Today Ypulse staffer Phil Savarese takes us through the growing category of online services that are allowing Millennials to feel like the entrepreneurs they want to be, without the investments and risks they can’t afford to make.
No Risk(y) Business
Millennials have been viewed as extremely entrepreneurial. Their non-traditional approach to achieving their career aspirations leads many to view them as an entire group of future Zuckerbergs. And though they might aspire to be, Millennials are also a risk-averse generation. Witnessing their parents make risky (and sometimes irresponsible) financial decisions as the economy began to fail has affected them greatly. Often called the children of the recession, they are well aware of the importance in being financially responsible. As one 24-year-old Gen Y told us, “My generation has learned [not to] take financial risks. Play it safe and save.” Ypulse’s research has found that 46% of Millennials 14-to-29-years-old would rather have stability working for a larger company than risk losing their own money to start a business. At the same time, 81% admire those who do start their own companies. Clearly, there is a tension between their appreciation for the entrepreneurial spirit and their recently validated fear of losing what little money some have managed to make. The problem lies in who is willing to take that big jump and invest all they have into their idea.
Enter the age of the no-risk entrepreneur. Online retail tools are providing an increasing number of ways for Gen Ys to feel like they are starting a business, without any of the traditional burdens and dangers. Here are three services currently offering viable outlets for the risk-averse Millennial entrepreneur to satisfy their urge for self-made success.
Ever wanted to own your very own fashion boutique, but had no way of funding it and no product to sell? No problem. StyleOwner offers a wide variety of clothing from various brands that users curate in their very own online shop. Simply put, StyleOwner allows users to “Build. Share. Own.” First, users create a profile and select a theme for their store. Next, they personalize their online shop and select the various items they wish to sell from an already existing supply of products from over 2,000 brands. Once the store is ready, users can share their site with whomever they please. The goal: get people to purchase from your store, and earn 10% of every transaction. All of this is done at no cost to the user, and the brands ship product to the shoppers directly. This model allows for individual “entrepreneurs” to experience curating and promoting their own online business with no danger of going bankrupt. Though it may be lower rewards than going it on their own, the potential to make money off their individual tastes and curation abilities is still there. The site is a great way for Millennials to earn some cash on the side all while gaining valuable experience.
Volusion is not a newcomer to the online business world. The company began in 1999 and has since grown to support over 40,000 online stores with collective sales of over $10 billion. Volusion is a one-stop shop for creating an online business. Much like StyleOwner, services such as order processing, tech support, and social media tools are provided to users through the site. Unlike StyleOwner, services must be purchased through one of 5 pricing plans. The “best deal,” at $125 per month, includes all possible services including CRM, newsletters, and batch order processing. Volution may come at a higher cost, but the revenues from the businesses created go straight to the owner, without anyone else taking a cut. Volusion is a relatively low-cost solution for aspiring business owners looking to take the first step towards starting their own business by choosing e-tail over brick and mortar and having all the tools to do so provided for them.
Like StyleOwner, curation is the key element to growing online community Mulu, which allows users to earn cash for themselves or for a charity they care about by curating products from around the web. Like Pinterest, the content on Mulu is collected from anywhere online and presented on the site as a scrollable image board, with a stream bringing together all of the products chosen by the users you follow. Unlike Pinterest, clicking the products actually brings you to a point of purchase. Curators earn 5-20% from the retailer every time an item is purchased through their Mulu. The site has some big-name participants like Wes Anderson, Michael Kors and the girls from HelloGiggles curating content so that visitors can shop tastemaker picks, but anyone who signs up as a publisher can participate in the platform. For Millennials growing an online following, the site enables them to create a “store” of items that match their interests and tastes, earn money, and potentially do good, all for just signing up.