My generation is the generation of entrepreneurship. It’s never been easier or more affordable to start your own business. I started my first business when I was only nine and I was competing globally before I could even spell the word entrepreneur. The Internet has opened more doors than we could have ever imagined ten years ago and the future is just as unpredictable.

Your Rolodex® has been replaced by social networks. Domain names have in many cases replaced the small business on the street corner. And your résumé has been replaced by your LinkedIn profile. I run my entire business from a laptop and Internet connection. I can be in a hotel room or on the beach in Maui, and my business functions just the same. My customers, employees and even business partners may not know where I’m connecting from. For the majority of my business career, they didn’t even know my age.

During my parent’s generation, it was unheard of to change jobs seven, eight or nine times over a career. Today, that’s the norm. The concept of graduating from a top university and being guaranteed a job in the workforce is simply no longer reality. The job market is more competitive than ever—especially as corporations downsize and outsource, and as more and more job-seekers compete with MBAs and other top degrees.

Many young people are choosing to create their own lives through entrepreneurship. And why not? A decade ago, to start a business you’d have to lease retail space, hire employees and pay overhead expenses, and you’d still have access to only a local market. Today, that picture couldn’t be further from the truth. Now you can start with an idea and $50 and create a business with access to a global market. The Internet makes it easier than ever to reach targeted customers, and social networks give you an instant outlet to promote your products or services.

Many refer to my generation as the “entitlement generation.” I beg to differ. We know what’s possible, we know what we want, and we’re willing to do what it takes to reach our goals. Many large corporations are trying to hire us to help them think of innovative ways to reach our peers. It’s an interesting opportunity for this generation—but honestly, many of us would rather go to work for ourselves.

Entrepreneurship is in our blood, and it’s something no one can take away from us. So, moms and dads, when your sons and daughters are heading off to college—or straight into the business world—and they tell you they are going to major in “entrepreneurship,” don’t worry. Chances are good, they know what they’re doing.

CAMERON JOHNSON is twenty-three and has so far launched
over a dozen successful businesses. He is author of
You Call the Shots
and was featured in the July/August 2004 issue of
Networking Times.