What you should consider before taking up a startup job?

21 Dec 2015

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Are you a self-starter?

Usually at a startup, there is not enough time for people to hand-hold you or give you feed back for every single task you perform. A lot of times, you will be given a huge work-load and be expected to figure out a lot of it on your own. If you are not motivated enough to do things by yourself with little to no guidance then startups may not be the right place for you.

What is your role in the Startup?

If you’re considering joining a startup over a corporate, then you need to know what your role will be in a startup. You might end up doing more than what your role requires. Will you be a regular nine to five employee or is your responsibilities bigger and pivotal to the success of the company?

Who are the founders?

You should research the founders before you join the company. Who are they? What’s their background and what have they achieved? You need to know this information, not only because they own the company and might be your boss, but because you need to be confident of their abilities before you start to put time and effort into their company. Having said that, you don’t judge them by their past failures. And if they were successful before, it doesn’t mean that they won’t fail the second time.

Where does the money come from?

One of the most important things to consider when joining a startup is the money. Where does the money come from? Is the startup bootstrapped or angel-funded or venture-backed?

What stage is the Startup in?

An early-stage venture that’s not yet received traction and don’t have seed funding is a risk to join. If you’re not 100% convinced of the idea and the founders, then maybe you shouldn’t take this risk. On the other hand, if the startup has gained initial traction, it might be a great time to come on board. It usually possible, that the company is trying to secure funding. If you get in before that happens, you might get offered equity. Consider if this is the right move for you. A startup that has already been funded is not as risky as the above. The company has gained enough traction and might be on the right path. The chances of such a company burning down are considerably lower.

Are you flexible?

In a startup, especially if it’s early stage, you might be doing much more work than the role you were hired for. Even though you were hired for a particular position, your role isn’t defined in a startup. You will get hands-on exposure to various roles. It is up to you whether you look at this as opportunity to learn something new.

Will you have a mentor in the startup?

It is important, especially if you’re a fresher to find a mentor at the startup. So you have to consider if your boss, or the founder, can be someone who can guide and mentor you. Will they guide you or will you be thrown into chaos? The latter scenarios is also a great learning opportunity, but having that right mentor who shares his knowledge and experience with you, teaches you tricks of the trade, will go a long way in defining your career and your work for the company.

Are you comfortable with unpredictable working hours?

Some days might be light, and on some days you might be working for nights or carrying over the work for the weekend. This is normal in most startups. Sometimes there will be a lot on your plate and there may not be enough time to complete all of it. Will you enjoy working in such an atmosphere without getting demotivated?

Do you understand the risks?

Sometimes start-ups can shut down very quickly either because they burned through all their funding or many other causes. It’s one of the inherent risks in working for one. Be aware of potential land-mines.

So why do you want to join a startup? At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself this question and see what matters to you. The answer can be “I want to join a startup because they are paying me better than a corporate job” or “I prefer the environment of a startup more than that of a corporate.” But the most important thing is for you to realize what the answer to this question is for you.

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