It’s thrilling, exciting and you will learn a lot.
Often the first thing you want when you graduate from college is a nice paying job. And that means working in an established firm giving you the money, facilities and securement.
And that’s nice. But it’s nothing compared to the thrill you will have at a startup. Sure, the environment at startups sucks and there are many downsides, but the upside is worth it. But there is a small detail - it’s often is worth it at the very beginning of your career.
Later on in your career, it’s a risky adventure. And often something not recommended.
Sure, you can get a job in a fancy startup where you work for a long time and then get paid all of a sudden. Low payout per month but huge equities and then boom - all of a sudden you end up being a millionaire. That’s a dream deal but that’s an important detail - it remains a dream for many startups.
It’s difficult to find out which startup is going to get you rich. And chances of you choosing the wrong startup is high.
So, as a best practice, you should always choose a better payout in salaries rather than equities which will be worthless when the startup fails.
Later In Your Career
When you are 10 years doing a job, you want a company that is stable, gives salaries on time and has enough resources to pay you if it collapses. So, you want to do a job at such a company.
Secure, simple and trustworthy. And a startup is something which is risky, complex and work hours are insane.
So, even if you end up getting nice pay at a startup, your physical and mental health will take a toll when you work long hours in your 40s.
Hence, if you are someone late in your career, avoid startups at all costs. Get a job which pays handsomely, has humane working hours and facilities making you live an awesome life. Sure, you can still work on your hobbies, passions on weekends if you like. But taking huge risks isn’t recommended.
And if you have a family, this whole situation gets complicated. And you want to steer clear of startups. Because most are anti-family and asks you to become a slave to the company.
But there is a place and time where you can and should work for a startup. Yes, early on.
Early On Your Career
When you are young and recently graduate - you don’t have any experience, family. And you have tonnes of energy. Go and work at a startup.
You can take the risk now. And even if it works, it’s okay. It’s easier to get a job from experience in a startup when you are young. This is the harsh reality. So, go work at your favourite startup and give it all at least for 3 to 5 years.
The best thing is you become a millionaire. And the worst thing is that you end up with a failed startup. But even with that, you will have learnt so much about the work and world. Because in a growing startup, you will be having many hats, work alongside founders and get a cool title. This will help you tremendously when you will try for jobs later.
Just don’t go and get a job at any startup. Try many and work where you like, you will learn a lot, grow a lot and then it will accelerate your career for the future years.
Another Way To Reap Benefits of Startup
When you are done with the initial startup phase, go for a lucrative job or retirement whatever you get. And if you still have the itch for doing something then work on weekends.
This way, you will not screw up your family and future and still find the thrill of working on something trendy.
But if you don’t want to do that, then go for investing in a startup. Let’s say you have 100 as an income - then save 30, invest 20, spend 30 and have fun with 10 and do risky stuff with the remaining 10.
This means you can go and spend your 10 per cent on trendy stuff like Bitcoin, investing in startup and funding your friends - all of which are most likely to fail. But if it works, then that’s a bonus. Your life shouldn’t be uprooted and turned upside down because you want to work at a startup. And remember, your single life and family life have different implications. Also, there is death, responsibilities and the fun part. You have to balance it out. Work at a startup early on and do passive startup things later in your career. And you will be on the right path.
A disclaimer - some people will risk everything at any age and succeed but they are an anomaly and not a norm. It’s tempting to think you can be the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. But chances are you probably won’t.
A Good Startup
Okay, now you are young and have a risk appetite for now - so which startup is good enough for you to join. Here are some traits of a good startup:
- Profitable product or service.
- At least 80 per cent of market salaries.
- Equity should be an option and not a mandate.
- VC funding should be logical. Just because it can get a million dollars, it shouldn’t.
- High ethics and people-oriented work culture.
- Higher working hours should be optional.
- Your title, a job description should be aligned with what you do. If you do more things, that should reflect in your title.
- There shouldn’t be contracts to force you to work for specific years.
- Remote friendly and asynchronous communication should be on priority.
- Founders should have a mix of technical, leadership and strategic quality.
That’s a healthy mix. If you see all the things above or most of it then you probably should work at a startup.