Top 5 Lessons from Millennial Takeover Interviews

http://bit.ly/1CS9U75
http://bit.ly/1CS9U75

For the past 6 months I’ve been collecting interviews from millennial leaders from around the world. And while each one has been working on something drastically different, their insights have a lot in common. Inspired by the work that they do, here is my list of the top 5 lessons I’ve learned from the millennials I’ve interviewed so far.

1. Stop dragging your feet and go for it.

You could wait until the timing is right, but that may never come. The sooner you start working on pursuing your passion project, the sooner you’ll know if you’ve got a great idea. Not a single person interviewed has regretted the decision to take that leap of faith, so chance are you won’t either.

2. This is hard work… but it’s totally doable.

Most of these millennial leaders have been clawing their way to grow their ideas into actual entities. That has come from many late nights, weekend long work sessions, and a commitment to see the project through.
3. Don’t forget about your greatest asset, your sanity.

The whole purpose of building out your idea is so that you can be happy. When you are pushing yourself (and your support system) to focus solely on the development of this project so you stop sleeping regularly or eating, you are on a one way train to a breakdown. Those are never pretty and often damage more than you’d ever imagine. So get that sleep, get to that work out because if you aren’t on your A game, then your company/organization/project won’t be either.

4. You are not alone.

While the rest of your friends are hitting up happy hour after work or have an established routine, starting out on your own can feel isolating. Your schedule is designed to squeeze every minute out of it so you can be productive while their’s are structured and predictable.

Finding a community of fellow entrepreneurs is critical to remind you that you are on the right track and that you’ve totally got this.

5. Put your “why” at the center of everything that you do.

You will face set backs and obstacles, it’s an inevitable part of life. But if you put your “why am I doing this” at the center of everything you do, you’ll be motivated to keep pushing and keep creating.

I have gained so much insight from the millennials I’ve interviewed so far and I hope that you have gained a little insight from them as well.

Until next week!

From the Paper Chase to Solving Problems, Simply

Financial freedom is the driving motivation for many millennials. That goal often drives many to choose majors and career paths based solely on earning potential, rather than any other factor. But, what happens when you go down that path and discover that you would prefer to solve problems for other people instead?

Jared Gold, Chief Simplicity Officer at Brevity
Jared Gold, Chief Simplicity Officer at Brevity

Meet Jared Gold, the super connected Chief Simplicity Officer that founded Brevity,  a digital media marketing company providing tailored services to small businesses. But, if you had met Jared when he was a George Mason freshman, owning a business wouldn’t have been on his radar. Knowing he wanted to do well financially, he tried out a variety of majors that could get him there. From finance, to exercise science, then ultimately decided to major in Operations Management and I.T. systems. Attracted to the big picture thinking, and the scarcity of math, Jared was felt like he finally made it. Lucky enough to nab a good paying software company job, Jared was ready to start building his adult life. But, within the first couple of months, Jared realized that he hated that environment. Looking for a way out of the 9 to 5 grind, he read the 4 Hour Workweek and  it literally changed his perspective on everything.

Buy the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1aeib7V
Buy the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1aeib7V

Jared realized he didn’t want to spend his days waiting for 5 pm to roll around. Instead he started building a marketing solutions business that focuses on digital media. After a couple of months of doing a few pro bono sites by reaching out to potential clients, he landed his first paid client. That first client was Jared’s signal to commit.“I had to force myself to succeed.” So he quit his job and launched his business. Two years out and Jared knows he made the right decision.

But, what were some steps that secured his success? When Jared left his full time job, he had saved enough money to support himself during the most trying months of building his clientele list. Although maintaining the motivation to keep working towards that first client was not easy, Jared was able to focus on building his business instead of his finances.

However, his greatest success in starting his business was learning how to live without the fear of failing. Failure, for Jared, was not earning enough money to pay his bills. But, as he watches his business grow, that fear becomes non-existent. Through building Brevity, Jared has been able to learn his strengths, identify his weaknesses and become a networking machine.

