Beyond 9–5: Why Gen Z creatives are turning to digital entrepreneurship

Digital entrepreneurship is one of the most accessible ways to achieve financial independence for Gen Z.

Most notably, they don’t necessarily need prior knowledge to start. They also have the option to learn new skills from mainly free or low-cost learning hubs.

For more insight on what draws Gen Z to digital entrepreneurship and how they approach it, I chatted with Gen Z entrepreneur Brandy, 21, a recent financial economics graduate of Carleton University, Ontario, Canada. She runs BFW Beauty, an online beauty store, and shared a few key learnings from her experience.

Utilizing Non-Traditional Platforms Expands Business Opportunities

As a beauty entrepreneur who sells hair extensions and offers makeup services, Brandy has clients both near and far. From her room in Canada’s capital, there are only so many people she can reach using traditional platforms. With money, time, and effort as constraints to Brandy’s financial independence, using digital platforms offers more opportunity for expansion.

“I realized I could reach a broader audience by running my business online. Most people are online, so I thought to myself, why not run an online store,” Brandy explained. By leveraging the opportunities provided by non-traditional platforms like her Instagram account, Brandy gets an average of 12 clients a month from across Canada and even travels to meet her clients when they are far away. She can work with her desired number of clients while giving her attention to other priorities, too.

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Balance Is Key

With “work-life balance” being the Gen Z buzz phrase, I asked Brandy what she appreciated most about being a digital entrepreneur.

“The idea of being self-made, which is what my lifestyle is centered around. I love setting my schedule and being my boss. A typical 9–5 just isn’t cutting it,” Brandy shared.

When a Gen-Zer attains the level of financial independence that they desire, they often want to invest time and energy into projects outside of work, hence why balance is an essential factor. Even as the world is leaning towards a remote work style, 9–5 workers still have to plan their lives around their jobs. Digital entrepreneurs who are able to plan their time around other activities outside of work are able to find more fulfillment. 

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There are New Ways to Learn Skills

Digital entrepreneurship provides Gen Z with a wide range of choices when it comes to learning the skills they need to start their businesses. There are free resources like YouTube and blogs, or more affordable online hubs like Coursera, Future Learn, and so on.

Although Brandy first learned her beauty skills by apprentice training, she has since acquired the bulk of what she knows now from YouTube. For a competitive market like the beauty industry, trends come and go, and beauty entrepreneurs must continuously be on top of their game. 

“I decided to teach myself these new skills by watching YouTube. I still watch YouTube videos today to learn the latest techniques and makeup tricks,” Brandy said. If Brandy had to go back to her apprentice training every time there was a new beauty skill to learn; she’d run out of time, money and effort to run her business.