Startups: glorious havens or stressful hellholes? Unfortunately, the answer to this question might not be as straightforward as all of us hope. Startups are as complex as they are simple and as amazing to work for as they are hard work. Whether or not you choose to apply for a job at a startup company depends on what role you’re looking to take on and whether your personality fits with the startup lifestyle.
Why working for a startup is great?
Many founders will tell you that startups can get a bad reputation. Among the figures about the number of failing startups, the stress and the reliance on little funding, startup businesses can be amazing places to work. Here’s why!
There is no denying that startups are great places to gain hands-on experience in a field. Startups often have small teams, so there are lots of opportunities for responsibility and to grow your portfolio. Everyone in a startup team is learning new things all the time - even the founders. This means there should be no need to worry about making mistakes and getting things wrong as the nature of startups means they take knocks and learn from them!
As an employee of a startup, there’s plenty of room for your own ideas to be heard. Startups are designed to grow and evolve, and fresh insight is needed and welcomed by founders to improve their businesses. It’s a fantastic way of exploring your creativity and gaining confidence. Employees of large companies can often feel constrained by strict business guidelines, policies, and ways of operating. Startups encourage change and independent thought!
Nowadays, most startups offer remote work positions, ideal for so many people in this unpredictable world we’re living in. Additionally, many startups now encourage their employees to work when it suits them best, with a couple of scheduled meetings along the way! Although every startup is different - and some will be more flexible than others - founders of startups are far more likely to be willing to accommodate your available hours!
4. Small teams
Working in a smaller team can seem intimidating to some people at first as there may be more responsibility put on your shoulders. However, working with fewer people means you get to know everyone much quicker - this makes it easier to approach a colleague with any burning questions and can create a much more relaxed and friendly vibe!
What are the drawbacks of working for startups?
So, we’ve established how great startups can be, but what are some of the downsides? Startups are ultimately fluctuating businesses, and sometimes they take a turn for the worse. 60% of new businesses fail in their first three years. It’s a risky business, being in startup-land!
1. The pay
Because many startups don’t have access to large amounts of money, many employees work for free or for a lower fee than they might get in big businesses. Startup founders are much more likely to use the money they do have on resources that will help their company grow. However, it must be said that employees of startups are often much more valued than in established businesses and is therefore arguably more rewarding.
2. Lack of structure
Flexible/changing work hours isn’t for everyone, especially those who find it difficult to self-motivate. This can also affect your social life as it may be more difficult to make plans with friends when you’re not sure what hours you are working that week.
3. Limited resources
When working for a startup you need to be able to work on your feet with limited access to resources. This makes it harder for startups to keep up with competition from businesses that are already established. Employees must therefore use their initiative to find low-cost ways of producing, marketing, and selling the product.
Great startups to work for
Working at a startup isn’t perfect by any means, but it is a great place to build skills, work with passionate entrepreneurs and help create a new generation of incredible businesses. Despite the pandemic, in 2021 over 340,000 businesses were registered in the UK. As entrepreneurs refuse to be dissuaded from business, the future of startups looks bright!
1. Appear Here - Providing rental spaces for retail companies.
2. Octopus Energy - Sustainable energy provider for the modern world.
3. Habito - Help with mortgages, legal work and property surveys for home buyers.
4. Motorway - Helping car owners sell their cars from their phones.
5. Sidequest - App store for VR games and apps.