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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The Newsfeed

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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