Why Business Partnerships Might Just be Perfect for Millennials

Why Business Partnerships Might Just be Perfect for Millennials

Millennials are changing the workplace. Love ’em or hate ’em, this is a reality.

And it’s a reality we’ll all have to deal with for the next several years, since the tail end of the Millennial generation is just starting to graduate college, move back in with their parents, and apply to part-time jobs so they can spend 20 hours per week at rallies protesting student loans.

Haha! I’m totally kidding. Sort of.

I am a Millennial, which is something I have mixed feelings about. We’ve done a fair amount to earn the negative stereotypes that have landed on us. But there really are two sides to every coin.

We are a little entitled, I’ll grant you that – we want everything yesterday. But a lot of us are also optimists, believing that having our cake and eating it too might actually be possible. We waste a lot of time online and as a result don’t have the same kind of social graces or attention spans as generations before us, but many of us have friends all over world and a passion for travel largely because of our online community. We are a little narcissistic, sure, but we’re also a generation that doesn’t hesitate to talk about our “feels,” making difficult emotional conversations about “doing life” totally okay rather than taboo. We may not want to work 80-hour weeks and we may all be obsessed with the FIRE movement, but that’s because we really do believe in work-life balance and spending time with our loved ones, not because we’re lazy and trying to destroy the economy.

But getting back to our conversation about the workplace: regardless of how you feel about this generation as a whole, you probably know a Millennial or two trying to make some important career choices. You might be one. You might be thinking about working with one.

Here are seven things Millennials say are important to them in the workplace, and how those values can align with being a business owner in a partnership.

1. Schedule and Location Flexibility

Working for yourself almost always means you have some control of your own schedule. This is 100% awesome. It might vary in what that flexibility looks like. If you’ve committed to a project or a deadline, of course you have to uphold it if you want a repeat customer or a rave review. I set my own schedule, sure, but I don’t change it after it’s set.

But the key here is that I set my own schedule. The business partnership is relevant here because should I have a schedule-related emergency, there is someone to cover for me. I almost never need that coverage, but knowing it’s there as a safety net for me and my business brings me a huge amount of peace of mind. It makes my schedule more flexible than it would be without a partnership.

Whether your location is flexible will depend to an extent on your type of work. If you can (and like to) work remotely at all times and you have skills that suit that, then maybe you can work for yourself from anywhere.

If you’re like me and have to work in an office most of the time, then it’s likely that some of your work will become very doable off-site when you have a partner who can be at the office.

2. Experiences over Money

One of the most awesome things about a healthy business partnership is that you can literally pick up and take your family on an epic vacation – where you think about work 0% of the time – while your partner runs the show. Exhibit A is my business partner, who will be in Iceland with his family next month to run an ultra-marathon while I stay here and keep our business humming along.

Experiences are where it’s at for Millennials. All. The. Experiences.

And why do I throw the “over money” part into this discussion? Because in order to actually check out and properly enjoy your vacation, you need to be okay with the fact that you could probably somehow be making more money during that time.

Millennials are great at this already. Most of us would take that trip to Iceland with our loved ones if we got the chance, even without a PTO cushion. The balance that a business partnership brings to this equation is that you can shut of your phone and not worry about your business while you’re away.

3. Ability to Prioritize Family and Loved Ones

When you can control your schedule, you can prioritize your loved ones. The beauty of a business partnership is that, as discussed above, you can leave someone in charge while you turn off your cell phone and be totally present with your friends and family.

You also have someone to cover for you for everything from the arrival of a new baby to an unexpected family emergency. You won’t know how valuable this is until you need it.

4. Work with a Purpose

When you are in charge of your own business, you are in charge of your purpose. You get to write your mission statement. You get to create good employment opportunities. If you feel a lack of meaning or passion in the direction your business is moving, you can change course.

Why does a partnership help with this? Because staying on the course you want is not always easy. There are a million voices out there telling you what you need to do differently, why you’re not good enough, how could make more money with just this one little (ethically questionable) tweak to your business practices.

When you have a shared vision and a shared mission statement with a partner, you can keep each other focused on the values and goals you want for your business and your team.

5. Social Impact

If you are an employee, you rarely have a say in where your company is getting involved in the community or how they are supporting charities. If you own your own business, you are in charge of this 100%.

As a business owner, you get to make sure you are taking good care of your employees in terms of pay, hours, benefits, and work environment. Don’t underestimate the social impact that being a good, caring employer can have in your community.

Whether or not you have a business partner may not change your desire to find ways to make a social impact, but it will introduce you to someone else’s ideas and passions, and get you involved with organizations and people you may never have found on your own.

6. Leadership Opportunity

It goes without saying that if you are a business owner, you’ve got some serious leadership opportunity in front of you. Educate yourself on leadership with as many books, videos, and podcasts as you can get your hands one. Ask your business partner to join you in lifelong educational process that is learning to lead.

7. Loyalty and Stability

This one might surprise you, but it keeps coming up again and again in research about Millennials. We’ve gotten reputation for being flakey and jumping ship whenever things get difficult, which is not entirely unfair.

But the reality is that most of us are looking for something that matters that we can commit to. We value having an employer, professional team, or group of clients that wants to commit to us. Really, who doesn’t want to experience loyalty and stability in their professional relationships and in their career? Most people do, and Millennials are no different.

A healthy business partnership means loyalty to your business partner, your business, and your community – and all those loyalties can lead to stability in this crazy crazy world.

In Conclusion…

None of this is intended to talk you out of a good employment opportunity if you’ve found one that fits your needs. Business ownership is not for everyone. Business partnerships take work.

But if you’re reading some of these thinking “this is totally me!” then just ponder it for awhile. Years from now you might find – like I did – that being in a business partnership was the best career move you ever made.

Me and my business partner filming a video for our office
My business partner and I shooting our office video. Click on the photo to see the final product at www.nazortho.com.

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