients comes an insane amount of opportunity to make money – yet another excellent reason why so many millennials are choosing to work online!
Work less, play more
For me, this one was a biggie in starting my online business. I’m a firm believer in that life is meant to be LIVED.
One of the hardest parts for me to accept in my former “real” job was the rules surrounding how much time you should be working – which all seemed to stem from a “this is how it’s always been done” mindset.
40+ hours per week
5 day work-week
10 days of vacation per year
Standard, non-negotiable… and totally arbitrary.
I think there’s this totally flawed mindset that working more hours means getting more work done. But it’s simply not true.
If you have to get something done, like return a shirt that didn’t fit, and you have 1 month to do it – how long’s it going to take you? Probablyyyy upwards of 3 weeks.
But if you have to return it by tomorrow, you’ll return it tomorrow. Done.
The same goes for work…
If you’re told you need to be at work for 40 hours, it’s going to take you 40 hours to do your work. On the other hand, if your boss comes in and says “hey, if you get your work done by Thursday, you can have Friday off”… you bet your ass that that work will be done by Thursday!
And more than likely, you won’t even have to stay late to do it – you’ll just stop scrolling Facebook and running to the bathroom 50x a day in order to get the work done.
Running an online business is no different…
When you no longer have to fill a certain amount of hours with work everyday, you’re able to just do the work and then be done when you’re done. And on the same token, you’re able to walk away when you’ve lost your focus, and come back to do your work when your mind is actually ready to work instead of trying to force it.
Arguably even more painful for me, was the limited 2 weeks (aka. 10 days) of vacation per year. I’m not going to sugar coat this, because this always really got under my skin…
10 days of vacation time per year is utter bullshit.
READ 👏 THAT 👏 AGAIN 👏
10 days of vacation per year is BULL. SHIT.
(Yes, a nerve has been struck)
You’re telling me, with the exception of weekends, in a 365 day year I’m allowed to go LIVE my life for TEN of them??!
Many young people, myself included, are deciding that life is way too short to put your head down and grind away at something you don’t enjoy, in hopes that in a few years you’ll earn more time off to enjoy life with.
Or even worse yet, that once we finally retire at 65 THEN we can go travel and enjoy life.
The (somewhat morbid) fact of the matter is – you’re not even guaranteed to MAKE IT to 65… so waiting to do the things and see the places you’ve always dreamed of is nothing more than a gamble. A gamble that personally scares the shit out of me, and one I decided wasn’t worth taking.
Working smarter, not harder in order to spend more time checking off the good ole bucket list and creating a life of fulfillment is a huge reason why so many millennials are opting to create their own online businesses – because when the last second ticks by, they want to know they weren’t waiting for life to happen, they were making life happen.
Passive Income Opportunities
Let me start by attempting to define passive income so we’re all on the same page.
It’s a bit hard to describe, especially because not all business owners make passive income in the same way, but despite that – passive income is a possibility for nearly all online businesses.
A loose definition of Passive Income: Income made without exchanging your time for a one-to-one repayment by a customer.
Passive income streams typically require a decent amount of work to get started, but can then be a source of future, consistent income that requires little to no effort from the business owner.
Examples of passive income streams (both online and offline) include:
- Creating and selling an online course
- Creating and selling digital products (books, templates, stock photos, etc.)
- Affiliate marketing
- Renting a room of your house on AirBnB
- Owning rental properties
Passive income is often referred to as “making money while you sleep”, and is a very common income stream in online businesses due to how simple it can be to maintain once initially setup.
Many businesses actually have numerous forms of passive income such as creating and selling an online course, having a digital product shop, and maybe also doing some affiliate marketing.
In line with the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy, passive income can be a great option for supplemental income to any online business, and in many cases can even become a primary source of income as well.
The potential to make consistent money with less effort is a huge draw for millennials who want to spend less time working, and more time living – without stressing about financial security.
Starting an online business has never been easier
With Google and YouTube, all things are possible. #amen 🙌
Seriously though… you can learn juuust about anything online these days – from how to cook a droolworthy homemade mac and cheese, to how to train your cat to use the toilet. 🤷♀️
Ohhhh the interwebs are truly a vast depth of knowledge!
Which is fantastic news if you’re hoping to teach yourself how to do something you’ve never done before – like start an online business!
I’d say that 90% of my knowledge on running my business has been acquired from Google, YouTube, and Lynda.com. Lynda is an online library for learning #allthethings. Whether you’re learning web design, graphic design, photography, marketing, or any other online skill – Lynda has it all.
PRO TIP: You can get a free Lynda membership with many free public library cards.
It’s truly never been easier to self-teach skills that can turn into an online business. While some people may stereotype millennials as lazy or unmotivated, we’re also resourceful AF.
I’d say that probably once a week I have a client asking me to do something for them that I’ve never actually done before. And with the use of my mad Google skillz, I’m able to figure out how to do 99% of the things people ask of me – which makes my clients thrilled, and keeps me learning new things allll the time. 🤓
Being the generation of “just google it”, millennials are practically MADE to create a business with just Google at their fingertips.
In conclusion – Online businesses rock!
When you start an online business, you say goodbye to someone else dictating your life, and hello to creating the life you want, exactly the way you want it.
Whatever your motive may be: more time to travel, working from home with the kids (2-legged or 4), working from home by yo’self, freedom, waking up without an alarm, additional income, [fill in the blank with what lights you up inside] – an online business can truly be whatever you want (or don’t want) it to be.
My online business has allowed me to truly BELIEVE and SEE that the beautiful, exhilarating, non-traditional life in my head IS possible.
It’s also showed me that we don’t all have to (and aren’t all made to) follow the same path.
I don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all path for life.
The right path is simply the one that feels right TO YOU.
The one that makes you excited to leap out of bed in the morning.
The one that leaves a smile plastered across your face whenever you think about it.
The ones that make your stomach do a little flip at the possibilities.
And maybe, like me, an online business would be the option to allow for that vision to become a reality! Or maybe not!
Regardless of your dreams, I hope you have the courage to chase them – despite whether you think it’s possible or not.
Always cheering for you!