How to Feel Like an Entrepreneur Without Risking a Thing

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. 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "GoPro does a great job appealing to my generation because they convince regular people that they are adventurous, like many college kids like to think of themselves." –Male, 22, MD

Facebook continues to evolve to keep up with social platform competitors attracting younger users. The site has announced changes to their standalone chat app Messenger that will transform it into a platform that third parties can develop content and services for, including games, hotel bookings, tickets, and peer-to-peer payments. The new Businesses on Messenger feature would allow users to chat with brands to make purchases and change orders, and could make shopping a more personal experience. Facebook will also be adding the ability to chat with memes and GIFs, features that have proved popular with young consumers on other chat apps. (re/code,Fast Company)

Millennials are wary of investments, and generally anxious about their finances, and some have turned to new services that let them take baby steps into the financial world. More traditional institutions have certainly taken notice. Northwestern Mutual recently acquired LearnVest, a startup that offers free and paid financial planning services including articles, advice, and access to an expert for guidance on spending and budgets. The purchase is the latest in a trend of financial tech companies being snapped up by older, less digitally savvy brands. (FortuneBusiness Insider)

While many startups and sites are working to combat cyberbullying, one app is receiving an enormous amount of backlash for fostering the behavior in high schools. Burnbook allows users to join communities, usually around a school, remain anonymous, and post on topics of their choice. Although the app encourages “jokes, fails, wins, shout outs, revelations, proclamations, and confessions,” posts have been used to target specific people and groups, and threats have been made to at least one school. Some parents and teens are trying to use the app to spread positivity, but those posts don’t seem to outweigh the “gruesome things.” (Mashable)

Toys “R” Us will begin to sell an experience alongside its products with the hope of regaining their footing in the toy industry. Discount options like Wal-Mart and Amazon have hurt the chain’s sales over the past few years, so new plans to revamp stores will add physical play areas and more technology for kids to interact with. The retailer wants to be a place “where kids want to go and play,” and their new prototype store will open later this year. (Bloomberg)

For better or for worse, technology is becoming an intrinsic part of childhood, but boys and girls might not be growing up with the same tech experiences. A new study of parents of kids ages two to nine found that in many cases, parents give their children different devices depending on their gender. Sons were more likely to be given smartphones or gaming devices while daughters received more tablets (73% vs. 65% for boys). Parents were also more likely to use tech to calm down sons, with 48% using a device to help soothe boys when they are upset, compared to 37% for girls. (Kidscreen)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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