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There’s a stigma out there about Millennials being precocious or unserious about business today. It doesn’t help that our generation is perceived as “lazy” and “entitled” because there is some truth to that statement. However, Millennials aren’t a monolithic bunch—nor should they — especially right-leaning ones — be discouraged from launching their own businesses before age 30.

As conservatives, we welcome and celebrate creative disruption. The advent of Uber, Airbnb, and countless other startups demonstrates the lasting power of free enterprise. How come more people who hold are views are afraid to unleash their entrepreneurial ambitions? This fear must be erased once and for all.

The current U.S. economy is ripe with opportunities for Millennials to start their own businesses. Per Forbes, 85 percent of Millennials desire to work remotely while 54 percent of them desire flexible or alternative schedules. 53 million freelancers who comprise nearly 35 percent of the workforce contribute $715 billion back into the economy. Moreover, the Small Business Administration recorded 58 million people — or 48 percent of the private workforce — were employed by small businesses in 2016. Thanks to the gig economy and shift towards freelancing, more right-leaning Millennials can be inspired to go on their own.

We’ve seen the conservative movement from the inside out and learned how to navigate it. Seizing upon opportunities and our desire to branch out, we decided it was time to apply our values into the real world. We recognized some serious faults in the industry and recognized it was time to make our exit – though we are still closely connected. Here’s our advice to Future Female Leader readers:

Anna Maria: I have been a freelance graphic and web designer full-time for almost six months, but if I didn’t work on Capitol Hill nearly three years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today. There, I discovered my passion for helping people on the local level and the amazing Adobe Creative Cloud as a press/social media assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Since then, I had a few stints in different sectors of the conservative movement, non-profit and advertising, which made me realize very few people are actually helping people on the local level with their creative needs. I was tired of seeing outdated logos, websites, e-newsletters, and social media graphics that lacked hopefulness, authenticity, and a heart-to-heart connection. I noticed the very people who do the most for society through their small businesses, churches, and non-profits can’t afford to go to an advertising agency for quality branding. I decided to help fill the void.

Nowadays, I specialize in logo design, marketing materials, custom business cards, social media graphics, and web design for individuals, small businesses – including veteran-owned, churches, and non-profits. It is a joy for me to put my values into action and help people succeed in their communities.

Everyday presents an opportunity for me to learn something new and grow my skill set. Currently, I am learning custom web design and plan to get into mobile app design. We definitely need more conservative women in tech. Ladies, if you’re curious about coding and how it can advance your career path, I encourage you to learn it.

If I didn’t work in politics, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It helped give me the network I needed for my foundation. Now, I have expanded my network by getting involved in a local entrepreneurial network in Crystal City and the Catholic business networks in the D.C. metro area. I’m really grateful to now be helping the Catholic business networks welcome more young professionals so we can bolster entrepreneurship in the Church here.

Thanks to perseverance and a drive to make a difference, I am able to make self-employment a reality for myself.    

Gabriella: I’m a media strategist specializing in public relations and social media strategy. I help clients define their content strategy, get positive press attention, match them with the right digital tools or people, and pair them with influencers to boost their branding efforts. I also do commentary writing for various media outlets and speak to conservative groups about effective Millennial outreach.

Prior to becoming a full-time media strategist, I served as the Director of Media Relations for Liberty Farm Festival last summer—a Virginia political event featuring now-VP Mike Pence and all declared Republican candidates for statewide office. Before that, I had a four-year stint at Leadership Institute as a Regional Field Coordinator working with college students and training activists on effective social media tactics. If you haven’t taken a training from them yet, remedy that today. I still serve as a guest faculty member and maintain a good working relationship with the organization.

Since 2010, I’ve been working unpaid and paid gigs since 2010 at radio shows, nonprofits, and for several media organizations I helped start-up. I learned the value of networking and making meaningful connections—relationships, and even friendships, that continue now. Without drive, hard work, mentors, and forging good connections, I wouldn’t be self-employed today. This is the recipe for success.

In the short time I’ve been self-employed as a media strategist, I’ve learned to embrace the challenges. Coming from a family of small business owners, I was told working for yourself is enjoyable, but not without its challenges. Being self-employed is far from easy and not without its risks. However, that’s life. You must strive to be better when you’re presented with challenges. It’ll pay huge dividends, I promise.

What I especially love about being a media strategist is the freedom to select what kind of work to do and particular companies to help. With my interest in small business and the outdoor/shooting sports industry, I can work with like-minded folks making the private sector a better place—a place where conservative values can actually come alive. The freedom to choose what clients to work with or projects to collaborate on is truly liberating. If an opportunity falls through, a better one lies ahead. Stress-management is far easier. You work according to your schedule and can tackle numerous projects that inspire you to work better and more effectively. A traditional workplace doesn’t allow people this level of creative freedom. The conservative movement could benefit from having more work environments that allow more creative freedom. This time has also given me opportunities to pick up more skills—namely filming and video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. Coupling strategy with practical skills allows me to tackle more projects and not limit my potential as a consultant. The more you know, the better you stand out.

To all the FFL readers out there: If you want to work in media full-time or on your own, don’t let anyone discourage you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to carving your path in this sector. Take on many experiences, learn from the pros, be humble, have mentors, and pick up skills that’ll make you stand out. Heck, start your own platforms or blogs—you never know what can happen. Anything is possible.

Anna Maria Hoffman
GUEST COLUMNIST
Gabriella Hoffman
GUEST COLUMNIST