In spite of the recession-wounded economy and striking levels of student debt, a large percentage of Millennials are sidestepping traditional career paths and have become a significant force in the world of small business. In a recent survey from Manta, an online community dedicated to small business, 76% of Millennial entrepreneurs polled in the first half of 2015 say their businesses have had a successful year so far. Many of them hired new employees, and even more planned to hire through year’s end. This data tells us that the majority of Millennials aren’t crafting careers out of the traditional office jobs their Gen X and baby boomer predecessors pursued. Actually, in a recent Deloitte poll, 70% of Millennials said they’d reject traditional business to work independently, and in a separate study, one in five said they want to quit their current jobs and start their own projects. For those who have done so, the results are encouraging: • Ninety per cent are optimistic about business prospects into 2016; • Nearly half (44%) hired new employees in the year’s first half; • More than half (52%) planned to make new hires before the end of 2015. If they follow the path this kind of optimism seems to predict, then business leaders in the aftermarket would do well to pay attention. With an average college-loan debt that’s hovering around $26,000, and a post-recession Millennial unemployment rate that’s nearly double that of any other age demographic, there’s an important point about the leap to striking out on one’s own that’s packed into these facts. When a recent Angus Reid survey found that 78% of Millennials are motivated by the concept of “charting their own course,” remember that this is a generation that perhaps had no other choice. The fact that 76% of Millennial business owners say they’re making a positive go of the companies they’ve started is remarkable, and for these entrepreneurs, it’s just the beginning. So here’s some sage advice from a boomer. I’ve often heard many older business owners regretting the fact that they didn’t spend enough time with their family. Getting a company off the ground and ensuring its success is hard work that doesn’t leave much surplus time. What often tends to be sacrificed is spending quality time with those who matter most, our loved ones. You may be a distracted presence at a child’s event, or even miss the event altogether; you may stop nurturing your friendships, or put off having a quiet walk with an elderly family member; you may be on a family vacation in body but not in spirit; while your family is trying to make memories at the beach, you are trying to make phone calls. All of these times are non-recoverable. If this describes you, learn from those who have been on that trail and make changes to right the balance between life and money. nJN Where To Look For Leadership Advice The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (http://www.futurpreneur.ca) pairs entrepreneurs aged 18 to 34 with mentors who are looking to pass the torch. You can also hire a mentor from companies such as Vistage (ww.vistage.com), Pivotplanet (www.pivotplanet.com), Rockstar (www.rockstargroup.co.uk/), or Executive Mentors (http://www.executivementors.ca/).