Gen Y: The millionaire entrepreneurs?

Nick Bell

We’ve all been exposed to the self-entitled, narcissistic brat pack stigma that seems to follow Gen Ys around like a bad smell. Individuals should be judged on their merit, and not by the stereotypes they’ve been stamped with by predecessors. Most experts categorise Gen Ys as those born between the early 1980s to early 2000s. That’s a huge group of people who're now tasked with the challenge of breaking free from years of stereotyping.

What some employers fail to realise is that many of those who fall, or in some cases are shoved, into the Gen Y brat pack fraction, would be more accurately described as the digital- and tech-savvy generation. Generally, they are in tune with the ever-changing digital landscape, motivated to drive forward innovation and are an invaluable addition to any workplace.

When I first started WME, my age and apparent naivety made some critics sceptical. What those people couldn’t grasp is that it was these qualities that shaped my relentless determination and self-belief. Sure I made mistakes along the way, but ultimately, these qualities spearheaded me and the company toward success.

If Gen Ys are guilty of anything, it’s wanting it all – but who doesn’t? The distinction is that we’re not willing to settle for anything less and are anything but apologetic about it. This perceived blind ambition is the driving force behind many Gen Y success stories, my own included.

Digital and tech-savvy, motivated, ambitious, determined and unwilling to settle – is it any wonder why so many Gen Ys fancy themselves as entrepreneurs?

It’s our unapologetic refusal to be pigeon holed, nor to be considered a jack of all trades, master of none. No, we want to be a master of all. Though we’re objective enough to realise this won’t always be the way the cards fall, we continue to strive for it anyway, fostering relationships with other talented professionals as we do. We love to collaborate, we love to learn from others and build each other up, and this is why we thrive within the modern day workplace.

It's these individuals who create opportunities for advancement, local employment and who drive innovation.

I have a lot of admiration for my fellow Gen Y entrepreneurs. Serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of kogan.com, and fellow Gen Y Ruslan Kogan, has achieved great success in his career. Ruslan’s accomplishments deserve to be commended and speak volumes about the signature Gen Y drive that's been integral to many of these success stories. It's these individuals who create opportunities for advancement, local employment and who drive innovation.

When I started WME in 2008, my knowledge was questioned and I was often told to “get a real job” because the company would never take off. Twenty months ago, internet trolls said WME would be broke within three months. My albeit naive, blind ambition and willingness to surround myself with and learn from the best, has been essential in turning the $400 I started with into $45 million.

Many of the individuals who work at WME today are Gen Ys and entrepreneurs in their own right. Their contribution is integral to the ongoing growth of the company and I have the utmost respect for them.

Nick Bell

Nick Bell is founder and managing director of WME, Australia’s largest digital marketing agency.

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