What Startups are Really Like

Grace Holden

Startups are in some ways inconceivable things. They continue to defy expectations and surprise founders with new challenges every day. When entrepreneurs first announce they are thinking of jumping into the startup world, they are often met either with derision or thoughtless optimism. The truth is startups should be associated with neither of those things. They are complex and dynamic businesses, with hurdles to overcome and exciting prospects.

What to know about startups

Before you decide you want to create a startup - or even work for one - it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of what one actually is. Startups are too often associated with small businesses, but not all small businesses are startups. Additionally, hugely successful businesses can still be considered startups. Why? Well, put very simply, startups are essentially newly established businesses. So, a small family-run business that has been handed down the generations for fifty years is not a startup. But a year-old company that has made a million in the space of months can be considered a startup because, even though it has been successful, it is still in its infancy.

Are startups worth it?

From the very first time you put pen to paper and write down your initial business idea, you are on the emotional rollercoaster that is your startup journey. It might sound cliché, but it’s absolutely true. It’s also inevitable - so there’s no point in planning for a smooth ride! Founders experience the full range of emotions throughout their startup journey; anxiety waiting to hear back from investors, terror at having to spend a large amount of money on a tool that might not be effective. But it’s not all bad! There’s a LOT of excitement when setting up your own business; freedom at being you own boss, joy when you see your first profit margin and relief when it all works out in the end!

Creating a business from scratch is not just a laugh with mates (though we so wish it was!) That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable, but there’s much more hard work in the initial stages. It’s also not always wise to work with friends, unless they’re reliable. This is because the working and personal relationships often get blurred, which ultimately makes the whole process that much harder!

Most of us don’t get into startups excited about sitting down to do the tax returns and sort all the legal documents. Unfortunately, they are a significant and vital part of being a founder, and one that must be seen to properly to avoid fines and other legal difficulties. But don’t worry if you’re not maths-savvy, there is lots of support out there for first-time founders.

Here’s the biggie: you might fail. Many startups unfortunately do eventually have to close. You might work the hardest you’ve ever worked, networked with everyone out there and put everything into your business and it still might not have worked out. But that should never stop you! There’s always an element of risk with startups, and in any area of business, but if you’re passionate about how your product is going to change the world, if you believe it can be a success, get out there and go for it!