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The pros and cons of joining a startup

By Jana Angeles

It can be exciting to explore your job prospects, especially if one of your goals for 2020 is to find a new job. While it’s important to consider the options that are available to you regarding your employment situation, being open to opportunities that are seen as “risky” may be worth your while. This is where joining a startup can present itself with many possibilities.

Recruitment agency, Ambition, writes, “Certainly, startup positions present you with a wealth of opportunities you're unlikely to come across in a big company. But it's important to remember that it's not all table football, free lunches and electric scooters.”

As mentioned above, there are many opportunities that come with a startup and it can come with rewarding work on offer. However, some may be blindsided by the fun company culture startups tend to present themselves, with the enticing “benefits” that usually means Friday night happy hour drinks or the flexibility of being able to work from home whenever you want.

So, should you avoid startups entirely when it comes to your job search? Not necessarily but you also have to be aware of the risks you’re getting yourself into.

SkillsTalk go over some of the pros and cons of joining a startup to help you gain some clarity on what you truly want when finding a new job. 

3 pros of joining a startup

  1. Increased salary potential.
  2. Growth of professional network.
  3. More rewarding work.

1. Increased salary potential.

One of the key benefits of joining a startup is that there is a “flat hierarchy” when it comes to the structure of the company. You may have been given a brief position description and its details but since you’re part of the startup, you essentially have the power to grow within the role and build on the responsibilities. 

If the company you’re joining is fresh and doesn’t have a well-established clientele just yet, you may need to take a pay cut at first - however, as the company reaches its milestones, you could potentially increase your salary potential as well. For some people, this can be a terrifying thought because financial stability is important to them and they’re not so much risk takers. 

Perhaps there is a lot on the line, such as raising a family and paying off a home loan. However, with the right preparation and support incase things go awry, you may not have to hold off your dreams of joining a startup. You can potentially reap the financial rewards that come with a company that has the chance to succeed. Who knows, you could be joining the next Microsoft or Facebook startup company.

2. Growth of professional network.

professional network concept

Happiness expert and Fortune 500 advisor Annie McKee says, “Connecting with people boosts our mood and our morale, and friendships provide us with the emotional and psychological strength to deal with whatever comes our way — whether an exciting opportunity, a challenge or a crisis.”

Joining a startup can be stressful at the beginning, especially if your job description isn’t exactly clear. You may carry a lot of pressure to do well and feel that the odds are against you when it comes to producing quality results. However, it’s important to know that everyone is on the same boat as you when it comes to joining a startup. 

While you’re wearing many “hats” in the position you’re filling, one of the greatest benefits of joining a company that is just starting out is the people you’ll meet from all walks of life. For a business to survive and succeed, you need to make meaningful partnerships outside of it. 

In addition to the growth of your professional network, being part of a startup from the very beginning can mean establishing some long-life friendships

There are challenges that come with a startup company, such as the likelihood of failure. However, there’s a chance that it can succeed, and the team you’re part of may be in it for the long haul. It’s an opportune time to build strong friendships when joining a startup because while it is risky, you may make connections that can help establish your professional career into a more fruitful one

3. More rewarding work.

It’s so exciting to join a company with potential as you can be part of the milestones, the office relocations and the employee growth. If you’re looking for longevity in your career and want to make an impact in a positive way, joining a startup may benefit your career trajectory if you’re up for the challenge

Of course, working at a company from the ground up isn’t easy and you may not get to experience the infamous “work-life balance” at first. Being part of a startup means you have to put in the long hours and pick up responsibilities that don’t necessarily align with your position title. However, the silver lining is that the potential of this hard work could mean you’re contributing to the growth of the company and see for yourself the outcome of your efforts. 

3 cons of joining a startup.

  1. Unclear job description and KPIs
  2. Startups tend to fail.
  3. No stability.

1. Unclear job description and KPIs.

John Rampton writes in 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Join A Startup, “Startup jobs also include the same mind-numbing responsibilities that the big companies have. So, if you were expecting to try your hand at certain specific exciting tasks, you may be severely disappointed.”

Of course, when you’re part of a well-established company, you’re not without the grunt work of administrative responsibilities and reporting. However, in a startup company, you may need to undertake more of the mind-numbing tasks you thought you were able to escape from. 

Also, working at a startup means you’re most likely undertaking tasks that are outside your role because the company you have joined may have a limited budget to cover a certain number of staff members. 

If you’re someone that wants a job with a predictable list of tasks and responsibilities, working at a startup company may not suit you due to the unclear job description and KPIs. 

2. Startups tend to fail.

failure concept

It’s an unfortunate fact that 9 out of 10 startups will fail. It’s not unusual to be hesitant to take a job offer at a startup company, especially when you know that the odds are against you. You know it’s already risky business to get involved, no matter how appealing the job position may be. 

While the newness of a potential company is nice, it’s important to be realistic and aware that this career opportunity may not work in your favour. You may need to start making contingencies early on, such as making sure your resume and cover letter are up to scratch incase you’re made redundant and need to look for a job as soon as possible. 

3. No stability.

Eric Ries, an entrepreneur and author of book Startup Lessons Learned writes, “A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”

As emphasised above, it makes sense to associate the word “uncertainty” when it comes to joining a startup. You really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into and it’s most likely that you’ll be starting a job that may not have continued growth. 

If you’re after that steady paycheck or flexible work schedule, then you might want to avoid joining a startup company altogether. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be working at one and with it comes long hours and very little monetary return at the start. By joining a well-established company as opposed to a startup, it means that you’re not left with the uncertainty on whether or not you’ll have work in the next few months. 

Prepare for the challenges and rewards of a startup company

No matter what you decide, joining a startup company will have its pros and cons. It just so happens that it comes with its risks as well as rewards. If you want to prepare yourself prior to joining a startup company, consider studying a course with Upskilled. 

With a range of courses in both business and management, you can work towards a qualification that can give you the skills and knowledge that may help you survive the challenges that come with a startup.
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.