Young entrepreneurs took up side hustles in record numbers in 2021 — and there’s no sign that the gig economy will slow down in the coming year. Many ideas will fail altogether, others will be successful enough to bring in a little cushion of cash on the side, and some might even work so well that the side hustle becomes a full-time thing.
In the rarest of cases, what started as a few bucks on the side will go on to change the world.
“In the mid-90s, Kevin Plank was a University of Maryland football player who was constantly irritated with wearing heavy, sweaty shirts under his jerseys during games,” said Perry Zheng, CEO and founder of the real estate site Cash Flow Portal. “In 1996, he created an athletic undershirt for himself that stayed dry even during the most strenuous workouts. It worked so well that he decided to turn it into a side hustle. He manufactured more of these undershirts and started selling them on the East Coast out of his car. Within two years, Under Armour moved out of Plank’s trunk and into a legitimate warehouse and headquarters. Today, the company makes nearly $4 billion annually.”
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The truth, however, is that the mid-90s were a long time ago. Can today’s young entrepreneurs achieve similar success if they work hard and find unique solutions to tomorrow’s challenges?
You bet they can.
Entrepreneurial Gen Zers Need Only To Seize the Day — While Planning For Tomorrow
Because of the brand-building nature of social media, the youngest side hustlers grew up in a digital world that doubled as business school.
“Gen Z entrepreneurs know about the importance of peer-to-peer marketing,” said Matthew McSpadden, CEO of WELD Recruiting. “Many of them solidified it with the start of influencer marketing trends, both on micro and macro levels, from Instagram to TikTok to YouTube to Twitch. They know how to tell a story, and they know how to build a brand — what they need to focus on to be successful is the long game.”
That means looking past the next social media post and building an outline for yearslong success.
“Instead of thinking about all of the money they can make with their side hustle right now, think about what their customers’ or clients’ needs are,” said McSpadden. “What are they now? What will they be in five years, 10 years, 20 years? Then establish a business that can be flexible and adaptable. …….