How to Thrive at a Startup and not Die Trying.

Hector Perez
Nov 19, 2018 · 4 min read

If you are reading this, probably you either are a struggling startup employee, or you have heard the word over and over, and you are thinking about joining one. Either way, this post will serve you, I hope, as a guide during the ups and downs you will experience in most startups.

Before diving in the stuff I have to share with you, let me tell you one more thing. All the knowledge I am about to throw at you is a small compilation of my over four years of experience working for small, and very small, enterprises in the USA and Europe.

That being said, I think I have extensive knowledge about the topic, but things may be different in other companies, although I am sure, people with experience in the startup environment will likely know what I am talking about in the next 3 minutes read.

So let’s start with the essential stuff I am about to share with you.

1. Forget about your expertise and get ready to roll your sleeves up.

This may sound cliche, but honestly, this is true. Whether you like it or not, you are working on a company which has scarce resources; even Facebook and Amazon had limited means at their beginnings.

If you go over my LinkedIn profile, you will see that, apparently, I am a marketing pro but I do much more than just marketing. Here’s an artistic representation of my morning routines:

Fun fact: Before I started to work for startups I drank 1 cup of coffee a week. Nowadays, I drink around 4 a day.

It looks fun, isn’t it? Well, the truth is that although it seems like a lot of work, you get the chance to learn tons of new skills from fields you did not even have a clue existed.

So my recommendation is, don’t see this as a negative aspect, instead, take advantage of this by learning as much as you can. After all, you’re getting paid to get an MBA. ( I say this because I have learned about HR, Accounting, Finances, Marketing, Computer Science, Investor Relations, etc.)

2. The company is growing, so is your boss.

Founding a company is like having a child, you have to learn how to raise the kid, but you will learn this as the little one is growing too.

Lots of startups are founded by first-time entrepreneurs or people who have created other projects, but they haven’t got to a point where they have to hire and MANAGE people.

Did you know why I capitalized the word “manage”? Because some startups C-suite leaders lack skills in this area. My recommendation is to be patient, they are learning.

How many managers like this one out there?

For those founders, CEOs and other C-suite people in startups, this humble writer recommends investing time, effort and money on mastering the art of managing your talent. Remember, you can’t build a skyscraper without having a solid basement.

3. Play for the team! But make good numbers for yourself.

As selfish this may sound, this is what is called reality. There won’t be a better place for you to create and build your name by delivering results, especially at the beginning of your career, than a startup.

The beauty of building a new thing alongside other like-minded people is that every move you make will have an impact on the company. Although risky, if you use this to your advantage and put your time and effort to it, you will have solid results to show on your portfolio.

That being said, never forget you’re part of a team too.

4. Stuff happens, stuff change. ADAPT!

In the startuphere, there’s nothing as crucial as the word “adapt.” Startups are a machine of creating fast-paced situations and changes, and you need to be ready to play along without losing your mind.

That good ole’ business plan your boss presented at the beginning of the year or quarter may suffer several alterations, some of them last-minute requests, and you will need a stable mind to deal with it. Believe me, it’s hard, but it’s possible.

Also, new investors, partnerships, fusions, etc. can alter the company as well. Be mentally prepared, after all, that’s the way a lot of 21st-century companies operate these days. There’s no better school than a startup.

You gotta do what you gotta do.


As many people out there, when I was a child I sold orange juice on my grandpa parking lot. I also traded toys for other toys I liked better. Since I was little, I always to be part of things bigger than myself, so for someone like me being a member of small businesses have allowed me to learn valuable insights about running and taking a company to the next level.

So, if you’re like me, and you dream of building the next great thing, being an employee at a startup will provide you with the essential toolkit you need to start, run and scale your own business.

Data Driven Investor

Hector Perez

Written by

Maker, believer, startup enthusiast. Follow my journey and let’s share some knowledge.

Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity not insanity

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