Kayleigh Alexandra discusses why traditional employment is not necessarily the best route for Millenials – and why sometimes buying a business is their best option
Regardless of what you think of them, there’s no denying that the millennial generation is facing some major challenges. Economic uncertainty rumbles on, wages stagnate, investment seems incredibly risky, and committing to a drawn-out creation project can seem like inviting fate to deplete your savings account. It’s time for a new approach to business.
Fortunately enough, having the incredible possibilities of the internet at their beck and call gives the aspiring millennial just what they need to plot a route ahead (even as that same technology gives them cause to fear for their prospects) — and one such route that continues to gain traction is that of buying an existing business. It’s really that simple: you stump up the asking price, assume all the ownership responsibilities, and take things from there.
Now, buying a business certainly isn’t a magic solution to financial woes (it isn’t even always advisable), but it’s a tremendous option to have on the table for any millennial aspiring to achieve some kind of security within their lifetime. Here’s why:
It’s easier and faster than starting from scratch
Those who grew up in a time when the future seemed incredibly bright might have been very focused on patiently building up their careers — finding secure positions and steadily moving up to the managerial level with pay increases and perk improvements along the way. That seems a very questionable approach to many today. Success seems so fickle and the world moves so quickly that millennials want to take meaningful action ASAP.
After all, the faster they move, the sooner they’ll succeed (or fail, but that’s also a valuable experience). By stepping into the shoes of a successful business owner, you can get a trial by fire, so to speak. If you can handle the heat, you’ll flourish, and if you can’t, you’ll at least learn more about your weaknesses and limitations.
Factor in the very reasonable cost of a basic functional ecommerce store and you have an environment closer to that of a house-flipping marketplace. Pick up a store, improve it, then sell it and move on to a fresh store. Startup time is greatly reduced and buyers can find lessons to learn from the sites they pick up.
Online businesses can easily be adjusted
In the real estate world, new builds are so expensive for two big reasons: firstly, they follow the latest design philosophies, and secondly, they provide completely fresh starts. You can move into a new build and straight away start turning it into your ideal home without needing to strip away any old parts, styles, or customisations. Older (but larger) properties are cheaper because they require work — electrical wiring might need to be redone, for instance.
However, in a time of online-only businesses that simply don’t need physical premises, this simply isn’t an issue. The most analogous element is the content management system (CMS) upon which a site is built, because a site built on a very old CMS is likely to need some updating to make it viable today, but the online business is both fairly new and dominated by standard systems — in fact, you’ll have a hard time finding an offered business that doesn’t run on a solid platform.
Given a decent CMS, you have total freedom to overhaul the business you’ve purchased. Change the theme, alter the fonts, overhaul the imagery, even swap the domain name (though that isn’t generally advisable since existing domain names have search ranking value). Within the course of a day, you can buy an ecommerce store and completely rebrand it.
Younger people want flexible working
Millennials have different priorities from older generations. They’ve grown up with (or even alongside) the internet, and it has massively informed how they view the world and form aspirations. Settling down in one place and starting a family doesn’t feel like a pressing priority to the average millennial since they can so easily target the itinerant lifestyle, staying connected while taking a laptop and a smartphone across the world.
With no immediate desire to set down roots, then, why would they want to get tied down to the role of a traditional business owner (working a ludicrous number of hours each week) or even a standard full-time worker trapped in an office? They can simply go online, research some local businesses for sale, find something compatible with their interests and intentions, and pick up a working online store (either with supply relationships already established or with a dropshipping arrangement in place). Following that, they can maintain it from anywhere with internet access.
You’re probably familiar with the oft-cited concept of the ‘gig economy’: an employment market in which the traditional 37.5-hour workweek is dead and employees work for multiple employers through more modular arrangements. While that model is rife with employee exploitation, the entrepreneurial freelancer can influence their destiny to a much greater extent.
As full-time work comes to feel less rewarding and secure, other avenues inevitably become more viable, and the world of online businesses (driven mainly by ecommerce) offers a fresh direction. Through buying a business, a millennial can assume direct control over their career — who in that situation wouldn’t find that attractive?
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to helping startups and entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their goals. Visit the blog for the latest entrepreneurial news and side hustle tips, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.