How To Survive a Start-Up (Without Losing Your Soul) 


The Time Is Now
In a start-up, everyone’s time is infinitely valuable. Use yours wisely.

The Best Things in Life Come In Small Packages
Sometimes, teams are small enough that everyone gets to take a vested interest in the company. Cherish that. If you’re young (and you probably are), own up to the opportunities that are given to you and roll with them.

On Failure
You will fail. You will make mistakes. You will hit “reply-all” when you didn’t mean to. It’s a start-up: the nature of it is entirely experimental. Oftentimes, nobody knows what they’re doing. Samuel Beckett says it best: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Jump In
Don’t let your fear hold you back. Speak without thinking things through: nine times out of ten, inconsequential nonsense will dribble out of your mouth (and into the conversation), but sometimes your best ideas come out of incalculable impulse.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Above and Beyond
A few days ago, I read the following anecdote: My father once told me he had to fire his secretary and I asked “Why?” He replied, “Because she does exactly as I ask, nothing more.” When possible, exceed expectations.

Swiss Army Knife
Be a utility player in all that you do. The tasks won’t always be fun, but sometimes, new directions and leaps of faith will shape the rest of your career. You’ll be better for the twists and turns you took when you were agile.

Spare Change
There will be changes; the nature of a start-up is to remain small, lean and flexible enough that you can pivot on a moment’s notice. But it’s important that an underlying vision is the driving force behind all that you do.

Use your brain, follow your heart and even better things will happen (I promise)

Time is Money
There will be times in your life where you make less money (and those times are not mutually exclusive to working in a start-up), but time is infinitely more valuable. Flexible hours and working remotely can have a transformative impact on the way teams work together. Find out how (and when!) you work best and leverage the flexibility that working in a start-up offers.

Out of The Box
Everyone says this, but I cannot underline it enough: the best work happens outside of the office. I use my 8-hour workday to plough through the menial stuff that must get done, but the big ideas come before drifting off to sleep, in the shower or when I’m reading.

Unplug
Yes, it’s important to stay up-to-date on world affairs and Buzzfeed quizzes, but real thinking doesn’t happen by an endless input of information (in fact, that simply leads to regurgitation). Know that the sky won’t fall if the internet is down or if your e-mails aren’t sending. Move on to something else. Sit at a table, sketch out ideas or take a walking meeting. Put simply: Use your brain, follow your heart and even better things will happen (I promise).

Scribble and sketch in whatever shorthand makes sense to you and read between the lines later.

Take Notes
Write everything down. The bad ideas. The good ideas. Keep a sketchbook, journal, notepad, whatever. I used to think I remembered everything until I didn’t. Now, I look back on unrealized ideas from 6 months ago and finally have the tools to make them a reality. Scribble and sketch in whatever shorthand makes sense to you and read between the lines later.