“I made a company generating the sale of ten billion 12 years after I worked at a part-time job with 2,300 won. Moreover, few years ago, I made an amazing achievement. My company saw a 1,000 percent increase in sale only in one year.” Lee Sangjun, a Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of KulPy Chicken, started his own business when he was 24-year-old college student. Although he had went through hardship such as fraud and bankruptcy, he is now the CEO of a huge company which has more than 200 stores.
The successful case seems just an unconnected story with oneself but the interest of commercial career of youth has been increasing. According to a research about being self-employed by Hyundai Research Institute(HRI), in 2013, entry rate to being self-employed of youth recorded over 38 percent and it is the highest rate in comparison with other age groups. However, still society has negative perception toward being self-employed and it has poor conditions for opening independent business.
The Reason Why Young People Try Commercial Works
These days, young men strive to get a job by practicing several foreign languages as well as getting numerous qualifications to get a job. It is tough to find works but after they find their position, also, there are only few people who are satisfied with own job or their salary. 25.2 percent of employee who have graduated college quit their job in a year according to the Korea Employers’ Federation.
Commercial career means not all of business but only someone’s own business selling something from person to person. Commercial works do not need special technologies or abilities. Anybody can start and can be rewarded for their hard work unlike other jobs. According the owner doing, the owner can be a CEO or a billionaire. Lee said, “These days, ordinary employees cannot gather enough money for buying their own house if they save money for ten years. I think young people would instead do commercial works than normal office work.”
One of the most important advantages of commercial career is autonomy. In the office as an employee, the worker should follow the directions and almost do repetitive work. In the situation, it is hard to feel pride about their jobs because their results are unseen. On the contrary, the owner can do what the owner want to do when doing commercial works. Even more, unlike other start-ups, they can react toward their customer’s complaint because they receive customers in person. In doing so, they feel themselves as the real owner.
Young People Who Do Commercial Work Face Obstacles
Young people who are self-employed have several difficulties, such as lack of the way to revive when they fail, irrational support system and negative social awareness about youth commercial career.
Running own business is usually regarded risky in Korea because it costs considerable money but there are only few preparation for failure. Furthermore, if the business fails, the owner is also branded as a failure in Korea. According to the research by Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KCCI), 35.7 percent of young people is unwilling to start own business because of fear of failure. Yoo Woong-yeol, a Founder of Softruck and People of Taste, said, “It is too hard to solve financial problem that a young business owner faces because it needs considerable budgets, and borrowing money makes the business owner gets into debt. For youth, not only interest is demanding but also if he went out of business, the owner become living in debt.”
The support system for youth commercial career is also poor. Food truck, a portable restaurant car, is popular in western society because people can have a cheap meal. It is a legitimate restaurant and the owner can run their own business anywhere. Korean government also ease restriction about Try Selling Our Passion food truck to support young business people but there are lots of problems. In the whole country, all of food truck businesses are illegal except only four because there are no related administrative department and market research was short when the government ease the restriction. Also, government restrict movement of food truck so it cannot leave specific space even though it is food “truck.”
Finally, the society has negative perception toward commercial business. According to a recent survey by The Hanyang Journal, 110 people among 200 respondents had negative idea about commercial work, such as hard work or a job with high risk. Yoo said, “The older generations think that employment on a large conglomerate is the best way and enforce it to their children and young people. These thinking hinder support from private organizations and ultimately hinder development of various jobs like commercial work.”
The Way to Vitalize Youth Commercial Business
Most of the young business starters begin their commercial work without enough information or experience because there are in sufficient investigation and proper support for young commercial business owners. According to a recent research by HRI titled Estimation on Transition in the Self-employed and Characteristics, the information such as research or statistical data about transition in the self-employed lacks. So it is hard to estimate or diagnose current youth commercial market condition. Therefore, more research is needed and support program should be established through the research.
The society also has been changed to encourage challenge and do not scold toward failure. In Silicon Valley, the home of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, as well as thousands of tech startup companies, Fail Conference is held every year. In the conference, the failures appear as a speaker and share how they went wrong. The failures are also treated better than people without nothing to do. By contrast, Korea is in the opposite side. According to a recent KCCI’s study, 42 percent of young people answered that the support system for re-challenge to ease burden of failure is needed as a way to vitalize young people’s business.
Social awareness toward commercial work fundamentally should be changed. The older generation’s value which prefer entering big enterprise influence young people and hinder their challenge spirit. Therefore, the society needs to think commercial career as one of the jobs not the alternative of unemployment crisis. Kim Hun-hyeong, a Founder of Fruitruck and a Senior of the Department of Cultural Anthropology, said, “Commercial career was treated as a counterplan of unemployment or a business for older people who retired. I think it has to change and it has been changed as a challenging career of youth. However, this change should be made by young people. Otherwise, the change losses half its worth and cannot last for a long time.”
Commercial Work Is Worth a Try
Running commercial work is not suitable to all young people but to people who experienced it advised just try it. “The owners of commercial businesses have to care all of their business in detail and they receive consumers from personto- person. In the process, the owner can learn a lot of things including the way to manage money as well as people and what they learn is helpful to them whether they keep their business or not. Furthermore, if the youth’s challenge becomes vitalize, the social awareness also changes naturally,” said Yoo. By Hong