I’m not sure that I really need a boatload of reasons to justify helping our youth become entrepreneurial and improve the world. It just seems the right thing to do. But just the same, I’d like to explain why I’ve adopted “Enable the Next Generation to Build a Better Tomorrow” as my personal vision.
You who are reading this on my Substack should note that I believe that building a better tomorrow is for everyone (including you). I just happen to believe that it is especially important for our youth who will grow up in that tomorrow.
This generation needs to be independent - in control of their lives
I believe that all people, but especially our youth, need a high level of independence. I realize that this belief is partly motivated by my own personality. I value independent, innovative thought. I’ve worked entrepreneurially for decades and have come to enjoy being in control of what I do and when I do it.
And I realize it may be also motivated by my personal experience. I’ve experienced periods when I have felt helpless, either reliant upon others or destined to suffer without their help.
Employers no longer guarantee lifetime employment
But, it is also motivated by the situation our next generation faces. I see many of our youth experiencing a similar helpless feeling, in part due to a changing employment landscape combined in some cases with the heavy weight of student debt.
This is my “life was simpler then” rant. In my grandfather’s and father’s eras, it was common for people to work at companies for 30 years or so, buy a house, two cars, a boat, and eventually retire with pensions on top of Social Security. Work was work - and not necessarily expected to be fulfilling. After work and during weekends, you would live your life and enjoy your family. Companies compensated you well enough for a comfortable lifestyle that could last your entire working career, unless you really screwed up. It was a simple system. Not always easy, but simple. Accept it, and your life was fairly risk-free.
Somewhere during my father’s era and my own era, employers shifted toward less life-long employment and toward wages that left many employees unable to “get ahead” (code for “live a comfortable life”). It has left many with that feeling of helplessness, of being reliant on an organization that could cast them aside at any moment, of being anxious to know they are one paycheck away from losing their home or car or both. Working for a company became risky.
Working for yourself hits differently
On the positive side, I’ve also experienced recovery from seemingly helpless situations and felt the immense joy of standing on my own. Recovery always starts with some level of independent action, of taking responsible for recovery, of owning it. Over the years, working entrepreneurially, I’ve become accustomed to the freedom that comes with independence. I know that one doesn’t have to remain trapped.
Ownership is the first step.
When you own the company, you have the opportunity to build wealth and do more than just make income. Is there a risk involved? Sure, but remember that corporate employment isn’t the life-long secure ride that it used to be either. Does it have to be full time? No, a side gig is OK. A side gig can create the extra income that means you no longer have to live paycheck to paycheck and worry about being cast aside. A side gig can help you build wealth. A side gig could even evolve into a full time career.
Most importantly, as an owner, your own effort determines your level of success. You are no longer helpless. That in and of itself is important. For today’s youth who feel helpless and trapped, ownership is a breath of fresh air. You may scramble for customers and revenue at times, but if you’ve ever scrambled for a new job to replace being laid off, finding a few more customers is a piece of cake.
Make your community and the world a better place
Up until now I’ve talked about the power of building something you own, but the vision mentions “a better tomorrow”.
Being entrepreneurial is about more than just making money. Young potential entrepreneurs, repeat after me: “Being entrepreneurial is about more than just making money.”
I have seen high school age entrepreneurs make over six figures, doing things like trading sneakers. I love the financial independence that brings them, but it seems hollow socially. I also have seen high school age entrepreneurs create self-funded free projects and entities that help their classmates and neighbors. I love that they are helping others, but I wish they were making a comfortable living, too.
Now ask yourself, “Why not both?” Why not apply your skills to make the world better AND make a living? Why not take the position that entrepreneurship is not a zero-sum game? Why not take the social consciousness that this generation already possesses, mix in a little entrepreneurship, and produce the best of both worlds?
That’s my vision. I see a growing community of young entrepreneurs who are building a strong community economy, building products and services that improve our world, living comfortable lives, and helping their fellows in the process.
I know that many of you agree and want to see the same things. Join me.