There are a million articles on the internet on the takeover of the workplace by millennials. They will tell you how ‘they’ think, what ‘they’ want, what ‘they’ are good at and where ‘they’ suck. Honestly, the only ones who seem to care about these stereotypes – true or false – are the older generations. Meanwhile, millennials like Hannah Bronfman have long taken over the field with their own approach to life and business.
She made her way as corporate DJ, Instagram influencer and ambassador for adidas – just to name a few. It almost seems like Hannah Bronfman is successful at anything she tackles. I had an interesting conversation with this New York It girl around creative independence, setting trends and perfect partners, when I had the opportunity to catch up with her the other day and came away understanding the millennial recipe for success.
While previous generations have dreamt of world peace, Hannah and her fellow creators represent a generation that is focused on their own well-being, on prosperous relationships and family unity. That primary focus on individual health and happiness has led to people saying that this generation is selfish. When taking a closer look, however, this self-centricity really only constitutes a safe starting point from which millennials venture out to change the world. Their approach seems as simple as effective: They first change their own mindset, before they reach out to influence those who follow.
“The messages that I’m trying to bring across are positive body image, being the best version of yourself. Obesity is rampant in the US and I started thinking how can we make people feel confident in themselves, confident in their own skin. I think it’s about education and creating habits at a young age so that we can move through life without such complicated relationships with food and our bodies.”
Millennials sacrifice time and resources to follow up on projects that they value. They would do anything to defend their independence to do exactly that.
The independent creator
Critics argue that the millennials’ independence is artificial, as it often results from the safety net provided by their families; nevertheless, the consequences are in fact very real: A generation has emerged that is freed from fear of failure and liberated to take risk, willing to reach for new heights.
“Being able to create my own future was really attractive to me. I felt that I had the resources, the creativity and the drive to do that. Now I’ve gotten to a place where I’m constantly pushing those boundaries and re-creating and reinventing.“
Their independence – whatever the source – is in reality a mighty catalyst for creative ideas and business opportunities.
Ein Beitrag geteilt von adidas (@adidas) am
This catalyst will only reach its full potential when met with the right mindset and skills. For Hannah, it is all about reading people and spotting trends. Being an early adopter has sharpened her sense of what is happening around her and has taught her to quickly drop projects that do not develop as expected. This approach is executed upon with the help of partners that have a skillset that is complementary to hers.
This enables her to stay on top of new entrepreneurial ventures.
Spot trends and react early to see where it takes you
With the rise of social media, the pace of the development and transformation of new trends has increased dramatically. People and businesses who manage to react quickly – or better yet drive the change – will benefit from the opportunities that come with it. Millennials grew up in an environment flooded with new ideas and technologies and they have learned to filter trends from trash.
“I consider myself an early adopter. I give it a try and see where it takes me. If it doesn’t resonate with me, I either drop it or change it. The genius of innovation is that everything can be reinvented. You just have to look at it with a creative lens and constantly ask yourself: How can you improve it?”
This mindset has helped Hannah to train her brain to be a sponge to new ideas. Social media lets her throw ideas out into the world and see how people in her network react to them. The swarm intelligence of her followership is quite a reliable indicator of the potential success of an idea or project.
“If my followers don’t share what I put out there, I can see that the project doesn’t fly. If it doesn’t fly, I simply drop it and move on to the next idea.”
Know your weaknesses and find a strong partner
More important than the verdict of others, however, is Hannah’s personal identification with her projects and knowing what she can bring to the table. In a millennial’s world, it is no longer a problem to acknowledge your own weaknesses as it allows you to find the right partner to reach your goals.
“I might not have the strongest operational skills, but if I find an insane operator I know that our combined efforts will be 10 times more impactful.”
For many businesses, the mind of a young creative entrepreneur is still a mystery; however, they are starting to realize that years of research and experience in their own market will not outperform the playful and dynamic approach of the younger generation forever.
That leaves established businesses with two options: They either hire millennials, or they partner up with them to tap into their creative minds.
Hiring millennials is a challenge though, as the creative environment and freedom they want to have at work is more important to them than the salary alone. If this is not provided, their passion and creative genius will die quickly or they’ll move on without a second thought. Hence, taking Hannah’s own advice, it might be even better to simply partner with people that display what your business is missing. Partner with an artist if you’re missing color. Partner with an operator if your ideas never translate to reality. Partner with a millennial creator if you want to stay ahead of the game.