That startup life though…
For the past four years, I have been running my own marketing and public relations firm, and while there are certainly many struggles managing your own company and driving business, this tends to be completely different than working as an employee for a startup. Seven months ago, one of my clients, CELLINK, asked me to come on full time as their Chief Communications Officer before they were about to go public.
As you could imagine, this was a huge decision for me. After much thought and consideration, I decided to accept the offer. CELLINK was named Swedish Startup of the Year in 2016 and is one of the leading companies within the 3D Bioprinting space. With a company this hot on my hands, how could I say no? The challenges that awaited me were more than I could imagine but I am glad I took the leap.
If you’re considering working for a startup, here are five things I believe you should take into consideration:
- There is no such thing as 9-5 in the startup world: When I was working with my own company, I was putting in easily 12-14 hours a day. Your work becomes your life as a business owner. You are the one driving business and for a long time I was the one taking on all the work. It wasn’t until a year and a half after I started my company that I was able to hire.
When I decided to put my role in my company on the backburner and pursue my new position with CELLINK, I thought my work life balance would become much better. Wrong. My days may be a couple hours shorter than they used to, even when I leave the office, this doesn’t mean my day stops there. The clock doesn’t stop ticking in the startup world. There is always someone to email, something to do and last minute demands that need to be met.
- Love your team or get out: Working for a startup is not only more of a time commitment than you may expect, but a time commitment spent with the same people day in and day out. Without the positive and energetic team that I have, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I sincerely believe your team is the number one factor to being successful at what you do. Those who surround you have a huge impact on your work environment and the amount of effort you put in. If you’re whole team is in full throttle mode, you will want to be right there alongside them.
- Believe in your product: A rule of the thumb I always applied to my business was to never take on a client whose product I didn’t believe in. When you’re considering joining a startup, the same rule should apply. Working for a startup isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. You are often handed a variety of tasks that may not always be directly related to your position. If you believe in your product, this usually won’t be a problem.
My entire team is dedicated to doing whatever needs to get done to take us to that next level of success. We know what we have, we know the potential and are ready to take on the future. If you don’t feel this way about the company, this is a big red flag the company isn’t a fit for you.
- Roll with the punches: Like any other job, there are good days and there are bad days. In a startup, these tend to hit home a bit harder. When the company is in growth mode, every single person that makes up the company is responsible for the outcome. When you work for a larger company, your personal work has an effect but depending on your role, not nearly to the extent that it has at a startup.
There have been days where I feel on top of the world for what the team and I have been able to accomplish, and then there are days where goals you wish to have met become a bit more distant for one reason or another. When a company is small, your work really has an impact on the overall performance. The feeling of not meeting your goals or achieving them slower than you anticipated tends to leave a pit in your stomach.
In a startup family, everyone is counting on one another to make the business go round. With that in mind, try to remember it’s okay to have bad days, as long as you ask for help and keep everyone informed everything will be alright.
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind: The foundation of a company stems from the beginning stages. If you think there is something that should be changed or implemented, don’t be afraid to say so. Everyone is on the same page and wanting to achieve the same goal – success. The more constructive input you give, the better it will be. A startup is a place where there is room for change and improvement, chances are your superior will appreciate these suggestions and respect you for it.
Startup life isn’t for everyone but the experience of working for a startup is one that will benefit you in the long run.
By: Ariel Kramer
Ariel has also blogged for the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post. Out Of Office, she is passionate about traveling, food and tech.