They’re young, tech-savvy, and these days they’re running their businesses from their smartphones. We’re talking about Millennials of course. At more than 75 million strong, the generation of 18 to 34-year-olds now comprise the largest chunk of the U.S. working population.
On Thumbtack, 250,000 skilled professionals offer more than 1,100 types of services, and 30 percent of these businesses are owned and operated by Millennials. For these up-and-coming entrepreneurs, the office is no longer a physical place. It’s something that fits conveniently in the palm of their hand.
Of Millennials who run a business, 88 percent send quotes and are hired directly from their smartphones. By cutting out the time it takes to stop and check their computers, pros are able to quote while on the job, getting to the customer first by responding the second a request comes in. As Meghan Aro, a personal trainer on Thumbtack puts it: “I live in LA so job requests in areas like Santa Monica, Venice, and Beverly Hills go quickly. I have maybe two minutes to respond before that job request is gone.”
Sean Wolcansek, a contractor in North Carolina agrees: “Being quick to reply when a customer has an immediate need can be the difference in getting the job or not, even if you can’t get to them right away. The faster you get your information in front of them, the better your odds in booking a call.”
So given that these mobile entrepreneurs can work from almost anywhere, where are they doing it? We surveyed 17,000 Millennial small business owners nationwide to find out.
Best Places for Millennials Starting a Small Business
The American South is fertile ground for today’s Millennial entrepreneurs. All 10 of the top-ranked cities for Millennial small business owners were located in the South, with notables including Memphis, Tennessee and Greenville, South Carolina.
Southern states also made a strong showing among Millennials, with Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina all coming in at the top of the list. Midwestern “nice” aside—Indiana, Michigan, and Kansas also received high marks—it’s clear that for young entrepreneurs, the South is the place to be.
In general, Southern states tended to have a lighter touch when it came to regulation, a factor that Millennial small business owners, in particular, appreciated. Another explanation for their success in the South has to do with colleges. Most of the top ten cities for Millennials also are home to mid-size universities, which could provide recent graduates an easy segue into starting a small business in the area.
Millennials Work Across Many Varied Professions
Some 58 percent of the Millennial professionals we surveyed are running their businesses full-time and only 42 percent were operating their business as a side job. When compared with older pros, many, though not all, of the professions they gravitated towards require more advanced technical skills such as Computer Technicians, Wedding Videographers and Web Designers. One interesting exception: Event DJing was actually significantly more popular among senior small business owners than Millennials, coming in as the fifth most popular occupation for seniors and the tenth for Millennials respectively.
One other interesting note about this group: despite coming of age in a time marked by significant economic uncertainty, Millennials are markedly more optimistic about the U.S. economy than the average. Over a three year period, Millennials have consistently displayed rates of economic optimism that are roughly 2 to 3 percent points higher than the general population.
To learn more, view historical Thumbtack Small Business Sentiment Survey data at https://thumbtack.com/survey#/sentiment.
Thumbtack’s monthly Small Business Sentiment Survey uniquely captures the economic outlook of this population of entrepreneurs. To better understand their views and needs, our analysts studied our proprietary marketplace data to identify the cities and states where seniors are most optimistic about their prospects (i.e., where they’re happiest running a business). Between January and June 2016, we surveyed 17,461 Millennials who own and operate small businesses on Thumbtack.