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Working At a Startup… So you want to work at a startup?

Natalie Ediger, December 12, 2016· Cleverclip

Is there this really cool startup that you’ve been targeting for a while and you could imagine working there? Or are you fed up with your corporate job and ready for a change? Maybe you just want to do your own thing?

Let’s see if you’re made for the startup life…

Ready for responsibility? So much?

A corporate environment is great – many hierarchies and therefore enough colleagues you can rely on, standardized processes you can follow step by step and always someone who tells you what to do when. And above all: If something really gets in your pants, it’s your boss (or the boss of the boss) who has to take it, not you. In a startup every decision is your own. If things go well, you’ll take credit for it. If you don’t, you’ll get the cherry on the cake. No one else is responsible for your mistakes and only you bear the consequences.

Make mistakes? Yes please!

With this amount of responsibility you will have to make a lot of important (and less important) decisions day in, day out and they won’t always be right. It is very possible that your startup will move in a completely new and still unknown field – in other words: many things will be implemented in this way for the first time. Logically there are mistakes. But the most important thing is how to deal with it. Mistakes should help you to develop further and learn through them. Most startups have a very healthy bug culture. If you can adapt quickly to this mindset, you will notice that this actually works quite well and that “errors” are no longer such a bad word.

Innovation and change? Uninterrupted!

Even if they don’t have the latest, most innovative product, startups usually have some entrepreneurial spirit and are always developing new strategies, sales approaches or business models. This may sound interesting at first, but can quickly become tedious. This constant change could be a nuisance to animals who are used to it. Have lunch and discuss the last episode of Breaking Bad? Friday evening: Time not to think about work? No chance! It’s all about the News! And even the Ach-so-erholsame-Team-Retreat: In reality it’s a week of brainstorming, questions, answers and creative output.

Hard, hard work

Don’t go to a startup if you’re lazy, because it’ll blow up fast. In a small team it’s easy to identify someone who gives in and there’s definitely no room for that. Every role and position is equally important and you will be surrounded by talents who not only know their trade, but also work extremely hard and are always there with body and soul. You can rely on your team and be sure that they give their all. But: In return you have to be prepared to meet these high standards and expectations.

Are you ready to do a little bit of everything? Really everything…

Yes, in a startup you have to wash dishes from time to time, but the CEO has to! In order to get off to a good start in the startup area, you need to be ready to tackle anything – even if it’s not necessarily your area of expertise. When the responsible marketing manager is on holiday, you can suddenly become a newly appointed social media guru and have to deal with hashtags and retweets. Exhausting? Yes! On the other hand, you can expand your skills and maybe break new ground. Depending on the structure and growth of your startup, you can even create your own job!

Conquer the world

This flexibility in your area of responsibility and the fact that you are travelling in a small team means that you will probably be confronted with all areas of responsibility and work steps. You will often be part of the whole process and it is possible to do your own bookkeeping, win customers, sell the products and help out with the design. Yes, sometimes you’ll be up to your neck in the water, but you’ll gain many valuable skills – they weren’t taught to you at school or exposed to you in a corporate environment. In the worst case scenario, your startup will break down, but then you’ll have learned a lot – how to deal with mistakes, get up quickly and you’ll even have enough skills to build something of your own!

So, are you ready for startup life or not?
At least I haven’t regretted it yet …

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