5 Traits of Millennial-Run Startups




  • — November 21, 2016

    As the Millennial Founder and CEO of a Dubai-based startup, I’ve noticed several characteristics that define Millennial-run startups. Through my real estate crowdfunding platform Durise and in my personal life, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from countless other Millennial CEOs. It’s an exciting time in the startup space as these Millennial-run businesses start to become the norm, shifting away from centuries old practices and methodologies.


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    Here are the Top 5 traits I’ve noticed among Millennial-run startups:


    1) Entrepreneurship is a part of our makeup. We’ve grown up in the era of Facebook, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice. We’ve learned business practices and built the desire to run our own companies at the feet of our parents and pop-culture.


    Our increased access to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and other tech CEO giants implanted the seed of entrepreneurism early on, and the lessons we’ve learned by watching these powerhouses, and others, build their success are not something that we’re easily willing to let go.


    2) We live online, and we know the future of all business does too. The “elder” portion of the Millennial generation were among the first to grow up with the Internet as a daily part of our lives, and the younger portion never even lived in a time where being online wasn’t a thing. This is a very important Millennial characteristic, and one that strongly drives our business models and work ethics.


    We network with potential business contacts via Snapchat, we find new employees on LinkedIn and Twitter, and we are much more likely to text, Skype, or email than we are to hold an in-office meeting or even make a phone call. We can comfortably conduct the majority of our business on our smartphones. We love technology, and we continually embrace the latest tech, whether it’s a physical device, a SaaS, or a social platform.


    3) Our wanderlust is strong. We have nomadic spirits and love to travel. As a result, we strive to build businesses that allow us, and our employees, the freedom to do our work from a beach in Thailand or a mountaintop in Colorado.


    This global perspective means we are also much more likely to employ “virtual” employees and build a staff spread out around the world. Since we embrace the tech that allows us to remain in constant contact (see #2), and since we respect cultural diversity and admire other nomadic souls, we’re much less likely to limit ourselves to traditional office space with a complete workforce that’s within our immediate geographical area.


    4) The traditional workday bores us. We can’t stand the idea of the rigid, old-fashioned 9-to-5. We’re averse to traditional employment methods, so we are much more likely to start our own businesses and new income streams. From blogging, to coaching, to ecommerce, to tech startups – we want something different than our parents and we’re not at all afraid to go build it ourselves in order to get that.


    We’re excited by the thought of building something new and creating a new life for ourselves. We’re not afraid of working hard now so that we can work less in the future. After all, we grew up with the “4-hour work week” and we have a whole host of tech celeb and CEO unicorns to inspire our efforts.


    5) We’re less likely to view work as work. The “lifestyle business” is the model that many of us embrace. Wikipedia defines a lifestyle business as “a business set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.”


    This means that work-life balance is much less of a concern for us than previous generations. Afterall, our work is our life and our life is our work. There really isn’t anything to balance there. That’s not to say that we’re 24/7 workaholics. Our work is a passion more than a drain, and our fun and business frequently go hand-in-hand. We’re leaving behind the concept of 9-to-5-cubicle-drone and building lives and businesses in the same stroke.


    Personally, I’m excited to be a part of this Millennial business shift and I can’t wait to see what the “norm” looks like in the next decade.

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    Author: Waleed Esbaitah


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