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What It Takes to Be the Boss

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Dubbed “Millennipreneurs” in a recent study, 20 and 30-something Millennials are launching their own businesses at rates far greater than those who came before them.

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Dubbed “Millennipreneurs” in a recent study, 20 and 30-something Millennials are launching their own businesses at rates far greater than those who came before them. They’re also disinterested in working for someone else. A study by Bentley University found that only 13 percent of respondents wanted to climb the corporate ladder, while 67 percent had dreams of starting their own businesses.Although previous generations felt they needed to gain decades of experience and visibility before deciding to work for themselves, the most successful entrepreneurs today start their businesses around the age of 31 and have already gotten an average of 5.7 companies off the ground. Given the divergent path Millennials are taking from previous generations, I began to wonder if there were any other distinguishable qualities and traits of successful entrepreneurs under 35. Here’s what I found:


Being able to recognize the need for something within the market and then translate that need into a business is one of the defining characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. Small businesses can’t exist without support from customers, so being able to recognize an area where more professionals are needed and create a business plan to fulfill those needs is a crucial skill. Millennials have already been recognized for being a very self-possessed generation, and this shows in how they approach starting businesses.


Getting a business off the ground – no matter if it’s just you or also includes investors and employees – takes a lot of hard work. Forbes found that it takes between 18-24 months for most businesses to stabilize, and that could mean quite a few lean months. Staying focused on your initial vision and making every decision (and sacrifice!) with that goal in mind helps young entrepreneurs maintain discipline when they need to work extra hours or eat another bowl of ramen.


It is one thing to have a vision for what your company needs to deliver in order to be valuable to customers, but it’s another to have the adaptability and creativity to tweak that vision based on insights and feedback. Entrepreneurs always need to be aware of how the market is shifting and if their services or products need to adapt to those shifts. Entrepreneurs who are rigid in their ideas may find themselves falling by the wayside. The Pew Research Center noted one of the defining characteristics of this generation is their openness to change, and it’s serving them well in the world of entrepreneurship.

Good Money Management

Especially in the early years, being able to save money, raise capital, and spend funds wisely can mean the difference between success and failure. Entrepreneurs need to be budgeting wizards, but they must also learn how to use their cash flow to get the biggest bang for their buck. Marketing has been revolutionized by digital and social media in recent years, creating opportunities for young business owners to create brand recognition on a shoestring budget. Since so many Millennials are starting their businesses in their 20’s, their memories of stretching every dollar in college is still fresh in their minds.


Entrepreneurs often have a lot of support when they first launch their business idea, but they need to be self-possessed enough to continue believing in themselves when the cheering subsides. There will be times where you feel there isn’t enough time in your day, and there will be times when you question the viability of your vision. While it’s also important to recognize when something isn’t working and change is needed, it’s just as important not to doubt yourself when success is around the corner.

Decision-Making Skills

As the head of a company, whether the only employee or captaining hundreds of professionals, business owners have to make countless decisions every day. While some of these will be fun and others will be easy, they also have to be the deciding voice on tough questions that often don’t have clear-cut answers. In these situations, entrepreneurs must lean on their knowledge of the industry they operate in, but also have faith in their ability to make good decisions.

Whether you’re looking to start your first business or your tenth, working on these traits will surely help you to achieve the business goals of your dreams.

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