The Startup: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Startups are chaotic, hard work, occasional long days and nights, full of mistakes, highs and lows fraught with problems. They’re definitely not for everyone, if you want a 9–5 and a stable job, then perhaps the startup world isn’t for you. One thing startups don’t lack is passion, passion from the top down, passion from leadership bleeds into the employees.




Get things done fast

With a startup the momentum of the product or service you build is rapid. Typically startups work in a very agile mindset allowing things to be built fast and deployed often. In contrast many larger companies move slower as they have many steps and people to go through before anything can be started on let alone completed and released.


Wearing Many Hats

As someone working in a startup has to be prepared to do many different things, if you’ve studied for a particular field, say computer science, don’t expect to avoid some manual mundane tasks too. You won't be focused purely on the field you were hired for (although that is the obvious aim) you will be pulled in many different directions. But that’s good, you get exposure to business and the chaos that comes with a startup. It’s good and sometimes healthy in a way as it allows you to understand what’s important.


Make a Difference

Working with a startup allows you to make a difference, you’re not a small cog in a big wheel, and you’re a big cog in a small wheel. This means you’re important, you make a difference and you are productive and have a vested interest in making a difference and helping the company grow.


Learn With Colleagues

As you work with other colleagues in other departments because you are basically working in a small team you are often interacting daily with other departments you would never normally do in a bigger company. This allows you to learn their pain points and how they overcome them, and in turn you can apply these to your work.


Relate To the Customer

Typically working with a small team you will often be interacting directly with the end customer, this is so critical in being able to understand their problem and relate to what it is they are struggling with. It’s all too often that the message gets lost from a sales person dealing with a customer to relate that true problem and the importance of it back down through product and engineering. Asking the custom questions you know are going to bring out additional details is huge in being able to save time and in the end money.


The Good


Impact

Entrepreneurs move the world forward. Knowing that you’re making a difference in people’s lives is extremely motivating and the primary reason why founders start companies. When you’re a small team working on solving a specific problem, your impact per team member is astonishingly high. Everyone in the organization can see their impact manifest before their eyes in the daily work that’s done.


Empowerment

When you build something from nothing, you are empowered to do even more. Creating a business is rewarding and intellectually stimulating. Building a startup

allows you to develop a great sense of pride in what you do. It also becomes easier to do things out of your comfort zone. You’re more willing to try (and fail). The freedom to learn from your failures and build your own destiny is exciting!


Experience of a lifetime

In a startup, there is no typical day, and time is your greatest asset. You have to think on your feet and learn as you go. You meet people from all over the world who share a similar passion, interest and excitement for your industry and the challenges you’re trying to solve. Every day is an opportunity to learn, grow and change the world. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.


Profit from Passion

Your best work comes from doing something that inspires you. When you have passion for what you do, you tend to not only be better at it, but you’ll work harder on it too. It’s amazing what we can create when we do what we love, and if we stick with it, there can be a financial reward as well.

Passion

When working in a startup you’ll notice there is a lot of passion that goes around, the founders will bleed this through the organization as it’s their baby and their energy will drive employees into the goal and belief in the product or service.

Passion in a startup should be infectious; everyone should feel the energy and desire of the leaders.


Culture

Nearly always in startups you will find there is a good culture, people are typically less closed off and open to ideas. Culture in my experience has more

relaxed feeling and you can give your opinion without risk of your job as you have a vested interest in the company succeeding.


Agility and Innovation

The fact that you can build your products and services quickly is inherently an agile mindset, it allows you to pivot on an idea should a new direction be discovered.


Learning

In a startup world you’re going to be constantly learning, as you take on many different tasks and challenges you have no option but to learn. You know that contract you got with expected tasks? Well…. forget it, you’ll likely be doing a lot more than that, and that’s a good thing.


Stock Options

Often startups will encourage people with stock options, these essentially allow you to buy at a given amount and sell them, to explain this a little better, say you got 100 stock options valued at $1 each, if the company gets bought out after they ‘vest’ and you sell your stock options now worth $10 each, you buy at 100*$1 and sell at 100*$10 netting you $900. This is after they vest which typically is about 25% per year.


The Bad


Mental Fatigue