Truths and Myths: The Startup Life

Hector Perez
Nov 27, 2018 · 5 min read

The rise of startups such as Stripe, Pinterest, Uber or Airbnb, to name a few, has driven a lot of media attention to the entrepreneurship world. There are thousands of vlogs, gurus, influencers, and people in general, talking about how to create a business and all the great stuff you get from being a founder. However, from an employee standpoint, there are fewer resources.

Being a team member in a startup has a positive and a negative side. I will try my best to go over the most common perceptions people have about what working for a startup is like while comparing these general ideas with what I have lived within the “startuphere.”

I’m here (on the right bottom corner) moving to Google for Startups Campus Madrid when we were selected as a member of their residency program.

As I always say, all I am about to share comes from my own experience but I am sure, most people in the startup ecosystem will relate to my experiences.

1. MYTH: Startups paid less than corporate

TRUTH: Yes, startups do pay less, if you look at salary compensation only. For example, a Software Engineer at Google makes about $126K a year while the same person would make $93K in a startup in the United States. As always, it all comes down to the location of the job.

But wait a second, it doesn’t end here. Depending on the startup your work at, in the long run, you can make way more than working for any big corporation, including the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.)

Imagine you started working at a startup named XYZ right after the two founders incorporated the company. Your starting salary as a Marketing Manager was $30K but you also got 3% on equity. Fast forward five years down the road, XYZ was acquired by Amazon for $100 million. Although you made around $150K in those five years, after the acquisition, you will get $3 million in cash.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

If you were working at Facebook, you could have made around $450K in the five years and still you would have to work 20 more years to get to the $3 million you got from the merge at XYZ.

P.S. Not all startups give equity away. I highly recommend founders to, at least, have this type of compensation as an option. I will explain why in a new article.

2. MYTH: There are pool tables, ping pong, and fresh fruit.

TRUTH: No, in my experience there are just a small number of startups that have these perks. Some of them don’t offer these benefits because they don’t have the money to while other founders don’t see these rewards as a top priority.

Although it sounds like a very banal question, these assumptions clearly describe the picture people have about the startup life. It’s true teams get together easier and in some cases form a very strong bond between members, but working for a startup also means along hours commitment and a fast pace adaptable mindset.

In a past post, I dived deep inside of the qualities you should have to succeed at any or almost any startup.

3. MYTH: 99% of the team are tech people.

TRUTH: Absolutely no! Most startups have a great need for tech work, however, in order for the product to be successful, there other variants founder have also in mind.

From Marketing to Sales to even Finances, startups a pretty diverse place in terms of expertise.

That being said, if you are not a developer and you want to work for a startup, there should be a place for you. Unless you’re a Defense Against The Dark Arts Teacher.

There may be a spot for you as well ;)

4. MYTH: Working for a startup will not take you places.

TRUTH: It applies to any person out there, even if you work for Google, where you get in life solely depends on the amount of effort you put in seeking your goals.

Working in the startup ecosystem is a great place to make good top-level connections. In my case, I have gotten the opportunity to meet high executives from Google, Facebook, and other big corporations as well as influent people in politics, and other fields.

Here I am talking at Quest The Future of Ecommerce about the expansion to the USA and other markets I led at Mumablue

The network you’re able to develop as a member of a well-positioned startup can serve you well in the future to land new job opportunities, strengthen your personal brand or even found your own company.

As I often say, let your skills do the talking.

5. MYTH: Every startup works from a garage.

TRUTH: Nope! There are hundreds of startups that do work or worked from a garage but there are others which work either from a nice looking coworking space (I will talk about the benefits of working from a coworking space) or they have their own office.

Regardless of where you are working from, I think that the results are what matter most. Of course a good looking, cozy and warm office is ideal, however, if you have a connection with the project or idea you are developing, even working from a cafe will be enough to keep fighting for your dreams.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject and solve any doubts you may have about the startup life.

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Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity not insanity

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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