I recently read a post from Rob May that he wrote about a month ago. He was explaining why he was really glad he spent his 20′s working on startups, but how difficult it was at times considering the stress, failures, and seeing friends who had nice jobs, new houses, etc. He was saying that it can be hard to know if you’re making the right decision to continue down the uncertain, risky path of startups, but how valuable it can be in the long run.
Reading it made me think about how much people underestimate the value of working at a startup. So often people get excited about the idea of hitting it big with an idea, but are quickly deterred when things dont as well or go as quickly as they would like.
Yes, the hours are long, the pay is low, and the failure rate is high, but there is a ton of value in working in that environment. I would definitely argue with Rob that its a good way to spend your early professional career. Here are a few of the benefits:
- New Skills – Working at a startup will allow (or force) you to learn new skills that you wouldn’t typically learn in a bigger company. Because more needs to be done with less people, you have the chance to do jobs you normally wouldn’t do. This can translate into skills that are valuable to employers and can increase job opportunities and pay. It can also allow people to find a new niche that they enjoy or are really good at.
- Independence - Along those same lines, founders have a chance to work for themselves and on projects that they want to. It can be a great learning experience, and if it works out, can provide you the freedom to move your career in the direction you want as opposed to the direction to make ends meet.
- Pushing Yourself – Working in this environment will be a challenge and there will undoubtedly be times you would like to quit. But in the end you will be in a position where you have to push yourself in order to succeed. Without challenging and pushing yourself, you won’t improve and you’ll never actually know what you’re capable of.
- Opportunity – While you may be working long hours, building up debt, and neglecting your personal life, you have something that most people in this world don’t; opportunity. Opportunity to make a lot of money, opportunity to become an expert in your field, and an opportunity to change the world in a positive way. Dont discount that.
I think this is why entrepreneurs can find growth and opportunity that other dont usually see, but it doesnt come easily or quickly.
What are some other benefits to working at a startup as opposed to a big company?