Today, I’m thrilled to share a conversation with a good friend, Curt Beavers. Curt is not only a successful business owner but also an entrepreneur. Here are some highlights from our conversation about Millennials entering the workforce and their entrepreneurial mindset.
Tim Elmore: There seems to be a paradox among this emerging generation of young adults and new professionals. Very often, they have been raised as safety-conscious and risk-adverse. Yet as young adults, they want to be entrepreneurs. Among Millennials, 66% said they want to be an entrepreneur and start something. In Generation Z, right behind the Millennials, 72% of current high school students want to start their own business. So, how do we mix the desire to be an entrepreneur with the predisposition of not wanting to fail?
Curt Beavers: What I see is: they’ve got all this technology in them so that makes them think they can do anything, but they’ve got the safety belts on. The way to bridge the gap best is by mentoring young people and helping them define what they want their tomorrow to look like. Because most of them don’t go to college thinking that when they get their degree, they’ll get a computer, commute, and a cubicle. If they can see what they want tomorrow, then it becomes clear that they can’t have this comfort zone. In order to be successful and be an entrepreneur, you have to pay the price to get there.
Tim: One of the phrases we consistently hear when we talk to employers is: “meaning is the new money.” If Millennials find something meaningful to do, it’s like currency. You not only employ a lot of people with what you do, but you are specifically going after these young entrepreneurs and workers. Talk for a little bit about what skills help entrepreneurs succeed—skills that Millennials could develop during their school years.
Curt: Basic time management is something that can get lost in the shuffle. It’s the one resource that whether you are 80 or you are 20, we all have the same amount of time. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have a boss so you have to learn how to manage yourself. Sometimes I think the social world that they love to live in, is a place for relational capital to multiply. For the young generation that loves the social world, they’ve got to make what they love work for them. So if they can learn to manage their time and take that social space to invest their relational capital, there are no limits to what they can accomplish.
Tim: How would you say students could hone their skills before they graduate? What are some things they can be doing that would set them up for work?
Curt: One thing would be, find a job connected to something you are passionate about while in college. If you are passionate about digital media, then you can become a small-time digital photographer on the side and make as much money as you would at an hourly job on campus. It would go a long way to learning a lot of small things in what your tomorrow will look like. The other thing is that even though you are preparing to enter the job market when you graduate, pick the 20-30 people that are maybe your parents’ peers—or people that you admire—and go after them for a job. Say, “If I were your son or daughter, what advice would you give me entering the marketplace?” There is wisdom in the counsel of many. It would give you much inspiration because you may not be able to clearly see your tomorrow yet. But if you could get some wisdom from people who have already “been there, done that,” then you’d be so far ahead of the game.
Tim: Okay so Curt, if you could go back to when you were in college and give one piece of advice to yourself, what would it be?
Curt: Well, I think I would’ve gone to college to learn, not to just graduate. There were a lot of valuable lessons, but I was trying to hurry and get college out of the way because I thought graduation was the goal. Instead of thinking there was this perfect world waiting for me when I graduated, I think I would’ve prepared a little more for what I wanted that world to look like. Put some thought into what your adulthood will look like when you graduate from school. Think along the lines of, “What life do I want to create?” instead of “What job do I want to have?”