Is Working At a Startup a Good Idea?

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Well, that all depends on who you are and what you’re looking for! Especially when not all startups and their players are considered equal.

If you’re a founder and you just secured seed funding from friends and family, it’s an entirely different ball game than someone newly hired at an expansion stage startup with Series C funding.

There are pros & cons nuances in each stage of startup life. At a brand new start-up, you should expect long hours, minimal health benefits, and limited standard operating procedures, paired with some potentially very rewarding equity. However, if the start-up is more established, there will be a bit more structure, operational support, closer to regular hours, higher job security and a regular paycheck. 

An all-encompassing way to determine whether start-up life is right for you is to determine how important and fitting you find the following elements:

1) Having a voice: Do you feel the need to share your ideas and opinions without having to worry about office politics? Or would you rather just keep your head down and focus on your job duties and clock out? This may be an obvious yes for many, but you’d be amazed at how many people end up going with the latter simply because it’s just easier.

2) Taking some risk: In this economy, you never know what will fail or last. Though you may strive on knowing that the sky’s the limit and you’re hungry to build something great and adopt the come what may attitude, some people have personal debts to clear and big families that need immediate support (the reasons are endless) and it just makes more sense for them to opt for a more stable, corporate position.

3) Wanting real responsibility: Being an initiative owner and having the ability to directly contribute to the team’s success (or failure). For some people, the thought of all that responsibility is petrifying and a role involving something low-risk, low-impact like data entry is a lot less hair-graying.

4) Being passionate about the product: If you genuinely don’t believe this good or service is going to improve the lives of other people, just pack up and go home. You’re setting yourself up to be the biggest cultural mismatch at the organization. Needless to say, at any startup, company culture and togetherness is essential. You need to “get it”.

Many people with whom I speak fantasize about being part of the next Google or Twitter. Although you should always work toward success, you can’t simply join a startup because you’re money-motivated and expect something to take off to such epic proportions. Sure, even the in-house masseuse at Google became a millionaire – that’s not the point! Is that the type of good fortune or route to riches you are banking on? 

As mentioned before, it’s all about wanting to build something great, a strong value at OpenView Venture Partners. If the four elements I just mentioned aren’t 100% important to you, there are plenty of other jobs out there with corporate juggernauts you can consider.