Introduction: Why start-ups are the place to be for me?
I have been working in the start-up environment for the last 3 years and let me tell you this. It is hard. But it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Working with different start-ups, I had to learn to be flexible, innovative and creative. Working in a start-up environment was not only a great learning opportunity but also a chance to be an integral part of the company from day one. It helped me learn a lot about the process of setting up a company and managing risks during this process.
Start-ups are usually dynamic and fast-paced work environments, which means that you will have to be able to think outside of the box and work on some really weird projects. Yes, there are also the dreaded two am calls from some stressed-out colleagues who haven’t slept in days. So, why do I take such huge workloads and stress? Well, here are the 8 reasons why I love working with start-ups
Reason 1: Start-Ups are a great place to be challenging myself
It would be a cliché to say that I’ve always been excited about start-ups. And I was not too keen to join an established organization as well. As evident from my travels and love for adventure sports, I like to take risks in life. Start-Ups are no different.
There are no set rules, no prior data to take inspiration from, directions change based on the needs of the company, and you are constantly doing new things. To add to that start-ups are notoriously unstable which means that my job is unpredictable and I might not have a paycheck at any given time. Being part of Nemo, a fintech start-up that I currently work in, I had to be in and out of the organization at least three times. I know it would be hard, but I always wanted to be where the action is. And start-ups were the right place to be.
Reason 2: Start-Ups acted as a catalyst for my Personal Growth
I believe that from the moment I began working for a start-up, I experienced an upgrade in my personal growth. I have always had this entrepreneurial drive in me before, but I didn’t know how to channel it properly. I used to be lost and confused when it comes to working. My life consisted of travel, travel, travel with the occasional work thrown in for good measure. And then it all changed.
I was constantly challenged to look to the future and identify new opportunities for innovation. In addition, my responsibilities changed from day to day, making it difficult for me not to adapt according to the situation. One of the most beneficial things about being part of a start-up is that there’s no constant routine. All these experiences so far have helped me become more confident in myself and grow as a leader and entrepreneur. I look forward to learning a lot more from my start-up experiences.
Reason 3: Start-Ups allowed me to experience developing an idea from scratch
I was excited when I got my first opportunity in the start-up environment. As a student, I wanted to learn how to build a start-up and also wanted to find out what works and doesn’t work. Learning from start-ups was the perfect opportunity that I needed.
But the reality was different from what I believed it would be. It was challenging and exhilarating at the same time — challenging because of all the uncertainties that come with being in an early-stage company, exhilarating because you get to experiment with new things every day. But they offer the opportunity to work on strategies that are truly your own. Especially when you work in a very early stage start-up.
From these experiences, I learned that you need to be quick with your ideas and execute swiftly. I learned so much about making decisions in an uncertain environment. About how to measure success in an unpredictable scenario. And about the importance of empathy for your users. I now have the confidence to build on my ideas.
Reason 4: Start-Ups were the perfect place for me to make a difference through my work
One of my favourite things about working in a start-up environment is that I feel like I can make a difference in how the company grows. Start-ups usually bring on people with different skillsets than they need at any given time and these people are usually very passionate and driven individuals. They are ready to think outside the box. This translates into the start-up culture being one of the most innovative and collaborative environments to be a part of. In addition to this, it’s still small enough for you to have an impact on the success of the organization.
After working with multiple start-ups, I came to realize that start-ups were the perfect place for me to make a difference through my work. They are always looking for new, fresh ideas and I was able to incorporate my creativity and knowledge of technology into my work to help make a difference in the lives of others. One of the best parts about working for a start-up is that it’s not just about making money — it’s about making a difference in your community. While this is different from the social causes we work in, I can still see the impact I can make which gives me the confidence and motivation to move forward.
Reason 5: Start-Ups gave me a platform to advance my professional skills and growth
Incorporating a start-up into my career has allowed me to explore skills that I might not have had the chance to learn otherwise. Even though there are many ups and downs, it is an opportunity for me to grow as a professional. Without a boss to answer to or a company pipeline to follow, start-ups allow professionals like me to focus on what I do best while also building skills in other areas for future use.
Coming from an engineering background, start-ups allowed me to pivot my career into a direction that I love. I currently work as a Marketing Manager and Growth Hacker. I particularly enjoy content marketing and value drive marketing. And I developed these skills while working and not because I had a degree in marketing or something else. Along with these technical skills, I have learned how to be more agile, adaptable, and proactive because the start-up culture is based on these principles. In short, start-ups are excellent for those who are ambitious enough to learn new skills quickly, eager to work hard, and curious about all aspects of a business.
Reason 6: Start-Ups gave me all the freedom and flexibility I needed
This might not be the case for everyone but working with start-ups gave me the freedom and flexibility I desired. Start-ups don’t have strict rules on timings, which meant that I can start my day whenever I want. I could work independently and in some cases, set my own goals for myself. The freedom and flexibility were not just in terms of scheduling or setting goals, but also about the kind of projects I wanted to take up. Covid-19 has helped in a way to make this permanent but even before the pandemic, I was living the life of a digital nomad.
It also gave me all the freedom and flexibility I needed to pursue my interests and passions. I never had to worry about balancing work and family life because I could dictate when and how often I worked, which allowed me to invest more time in my passions. Until now, the start-ups I worked for provided an environment where I can contribute to my fullest potential.
Reason 7: Start-Ups provided me with an opportunity to work with passionate people and teams
There is no doubt that start-ups are the innovation engine for the world. They are all about passion and innovation. It is where the most ambitious, talented and motivated people work to create something remarkable. And, I have always enjoyed working with people who are passionate about their work. Start-ups provide the opportunity for this because they are typically small, meaning everyone is close and can communicate effectively.
The start-ups I joined thus far had great teams that provided me with excellent learning experiences. I learnt from the other people in the company and from the teams I was part of. The culture was driven by innovation, driven by doing things differently than the norm, which has always been my philosophy as well. The companies I worked in had a very open environment where anyone could step in at any time to help out on any project, which was motivating for all of us. And because of these experiences, I learned that not all good work happens at a desk.
Reason 8: Start-Ups connected me with some of the best minds in the world
The last and one of the most rewarding aspects of the start-ups that I want to share is its community. Start-ups are not just about the business or money but about the people as well. It’s about being part of a community and being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are happy, passionate and driven. When I first joined a start-up, I did not expect to be networking with some of the best minds in the world. Networking was one of my weaknesses and it still is. Working with start-ups allowed me to understand more about this.
While I met many people with various skills, knowledge and backgrounds. Now, I am unaware if this is the case for everyone, or is it just me, I was not able to follow up and maintain relationships with these people. I always had something or the other to do, and I lost touch with these people. Even though I am still connected with them on channels such as LinkedIn and Slack, I am just afraid of being misunderstood. But this is something I am working on myself and is also the reason why I am writing these blogs. To help me engage better with the communities I am already a part of and join new ones. After all, I believe that this is the best way in learning and growing.
Conclusion: Why you should start working with a start-up and confidently embrace your entrepreneurial instincts
Start-up culture isn’t just for adrenaline junkies who want to live on the edge. It’s for people who want to live in an innovative environment where creativity is encouraged and rewarded at every turn. It is a place where you can grow as a person and as a professional. If you don’t work for a start-up yet, it is time to be bold and risk it all. Joining a start-up company will allow you to embrace your entrepreneurial instincts and bring your unique skill set or knowledge to the table. So, if you have that spark in your eye when you are talking about your latest business idea or the way you think differently about how things work, start-ups are a natural fit for you. Keep learning and don’t forget, Entrepreneurs don’t let failure stop them — they learn from it and build on it.