Four things you should know before you apply to work for a startup

- September 16, 2015 2 MIN READ

Working for a startup can be a fantastic opportunity to be part of something special; however, it is certainly not for everyone. Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before signing up.

You’ll be involved heavily in important decisions

If you like being in the thick of the action this could be your dream come true, because startups have fewer people, flatter hierarchies and tend to take a collaborative approach to decision making. Not only will you be kept in the loop regarding all the inner workings of the business, you will be invited to attend those all-important meetings and expected to speak up. You will have a voice in decisions that affect everything from product development to the direction of the startup itself, making this a wonderful opportunity for those who have a few ideas up their sleeve.

Your work will directly impact the company’s success

Want to work in a place where it is always clear who is and isn’t doing their job? Join a startup, because being part of a small team will mean there is nowhere for slackers to hide. While this may mean a little extra pressure to perform at a high level, those successes will be that much more gratifying as a result. You will be encouraged to take initiative, trusted to follow through and expected to bring your ‘A Game’ every day of the week. If you think you have what it takes to help a new business take flight, joining a startup provides a wonderful opportunity to test yourself.

The startup will be learning a lot from you and your past experiences

The most successful startups are those who can make the most of the skills, knowledge and potential of their entire team, so expect to be involved in lots of skill sharing. Whether you have a background as an accountant, a gamer, worked in an agency or were a blogger, you will be encouraged to share your knowledge at every opportunity. Those past experiences may shed new light on the development of a product, help to solve a problem or provide key insights into a target audience. It’s vital that you are willing to speak up and share.

Startups move fast and change direction quickly

If you thrive in a fast paced environment you will love working for a startup. There are tight deadlines, decisions are made quickly and your job description may change significantly without notice – even the direction of the startup itself may shift several times before it finds its feet. Working in such a high pressure environment can bring the best out of people but it can also be quite stressful, so only sign up if you are wired to handle constant change, are a master of prioritisation, or want to be.

Startups offer a unique blend of challenges and opportunities that are vastly different from those of traditional working environments. While not everyone thrives under these often trying conditions, for some it is the experience of a lifetime.

This article was written by Jo Sabin, Head of Community at DesignCrowd.com.au, a logo, web and graphic design marketplace.