A year ago I landed my first ‘real’ start up job. I was a former Fortune500 professional with a strong corporate background. I have always been interested in technology, design and innovations and wanted to gain a hands-on experience in the startup world learning everything I need to know about startups.
I was driven by pure passion and ambition to innovate. I was no longer satisfied with the steady pay, the 9-5 routine and was tired of fighting bureaucracy and “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. It didn’t matter how great the benefits were or how nice the office view was. I was craving for a real challenge, a chance to make a difference and an opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself.
Well, I’ve got it.
We all heard how challenging, fun and rewarding startups can be. The idea of a group of people who got together with a small amount of resources attempting to drive the most fascinating, state-of-the-art innovation. “We’ve got a way of doing something that is different and we’re going to do it and see if it works”. Limited resources breed creativity and they force us to find innovative ways of doing things.. You get to go into a space where there are no words to describe what you’re doing, you get to craft out your thoughts and ideas as you go along and believe you can make it happen.
It’s awe-inspiring to be part of that process and when you’re in that environment, you can effectively chase your dreams.
Here are the 3 things I have learned from that experience:
1) Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
One of the biggest challenges of a start up is limited resources and that includes time. There are only 24 hours in a day and you have to make the best use of it. If you’re lucky, you get to wear multiple hats and learn all aspects of the business ranging from sales, operations to marketing and tech support (hell you might even learn how to write a code or two) that being said, things are bound to get crazy and you need to be able to prioritize your to-do list so you can remain on top of your game.
Being busy isn’t bad as long as what you’re busy doing is moving you forward.
2) It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission
In a startup environment, things tend to move quickly and you need to act. Calls are coming in, contracts are being signed and clients are being on-boarded. You may not have the necessary info to make the decision but you need to move forward. So trust your instinct, in your abilities to deliver and just do it. Fear of failure stifles creativity and progress. “if you’re not failing, you’re not going to innovate” the upside of disruption is much greater.
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” - Thomas Edison
3) Use every minute to learn
Startup is the perfect environment to learn from your experiences and push your boundaries. The opportunities to learn are endless so don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zones. The most damaging things you can do in your career is to stay for years where you are comfortable. Pushing past your limits helps you find the fulfilment, excitement and meaning in what you do. Embrace every opportunity that comes your way.
What do you get when you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone? Unlimited potential of achievements.
A startup gives you a freedom to go create, learn, fail & do good work. Over the past year, I’ve learned to listen to my instincts, embrace risk, work on my weaknesses and compete with my strengths. Working at a start-up can be an exceptionally rewarding experience - both professionally and personally.
What have you learned from working at a startup? Do you agree with my points above? Share your thoughts with me in comments below.
What a brilliant idea! Hope they’ll integrate it in the next iOS build!
If you’re walking, you really shouldn’t be texting. While not as perilous as texting and driving, there’s no surer way to annoy fellow pedestrians than by zigzagging across a sidewalk, eyes glued to your precious screen. But if you absolutely must walk and text, Apple might have a new feature that could make that action safer.