Why Millennials Are Increasingly Choosing Self-Employment

We’re not exactly sure why millennials have a bad rap, because research results continue to prove that the stereotypes labeling people born between 1980 and 1996 as “lazy” and “entitled” are wildly untrue. Most recently, we came across a study that reminds us why young people are perfectly suited to champion non-traditional career journeys and explore entrepreneurship while staying dedicated to their work .

According to new research conducted by accounting software company FreshBooks in conjunction with Research Now for its second annual Self-Employed Report , almost half of the 27 million people who will become independent workers within the next two years will hail from the millennial cohort. This is a notable change in the workforce, as the number of Americans who work for themselves is projected to reach 42 million people by 2020. Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO at FreshBooks, further explains why this shift is something to pay close attention to. “The data suggest that over the next two years the number of self-employed professionals in the US could triple,” he notes, using the sample of 2,700. “Whether or not the change occurs at this pace, it’s clear the mindset of the American worker has shifted, with significantly more people aspiring to work for themselves versus holding a traditional job.”

In the midst of this changing mindset, millennials will also bring more educational experience to their freelance work, businesses, and independent ventures thanks to a higher rate of bachelor’s and master’s degrees than those before them — and though they may still have a skewed reputation, millennials factually make up the largest generational group in the US. Their desires for different things at work is making a real impact as more people choose to follow an independent path. Scroll on for three powerful draws inspiring the change.

1. Career Control: FreshBooks’ data suggests that the biggest motivation millennials have to set up shop or strike out on their own is autonomy — the ability to work on their own terms. While nine-to-five jobs may still feel like a secure and predictable path for some, independent work provides more freedom. This is a big draw and popular benefit for people who prefer to work outside of standard hours, across time zones, or while jet-setting to explore a different lifestyle from a remote location. A fifth of respondents went as far as to say that self-employment also makes switching careers easier, while 43 percent confirmed that working for themselves gives them more control and decision-making powers over their professional life. Heck yes!

2. Work/Life Balance : Wellness is so much more than a trending topic: Health is something millennials care deeply about. From learning how to be more compassionate and communicative to keeping in good physical form or fine-tuning the art of self-care , ambitious 20- and 30-somethings continue to express that the top of their priority list includes balance and feeling good each day. The FreshBooks survey validates these sentiments, showing that work/life balance is another reason to give self-employment a go; respondents noted that while important personal aspects like family planning and basic self-care are overlooked in many roles, cultures, and professional environments, self-employment makes these components easier to manage. Bye, burnout.

3. Personal Satisfaction: While striking out on your own can be ultra-rewarding, the FreshBooks research reminds us that being self-employed definitely comes with its own unique set of challenges, like finding staff or using data to guide business growth. Yet, despite difficulties, a whopping 97 percent of respondents say they have no desire to return to traditional work, while 71 percent of existing self-employed pros report satisfaction with their work. Though the research also states that close to two-thirds of participants between 50 and 65 report they’re looking to work longer rather than retire, the majority of millennials don’t complain about dedication; about three-fifths say they actually expect to work harder once they’re their own boss.


This article originally appeared on Brit + Co.

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