By Belicia Hernandez
The average age for a business owner is 51, according to the United States Census. Generation-Xers and baby boomers are challenged to understand a generation that allegedly prioritizes many things ahead of work because they were brought up in a post-war world where work and survival were pretty much all they had. So they wonder about millennials’ work ethic, loyalty, and dependability.
I’m 22 in a workplace where most people are 10 years older than I am, and it’s harder than it sounds. It’s not cute, and it’s not always easy. It definitely has its perks as I was brought up in a fascinating world of technology, but also has a negative effect on millennials frankly because of our generation: millennial. The “me too” generation or the lazy generation. Millennials are perceived to be this way because we grew up entirely different than our parents and their parents did, having phones and electronics as we grew up. As a designer, I have clients who are usually nearly 10 years older than I am. The downfall of this is that they may not trust me due to my supposed “lack of education” or just my age and look in general. Millennials in reality are the most educated generation yet.
The worst feeling is knowing that I could lose a potential client to another firm due to my age and generation. This is a battle millennials face in a baby boomer and Generation-X world. All people think about 22-year-olds is that we are only focused on drinking, not caring about education, our phones, and not doing anything. But what they don’t know is that I grew up in a world of art and business, and I know for a fact I’m not the only one my age who knows about the business world because millennials simply strive and compete to be the best. We seek to make ourselves better in order to improve the rest of the world. My dad has owned a business for as long as I’ve been alive, so it’s really all I know.
My dad, Luciano, and I co-own a business together called Monster Graphics Studio. I have to bring him around when I first visit larger clients in order for some to trust me. Monster may be a startup, but I am not. In reality, education has been getting better and better as the years go by because for any job now, education is required. So millennials and Generation-Zers are bound to be the smartest generations yet.
With leadership skills that have developed from the Army and from city and county politics, my dad is the ultimate business partner. I’m inspired daily by his drive to make Monster and his other business grow. Before we opened Monster Graphics Studio, I interned at his other business, Tiger Studio, a product-design-based company that works globally. Four years ago my dad called me a “graphic monster” because he was impressed with my work as a young professional. Three years later, in April of 2017, Monster Graphics Studio became real. I was a business owner now partnering with a powerful man who’s won multiple business awards over the course of my lifetime.
During a Google search of “millennials in the workplace,” the first source that came up was “what’s the problem with millennials in the workplace?” and “11 tips to manage millennials in the workplace.” Of course there were a good amount of positive articles, but these were the most prominent. As a millennial, I’ve built a successful business, coach freshman volleyball, maintained a strong relationship, all while going to college at the same time. What I plan to do as a 22-year-old business owner is transform the workplace and set new leadership standards. To start, baby boomers are beginning to retire which creates more room for us to fill up leadership spaces. Next, prove myself to others that, as a millennial, I’ve already had a lot of experience in the graphic design and printing industry. Forbes Magazine states that “millennials hold about 20 percent of all leadership roles, and that percentage is set to grow in 2018.” I’ve prioritized values, ethics, and flexibility for my business. Establishing core values and following them is how to be a successful millennial leader.
I’ve defined my role as a business leader, and my dad and I have worked together to set expectations and a purpose. Every move I make has a purpose. Yes, I may bring my dad along with me, a Generation-Xer, to ensure trust with a potential Generation X or baby boomer client. This has the purpose of proving myself, my brand, and my passion to be the best to current and future clients because “you don’t have to be a big company to compete with one” as mentioned by my father years ago.