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The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Gen Z: Veering From Convention and Being Who They Want to Be

Gen Z breaks the mold, ditching norms and foraging their own paths as they establish their own ventures to live the life they envision for themselves.

Matt Nusom

Entrepreneurs choose to create a path for themselves that has not yet been paved by others. They are true freethinkers who can envision new innovations and take the risk to create them themselves. Entrepreneurship is becoming exceedingly popular amongst the younger generations that want to see their visions come to life.

The coming-of-age stories for most young people are thought to begin with the question, what do you want to do? This is the number one question our generation is asked when talking about the future. What seems like a simple question to answer is actually one of the most difficult.

People should instead ask, who do you want to be? Now this is a question that can generate a thought-provoking conversation about the person’s attributes, values, hobbies, goals, etc., which are often the foundations for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Entrepreneurs can envision a product, service, or venture that is inexistent or lacking based on their attributes. Young individuals around the country and the world have turned their passions and hobbies into profitable businesses.

Gen-Z members are keen on creating careers that don’t just pay the bills but bring satisfaction. They are challenging the conventional expectations for living and working a 9 to 5; they rather have a more meaningful and personal motivation for working.

The Voices of Gen Z Entrepreneurs

I connected with 5 individuals who have created their own entrepreneurial endeavors and gave their insight into the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generations.

Gabby Alfveby and Kathryn Hennessy started 74 King Magazine to empower vulnerability and give people a platform to create and share their thoughts and art freely. Based in St. Augustine, Florida at Flagler College, the magazine has grown as a result of Alfveby’s commitment to its success and ability to lean on others for support.

74 King Magazine website page that features photos of Flagler College.
74 King Magazine website page featuring Flagler College, home to the co-founders. Credit: Gabby Alfveby

Hannah Johnson is the host of All Things Universe with Han, a podcast that began as an outlet to express her thoughts but has slowly become something much bigger than her personal audio journal. The podcast reaches a broad audience of listeners wanting to delve into topics like spiritual awakening, soulmates, manifesting your dreams, energy and how to enjoy this human experience.

All Things Universe with Han podcast. Credit: Hannah Johnson

Matt Nusom is the host of Entrepreneurial Endeavors, a podcast that picks the brains of successful entrepreneurs who have gone through the process and are fortunate enough to share their experiences with the rest of us. Like many startups, Nusom listened to his gut when he decided to pivot from another startup idea and instead develop his podcast.

Matt Nusom and the owner of Lake Drum Brewing Company from Geneva, NY sitting at a table during a podcast episode.
Matt Nusom sitting with the owner of Lake Drum Brewing Company, Geneva, NY. Credit: Matt Nusom

Angela Lunz is the founder of Rooted and Flourished Designs, a professional floral preservation company. Motivated by her personal love for nature and a vision to provide an inaccessible service in her hometown, Lunz established her business that now serves Western NY, Erie, PA and beyond. She professionally preserves flowers for weddings and funerals so people can forever enjoy the beautiful arrangements.

Preserved wedding flowers cast in resin.
Preserved wedding flowers. Credit: Angela Lunz

Alex Zdroyevski sewed his way into the world of fashion with his upcycled clothing brand, Zdroyevski Atelier. He creates one-of-one designs from upcycled fabrics that are hand-selected based on his artistic intuition. Zdroyevski is a self-taught, passionate, and dedicated designer. His persistence and patience with learning the fundamentals of sewing and the construction of clothing have allowed him to create unique pieces that represent his vision and love for vintage clothing.

Green quilt hand sewn puffer jacket with an Zdroyevski Atelier patch sewn on the arm.
A Zdroyevski original upcycled puffer sewn from a vintage quilt. Credit: Sophie Kreinheder

What do they have to say about entrepreneurship in their own generation?

These individuals explored their own entrepreneurial potential and took the risk of bringing their visions to life. They are fueled by their desire to live a balanced life that can be lacking in the current work model.

