As the world starts to look towards a COVID-free future with the introduction of vaccines, the nine months that have passed since the start of the pandemic saw significant disruption to industries and attitudes, particularly in relation to work.
Millennials have reflected on their career choices, adapted to remote working, and made decisions on where they want to live and how they want their lives to be. They have also been tapping into their entrepreneurial side and launching new businesses and pursuing their passions.
Pre-pandemic, it was thought that around half of millennials in the United States had some kind of side-gig, whether that be to make ends meet or because of an entrepreneurial flair that drove them to develop new things. Common examples include developing a website, selling homemade products such as jewelry or art, or working a part-time job in something unrelated to their main income stream. These side-hustles saw millennials generate additional income that outpaced other generations, earning on average an additional $10,000 per year from their extra work.
The benefit of these businesses allows millennials to pursue a purpose they cannot find in their main job - sustainability and for-the-good focus is something millennials identify as missing from established industries and hence allows them to make an impactful change on the side. By investing small amounts of money, but large amounts of time on the project, Millenials can bring that purpose to a wider audience, and if their side-hustle becomes mainstream, a huge benefit towards a wider industry shift. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in new business popping up, run by and for millennials - examples include businesses focused around crafting and DYI, or even becoming a drag queen!
Since the start of the pandemic, people have had to find creative solutions to generate income while also wanting to chase their passions and dreams. While some of this has been out of necessity, others have found extra time out of boredom to chase other dreams and create solutions to existing problems and frustrations.
One example is in the mental health space. Mental health has become more openly discussed, particularly in the workplace, and was one of the reasons Holly Novick founded Soul Sanity, an online mental health gym that offers its members live sessions to focus on improving their mental health from the comfort of their own homes. The membership-based service offers a range of activities that are scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety, improve mindfulness, and encourage the release of the “feel-good” hormone dopamine.
Holly Novick, the Founder, said, “there are so many gyms out there for your physical health but nothing that focuses specifically on your mental health which is what inspired me to launch Soul Sanity. It was something I personally felt I needed during a painful time of loss and grief. I needed an outlet to feel better. I needed a fix, not a quick-fix and coincidentally the pandemic has hit at the same time, perhaps making it the perfect storm”.
Holly's story fits into a broader trend of industry transformation driven by millennial consumers looking to provide something more recognizable and accessible to their peers and future generations. Services like Seamless transformed food delivery for the millennial generation and Tend is attempting to revamp the dental office, while Casper changed the way people bought mattresses. Aside from natural change over time, why are these changes so radical and necessary?
Millennials were able to quickly adapt to remote working during the pandemic and while there have been some struggles with the fully remote model, the experience has enabled them to leave cities and evaluate what is important to them overall. Products or services that are not aligned with millennial (and future generational) values need disruption in order to continue making money. For a millennial with a natural entrepreneurial flair, the financial impact of the pandemic has encouraged them to develop different streams of income to add financial security.
The future will see more and more industry disruption across every sector. If things can be done more efficiently, create a better user experience, and give wider, sustainable access to products and services for consumers, then the presence of the millennial entrepreneur will only keep on growing.