Investopedia defines a “Startup” as a company that is in the first stage of its operations. Generally speaking, these organizations are bank rolled by their entrepreneurial founders in an attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service. Due to limited resources, most of these small-scale operations are not sustainable in the long term without additional funding from venture capitalists.
Startups come with massive uncertainty, lower pay, and lack structure. Many people ask,
“Why work for a startup when there is so much associated risk?”
There is no single answer. I looked at who I am, and picked six reasons why working for a startup is an invaluable experience. Check them out below:
While your colleagues may initially make more working for a large company in their industry, you will gain valuable experience that in the long run outweighs the pay cut. The opportunities to grow and build toward any future undertaking are what make working with a small team truly unique.
2) You get to build things
At a startup you are in a rare position to create something that the world has never seen before. As a builder at heart, I am able to branch out and take on different tasks based on what phase the company is in. The analogy I hear often from entrepreneurs is that they wear multiple hats. This correlation is spot on!
3) You’ll learn to be economical
Money is tight, and the motto is always doing more with less. This frugality will transcend into your personal life, as you will discover joy in learning, prototyping, and iteration. In the startup world, it’s about creating more and consuming less.
4) Your work (and failures) will be recognized
If you work at a big company, your work will not be recognized, plain and simple. When you work on a small team, you have the opportunity to “move the needle” forward in ways your peers will envy. Your hard work is recognized, as are your failures. It’s all about failing fast and learning from your mistakes.
5) Develop ownership, and self-sustainability
At a startup, you and your team are the only people responsible for the success or failure of the company. This triggers panic for most people, but entrepreneurs embrace it. Developing ownership is critical to the happiness and satisfaction associated with the work you do.
6) Learn from true innovators
The people who work at startups are a different breed. They’re strong-willed, visionary and at times can be extremely stubborn. Innovation is more than applying creativity to solving complex problems. Michael Dell put it best:
“Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not”.
Innovators are at the point where they feel that literally nothing is impossible, and are endowed with the charisma to “make things happen” and “get sh*t done”!
Over the past few years I’ve had the fortune of helping grow a number of early stage organizations and companies. Currently, I am proud to be working in Detroit’s startup scene with two awesome organizations:
- Spirit Shop Inc. is the premier eCommerce platform for k-12 apparel and merchandise.
- Challenge Detroit is leading a new model for urban revitalization in Detroit.
I am privileged to work with both organizations and as we strive to move the needle forward in Detroit!
SEE ALSO: Self-Branding: The Art of Introspection