9 Reasons Why You Should NOT Start a Company or Join a Startup

It’s no secret one of my hobbies is convincing students to forgo a lucrative career in investment banking. I’m pretty good at it too. In fact, I wrote a Medium post a while back hoping to inspire others to eschew the path of becoming another sheep on Wall Street.

Today, my propaganda is no longer needed. In the last two years, the mindset of top students has changed. Google is the new Goldman Sachs.

I returned to Google, where I previously worked, about a month ago to have lunch with my old team. The team was unrecognizable besides a handful of familiar faces. Everyone had left to “do their own thing.” It made me wonder…

Is “doing a startup” the new Google?

It’s happening on College Campuses too.

Just recently, I visited eight top East Coast schools, including, Georgetown, NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Harvard and MIT, to host our CampusKudos.com Startup Pitch Competitions.

Students have access to tens-of-thousands of dollars readily at their disposal from the Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures. Everyone is building a YikYak for x, a Tinder for y, a college version of Craigslist, etc.

But, should everyone really be starting companies?

A pedantic Google Search of “Why you should start a company” returns 939MM results.

One of the first articles I read was “20 Reasons to Start Your Own Business” by Entrepreneur.com. Here’s a list of 7 of the 20 reasons:

  1. Spare Time
  2. A Story to Tell
  3. Tax Benefits
  4. Pride
  5. Your Posterity
  6. Job Security
  7. Financial Independence

Seriously, Entrepreneur.com?

Let me instead tell you 9 reasons why you should absolutely NOT start a company!

  1. No Spare Time — Don’t expect to have spare time. Even when you’re not at your desk or working directly on growing your company, you‘ll be thinking about your baby, your startup. Just thinking about your competition out there and how much cash you have left in the bank will make you think twice about spare time.
  2. A miserable existence — A friend of mine described entrepreneurship as a “miserable existence”, an itch that you just have to scratch… but not everyone has the itch. For context, this friend started and sold his company, and, nevertheless, describes entrepreneurship as a miserable existence.
  3. Tax Benefits ?!? — Seriously? $0 Income * x% Tax = $0. That’s not the tax benefits you want. Please don’t start a company for the tax benefits. You’ll end up in ESPN’s NOT Top 10.
  4. Kicks your pride straight in the balls — Sure, when you building something successful, it feels great. But, do you know what % of startups are successful? Check here. If anything, startups will test your pride, as you’ll be forced to put your name behind half-baked prototypes and dubious marketing efforts.
  5. Your Posterity — Truthfully, I had to double-check what this one meant. “But if you own your own business, that’s something you can pass on to the next generation.” I suggest you buy real estate if this one’s your goal.
  6. You’re fired! — Here’s an article on why startups must hire fast and… fire fast. Mark Suster, a 2x entrepreneur and now VC, points out, “So there you have it. Most companies hire slowly and fire slowly — the exact opposite of best practice for startups.” And another by WSJ — “Firing people before the ink is dry on their employment contracts.”
  7. Zero Financial Independence — Being 100% reliant on either bootstrapping or raising capital or taking years to become cash flow positive is probably not the financial independence you were looking for.
  8. Goodbye Nice Things — If you’re the type of person who has an Equinox membership, you’ll probably trade that in for a $9 per month Gold’s Gym membership real soon. Sushi Dinners? How about Ramen instead? (cliche but true)

9. Social Life? What Social Life? — I’m glad I get along great with my team. Not that I have much of a choice, because the startup world can be a lonely won. You’ll quickly find yourself passing up drinks with friends for Friday Night Team Hackathons instead.

Still interested in doing startups?

Good, then let’s connect. We’re looking to grow our team at CampusKudos and want to work with people who love adversity ☺

Email me if interested at adam@campuskudos.com!