 
As a member of Gen Z I definitely think the entrepreneurial spirit of our generation is growing because we realized by watching what our parents and grandparents have gone through or deal with in terms of their occupation, that we don’t want to work a nine to five job and be unhappy. We are deciding to put our mental health and happiness first by finding other ways to make a living than just working an office job or other nine to five job.

Gabby Alfveby

Taking a leap of faith in oneself and navigating a self-paved path is extremely difficult. It is not always supported or understood but is an increasingly attractive option for creative thinking people.

As a member of GenZ, I feel so inspired when I look around at my fellow creators/entrepreneurs who have ditched the idea that in order to be successful, they have to follow this path that doesn’t allow for any creative expression or freedom…they’re deciding to go find what’s out there for them that really lights them up.

Hannah Johnson

As these ideas come to fruition and thrive, more individuals are enticed to create their own startups. This caused a spike in entrepreneurship across the country and around the world.

I think entrepreneurial spirit of our generation has been the highest the world has ever seen due to the fact that we’re so well-connected, and able to look at other success stories, and learn from them in order to improve on our own endeavors.

Matt Nusom

The interconnectedness that technology and social media creates has generated a thriving entrepreneurial scene. The internet is flooded with innovation which inspires people to launch their own service or venture.  

Success begins with the right mindset

Entrepreneurship takes guts and dedication. Individuals who have the vision to create a new venture are not only creative but diligent. In order to succeed and have their business thrive, they must overcome monetary, logistic, and mental obstacles.

 
The mental block was probably the hardest, but I overcame that by just jumping in feet first, and breaking down the processes so it didn’t seem so overwhelming.

Angela Lunz

‘Networking’

Networking amongst creators is simply building connections and friendships with like-minded people. It is huge for the entrepreneurial field. Connecting with those who have gone through the process of creating a new venture can relate in ways that others may not be able to.

I don’t want to call it networking because its not…All these cities I’ve been able to go there, source, look for fabrics, then take them to friends studios and rework them.

Alex Zdroyevski

Whether you call it networking, connecting, team building, etc, collective efforts from people around you can help your business thrive. What is often mistaken about entrepreneurs is that they are a one-man show. Historically, innovations are attributed to one individual, but behind them is a team of equally original minds.

It’s just really hard to do it on your own and it’s okay to accept help from other people. It doesn’t make you any less powerful or smart or creative for starting something while asking for help.

Gabby Alfveby

The hardest part is starting

Starting is undeniably the toughest phase for entrepreneurs. Familiarity feels safe and the unknown seems daunting, but comfortability is not a place that cultivates growth. In order to prosper and reach one’s fullest potential, comfort is foreign to entrepreneurs’ verbiage.

Starting a new service, business, or brand is also an opportunity to make mistakes and grow from them. The fear of failure and the pressure to make the right decisions can be overwhelming. However, successful entrepreneurs recognize that starting is the vital first step towards transforming their visions into reality.

Start now, do not wait for the perfect moment because it will never come. Start now and worry about perfecting it later. Follow your own vision, even if it does fail you followed youself…People are going to judge you, people are going to have their opinions of you, so might as well put your work out there, just be yourself.

Alex Zdroyevski

Making mistakes is a commonality between every startup that has ever existed. Mistakes are inevitable but shouldn’t deter one from starting.

You will fail, but that’s where all the lessons are to be learned.

Hannah Johnson

Who do you want to be?

Gen Z is molding a new future for the next generations. Individuals that want to cultivate a life that symbiotically meshes their work with their lives. They are focusing on who they are and who they want to be rather than what they want to do.

I think the Genz is going to change things, people are going to start becoming the person that they want to be instead of just dreaming about it.

Hannah Johnson

So, who do you want to be?

Written By

Graduated from Flagler College, with a liberal arts degree concentrating in political science, economics, and English to develop a multifaceted perspective on the world. What started as a childhood hobby, writing has become a passion and has formed into a career interest in Journalism.

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