Millennials have developed a bit of a bad reputation. They're seen as entitled -- 73 percent of millennials expect to be able to modify their work computer and 40 percent believe they should be promoted every two years. They're also described as being sheltered from criticism and being self-absorbed by both generational researchers and their on-the-job managers.
But that's not the whole story on this generation. In addition to these seemingly-negative traits, they're also optimistic, love to volunteer and choose to search for work that matters. They truly care about the world and their place in it. They are digital natives. And it is these qualities that make them the best entrepreneurs the U.S. has ever seen.
1. Work that matters
Today, millennials aren't as concerned about making a living as they are about making a life. They want to do work that matters--and if they can find a way to live on less income to do it, they're more than willing to give it a try.
There couldn't be a better trait for an entrepreneur. Building new businesses takes vision, scrappy determination and a willingness to go without for a time in the service of a larger purpose. When a business has a purpose and actually makes the world better, not only is the founder inspired, so are customers. Millennial entrepreneurs are reaching millennial customers with products and services that matter, and they're succeeding in the process.
Millennials came into the job market in the middle of a major economic downturn, and they've made the best of it. Not only that, they've thrived. The much maligned self-assurance of this generation is in fact a deep optimism about life and their place in the world. They believe that they can, and will, succeed.
This optimism is essential for success as an entrepreneur. Being able to see past current circumstances and believe that you will achieve your goals is the hallmark of a successful business owner. Studies show that those who are optimistic work harder than those with a negative outlook, which directly impacts business success.
3. Comfort with technology
While many have criticized this generation for being addicted to their mobile devices, the truth is that millennials are simply digital natives. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are as normal to them as eating, breathing and walking around. They founded the social media movement and, as a result, are constantly connected to their social circles.
This comfort with the digital world gives them a striking advantage in marketing goods and services. While older entrepreneurs have to learn social media like a new language, millennials are native speakers. They know how to connect, what to say and how to get their message across. They know what resonates with others like them. As a result, these digital natives are well equipped to succeed in business, given their innate knowledge of media marketing.
Millennials have taken a lot of criticism for their entitled attitudes and always-on social media lives. However, this criticism is simply a misunderstanding of their entrepreneurial strength. Their strong optimism, desire to make a difference and comfort with technology may, in fact, make millennials the best entrepreneurial generation we've seen yet.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.