i3 - May/June 2018 - 48

Business
By Jake Sigal
A DV I C E FO R E N T R E P R E N E U RS

Money Talks, Experience
Echoes for Millennials
When I started my first company in
2008, friends looked at me like I was
suddenly unemployed. By 2011, startups offered the hottest jobs on the market thanks to rock star propaganda
from The Social Network and Cinderella
stories out of Silicon Valley. The message was clear that you, too, can start a
company in your dorm room or dad's
garage, and sell it for hundreds of millions, check that, billions of dollars.
In 2018, we're seeing a shift back to
the corporate life. Large companies
have brought back even larger salaries
for STEM college grads. Combine big
paychecks with even bigger bonuses,
and it's harder now than ever to hire a

tech team at a small business. We just
can't compete on salary.
At Tome, we've learned that most
applicants want to be part of a small
company and are interested in starting
(or helping to start) their own business
someday. While many might not be the
"entrepreneur" per se, they may want
to work at a fledgling, up-and-coming
"newco" startup.

Two Keys to Success

The first is experience in a small business setting. What I find most interesting is that many millennials are looking
to make enough money to quit their job
in three to five years and join a startup.

Many millennials value
experience in a small
business setting.

48

MAY/JUNE 2018

I hear so many stories about young professionals who want to "get the corporate experience" in the bank first before
they make that jump.
The irony is that by the time you've
spent that much time in a large corporate setting, you may have missed the
chance to acquire the skills you need
for success in a small business. In fact,
the critical skills you did learn in college may have been lost. What's more,
spending those five years in a corporate environment will make it that
much harder to walk away from a large
corporate salary toward risk and
financial uncertainty.
The second thing you'll need is a personal budget that works. The beauty of
working for a small business is that
savvy millennials can sock away some
savings and be budget conscious
enough to eventually make the leap over
to a new company. There's a trend in
millennial spending patterns favoring
experiences over material possessions.
The ultimate experience is setting your
own hours and savoring a taste of the
entrepreneur's American dream. But it
takes frugal spending and a big bank of
savings to support a newco project commitment of 12-18 months.
I'm proud to have helped several
employees learn the ropes so they
could have their own newco or join
another one. Money talks, whether it's
earning or spending. Small businesses
will never win on dollars alone. We
have to fight cash with a different kind
of compensation, and a promise to help
young professionals get to where they
want to be in five years, including and
beyond the financials.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

Fang Xia Nuo/Getty Images

 A 

mong the things millennials have already witnessed is the
rise and fall of big-name startups. But small businesses
can often give young professionals valuable experience.



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