As a millennial entrepreneur, Jared sees his generation in a slightly different light. Having worked hard for his current success, Jared is concerned by the attitude of many of his peers.

Many millennials live with this ‘”woe is me attitude’” and expect things to just come to them. By positioning yourself and networking to the right group, you can take control of your destiny.

This concern stems from the habit of the “work, party, rinse, repeat” life cycle that doesn’t help professional millennials take initiative or get ahead and eventually leads to unfulfilling lives. On the other hand, Jared is quick to point to leaders within the millennial generation as his source of inspiration.

My peers who are overcoming challenges and achieving their goals and are moving at a quicker rate than their predecessors. Our savvy and not being afraid to make it happen are unique to our generation. I think they are inspiring.

Jared’s drive to build a business he loves has lead him to be generous with his wisdom and resources he thinks might be helpful. Through Brevity, Jared has found his passion and himself.

How to be a Mind Reader, Like Netflix

The Problem

When planning out your career, forecasting what you’ll need in future can be daunting. While many skills may come to mind, it’s impossible to ignore the significance of data. With companies collecting information on our every move, all industries are going to need employees who can make sense of that sea of information. How does Netflix know what to recommend? Data. How do these new billboards know when to show you what image? Data. But, if you’ve avoided analytics and numbers, can you even learn how to use these big, scary, complicated tools?

The Solution

Meet Dmitri Adler, the founder of Data Society; a startup that’s helping everyone learn about data, but in an approachable way. Together with Merav Yuravlivker (Education Expert), Josh Touyz (Advisor) and a team of collaborators, they are helping professionals of all kinds begin to harness the power of “data.”

Through a custom built online platform, the team has developed a curricula that allows students access to real data from real companies to gain a real life understanding of how these tools apply. They’ve even interviewed every instructor to make sure they have the right personality, energy, and ability to break down the 0’s and 1’s for your average individual. With their first class launching this weekend, major corporate clients are already considering Data Society to fill the gap in their employees’ skill sets. By teaching these skills, Data Society hopes, as Merav has said, “That everyone becomes data literate enough to understand and use what they have.”

The Back Story

Dmitri Adler (left) Merav Yuravlivker (center) Joshuah Touyz (right)
Dmitri Adler (left), Merav Yuravlivker (center), Joshuah Touyz (right)

But how did this power team come together? Fittingly, Merav, Dmitri and Josh all met at various places in their schooling. Dmitri and Josh from elementary school, Merav and Josh from university, and Merav and Dmitri through Josh.

By maintaining their friendship over the years, the three were able to share insights from their very different fields. When Dmitri could beat his competitor’s capital gains using data science at his Wall Street job, Josh was perfecting an algorithm that could generate an almost perfect picture of someone’s life by simply using their Facebook profile. Merav was building her teaching skills in New York and obtaining her Master’s in Education from Pace University. Their vastly different backgrounds have provided the perfect needs for their online education company.

The Insight

Looking back at their journey thus far, the greatest piece of advice the team would provide is be intentional and do your research. With as many free tools, books, articles, and resources there has never been an easier (or cheaper) time to start a business. “What would have taken $10 million five to ten years ago, is now only costing $250,000,” said Dmitiri, who speaks from his experience as a JP Morgan Investment Banker. By surrounding yourself with a good team and following a specific plan, are crucial to giving your business the best chance.

The Perspective

As Merav, Dmitiri, and Josh are all millennials, they have hopes and fears for what once was termed “the Great Generation.” Systems behind education, interacting with the environment, and healthcare all need reform. With their respective experiences in these fields, Merav and Dmitri were most concerned with how our generation will be tasked with addressing these crumbling, hefty problems. In terms of hopes, they believe the millennial generation should take advantage of today’s tools to build businesses that enhance the human to human connections to make the world a slightly better place. As the great Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

 

Not convinced? Check out Data Society’s site here and use the discount code DS100. If that kind of commitment is too much, check out their DC area Meetup group Data Driven DC. How has learning about data analysis helped you?