In her Upper West Side studio apartment on a Saturday afternoon in late February, Jesse Williams sits at a round wooden table, settled in to show videos on her laptop of her family and friends from Kimberly, Idaho. Jesse’s voice bubbles up from behind the camera as cows, dogs, neighbors, nephews, and parents come into view. If it weren’t for the slightly inclined vantage point of the lens, you would never know that Williams, 27, is sitting in a wheelchair.
Just four months ago, she left the family’s cattle ranch for the big city. Williams is still very much a farm girl, all self-sufficiency and sweetness with a Napoleon Dynamite-esque way of turning a phrase (“Nobody gives a flying flip” and “I’m trying my darnedest”). Her city side shows through in the small metal stud pierced through the middle of her left ear and the black-and-white rocker t-shirt for a band called The Suicide Denial.
Williams transplanted to Manhattan for her business ventures; she’s the founder and producer of Divulge Records, with three bands signed already, including The Suicide Denial. With the name picked out, a starting roster of two young artists (friends of hers from school), and a loan from the bank—along with most of Jesse’s savings—meant that the company was officially in business.
Williams’s entrepreneurial mindset is a common trait of Generation Y—that is, 18- to 24-year-olds. A recent study found that 46 percent of Millennials say they’re likely to start a business in the next five years, and a separate study estimated that a third of them will start their own business sometime in their lives. About 60 percent of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. Magazine. (more…)