Throughout the history of the Western World, entrepreneurs have long been considered the lifeblood of the economy. The entrepreneurial process is a mechanism that turns ideas into action. By turning the crank of this mechanism, they create opportunities for millions of others — and in realizing their goals, they create wealth that feeds a rising tide to lift all boats.
In some instances, these small seedlings grow to redwoods with names like Amazon and Starbucks. More often, however, they stay humble by their own designs and service their local communities.
While it’s true that some barons of industry have painted entrepreneurship as a dog-eat-dog endeavor, my experience with the millions of individuals who leverage GoDaddy’s cloud services to run and grow their ventures is that such a characterization couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In entrepreneurship, I see collaboration and community. I see family, a sense of accomplishment, and a kind of fulfillment in producing products and services that can never be matched by consumption.
Around the globe, there are good reasons to believe that we’re in the middle of a new age of entrepreneurism.
New era of the entrepreneur
The growth of independent ventures in places such as Beijing, Bangalore and Brasilia (just to list some of the “Bs”) is off the charts. The Baby Boomer generation is leading the way, but what’s most promising is the emerging class of Millennials who are hyper-focused on self-driven projects in every aspect of their lives — from entertainment to their livelihoods.
Many of the psychological barriers to entry have begun crumbling, and the capital and technological barriers are quickly declining as well.
Cloud services that help people start, cultivate, and run their ventures are now being geared toward non-technical customers. Such services have become financially accessible to almost any economy in the world. Applied AI is beginning to fill knowledge and ability gaps that have previously made starting out on your own a daunting endeavor. And while governments and academia seem behind the curve, the volume of those conversations seem to be turning up.
GoDaddy Global Entrepreneur Survey
GoDaddy recently sponsored new global research to help quantify the trend toward entrepreneurism. The findings of our Global Entrepreneur Survey show that for Millennials and Baby Boomers, their quest for autonomy is perfectly timed with the intersection of new technologies that make starting an independent venture easier than during any other period in history.
The research — fielded in 11 countries with a sample size of more than 7,000 people and 2,500 small business operators — shows that:
- 36 percent of professionals plan to either start a small business or be self-employed over the next 10 years.
- That number jumps to an eye-opening 45 percent if you include those who plan to moonlight with full-time jobs.
- 21 percent of Baby Boomers, 47 percent of Gen Xers and 62 percent of Millennials intend to start a business before 2026.
Download the full report
The independent Millennial
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors’ report on Millennials outlines the same trends that emerged in our Global Entrepreneur Survey.
Though all three generations have grown up with rapidly evolving technology, Millennials born into the second wave of the web have been raised to thrive in a highly individualized world. They teethed on a vast diversity of on-demand and self-published media, AirBnB, Uber, Amazon and Kickstarter.
It follows then that Millennials would want their lives’ endeavors to be just as individually driven, which is exactly what our survey found.
More than 80 percent of those polled said that technology made starting a new business easier. In particular, the pervasiveness of affordable and easy-to-use, cloud-based technology over the past decade has been an important propellant for entrepreneurial growth. The ability to leverage billions of dollars of digital infrastructure has wiped away a good deal of the risk of starting a new business and has encouraged entrepreneurs to take the leap.
Though Millennials show the most ambition when it comes to the scale of their venture — with 27 percent aspiring to 100 or more employees in their lifetimes — the majority of those polled had much humbler aspirations. Today, businesses with less than five employees make up 85 percent of all businesses in the U.S.
That number is poised to increase as computer automation begins to shrink the pool of enterprise workers. But our survey shows that for today’s entrepreneurs, goals for the scale of their business ride tandem with their goals for family, community and a general life balance.
No time like the present
While there are clear signs for an entrepreneurial era on the near horizon, entrepreneurs are still rare. Even though 45 percent of people reported that they intend to start their own venture in the next 10 years, only about three percent of the world’s population are currently entrepreneurs.
To close that gap, technological and financial barriers to entry will need to drop even further — and psychological barriers will have to be conquered once and for all.
I recently saw a great piece of advice from Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom: “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.”
If you’ve got that itch, regardless of your location or your generation, the trends are with you. Spend a little time learning about the tools available to help you get started . You might be surprised how easy taking that first step really is.