‘Yolo Economy’: more Australians thinking of quitting jobs and starting own businesses


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

June 25, 2021 | 5 min read

Employees around the world are leaving their jobs because Covid-19 has changed their priorities, they feel burned out or government benefits introduced during the pandemic are not enough. The Drum finds out what this means for the marketing industry – is it is a fleeting trend, or should it be taken seriously?

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made many people reflect on many different things in their lives – work and careers included.

The so-called ‘Yolo Economy’, coined by The New York Times, is a phenomenon in which people, predominantly millennials, are reconsidering their career paths and priorities in the wake of the pandemic and the impact it caused.

More than 4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, while in the UK many are seriously thinking about quitting, as a study found 38% of employees are looking to change roles in the next year. In Australia, only half of working Australians are happy with their job, according to a survey by GoDaddy.

In a post-Covid world, more than two-thirds of Australians in the same GoDaddy survey feel they should pursue a career they are passionate about, with 45% of Australians saying they would consider quitting a well-paid position to start a business they are passionate about in 2021.

For many of them, the notion and appeal of a traditional career or ‘job for life’ are dwindling, replaced instead by the pull of starting a business and pursuing a passion.

“There are many factors that contribute to why people might be dissatisfied, and each individual is unique in their motivations,” explains Tamara Oppen, managing director of GoDaddy Australia.

“However, many people dream about more flexibility, autonomy and doing something they are passionate about – characteristics that are often linked to running a small business.”

Tamara notes in the survey one in three Australians would consider starting their own business in 2021, and almost half of Australians would consider leaving a well-paid job for a career they are passionate about.

She says Australians are creative and innovative, which means starting a business is easier and more affordable than ever before. In addition, people are realizing that they do not need to be a tech expert, have a big idea or masses of time and money to get started.

“The crucial traits aspiring business owners need are, for example, dedication, determination and passion. Our research suggests that millennials are big believers in the importance of following their passions and dreams.

“Following the pandemic, we found that 78% of 25–34-year-olds and 77% of 35-44-year-olds say it’s now more important than ever to pursue a passion. This theory of chasing dreams is a key component in the ‘Yolo Economy’ and will continue to be a driving force as more Australians consider starting their own business.”

For those that want to start the next global company or pursue a passion project as a side hustle, companies like GoDaddy are keen to provide them with the online tools and support to help them pursue their dreams.

This is because small businesses are a backbone of Australia, both socially and economically, which means their success is a key component to the recovery and growth of the country.

One such entrepreneur is Marcus Bradbury, the founder of MB Barefoot Training, who explains that when starting out, the process of building a website can feel very time-consuming. He urgently needed a professional website because when the pandemic hit and gyms closed, a website went from a ‘nice-to-have’ to essential.

“It did not matter that I had little-to-no technical skills, GoDaddy enabled me to develop an eye-catching, effective and sophisticated website that promotes my business to new and prospective clients online,” he explains.

“Now I have a website that I’m really proud of, and one that can evolve as my business continues to grow and adds new products and services.”

After leaving high school, Bradbury went into gemology and, after 15 years, he felt he had everything that he wanted. However, after achieving all that, he felt he needed a change and a new challenge.

He admits it was daunting at first as starting at the bottom again was not an easy decision to make. What convinced him was the feeling of being quite unmotivated in his career, and he really felt the desire to do something that he was genuinely passionate about.

He believes that as long as someone has the drive and dedication, anything is possible. Being able to shape the way that one operates and their business to their own personal values makes it all worthwhile.

“It is genuinely such a rewarding feeling and I’ve met so many fantastic people and clients along the way. I have always been passionate about health and fitness, so after feeling rather unenthused about climbing the corporate ladder and making more money, I decided to take the plunge and start again doing something I truly loved,” he says.

“The idea of earning a living doing something that motivates me was far more enticing than continuing in a career that I no longer loved. The autonomy, freedom and flexibility of being my own boss make that leap so worthwhile.”


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +