A study recently issued by the insurance company Metlife and written up by the home improvement directory Thumbtack on its blog shows that an overwhelming number of millennials plan to exit full time employment to work as freelancers or solo-preneurs. These figures dwarf those of previous generations, with only 23% of Gen-Xers and 13% of Baby Boomers planning to take the self-employment plunge.

In its post, Thumbtack also cited its own research with SMBs to shed light on why younger workers are leaving cubicle land for the less secure world of self-employment, and how they are going about running their businesses.

“In our conversations with Millennials around the country, it was clear they find business ownership personally and financially rewarding, although financial incentives aren’t the main reason they choose to become entrepreneurs. They’re motivated by work they are passionate about, as well as quality of life – choosing how and when to work.”

Not surprisingly, Thumbtack found that most self-employed millennials either work from home (27%) or are laptop nomads (27%) working from public spaces. Another 12% use co-working spaces. Only 11% were working from a traditional office.

And of course millennials are generally more comfortable using cloud technology to run the business — from using social media and video to acquire customers to using cloud connected point of sale systems like Square or cloud accounting solutions like QuickBooks or Freshbooks. These “cloud native” millennial SMBs (citing our friend Jenn Allen from Cisco) will transform small business.

The LSA’s Tech Adoption Index has documented this correlations between both the age of a business and the age of the business decision maker and the adoption of cloud-based technology for business operations.

The chart below shows the difference in the adoption of mobile apps for business operations (a reasonable proxy for cloud adoption) based on the age of the business’s decision maker. Decision-makers ages 18-34 are nearly three times more likely to use mobile apps to run the business than those age 65 and up. Based on this stat alone you can begin to imagine how profoundly the ascension of millennials to small business ownership will impact how these businesses are run.

Speaking at VendastaCon in April, SurePath Capital Partners Founder Mark MacLeod supported the linkage between millennial entrepreneurship snd SMB tech adoption. He offered that rising millennial entrepreneurship is a key reason why SurePath expects the SMB software industry to continue robust growth into the foreseeable future. SurePath is an investment bank specializing in the SMB software industry.

“By 2025 most SMBs will be run by millennials,” MacLeod said. “They will always be digital first.”

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