Why working for startups is worth it

Despite the numerous challenges of working for a startup, simple things such as hands-on learning, flexibility, drive to build something great, and the insane energy is what makes working for startups worth it.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

As glamorous as it might be, working for a startup entails many challenges and going the extra mile. Many of us today see why being entrepreneurial adds to the value of enriching life experience and of course shaping your career in a way where you'll feel that you've truly made that change, making a dent in the universe as many of us aspire to do. I wrote about five ways employees can add value to their startups a while ago. Among the factors to succeed were to include managing expectations, being an intrapreneur, and knowing when to stand up, even to a client.

Whether you do these or not, there's a lot of struggle and striving hard towards newer and more challenging expectations as compared to working for bigger organizations and, yes, the taste of success is that much sweeter. So, one might wonder at times, what is the value that you draw when you decide to work for a startup?

Having worked with a couple of startups, I can tell you one thing for sure: The insurmountable amount of learning and knowledge you get after working for startups is quite the deal. Worth everything that you do in life, I would say. In this article, I take a look at some of the things that should matter to you if you are thinking of working for a startup or are an aspiring entrepreneur and someday in the future looking forward to developing a startup yourself.

Hands-on learning

Nothing beats being a jack of all trades and master of one. Yes, you heard me right. Working with a startup helps you learn many tricks of several trades, and of course the ability to master the one thing that you enjoy doing the most. Many times, employees in a startup have to do a lot of those things that an intern might do on his or her first job. But what's different here is that a lot of startups have that self-empowerment attribute that helps you realize that what you're doing is giving you so much hands-on experience on a lot of things, rather than specializing in one. Be it marketing, sales, business development, building a product, or interacting with clients, there are many opportunities to learn at any given point in time. To add to that, especially at an early stage, there won't be set processes and already existing boundaries to tie you down. It gives you more exposure.

It doesn't cramp your style

Flexibility is one of the reasons why many choose to work with startups, and not just in terms of the working hours or the amount of work one does in a startup. If you think that's something you see as a perk, think twice. Of course, there are good days and there are extremely good days. Having the flexibility in the style of work is what motivates a lot of people to choose to work for startups. Creative freedom on being able to work on projects, and the way you want to drive the dream is a perk that many enjoy in startups. What adds to that is of course the easier channels of feedback and being able to communicate much better and express your thoughts and views to the founders and people who matter most in the startup.

The insane energy

With loads of coffee, Red Bull, and tons of energy to do the most amazing thing that you want to, who wouldn't want to be part of something like this? Of course, not as glorified as it may be, there is always a certain level of energy that each and every employee brings to the table that makes the workplace quite exciting. Brainstorming constantly about how minor changes in your product could bring a great user experience; growth hacking talks that add to building simplified aspects to help grow the product revenues; celebrations of achievements on crossing significant hurdles; the regular jam sessions; the fun activities; the loads of mindless talks about relevant or irrelevant things that touch your horizon; and being the technology freaks and nerds that a lot of us are every single day at work — all of this brings that level of excitement to keep going every day.

Building something great

Whether you're doing something innovative or something that solves the simplest problems, everything you do gives you a sense of achievement and a sense of perspective that allows you to keep doing what you do every day. The very fact that a startup allows you to make changes, do over your mistakes, and see yourself growing is the high you cherish. Yes, there are a lot of mistakes you could make, but to understand that you get to wake up the next day and have the ability to change the things you want gives you satisfaction aplenty.

It doesn't matter who you are

What matters is what you do. Yep, you got that right. Unlike conventional jobs, where a lot of importance, stress, and more often than not an empty or hollow level of significance is given to your degree, education, background, and so on, when you're working for a startup, it doesn't really matter. On the contrary, in the disruptive business cultures that startups are famous for, many look for traits that make you stand apart from the conventional. People look for talent and multi-versatile attributes that give your personality the flair you need to be as innovative and artistic as you can be. Nothing sets that example more than the rebel and pirate culture in many tech startups across the world.

These are some of the reasons that have mattered the most for me to work for a startup, and I'm sure there are many other reasons that make working for your startup worth it. What are your reasons?

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