The prospect of working for a startup company is definitely an attractive one. You get to be part of a cool up and coming company that has a relaxed casual office environment. As you make your way through the non-standard job application, ploughing through questions like (“If you were a superhero, which one would you be and why?) you imagine yourself sitting around your meeting room in yoga pants and a t-shirt, sipping pumpkin spice lattes while discussing your next big business move.
Working at a startup can definitely be a fun, eye-opening, even life-changing experience. While not all startups have the budget or ambience of fancy tech companies, many new startups offer you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of building an organisation from the ground up.
But it’s definitely not all fun and games, there are some significant differences between start-up companies and other, more traditional corporate companies you’ve worked for in the past.
So let’s jump right into it:
Five things you need to know before working for a startup:
Change Is Going To Become your Best Friend
Whether you like it or not, change is something that is very common with startup companies. You won’t find processes and procedures stamped in concrete here. Startups change quickly and rapidly. Your job title and day-to-day assignments may change a number of times. This is something that can be very startling for someone who is used to the routine of the corporate world but this is what gives the ability for startups to pivot and flourish where other companies will fail.
You Gotta Go Balls Deep
You have to be a solid team player, roll up those sleeves and get stuck right into the business. Versatility is a requirement for pretty much anyone working in a startup company. Your job description is a blank slate and you’ll never utter those famous words but that’s just how to operate. Startups don’t do clearly defined job descriptions and rigid company policies. You need to be willing to be flexible in this field and always put the company first or may you find yourself being swiftly replaced.
Veterans Are Your Friends
Most startups start with an awesome idea and a few brilliant people. They usually go ahead and find some investors and surround themselves with highly intelligent people that can put in the hustle required to turn their idea into reality. When the company gets a taste of success they usually bring in more experienced professionals to help really take their company to the next level.
Once these veterans start coming on board it can make startup employees feel nervous and intimidated. You’ve been working 16 hour days and this grandpa thinks he can tell you what to do just because he has a degree, an amazing track record and endless industry contacts?
Pretty much yeah, you might feel intimidated by these people but don’t look at them as your competition. These people have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that can not only help grow the business but help you grow personally too.
The Company Provides, The Company Takes Away
Startups make up for their lack of office formalities (like a lunch break!) with cool little perks like weekly happy hours and paid lunches, even tickets to events on occasion. But as the startup expands, it quickly realises that it can’t afford these little luxuries anymore.
When the freebies disappear it can be a little bit of a bummer but the removal of these luxuries usually precedes the arrival of other bonuses, like free gym membership!
Assess Company Risk
One of the biggest risks with working for a startup is that it can disappear very quickly. It’s one of the biggest risks of working with startup companies. It’s your personal responsibility to learn all you can about the companies financial position. This will put you in the best position the deal with anything that happens as it won’t come as a massive shock to you.
Working for a startup company is completely different to working for a corporate. It’s a different beast that’s for sure. Your typical work day is going to look very different compared to other more traditional office jobs. Longer working hours and increased dynamic responsibility is something you’ll need to get used to but if you embrace it with open arms, knowing roughly what to expect, it can be one of the most rewarding ways to fire up your career.