Breaking Out of the Career Comfort Zone: Why I Joined a Startup

By Sarah McNabb

A month ago I ran marketing for a highly regarded and fast-growing global financial technology firm known for innovation. I’d been there almost 3 years, and I had my game down. I had an excellent team that was instrumental in pushing the company forward. I had many friends, I played second base on the softball team, and I was lucky enough to get free lunch every day — the whole nine yards.

And I left it all on November 7 to lead marketing for a brand new financial technology company called Tradovate.

I’m not a risk-taker by nature, so to leave a great job with an amazing company for the uncertainty of a startup required checking a number of different boxes. Here are those boxes — perhaps they can be helpful to anyone else considering a shift from the comfort of an established company for the excitement and reward of a startup:

  1. Opportunities — The opportunity to help build a company from the ground up is one that may never present itself again and to help shape the brand of a company from its pre-launch stages is enticing for those with true grit. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity that Tradovate presented: to turn a vision into something brand new for the futures industry.
  2. Responsibility — One will never have a more evident barometer of success than the individual change they can affect in the ownership of a role in a startup. While the measure of responsibility can be daunting, the sense of pride over accomplishments is much greater simply because the stakes are higher.
  3. Education — The startup path is ideal for those who can learn and learn quickly. I knew that developing Tradovate’s brand would introduce many challenges and instances to learn; especially opportunities to learn from the company’s inspiring and driven management team. Wearing many hats can help round out existing skills as well as shape new ones and I look forward to the professional development that awaits!
  4. Innovation — A startup’s potential is only as good as the innovation it presents, the problems it solves, and the market it creates or disrupts. Successful innovation distinguishes between leaders and followers and is closely associated to a meaningful mission and clear long-term vision. As I learned about Tradovate’s carefully planned route to implement innovation to online futures trading I couldn’t help but support this plan.
  5. Mission — A meaningful mission should enhance life as we know it. I learned that Tradovate’s mission of bringing a much-needed, refreshing, large-scale change to the futures and options trading industry is set to improve life for its target audience. And the improvement will be major. While I list this “checkbox” last, it certainly carries an important weight that draws the rest of these aspects under its wing.

I carefully considered all factors before deciding to join Tradovate as each box was ticked in favor of contributing to the success of this exciting startup poised to change online futures trading as we know it beginning in 2015.

Exciting details of Tradovate’s offering will be announced in the coming months and I look forward to helping usher in those announcements. Want to hold your place in line for an early look at what we’re developing? Sign up for a pre-launch invite at

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