Millennials have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs. Far more optimistic than older generations, these people younger than 35 are more willing to try things Gen Xers and Boomers tend to dismiss. That's according to Ashley Mulcahy, 25-year-old owner of Tutor Doctor Orange County and a top performer in the franchise system, serving 20 cities in nine territories with a network of more than 100 tutors. Here's her advice on how Millennials can dominate in business.
1. Embrace your natural tendency to take risks.
Time and again Mulcahy has seen older people refuse to try certain strategies, thinking they won't work. "The older generations have their own bias on how business should work and how things will play out," she says. "And then here's me, zero experience, fresh out of college, no background at all in business... I think 'I'll just try it see if it will work. And if it doesn't, I'll go back to the drawing board. If it does then, great.'"
2. Understand that activity doesn't equal achievement.
You must measure and document your results to see if your activity is and time and money well spent. For example, while an older crowd may believe there's value in spending time in networking meetings, Mulcahy wants to know if anything actually comes from it. "Track yourself. Hold yourself accountable, and measure it and then move onto the next thing if it doesn't work," she says. "And if it works keep measuring that to make sure it's consistent."
3. Equip yourself with technology that lets you work from anywhere.
All your files should be on the cloud, for one thing. Also, a wealth of platforms exist for enhancing communication with your customers, such as software that lets you know if and when they open emails you send so you can track the effectiveness of your campaigns. And while some older people may discount Mulcahy's strategy of using a chat box on her website as impersonal, she sees it as a way to communicate with customers on their time table--maybe at 11 p.m. when they happen to need a tutor or want to book an appointment. "When people want it now and we happen to be on the chat box just hanging out--watching TV maybe, or working--and a chat comes up to book a client meeting next week, then great, we'll jump on that opportunity."
4. Keep your eye on the prize.
Millennial entrepreneurs can become disillusioned when they see friends land jobs with salaries that allow them to pay down student loans or take exciting vacations. But successful business owners understand it can take time to build up enough equity to pay themselves a decent salary. "A more traditional job might seem great at first," she says. "But in the long run you have to look at what you're working toward and how you can surpass those goals [through] entrepreneurship."