7 Reasons to Work at a Startup Early in Your Career

Work at a Startup

Where ever you look, there appears to be an emerging startup community. There are thousands of entrepreneurs pursuing new and innovative ideas, leveraging the latest and greatest technologies, and chasing the ultimate goal of creating something new, something cutting edge, something disruptive, and of course, something profitable. But make no mistake: The greatest resource for these emerging organizations is talent. Not surprisingly, it is also the scarcest resource. And if you are a young talented professional, you are in demand. But you may be wondering if working for a startup is a good choice for you. If you are a motivated self-starter who is willing to roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takes to produce success, a startup can provide an exceptional opportunity for you in the early stage of your career. Here are 7 great reasons for young professionals to consider working for a startup company.

1. You Get To Learn From The Best.

Early in your career, your appetite for risk is higher, as well as the ability to absorb it. A startup is a great way to build up and develop your skill set quickly. Involvement if you work at a startup environment means direct access to decision makers that you just don’t get at a larger company. Unlike the startup, larger companies have management and executive layers that are too plentiful to give you input into the direction of the company. A startup exposes you to how executives work and provides greater visibility in terms of your own career growth within the company.

2. You Get To See and Touch The Whole Picture.

If you work at a startup, it introduces you to a broad range of functions. Usually, you are brought in to do X and this results in you having to also take on Y & Z. When a large organization brings you in to do X, you only get to do X. Furthermore, the ability to see how X interacts with Y & Z is not generally visible to you.

3. You Aren’t Held Back By Process or Politics.

A startup is a great opportunity to work in an environment that is not particularly bureaucratic. Most early to mid-stage startups are more dynamic in structure than larger corporations. Not only are they using agile development, but they are very agile in the way they manage the company.

4. You Can Still Get The Paycheck You Want.

One should never forget about the upside potential. Going into a startup, your chance to really make some money in the near term can far outweigh the length of time it would take to get to that point with a more established company. The risk is also reduced by today’s demand in the highly competitive talent market, further diminishing the likelihood of a sub par salary. You may need to trade cash bonuses for equity, but the days of taking a huge cut in your salary to work at a startup are gone. Startup employees are now in a good position to get the same kind of base salary a larger company would provide, but the possibility of you getting even more on the upside is significantly higher and quicker in an early stage company.

5. You Can Accelerate Your Career Growth

Startup experience increases your overall marketability, even to larger companies. They are looking for people who have startup work on their resume. When a larger company is doing something entrepreneurial, they value someone who has found a level of success in a startup environment. With this type of background, you can come in and infuse your entrepreneurial nature into the organization. When you demonstrate success in a very dynamic environment with high expectations, you increase your qualifications for more senior roles at other companies, both large and small.

6. You Get To Be Evolutionary And Revolutionary.

In general, startups task you with working on creating solutions that are fairly leading edge. You have the ability to develop and market new and interesting tools. You get the benefit of a clean slate, and pushing the envelope is encouraged. Larger companies tend to tie you into a legacy unless they take on a more entrepreneurial initiative, and even then, their overall brand looms in the background.

7. You Get The Chance To Fail.

The fact is, even if the startup does not do well, you are still highly marketable if you have been a successful individual contributor. Startups can fail due to funding, downsizing, poor management, or just plain bad luck. Larger companies, and other startups, know this. They are ready and willing to scoop up the savvy designers, developers, and marketers who did really good things for a startup that missed the mark. A startup’s failure doesn’t reflect negatively on you as a strong individual contributor. Startups help you develop a knowledge base and passion, which you can parlay into bigger and better opportunities.

If you are a person who dislikes ambiguity, needs structure, requires security and wants stability with one company for more than 5 years, startups are probably not the right comfort fit for you. But if you are flexible with an appetite for risk, going to work at a startup can be a very positive step early in your career.

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