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Freelancers are saying ‘bye-bye’ to regular jobs. Looks like ‘lazy, entitled’ millennials may actually be the perfect entrepreneurs

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Here's your sign!

If you’re a freelancer already, this will come as no surprise: people quit their jobs to feel more freedom.

oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y consulting firm, have recently issued the results of a new study, “Millennials and the Future of Work.”

The survey, conducted by independent research firm Genesis Research Associates, examines perspectives on the future of work from 3,193 freelancers worldwide, including 1,958 Millennials (19 – 30 years old).

Findings reveal a desire to follow individual paths to working freedom and flexibility. Since the survey also poses the conclusion that all that is required is an opportunity-seeking mentality, it would seem that Gen Y is ushering in a groundbreaking redefinition of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Some of the survey’s key findings:

  • 72 per cent of those still at “regular” jobs want to quit to be entirely independent; 61 per cent say they likely will within two years
  • Freedom is the top reason those at “regular” jobs would like to quit; and 89 per cent say they prefer to work when and where they choose (versus in a corporate, 9 – 5 job)
  • 90 per cent of independent workers indicated that being an entrepreneur reflects having a certain mindset (rather than being strictly defined as having started a company)
  • Of the freelancing Millennials surveyed, 58 per cent of those familiar with the term “entrepreneur” classify themselves as one

They’re saying: You’re not the boss of me!

Of the freelancing Millennials surveyed, 58 per cent of those familiar with the term “entrepreneur” classified themselves as one. Among all generations, freedom to work how they want is critical — 89 per cent said they’d prefer to work when and where they choose (versus in a corporate, 9 – 5 job). In fact, among those surveyed who were still at “regular” jobs, freedom was the top reason they wanted to quit. When comparing freelance work to “regular” jobs, freelancing was seen as providing more freedom to:

  • Work whenever they like
  • Work wherever they like
  • Work on only projects that interest them
  • Travel while working

If this sounds like the ideal working scenario, well, yeah – it kind of is just that.

They’re saying “See ya, bye” to ‘regular’ jobs

Of those surveyed, the majority of freelancers who are still working at ‘regular’ jobs want to quit.

Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, said “We believe that the barriers of Industrial Age work simply don’t make sense for businesses that want to get more work done, or for workers who are demanding more freedom. No one today wants to be confined to a cubicle.”

Freelancers’ intent to follow through on the desire to quit reporting to ‘the man’ and work only for themselves is super-high. 61 per cent say they are likely to quit their ‘regular’ job within two years (44 per cent say they ‘probably will’ and 1 -per cent ‘definitely will’).

Aspiring to greatness

While entrepreneurship can be challenging (47 per cent of those familiar with the term ‘entrepreneur’ felt ‘there are downsides’ while 53 per cent indicated it is ‘an entirely good thing’), Millennials are more likely to see it as “entirely good” (57 per cent, compared to 47 per cent of those from older generations). However, the benefits of being an entrepreneur outweigh the downsides (75 per cent of all surveyed agreed). In fact, 38 per cent would even recommend pursuing a ‘promising start-up opportunity’ versus completing a traditional college degree.

Today many of these independent professionals classify themselves as ‘entrepreneurs.’ The survey also found that being ‘an entrepreneur’ is currently often defined as someone who has a certain mindset.

When asked to define an entrepreneur, aspects of this mindset mentioned included being a ‘self-starter,’ ‘risk-taker,”“visionary,’ and someone who ‘spots opportunity.’

“This signals a major shift in our economy and how we manage our careers,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself. “Entrepreneurship is now accessible to everyone regardless of age or occupation. You don’t need to own a business to be an entrepreneur, but you do need the entrepreneurial mindset to be successful in business.”

Hey, who’s in charge here?

Respondents of all generations surveyed said Generation X (31 – 48 year olds) is best-suited to run today’s businesses, making them the show-runners for the foreseeable future. Two- thirds of Millennials say that their own generation should be running things. This more grandiose view of their own generation’s abilities is in keeping with well-known studies on current Millennial attitudes by Dr. Jean Twenge, who finds that ‘narcissism is markedly higher among college students in the 2000s compared to those in the 1980s.’

So, put down that mirror, Narcissus, and tell the rest of the Anthillian masses what you think about freelancing? Are you already freelancing? Does the world of tomorrow – evidently to be run by independent thinkers – hold new possibilities for entrepreneurship that will greatly affect the way we all go to work? Tell us what you think, in the space below!

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