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One in four young Aussies now has a small business

Young Australians are turning to starting small businesses to help secure their financial futures amid the growing cost of living.

New research survey from GoDaddy has revealed nearly one in four 18-26 year olds have a small business or side-hustle, a jump from one in eight in April last year.

The survey of 1,000 members of Generation Z in Australia also found these digital natives have been among the early adopters of Artificial Intelligence (AI, with almost half using the technology already).

Almost a quarter of Gen Z respondents said they were using AI at work, while two in five were using it at home.

The survey also revealed young Aussies were increasingly worried about financial security as the latest official data shows living costs for employee households jumped nearly 10 per cent in the past year.

Half of those surveyed this year said having a regular, secure income was one of the top two most important factors in their career, as compared to April last year when only 31 per cent rated income as a top two priority.

At the same time, work/life balance has become more important to Gen Z, with 44 per cent nominating it as a first or second order priority in 2023 compared to 36 per cent in 2022.

The cost of living hasn’t dampened Gen Z’s ambitions though, with the survey results showing three-quarters of respondents said they would still make a financial sacrifice to run a business they were passionate about.

Kalista Thomas and Emily Barker are just two of the many young Aussies who’ve recently launched a small business, founding Glamour & Co Beauty Studio in March 2022.

The two friends and beauty experts said they were motivated to go into small business for themselves to have more freedom to travel for work offering wedding services.

“We saw a gap in the market for a fun, creative beauty studio environment and it was always our passion and our dream so we created Glamour & Co,’’ Emily says.

Like many of the Gen Z cohort surveyed, GoDaddy customers Kalista and Emily are passionate about their work and providing the best service to their valued clients. 

“The services we provide are what we are truly passionate about,’’ Kalista says.

“We have a fun, friendly environment which is a place where our clients can be themselves.”

According to GoDaddy’s survey, three in five Gen Z workers said they were primarily motivated in their careers by work they felt passionate about.

Half said they valued having work or a career they could be proud of while less than a quarter said they were motivated to change the world or be their own boss.

Although more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they preferred traditional employment over being their own boss, Gen Z are highly receptive to small businesses.

More than 60 per cent of those surveyed believed launching a side hustle was a much more attractive way to earn extra money than more traditional Gen Z roles like hospitality or retail.

In fact, nearly half of all Gen Z have plans to start a business or side hustle, with one in five planning to launch their business in the next 12 months.

For Emily and Kalista, launching a small business was the best thing they’ve ever done, and they encourage other young Aussies to back themselves and go for it.

“Never be afraid to put yourself out there and take control, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made,’’ Kalista says.

With one in four young Aussies already small business owners, it’s clear this entrepreneurial generation are not afraid to take their careers into their own hands.

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Tamara Oppen

Tamara Oppen

Tamara Oppen is the Vice President, Developed English Markets for GoDaddy. GoDaddy is the company that helps Australian entrepreneurs thrive. For simple tech solutions to help make your life as a business owner easier, visit godaddy.com.au. Prior to joining GoDaddy, Tamara held senior executive roles at Newscorp Australia, including General Manager of News Local, Commercial Business Transformation Lead and Strategy and Operations Director. Tamara was co-founder of Pivot.ly, a digital transformation consultancy helping small businesses and start-ups fast track their digital footprint. Previously, Tamara was CEO of Mable, one of Australia’s fastest growing health tech start-ups, driving brand reinvention and revenue growth.

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