The Great Resignation and the YOLO Economy

the great resignation

With employees quitting jobs in droves, a new generation of entrepreneurs emerges in franchising

U.S. workers are packing up their desks and saying “I quit.” Employees are leaving their jobs in record numbers in search of something better. For some, it’s flexibility and life balance. For others, it’s financial freedom. The Great Resignation is a phenomenon of the pandemic era, and it’s having a tremendous impact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans, or 2.9% of the entire workforce, quit their jobs in August, 2021.

The YOLO Economy

A new YOLO (you only live once) economy has sprung as employees want more from their daily lives. Employees cite burnout and the need for work-life balance as top factors that negatively impact their days. According to the Wall Street Journal, the spring/summer of 2021 saw 60% more resignations than the same period in 2020 and 12% higher than 2019 when the job market was the hottest it’s been in almost 50 years. Roughly a third of these trendsetters are finding the answer to their work-life balance equation with business ownership. 

With a taste of working from home, employees have discovered a new-found freedom, flexible schedules, and more autonomy. With more personal time to ponder and fewer work-related social connections, employees feel less attached to their teams and organizations and are willing to explore job and career options. Instead of going back to the office, millions are choosing business ownership or freelance work so they can decide where and when to work. Gen Z’s are leading the charge in the Great Resignation and have become more emboldened and risk-prone as they flip the idea of ‘burnout’ to a healthier mentality of YOLO.  

Many employees aren’t just looking for new jobs with better benefits or salaries; they see the transition as an opportunity to start their own business. Digital.com, a Seattle-based review site, ran a study with 1,250 people who recently quit their jobs and found roughly one-third said their next step would be to start their own business and become their own boss.  

Flexibility ranks highest 

A desire for flexibility and job satisfaction has been the driving force behind the Great Resignation. A recent LinkedIn survey showed that job flexibility is the fastest-growing priority in work choice. Specifically, 50% of respondents say that flexibility of hours or location has become more important to them during the pandemic. The YOLO economy has been driving people toward business ownership for flexibility, plus more:

  • Control of career
  • Work-life Balance
  • Freedom to live/work/play
  • Semi-absentee ownership gives the ability to start a new business before quitting.
  • You can’t be fired!

The transition to business ownership

Consider this scenario: Joe and Susan had successful careers in manufacturing and technology sales and looked forward to their yearly 3%-6% raise and two-week vacations with their family. And yes, they answered emails while on vacation since their bosses were always hoovering. Additionally, they missed many of their kids’ activities due to work. They were committed but overworked and undervalued.    

Joe and Susan worked from home and shared in the homeschooling of their two kids during Covid. Soon, they realized how much life they had missed. When it came time to report back to the office for Susan, she decided not to go. Joe’s company allowed him to keep his home office. Joe continued working the corporate gig to pay the mortgage while they started a new business. Joe and Susan connected to a franchise consultant who coached them on opportunities that matched their skills and interest and settled on a proven home-based model.  

Employees such as Joe and Susan are now weighing the benefits of having a job versus owning a business to take control of their family’s future. The pandemic reinforced the need by many employees to have greater control of their career path and day-to-day activities for more flexibility, freedom, and family time. Hence, the Great Resignation and the YOLO Economy.

Franchise consultants can coach you to the right business opportunity

Business ownership through a franchise investment is a great option. Franchises offer a battle-tested, proven business model and system, which reduces investor risk. The largest segment is quick-service restaurants and other retail brick-and-mortar businesses. However, the pandemic shifted investors towards essential commercial and residential service franchise opportunities.    

Finding the right proven franchise opportunity to reduce risk begins with education and research. Finding a franchise consultant who has walked in your future shoes as a business owner can simplify the process with guidance and expert advice. An expert can develop a personalized roadmap and evaluate lots of franchise opportunities best suited to your talents, interests, and goals. Your franchise consultant can customize your journey using tools such as ‘business builder assessment’ to see if business ownership is right for you and narrow down how you envision your perfect day to find your match. During the due diligence phase, the consultant should coach you and remain a ‘sounding board’ for a no-cost, no-obligation fee. Similar to an executive recruiter, consultants get compensated by the franchise company.    

Burnout and the need for work-life balance have spurred the desire to change the workplace bringing on the Great Resignation and the YOLO Economy. While business ownership is not right for everyone, the Great Resignation has given rise to a new generation of entrepreneurs ready to take control of their family’s future and invest in themselves to achieve their dreams!

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Scott Diener is an entrepreneur and franchise expert. Scott pursued business ownership after working in the corporate world with franchise giants for more than 20 years. Now he serves as a trusted advisor for corporate refugees and individuals looking for a change through franchise ownership.
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