6 Reasons Millennials Love the Startup Life

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Published on Apr. 01, 2014
6 Reasons Millennials Love the Startup Life

When you look at startups featured on Forbes and Mashable, what do you see? A managing partner, a CFO, maybe a project manager, and more often than not, you’ll see a whole bunch of 20-somethings working away on their laptops. No matter what industry you’re in or coast you’re on, startups are often powered by millennial manpower. Startups are pretty volatile, and lots of them don't make it, yet recent college graduates still flock to these opportunities. Here are six of the biggest reasons that millennials like me love the chance to work at a startup!


Survival of the Fittest

Starting a new company is extremely challenging, and everyone involved has to prove their worth and bring value every day. Some companies don’t have what it takes, and lots of employees might not have the drive to push the company goals forward every day. There’s lots of articles out there accusing my generation of being lazy and having unrealistic expectations, but from what I see, there’s plenty of college graduates who just want an opportunity to learn new skills and prove they have what it takes. A startup is a natural fit because both the company and its employees have lots of work to do, and plenty of room to grow.


Financial Flexibility[ibimage==26833==Medium==none==self==ibimage_align-right]

Money is at a premium in every startup you see, and so for the troops on the ground, a smaller salary can often be the norm. This doesn’t away work for potential employees with greater financial responsibilities like a family, but for recent graduates looking to break into their industry, even a lower salary can be plenty to live off. When compared to the money you make working at the coffeeshop in college, even a startup salary can go a long way. But when you get in on the ground floor of a startup, your compensation will grow as the company does, and the experience can be far more valuable than a little extra on the paycheck.


We’re Programmed for It

Maybe we were all told we were special too much by our parents. Maybe we’ve seen “The Social Network” one too many times. For whatever reason, this generation loves to take the leap on starting new businesses and getting involved with new ventures, even though so many of them are likely to fail. That dedication goes a long way, and even though not everyone can create the next Twitter or Snapchat, someone will, and that possibility keeps millennials looking for new opportunities and taking a leap of faith to work at a startup.


The Company Culture

There are a million studies out there that talk about the happiest places to work and what makes for an excellent company culture, but wherever you look, autonomy and flexibility are cornerstones of startup culture. The freedom to work from home, share workspaces with people from different departments, listen to Spotify at the office, anything and everything that breaks down corporate walls and encourages creativity and collaboration makes for a happier team. Millennials were raised on the internet and social media keeps us interconnected at all times, and the isolated world of cubicles just isn’t as appealing as a ping pong table and office happy hour. With high pressure to perform and low margin for error, startups can be a stressful place to work, but independence and connectivity helps keep morale high.


[ibimage==26834==Medium==none==self==ibimage_align-left]The Job Market Still Stinks

Finding employment after college is getting easier, but when you’re competing against people with experience and industry recommendations, it can be really challenging to get your foot in the door. But with so many tech and marketing companies starting from the ground up, there’s opportunity for millennial graduates who just need an opportunity to learn and grow with a new company. Employers need the dedication and flexibility that recent graduates have, and they need the chance to shine and hone their skills. At most startups, the team is smaller, the interaction between CEOs and employees is more direct, and there's greater opportunity to have your best work recognized and to get your name out there.


You Don’t Need To Be an Expert

I didn’t graduate from college with a marketing degree, but I was given a chance at Revenue River because they recognized I could bring value and learn the tricks of the trade quickly. Older employees can come into a startup with a predetermined mindset, and that can cause some conflicts when the company needs to be flexible and evolve quickly. New graduates are often ready to hop in and help however they can, and don’t mind calling in the lunch order or throwing on a new pot of coffee. Employers value that flexibility and willingness to “go with the flow” and millennials value the chance to jump in quickly and learn everything they can to help bring value to the company.


None of these reasons are completely exclusive to millennials; everyone loves a relaxed work environment and a chance to grow with a new company. But with so many college graduates needing to find their first job, the many opportunities created by new startups makes the two a natural combination. I have many friends who got their foot into their industry through a startup job, just like me, and the experience has proven invaluable to their careers. If you're a recent college grad looking to launch your career, a startup could be a great place to start. If you're building your new business from scratch, giving a 20-something a chance to make a difference for you could be the best hiring decision you make!


Have another opinion about what makes the startup life so appealing? Think all these college graduates need to quit complaining and sit in a cubicle? Let me know!

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