What You Can Learn from Gen Z Entrepreneurs
First off, what even is Gen Z?
As it turns out, the answer depends on who you ask. Some people say it’s the generation of people born after 2000. Others say 1993. Still others say 1996. And then people say it ends in 2009 or maybe 2012 or even as late as 2020.
To make it simple, I’m going to pick the roughly 20-year period of “births” that happened from 1995 to 2014. I’m happy to put more people into the Gen Z bandwagon, but let’s make it simple and just keep that group for now.
And yes, I’ll reveal my age… I’m Gen Z. That means I’m young.
And I’m proud of it.
Now here’s the cool part: I’ve interviewed dozens of Gen Zs who are running their own companies, have had their own successes and failures, and even people who haven’t yet pulled the trigger on self-employment. And what I found was a pattern that helped me realize what’s unique about this generation of entrepreneurs, as well as what makes us similar to the generations of entrepreneurs before us — people like Henry Ford, Martha Stewart, Reid Hoffman, Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely, and Richard Branson.
The time alone to comb through hours of interview transcripts, mountains of biographies, piles of research, and a wealth of expert insights nearly submarined my GPA this semester. But I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, I have to drop out to launch my own company? Turns out that worked okay for a few heroes of mine like Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg.
But thankfully, I didn’t fail out and was able to analyze what I learned. And what I found blew me away… I had discovered a pattern from the mountain of information that I believe any Gen Z entrepreneur can use to guide their path toward one day launching their own venture.
It’s called the 3D Gen Z Mindset.
And here’s the best part: What I’ve learned is that the 3D Gen Z Mindset (or 3D Gen Z for short) isn’t some crazy “drop out of high school or college” or “quit your day job” advice you may read elsewhere. Instead, it’s a mental framework to apply the lessons of living an entrepreneurial life that will one day set you up for success when you eventually are ready to launch your company.
While it’s certainly impressive that 72 percent of Gen Zs want to start our own company, the most important word of that statistic is someday.
As a generation, we believe in the opportunity to set ourselves up on a path that’ll lead us to someday start our own venture. But nearly every Gen Z-er I spoke with is aware that it’s their own decision and timeline to make that happen. Britt Hysen, the editor-in-chief of MiLLENNiAL Magazine, claims that “60 percent of Millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs, and 90 percent recognize entrepreneurship as a mentality.”
Okay, so what is the 3D Gen Z?
Well the 3D is actually 3 Ds… Discover, Develop, and Demonstrate.
And as I analyzed the actions and approaches of many of the brightest young entrepreneurs of our generation, they all applied the 3 Ds in their own way. And this book will teach you how to do the same.
- Principle 1: Believe in yourself
- Principle 2: Surround yourself with the right people and mentors
- Principle 3: Identify an industry or problem that interests you… at least for now
- Principle 4: Learn more about this industry or problem
- Principle 5: Create a vision for the industry or a solution to the problem
- Principle 6: Tell people about your vision or solution… and don’t be afraid to fail
- Principle 7: Challenge yourself every day
And the remarkable thing is the 3D Gen Z Mindset is amazingly easy to incorporate and act on for anyone who has the desire to one day work for themselves and aims to live the entrepreneurial lifestyle at home, school, and at work.
Now you might be asking, why should I listen to some young guy who hasn’t started a successful business and is no more qualified to tell me about what it means to be a Gen Z entrepreneur than anyone else? Well, mostly because I’m not a successful entrepreneur (yet) and I’m someone who is actually a Gen Z. I’m a student in college who is asking the same questions as many Gen Zs are across the globe. I’m not some 40-year-old who claims that he knows all about high school and college students. On the contrary, I’m someone who is one.