American entrepreneurship is fading. A recent Wall Street Journal article came out showing that business owners who are under 30 are at a 24 year low. Only 3.6% of households under age 30 own stakes in a business. That’s down from 10.6% in 1989 and 6.1% in 2010. This means Millennials aren’t starting businesses.
When I read these statistics I couldn’t help but feel sad. You see, I’m a Millennial and it saddens me to think that so many people in my generation aren’t going after their dreams and starting their own businesses.
Who are Millennials?
They are anyone who was born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000’s. Over 63% of Americans would like to start their own business. That means over 199 million Americans want to be their own bosses, but the overwhelming majority never get around to it.
In order for our economy to thrive, we need entrepreneurship. We need new businesses, ideas, and creativity to fuel growth.
So why is it that Millennials aren’t starting their own businesses? Could it be student loan debt? The class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year. So debt could be part of the reason. But the main reason Millennials aren’t starting businesses is because they are afraid of failing.
Starting a business isn’t easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things you can do in your life. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I’m in the process of starting another business and let me tell you, it can be scary. But as scary as it is, it’s also fun, exciting, and totally worth it.
For me, overcoming the fear of failing is just part of the difficult process. It’s a constant battle you have to overcome every day to make it happen. Since so many Millennials aren’t starting businesses because they are afraid of failing I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way to help overcome this fear…
1. Failure is part of the process…
In order to succeed you need to fail…you will fail. In fact, the average entrepreneur fails almost 4 times before getting right. Pretty crazy, huh?
I’ve had a lot of failures, but I’ve also learned something very valuable from every mistake and failure I’ve made. There are a lot of unknowns when starting a business, but you have to be willing to take a chance.
2. Be willing to take risks to go after your dreams…
You will never know what is going to happen for sure, no one does. You just have to jump and find your wings eventually. Trying something new can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable, but you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. If it excites you and scares you at the same time you should probably do it.
3. You need to have a great support team…
Whether it’s friends, family, your spouse, or a mentor, you need to have people who can help you through the process of starting a business. No one ever does it alone. I am very blessed and thankful that I have friends, family, parents, mentors and a wife who are all very supportive and encouraging.
If I ever need advice, encouragement, or an honest opinion, I can turn to them and trust what they say. Without them, it would be so much more difficult to start a business.
4. Have fun.
In order to succeed, you need to love what you are doing. Start something not just for making money, but because you actually enjoy doing it. Start something that makes a difference in the world that makes you feel good. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and wish you had at least tried.
Do you want to start your own business? Are you afraid of failing? If so, check out an article I wrote for OneHourProfessor.com, “How To Overcome Your Fear Of Failing When Starting A Business”.