Working for a startup can be fantastic, but it can also be exhausting.  If you are harbouring notions that it’ll be like working for Facebook, kill them now!

I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I can promise you that it will be an emotional roller coaster and change your view of ‘work’ in all sorts of ways.

So, if you are thinking of taking the plunge, here are my five top tips to life in a startup:

  • Startups do not employ a lot of people, so every person counts.  There is nowhere to hide. As a member of a small, committed team, your contribution really makes a difference to the success or failure of the business.  The upside of this is that you can see your impact, the downside is that you will have to take responsibility for tasks totally outwith your comfort zone.
  • In almost all startups, there is no, or very little, corporate bureaucracy. This is great if you are someone who just likes to ‘get on with it’ but beware, you may find that you are the one who others turn to ‘to develop the process’. All companies need process at some point.
  • You’re likely to become actively involved in creating the strategy and vision for your company.  Your team is small and agile, so you are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and refining your offering. This means you’ll gain insight into areas of the business that you wouldn’t normally, but it may also mean that you will have to master new skills quickly. You will also be expected to jump right in with very little training or direction!
  • If you are someone who likes variety, you’ll thrive in the constantly changing environment. You have to be a jack of all trades and be prepared to turn your hand to anything.  You have to be prepared to roll your sleeves up; there is no room for hierarchy!  When you’re pitching to a major potential client, be aware that you’ll be washing the cups and tidying the meeting room when they leave.
  • Be aware that startups are pressure cookers. It’s not all pool tables and relaxed dress codes, it’s usually do-or-die conditions. If you don’t create a usable product or service in a timely fashion and before the cash flow runs dry, the company will fail. This means that emotions can run high; great when things are going well, not so good when the pressure is on.

Lots of people like the idea of a startup. The reality is a large amount of work, long hours and a roller coaster working day. However, it is great fun and can be hugely rewarding. If you think you’ve got what it takes, why not check out some of the exciting and innovative companies that we’re working with right now?