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Generation Z fast becoming the 'side hustle' generation

OU poll says 97% are most driven by career and financial goals, with many selling services via their own websites, e-commerce platforms, social media

Posted by Julian Owen | November 28, 2017 | Students

The Open University (OU) has released findings from a new consumer poll which reveals a strong appetite amongst young people to own their own business and gain financial independence. According to the figures, almost all (97%) of young people aspire to start their own business and become financially independent, while other ‘softer’ life goals such as falling in love (37%), writing a novel (9%), or becoming a reality star (4%) ranking lower on the priority list.

In stark contrast to the younger generation, almost half (43%) of older people polled stated that they wouldn’t consider starting up their own business as it would be ‘too much of a struggle’ or due to ‘a lack of support’.

The poll, which gathered the views of 2,000 UK adults, also uncovered that most Gen Z’s already have, or would consider a ‘side-hustle’ venture, using creative websites, blogs, e-commerce platforms,and social media (such as eBay [81%], Facebook [76%], Instagram [71%], Amazon [59%], and Gumtree [59%]).

In addition, over half (53%) don’t rely on their job to provide their only income, and plan to continue these activities as a second job or hobby, with three quarters (75%) stating that their ‘side hustle’ fits around their life, studies and their current jobs.

“This study shows that while many people have a real entrepreneurial spirit and attitude, it’s more often than not simply confidence or fear of failure which holds people back.”

Of those surveyed that hadn’t got involved in any entrepreneurial activities (59%), a lack of required skills and support network to fully start up their own business were cited as the main reasons why would-be entrepreneurs hadn’t taken the leap and started their own money-making enterprise.

Rick Edwards, author and TV presenter said: “I had my own ‘side-hustle’ when I was younger, always looking for ways to make money: bulk-buying crisps at the age of nine and selling them on in the school playground, and trying to buy-out the opposition on my car washing round.

“This study shows that while many people have a real entrepreneurial spirit and attitude, it’s more often than not simply confidence or fear of failure which holds people back.”

Chloe Burroughs, OU graduate and entrepreneur said: “I always wanted to run my own business, however, I felt that my lack of skills and education would be a stumbling block from achieving my goals. I was bright at school but struggled to keep up with my workload at Sixth Form. I didn’t step up my effort and my final grades made me believe I must not be very smart.

“However, studying with the OU a few years later made me realise I could achieve anything if I put in the effort. Since enrolling I have never looked back. Using the skills I learned on my business degree, I’m now running my own study skills business alongside my full-time role as a Personal Assistant at an aeronautics company, to help students like me who want to achieve higher grades with lower stress.”

For further information please visit: www.open.ac.uk  

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