A few weeks back, I brought to light some of the realities about startup life in my article highlighting what some might say to be the negative sides of working in a startup environment.
Even so, I’m an advocate for people having startup experience, as it can be one of the most challenging and rewarding professional and personal experiences you’ll have.
Hence, below and herewith young whippersnappers, you will find some very positive and extremely motivational reasons for why you should throw in the corporate towel tomorrow and go join a startup:
1. “Funky Like A Train” Company Culture
Although every startup has its own culture code, some written in blood and some in mayonnaise, it helps create an atmosphere where everyone has the same goals and sensibilities. Essentially, a working culture covers anything from relationships, values, vision, attitudes and behavior.
With a cool startup culture comes fun benefits: I wear what I want to work (sometimes I’m scantily clad), I’m surrounded people who are working towards the same goals and who have the same drive and excitement, I play ping pong in my boxer shorts, drinking Mai Tai’s while pitching investors, I do late night work sessions with team bonding (group hugging and mediation), I work from home when I want to and have a huge cuddly bear next to my desk. Could I ask for anything else?
2. A Sense Of Ownership And Responsibility
Being part of something brilliant with the potential to impact people around the world is a very rewarding experience. Working hard and being creative are synonymous with startup life and will help you prepare you for future ventures like never before. As early stage startup teams are generally small, playing an integral role in the creation of a product and feeling that you yourself have created something palpable, something that will help improve the life of people around the world (if you’re lucky!), and ultimately something you can utilize yourself, will help you understand the importance of personal ownership. The creation of something that will be used by thousands or millions of people gives you pride in your work and a sense of ownership, something not easy to replicate in other working environments.
3. Bureaucracy Schmuraecracy
Real startups don’t have the levels of bureaucracy you will find in the corporate world. Say goodbye to endless reels of red tape and constant approvals to wipe your own ass. Although not all of them, you are expected to make decisions on your own, to iterate quickly and to respond to changing scenarios. Even though startups have their own kind of hierarchy, in a small team it’s not hard to lean over the desk and hit the CEO in the face to get his/her attention instead of having to go through the typical organizational nightmare to get an appointment with someone who isn’t even the decision maker. Less bureaucracy means achieving your goals and taking decisions in a much quicker and more efficient manner.
4. Versatility And Spectrums of Experience
Working in a corporate job usually means the same monotonous job day in and day out until you get that long awaited promotion that then leads to the next term of penance. Startups don’t tend to have a lot of cash to throw around, especially in the the early stages which means that when its you, the founder and Geoff the dog running the show, expect to play multiple psychotic roles in the company. One day you’ll be writing press releases and the next helping with financials, bringing in sales and helping out the design team. Whatever the task is, you’ll be doing it! A good CEO knows that finding the right people to do the right things is key to being successful. A great CEO knows that maybe you’re best at something you weren’t event hired or trained for yet and wants you to have exposure to different facets of the business. This is one of the things I love about startup life; the versatility and the ability to always be learning on your feet. I’ve taken the role of secretary, finance director, sales, CEO, CTO, CMO, CFG, GPS and even most lately, company pimp. Having knowledge on various subjects is invaluable to your future self.
5. Freedom Meets Responsibility
With a small team comes responsibility. Assuming the role of multiple characters is great and all but that comes with a lot of responsibility.
Usually in a startup environment, you are (hopefully) given clear objectives and the responsibility for a certain area and also the freedom to get the job done however you see fit (to an extent). You will have much more responsibility and autonomy than you would ever hold at a larger corporation.
Responsibility means the minute you mess up you will be expected to admit it and correct your mistake. Working in a small team means that it’s harder to mess around which keeps you focused on your objectives.
While you will most likely have to work long hours and sometimes even weekends, startup life is pretty flexible. You aren’t doing a 9 to 5 job and opportunities exist to work from different locations, to set your own hours, to bring your cat, dog or child to work and my oh my the list goes on.
6. Fun Fun Fun Till Daddy Takes The T-Bird Away
We wouldn’t be working in startups if they weren’t a good old knees up would we now? Working in a startup can be fun as hell. Hanging out with smart and innovative people, learning about things you never knew existed and not knowing what’s going to happen the next day makes for a fun environment. If the company culture is solid, work is now somewhere you want to come and give your best each day.
7. Money Money Money
If you joined the team early enough to get your hands on some stock options and your startup has a successful exit/goes public, then you are going to be one happy camper. If not, don’t be too sad, you’ll have another chance.
On the other hand, your experience at a startup should help you become thrifty and to manage your money well. Having no funding (or minimal funding) means keeping costs at a minimum, something that should rub off on you.
8. Opportunities And Recognition
Startups without much funding don’t tend to pay very well so if you’re looking for a nice healthy paycheck, health insurance and a considerable bonus at the end of the year then this is not the right job for you. Although you may not have the same lifestyle as that of your corporate pals, you will most likely be gaining a hell of a lot more experience and will have the opportunity to flower into a beautiful dynamic worker.
You will work harder than you have ever worked in your startup job but it won’t go unnoticed. Your team will recognize the long hours and hard work you have put in and without someone else trying to steal the credit (In a small team that’s not easy to do). The glory is all yours!!
9. Learn From Innovators
Entrepreneurs have a different mentality and appetite for risk than most sane people. There is nothing more satisfying that creating something that will benefit people by solving a real problem and fixing things that incumbent players in the market can’t. Entrepreneurs look at problems from a different standpoint and create innovative solutions and these will be the people you will be rubbing shoulders with each day (rubbing bodies is more realistic). Working with innovators day in and day out helps you become one of them.
To wrap this up, working in a startup environment teaches you to push the envelope, be creative and unearth skills and qualities you never knew you had. Your ability for critical thinking and environmental awareness will expand exponentially as you are constantly sizing things up and figuring out ways to improve the world as we experience it today. Working with limited resources helps to keep a laser focus on your goals and let lesser priorities go. Learning when and how to say ‘no’ is an extremely important skill no matter what profession you are in. Whether you only try it once in your career or you become a serial entrepreneur, the startup game can take to where you want to go!
Why do you love working at a startup? Leave your comments below!