Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. Over a quarter (27 percent) are self-employed, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and a much larger 67 percent say they plan to start their own companies.

While some argue that Gen Y’s entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual number of young business owners, the desire for flexible schedules, more autonomy, and managerial roles are prevalent trends among young employees across the country, and have many thinking about starting their own businesses.

And there are those who do take the leap. Like 27-year-old Gabrielle Bosche, who started her own consulting company where she helps managers figure out how to hire and retain millennials. Bosche wrote a book on the subject: 5 Millennial Myths, and she just released her second book The Millennial Entrepreneur, to serve as a how-to guide for young people hoping to start their own businesses.

“As someone who started a company at 24, I had no actual experience or training,” Bosche said. “I started asking around and found a lot of people like me who had a passion for something but didn’t know how to turn it into a business.”
She interviewed 25 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 across the country, from stay-at-home moms to internet start-up companies.

She heard from a generation striving for financial independence and personal fulfillment, who are more focused on cooperation than competition, who have dealt with a sparse job market, and have an intense fear of failure.

Between their childhood experiences and the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality, to protection from parents that has extended into adulthood, “many millennials haven’t necessarily been allowed to fail,” she said.

The young business owners Bosche interviewed all acknowledged the importance of failure, and how it led to their success.

We can't ignore that student debt is a huge barrier many young entrepreneurs are facing. In 2015, the average borrower had $28,400 in debt. And many of these graduates have learned that a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job.

“It’s like asking someone to climb a tree when they’re crawling out of a ditch,” Bosche said.

However, she acknowledged that not all debt is bad debt, and Gen Y is actually more likely to self-fund their start-ups compared to other generations. The heightened awareness of debt has made millennials want to avoid it at all costs. Many are also perfecting the “side-hustle,” or building their dream jobs after their day jobs and getting the best of both worlds.

“Millennials are a very scrappy generation," Bosche said. "We love DIY, we’re going to do it ourselves, we’re going to figure it out. We may not have that traditional career like our parents. Instead of being at the same company for 20 years, we’ll be somewhere for 5 years, but we’ll juice everything we can out of it before we move on to the next thing.”