6 Reasons to Take the Startup Plunge

Let’s be honest. What wouldn’t be great about trading in that dreary square cubicle for a couple of ping-pong tables and a few couches? Actually … a lot of things. Startup life is hard work and not for the faint of heart. If you ran a cost benefit analysis you might as well set fire to the idea and run back to your cubicle screaming. We’ve all heard it before:

Every 9 in 10 startups fail.

Call me crazy, but I’m still writing this post to convince you that the smart move is to ditch the cubicle, bury the cost benefit analysis and take the leap into startup life. For many this is the ultimate daydream. The career choice you wish could make but have never been crazy enough to ditch all sanity and security. I know because I was there. I’ve sat in a cubicle and dreamed of a different life. It’s been over a year now and the startup of 8 or so that I ditched my career for has grown to 30 strong with no sign of letting up. That will most likely never be an easy decision, but these six reasons may just be enough to help you take that crazy leap:

1. Your day to day will totally change

There are few things quite like working with a lean team, on a lean budget and with a mandate to grow at a rate in excess of any normal business. There’s no hiding the fact the work rate and culture at a fledging startup are very different from the confines of a corporate office. Work tends to transcend time and nine to five doesn’t exactly compute with an entrepreneurial mindset. You won’t be logging hours and no one will ever time your lunch breaks. There’s an air of freedom to your daily routine but it comes with a great deal of responsibility that will be taken as fast as it was given. This all equates to a work hard/play hard mentality that opens great opportunities to have fun when the company takes a minor break from proceedings. There’s a good chance you’ll always have some type of table talk for your friends and family regarding what goes on at your growing startup.

there’s an air of freedom to your daily routine

2. Your learning curve will hit warp-speed

If you’re at an early stage startup, lets say under 2 years old, the truth of the matter is that they don’t make a rack to fit all the hats you’ll be wearing. As a summer intern, fresh graduate or intermediate employee you’ll be thrown into the fire and expected to find your own way to success. Keep in mind that your startup has runway, depending on funding, of a dozen months or so — if that. So your results will be measured in weeks rather than quarters or years. This all means that you have no choice but to learn, learn fast and learn a lot about subjects you never thought you would even touch at your level of experience.

3. There’s something special about the people you meet

You’ll quickly see that those who can’t learn fast enough don’t make the cut. There’s an inherent natural selection that leaves you with a team of the most talented and hungry individuals you know. It’s the relationships, friendships and bonds you make with these people who will eventually push you over the finish line of startup life. You get things done and done well because the team and your friends depend on you. You’ve laughed together and cried together over a rollercoaster of emotions and you are not getting off until you succeed in building this “thing” — whatever that may be — together.

you’ll meet the most talented individuals

4. The connections you make will be invaluable

Those bonds you’ve created are with people who have most likely had their turn in your industry. You’re executives have most likely climbed the corporate ladder and each of them hold vast networks that only continue to grow as they raise funds to propel your startups or find customers to grow the company. Beyond these internal connections you make there is an ecosystem of like-minded professionals currently living the startup life and connecting to build their networks. One amazing local community is Tech Toronto which holds a community seminar the first Monday of every month here in Toronto. More than 600 eager community members mingle over beers and keynote speakers with a shared interest in startup life. You’d be hard pressed to find better ways to ensure future success than building a network with people you trust.

5. You’ll build a legacy from the ground up

The truth is success is a vastly different prospect for every person. What you get at a startup is the opportunity to be a tangible part of something bigger than yourself. It’s not in the sense that you’re a replaceable gear in the machine, but a little machine in itself that has helped take an idea into reality. The best part is that in such a lean team there’s ample room to find yourself. You’re not going to get pigeon holed into a single task that you hate. This means you can build your career and your work in whatever area you like most. The day you eventually hit your vision of success is the day you’ll walk away with a wealth of experience you wouldn’t have otherwise and the satisfaction of building something that many people probably never thought possible.

there’s ample room to find yourself

6. Do it because you want to

Startup life may not be your cup of tea and that’s totally fine. I know lots of people who love the ability to walk away at the end of any given day and not have to worry about work or what surprise, good or bad, awaits you the next morning. The most important thing to consider before you make the leap is to understand the type of person you are. If you like to be constantly challenged with new situations that are probably outside your comfort zone than it may very well be for you. It may also be for you if you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone, take a few years of non-stop work, and propel your experience/success at an accelerated rate. Whatever your reason for wanting to take the startup plunge I will vouch for the awesome experience that awaits you on the way down.

I hope this helped. It’s reasoning I wish I had to take the plunge sooner. Also, if you’re thinking of how to get a startup off the ground be sure to check out begre.at for some awesome tips!