Recession Sparks Entrepreneurial Spirit, Bootstrapping - TREND TRACKING | RELEASE

From the February 2010 Zandl Group Trend Tracking Report

Young people haven't been immune to the effects of the current economy; they've witnessed their parents getting laid off after working for a company for years and recent college grads are finding it difficult to enter the job market. Disenchanted with the traditional paths to "success (e.g. starting at the bottom of a company and working their way to the top), they're taking matters into their own hands, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and dreaming big.

We ask our Trend Tracking Report panelists about their life and career goals and while "going to college" or "getting good grades" are perennially at the top of the list, we're noticing quite a few loftier goals, including an entrepreneurial spirit. Teens are saying they want to open their own businesses - from catering companies to tattoo parlors, they're thinking about what they enjoy now, what they will enjoy in the future, and how to monetize it. Tweens (in an increasingly serious fashion) are aiming to be doctors, engineers, mechanics, pilots, psychologists, lawyers and veterinarians (even mentioning which colleges/universities they want to attend).

(Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Google)

While the idea of starting a business with the help of venture capital sounds easy, for most people the reality of entrepreneurship is that it's a full-time hustle. The process of dreaming big but starting small is the foundation of bootstrapping - like Larry Page and Sergey Brin who started Google out of a garage with borrowed/used computers and the now millionaires who founded Urbanspoon in a basement with whatever savings they had, the keys to bootstrapping lie in innovative ideas, hard work, taking things one step at a time and living your dream.

Be Your Own Network
Social media has proven time and time again to be a successful tool in launching businesses and careers. From Facebook fan pages to Twitter Feeds to YouTube channels, young people are taking control of their careers by using web tools for their public relations campaigns. By taking such an active role, they are forming their own networks and reaching as many people as possible.

MAKING IT WORK: DIY Success Stories

Soft Clothing (For all Children)
Soft started on a borrowed laptop, Soft was a dream of Jessica Ralli , a special education teacher/fashion enthusiast. Realizing that there was a need for clothing for children with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and tactile defensiveness and not much product available, she set on starting her own clothing line to fill this void. Her research included over two years of building a network through Facebook and Mom Blogs, creating her own social network for parents, and blogging about how to help children with a variety of sensory needs.

Owl City
23-year-old musician Adam Young hustled his way to success by releasing his music independently on MySpace and iTunes. He gained popularity via social media, and ended up reaching number one on the Billboard charts.

Tavi Gevinson (Style Rookie)
A fashion prodigy, spunky teen blogger Tavi started out blogging about her sartorial choices and influences in a diary-like manner. She quickly caught the attention of the fashion world, and now is not only the muse for the Rodarte sisters, but also a Vogue correspondent, and has been showing up front row at the Paris Couture shows.

Michelle Phan
Make-up How-To guru Phan started off posting videos of her make-up tutorials on YouTube (e.g. "Lady Gaga  Poker Face Tutorial," "Makeup For Glasses") quickly reached hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube, making her one of the most popular "YouTube tutors" ever. As a result, she was hired as a video producer by Lancome.

The creation of Lucas Cruikshank, "Fred" is a squeaky voiced funny guy, but there's nothing funny about his success. Fred's YouTube channel is the fourth most subscribed-to channel in the history of YouTube (with over 250,000 subscribers) and about 23 million video views monthly. Lucas has stated that he really wanted to be an actor, but growing up in Nebraska, he didn't have much of an outlet, so he turned to the internet and began posting his Fred videos to make a name for himself. And he's already gotten the attention of Hollywood -- with cameos on iCarly and Hannah Montana, and
Fred: The Movie started filming last November.  He also has a series of Fred merchandise already available.

Justin Bieber
Now a bona-fide pop singing sensation, 15-year-old Justin Bieber self-started by posting cover version of popular songs on YouTube less than 2 years ago. He's now performing all over the world and a hit with both tweens and teens.

Founded by 3 friends, Etsy, the online community of crafters began as a way for micro-businesses to get off the ground. Not only is Etsy itself a major success with 60 employees and sales of $10 to $13 million per month, many members of the Etsy community have been able to hustle their way to full-time craftployment.

An annual subscription to our YOUTH MARKET/YOUNG ADULT TREND TRACKING REPORT (The Hot Sheet) is like having an on-going market research program, keeping you tapped in, helping you understand the Generation Y/Millennial mindset and alerting you to hot new trends at their inception. The report facilitates target marketing and helps clients track and monitor macro trends developing in multiple categories.

Based on surveys conducted throughout the country with young people ages 8-24, The YOUTH MARKET/YOUNG ADULT TREND TRACKING REPORT is the only report of its kind that focuses on young adults, teens, and tweens. Survey data is segmented by gender and age group (8-12, 13-17, 18-24).

Throughout the year, young adults, teens and tweens complete open-ended questionnaires exploring what’s new and cool on their radar, their values and aspirations, lifestyle and interests, their involvement with technology and social networking, entertainment and media consumption, purchase behavior and hot new brands in a broad range of categories. The use of open-ended questions results in more in-depth, real answers from our Gen Y panelists, thereby highlighting their specific interests. Our annualized sample is representative of this population segment by gender, age, ethnic background and region according to Census data.

Find out more at


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Trend tracking is essential today for businesses to navigate the ever-changing world.