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October 28, 2021
7 minute

5 Advantages of Working at a Startup

With the Great Resignation underway, employees are questioning whether they want to stick around at their current job or make a change. For those leaning towards the latter, a startup is worth considering. While startups can be challenging and, at times, chaotic environments, they also present several advantages that are worth considering. 

Rapid professional development

Large organizations have set job descriptions for each role. They have longer approval processes and longer time tables for promotions. On the other hand, startups expect employees to take on different responsibilities, be a problem solver, and learn how the business functions outside of their role. This gives professionals a chance to understand the entire business, contribute to the bottom line, and increase their visibility within the business in a very short period of time. In other words, they can get promoted faster. This is why you often see relatively younger professionals with “Head of…” titles or “VP…” titles when they work at a startup. If advancement and professional development are important to you, working at a startup is a good call. 

Close contact with customers

When you’re working at a startup, your goal is to establish product-market fit and gain traction. This means that almost everyone at the business interacts with customers regularly. You need customers to stick around, subscribe, and keep making purchases. This gives you an immediate understanding of what your product does and the problem it solves for real people, delivering the sense of purpose that 70 percent of professionals say they get from their work. This close relationship with customers also gives you a fast-tracked understanding of a particular market whether you’re working in financial technology, beauty e-commerce, real estate tech, or anything else. You’ll gain ample expertise in how a particular market ticks to either advance yourself in that organization or help you in other areas of your career. 

Potential to earn big

For many, the biggest allure for working at a startup is the chance to get rich. In the early days of a startup, companies don’t always have the cash to offer competitive salaries. So how do they convince a talented developer or business development professional to work for them instead of earning double or triple at a bigger company? They offer them a piece of the pie in the form of options. Options are almost like, “pre-stock” with a pre-determined price for a company’s shares. When the company sells or goes public, employees can buy the share at the predetermined price. While structures can vary, a simple example works as follows: If an employee has 1,000 options with a strike price (the predetermined price) of $10 each and the company goes public at $100 per share, they only have to pay $10,000 to get $100,000 worth of shares. The earlier you join a company, the more equity (piece of the pie) you receive. That said, there is a catch. To avoid people joining just for shares and jumping ship early, startups create a vesting schedule. If your compensation includes 1,000 options, you don’t get all of those up front. You might get 250 of them after year 1, 500 of them after year 2, and all 1,000 after year 4. IPOs have allowed many professionals to become overnight millionaires.

Minimal supervision and micromanagement

While micromanagement can happen in any organization and with any manager, it’s less likely to happen within a startup. With few processes and employees, there’s less time for people to hover over their teams. They have to trust that they’ll learn as they go and reach out when they need help. This gives employees the autonomy they may have wished they had in a previous role. 

Innovation opportunities

Above all, working at a startup gives professionals the chance to work on something new and build something from the ground up. It takes a unique personality to work at a startup. Startups call for the kind of people who like to be a part of building something from scratch. They enjoy the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced environment, and the opportunity to learn on the fly. While this can sometimes be stressful, it can also be rewarding both personally and financially. 

Are you interested in pursuing startup opportunities? Get in touch with a member of the Harvest recruitment team to learn how you can transition into a startup role. 

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