Category Archives: Freedom

Why So Many Millennials are Becoming Entrepreneurs

Generation Y is entering the traditional work force with unconventional expectations. Instead of finding satisfaction with the typical 9-to-5 routine, they are either looking to start their own businesses or molding the corporate world to fit their demands. They’re not happy with the status quo, so they’re making their own way.

This sudden surge in entrepreneurial chutzpah can be attributed to many factors, including the mobility and speed afforded to them by rapidly evolving online technology, growing up in a time of major economic and political uncertainty, and facing staggering unemployment and student debt. Perhaps desperate measures call for daring life choices; this generation can’t afford to play it safe.

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A Desire for Flexibility Coupled With Impatience

The technology that Millennials have grown up with has created a group of people who are accustomed to a lifestyle that is drastically different from their parents and grandparents. Their relationship with technology has instilled a desire for mobility and flexibility, creating the impression that they should be able to access and complete their work anywhere and anytime.

Technology is also behind the demand for instant access and ability to collaborate with others at any time. Those in their 20s and early 30s are used to downloading and streaming music, movies, not to mention shopping, communicating and even dating online. Millennials have also been able to text, call, and interact with friends on phones, Google any information desired and remain generally connected for the entirety of their teenage and young adult lives, so their impatience shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Confidence Laced With Fear

Although this generation is considered one of the most optimistic and confident, they seem to have lost faith in corporations, and the government, likely a result of witnessing their parents losing jobs and pensions due to corporate scandals and the global financial meltdown. They have seen older friends and siblings graduate and struggle to find work. The last several years have seen unemployment rates in the double digits for people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Many Millennials feel that the only possible job security they will find must be through creating their own. This uncertainty has fueled a desire to succeed along with the willingness to make sacrifices and take risks at a level that Generation X just hasn’t been willing (or forced) to do. These aspirations are propelled by the confidence and optimism of this generation.

Millennial Entrepreneurs

This past decade has been indelibly impacted by the Millennial startups that now dominate our social and business landscapes. And it’s arguably been the most entrepreneurial decade in recent memory, with some key people from this generation having achieved immense success. This is especially impressive considering that many of these game-changers are all under the age of 30. This is just a short list of a few of the most victorious high profile Millennials to burst onto the world stage.

Mark Zuckerberg – 28

Let’s start with possibly the most successful entrepreneur of this generation. Zuckerberg was behind the launch the social media site: Facebook in 2004, and is estimated to currently have a net worth of at least $10 billion. He’s changed the face of the Internet, is giving Google a run for their money and completely altered the way businesses interact with their customers.

Dustin Moskovitz – 28

Moskovitz started out as a part of the Facebook team and has a 7.6 percent share in the social media site. He also started Asana, a website that uses web and mobile application that allows people to collaborate in one place. It has an estimated value of $280 million and his overall net worth is around $5 billion.

Drew Houston – 29

This former MIT student came up with the idea for Dropbox, the online file-sharing application that ushered in an era of cloud-based collaboration and pushed Houston’s net worth up to $600 million.

Ben Silbermann – 29

This innovator went from designing products for Google to putting together the groundbreaking social platform, Pinterest, which has filled a critical visual niche in the social media space. While it took a few years to gain popularity, the company is now valued at $1.5 billion and Silbermann’s net worth is at about $100 million.

Peter Cashmore – 26

The creator of Mashable, one of the biggest news sites on the web and valued at more than $200 million. Cashmore has an estimated net worth of $95 million.

All of these young minds are inspirations to the hordes of young business owners, talented programmers and innovative activists seeking to make their way in a new economy. I can’t wait to see who the next big name is—and how they shake things up.

Mike Mann is a serial entrepreneur and author seeking to drive real-world change using profits from his many profitable business ventures. To learn how to make your own business a success, and to hear more about Mike’s charitable vision, read or download his book.

Why I gave away my company to charity, by Derek Sivers

Recently I ran across a blog that exemplifies the spirit of social entrepreneurship. Derek Sivers is the founder of CD Baby, Host Baby, Much Work and NowNowNow. For all intents and purposes he gave away CD Baby and HostBaby. Below is a repost from his blog that explains his thinking behind the transaction.

Why I gave away my company to charity

Two friends were at a party held at the mansion of a billionaire. One said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” The other said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have: enough.

When I decided to sell my company in 2008, I already had enough.

I live simply. I hate waste and excess. I have a good apartment, a good laptop, and a few other basics. But the less I own, the happier I am. The lack of possessions gives me the priceless freedom to live anywhere anytime.

Having too much money can be harmful. It throws off perspective. It makes people do stupid things like buy “extra” cars or houses they don’t use – or upgrade to first class for “only” $10,000 so they can be a little more comfortable for a few hours.

So I didn’t need or even want the money from the sale of the company. I just wanted to make sure I had enough for a simple comfortable life. The rest should go to music education, since that’s what made such a difference in my life.

So I found a great way to do this. I created a charitable trust called the “Independent Musicians Charitable Remainder Unitrust.” When I die, all of its assets will go to music education. But while I’m alive, it pays out 5% of its value per year to me.

(Note: 5% is the minimum allowed by law. It’s still too much. I would have preferred 1%, but oh well. I’m free to use it to start new businesses to help people, or whatever.)

A few months before the sale, I transferred the ownership of CD Baby and HostBaby, all the intellectual property like trademarks and software, into the trust.

It was irreversibly and irrevokably gone. It was no longer mine. It all belonged to the charitable trust.

Then, when Disc Makers bought it, they bought it not from me but from the trust, turning it into $22 million cash to benefit music education.

So instead of me selling the company – (getting taxed on the income, and giving what’s left to charity) – that move of giving away the company to charity then having the charity sell it saved about $5 million in taxes. (That means $5 million more going to music education.)

Also, the move of giving it away into a trust now – instead of holding on to it until I die – means its investments get to grow and compound tax-free for life, which again means more goes to musicians in the end.

I’m only writing this article because many people have asked why I gave it away, so I thought I’d write my long explanation once and for all.

It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.

I get the deeper happiness of knowing the lucky streak I’ve had in my life will benefit tons of people – not just me.

I get the pride of knowing I did something irreversibly smart before I could change my mind.

I get the safety of knowing I won’t be the target of a frivolous lawsuit, since I have very little net worth.

I get the unburdened freedom of having it out of my hands so I can’t do something stupid.

But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.

best things in life aren't things

Originally posted Dec. 4, 2009 by Derek Sivers at http://sivers.org/trust.