An Inside Look at What it’s Like to Work at a Startup on Fire

What’s it like to work for a rapidly growing startup?

Absolute chaos.

Beautiful, exhilarating, controlled chaos.

And that’s a damn good thing.

The startup I work for, Digital Press, is on fire.

Our founders, Nicolas Cole and Drew Reggie, have completely redefined what it means to scale. In one year, we’ve grown from 2 to 20+ full-time employees with no sign of slowing down.

And every one of us has the same common goal:

Keep the pedal to the floor.

The company specializes in thought leadership, helping founders and c-suite execs share insights and build relationships at scale through writing.

We challenge traditional PR tactics with a formula of our own, developed over years of personal experience from the same recipe Cole has used to attract hundreds of thousands of followers of tens of millions of views on his content.

Through writing, we aim to provide real value to readers and clients alike, helping clientele share their stories, insights, lessons-learned and industry knowledge with the masses.

And we’re doing it our way.

Working side-by-side with Cole as an intern for 9 months before being hired full-time, I’ve become a bit of a sponge.

That was my not-so-clever way of saying I’ve tried to absorb as much as possible.

I’ve watched as we’ve on-boarded new team members and 50+ clients, all over the world. I’ve helped with projects that are now implemented into our daily ‘to-dos,’ and worked on assignments that have yet to be revealed to the public.

Through every trial and error, success and failure, good day and bad, the big takeaway is this:

Successful startups are fueled by passion, not profit.

They’re made by people who genuinely care about making a difference in some way, shape, or form. They’re built from love of a craft, not lust for quick cash.

And every single employee has to share that same fire.

Of course, a quick-moving startup can get a bit chaotic — that’s expected with rapid growth. But regardless of how many curveballs are thrown our way, we rely on that passion to fuel us through.

Explaining what it feels like to work at a “startup on fire” like Digital Press cannot be left to words alone — the experience is much more exhilarating (and exhausting) than I can describe.

But, to put things in a nutshell…

It’s exciting.

In my 9 months of working with Digital Press, I’ve never been bored.

Not once.

There is always something new going on, be it adding a new team member, a new client, implementing a new philosophy — you name it. If you’re working at a startup and constantly find yourself with nothing to do, that’s a tell-tale sign things aren’t moving fast enough.

It’s demanding.

I’ve been a full-time employee for about 3 months but feel 3 years behind schedule.

You can chalk it up to being the newbie, or to being the youngest on the team, but I promise it’s neither of those things. Talking to my colleagues (people with years of real work experience), I can say with confidence we all feel the pressures of working at a rapidly-growing company — everybody feels a little bit behind.

At Digital Press, you’re not just a writer, or an editor, or partnerships coordinator. You’re a team member, expected to help out wherever your skill set is needed.

It’s an unparalleled learning experience.

Piggybacking off of my last point, there’s unlimited room for growth working at a startup.

Having to contribute wherever necessary, you may be asked to do something you’ve never done before. Instead of looking at this as a burden, you quickly learn to see it for what it truly is: a unique learning experience.

Delving into as many different projects as you can is what allows you to learn about every aspect of the business. If you’re going to work for a high-growth startup, accept that challenge and step out of your comfort zone. Take it upon yourself to work on assignments outside of your most comfortable skill sets.

You can’t get that learning experience at a corporate job — and that’s the beauty of it.

It’s filled with opportunities.

Working at a large, established company, you’re hired for a specific position and are expected to perform to the best of your abilities within that position.

That’s it. You’re expected to “know your role” and know it well.

Working for a startup is a bit different.

You’re not expected to clock in from 9 to 5, stick to one task and call it a day. At a startup — especially a startup “on fire” — you’re encouraged to take every opportunity that presents itself. You’re given more freedom to add value where you can, and more responsibility to get things done on your own.

Like I said: at a startup, there is exponential room for growth.

It’s extremely rewarding.

When you’ve done a good job, you’re recognized for your performance.

One of our favorite words at DP is “crushing.” When a writer hits the nail on the head with an article or an editor revives a broken piece, we say they’re “crushing it.” It’s gratifying to be acknowledged for a job well done, especially when you’ve put forth your best efforts — again, something that doesn’t happen as often at a typical corporate job.

Think what you will, but this type of positive affirmation only makes each and every individual want to work harder, faster, better — which leads to a more productive and successful team.


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