Thumbtack Releases New Research on Millennial Entrepreneurship

Millennials are choosing independent work over traditional office jobs, prioritizing personal fulfillment over financial incentives

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Today Thumbtack, the app that finds you local professionals for almost anything, releases its latest research on Millennial entrepreneurs. Thumbtack surveyed 4,000 small business owners between the ages of 18 and 35 across the U.S. and found Millennials are leaving traditional jobs and utilizing technology to start their own business, pursue professional passions and to find personal fulfillment.

Millennials are motivated by much more than financial success,” said Lucas Puente, Thumbtack’s Lead Economist, who conducted the survey. “This cohort finds being an entrepreneur financially rewarding, but they are most focused on being able to pursue their individual passion.”

Highlights from the research:

  • Increasingly, Millennials choose independent work and entrepreneurship over traditional 9-5 employment. 40 percent of Millennials plan on leaving their full-time employers to work as a freelancers within five years. (Only 23 percent of workers in Gen X and 13 percent of Baby Boomers say the same.)
  • Millennials use technology to help grow their business, utilizing social media for marketing (84 percent) and platforms like YouTube to answer customer questions.
  • Financial incentives are not the main factor in starting a business for Millennials — three in five report starting a business to be more fulfilled, not to make more money. This group is focused on work they are passionate about and quality of life in choosing how and when to work.
  • Millennial entrepreneurs are not tied down to a traditional office setting. Only 11 percent of Millennials report working from an office, while 27 percent work from home. Twenty-seven percent use public spaces like coffee shops or libraries and 11 percent use co-working spaces. And for those whose craft doesn't require a desk at all? They reported working from dance studios, flower shops, tennis courts and swimming pools — teaching, coaching and making their products by hand.

Photography is my passion. I can do whatever I want in my own space and I’m the one ultimately deciding my destiny,” said Danielle Powell, a Thumbtack Pro photographer in Kansas City, Mo. “Having my own company is very liberating. The sky’s the limit. And being self-employed, you don’t experience age discrimination or workplace politics.”

In terms of the best cities for Millennial entrepreneurs to start, operate and grow a small business, this year Kansas City, Mo. ranked first for small business friendliness. Sixty-one percent of the Millennials running a small business in Kansas City told us that their local government was “somewhat” or “very supportive” of businesses like theirs. Additional top cities include: Seattle, San Antonio, Minneapolis and Nashville, Tenn.

For more details about top cities for small business friendliness for Millennial entrepreneurs, please visit our interactive survey results page. For the full report, visit our

Top Cities for Millennial Entrepreneurs

1. Kansas City, MO

2. Seattle, WA

3. San Antonio, TX

4. Minneapolis, MN

5. Nashville, TN

6. Atlanta, GA

7. Tampa, FL

8. Austin, TX

9. Washington, DC

10. West Palm Beach, FL

11. Charlotte, NC

12. St. Louis, MO

13. Houston, TX

14. Sacramento, CA

15. Dallas, TX

16. Phoenix, AZ

17. Miami, FL

18. Philadelphia, PA

19. Boston, MA

20. Anaheim, CA

21. Denver, CO

22. Fort Worth, TX

23. San Francisco, CA

24. Chicago, IL

25. Orlando, FL

Top Occupations for Millennial Entrepreneurs

(By volume)

1. Photographer

2. Landscaper

3. Handyman

4. General Contractor

5. Cleaner

6. Painter

7. Personal Trainer

8. Videographer

9. Junk Remover

10. Carpenter

Survey Methodology

Thumbtack Lead Economist, Lucas Puente, PhD, surveyed 4,000 skilled professionals between the ages of 18 and 35 from across the U.S., operating across hundreds of categories, including as electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, wellness professionals and more. The survey asked about the policies of their states and cities toward small business, as well as what it’s like to start and run a small business in their community. For the survey methodology, please visit: Thumbtack additionally conducted focus groups of Millennial pros across the country for insights.

About Thumbtack

Thumbtack, headquartered in San Francisco, was created to solve a seemingly simple problem: local professionals need customers so they can run and grow their business. Customers need local pros too, but have trouble finding the right ones. So in 2008, the Thumbtack founders developed a marketplace bringing the two together. Since then, the platform helped hundreds of thousands of skilled professionals build successful businesses and help 25 million customers with everything from plumbing, to catering, to personal training to math tutoring. Learn more at


Justine Gananian

Release Summary

Thumbtack Releases New Research on Millennial Entrepreneurship


Justine Gananian