Working at a Startup. We're hiring!

Posted by Trustev editor on July 31, 2013

We're hiring! Team Trustev is growing.

We're looking for some of the brightest and best to join Team Trustev and help us in our battle to transform the future of Internet Commerce. We're grown a lot from the early days of all being huddled around a single table, to the lovely office space we have now where even the Nespresso machine has his own desk. But it's filing up damn quick! Soon the poor old Nespresso machine will be asked to desk share with the printer, which is bound to cause problems.

I though it would be useful to talk a little about startups and the sorts of things people should consider before going to work at a startup. While some still look on it as the current 'cool career' of choice, it can often be a very different experience than people can be used to.

Some things you need to think about;

First of all, especially if this is your first time considering working at a startup, forget everything you think you know about working at a startup. All that stuff you've read or watched on TV is plain rubbish and great movie aside, thinking that startup life is like 'The Social Network' is a bit like watching Star Trek and thinking it's going to represent your average work day at NASA.

Self starter - You are your own boss. This is the core of every startup. You are responsible for your own actions, no one else is. Sure someone is going to steer you, tell you what projects to work on etc but in the majority of cases the buck stops with you, if you fail at your assigned tasks, you've probably caused a bottleneck that slows down the whole company. If you're not ready to take on that responsibility and the consequences of that, go work somewhere else.

No training wheels - startups are all about making mistakes and then learning from them so you have to be the sort of personality that can take a punch to the gut and then get up swinging. It helps to be a knowledge junkie, someone whose first reaction when asked to do something that they have no idea about, is to google it. Being at a startup means evolving beyond your traditional skill set at a ferocious rate. Not a day will go by when you don't learn something sometimes through curiosity but more often because you've broken something.

Change is good - that startup you've just joined that are building a crowd sharing platform for goldfish (free advice - call it bloopbloop). They just pivoted and are now tracking radiation data for the United Nations because its a better business model. Startup life is all about change, all good startups are learning as they're going and adjusting along the way. You need to be ready to pivot with it or fall off the rollarcoaster.

Ambition is encouraged - You should crave responsibility. That same instinct that makes you want to learn your way of of problems should make you want constantly grow your responsibilities within a company; you want to be a bigger part of what's going on and in a startup that means delivering. Talk is cheap at a startup, action is everything.

Track metrics that matter - Stop counting hours. If you're the sort of person who's favourite time of the week is 5.25pm on a Friday, don't even think of working at a startup. Your contribution and value to the business are not measured by showing up for 40 hours a week, there's no place at a startup for bums on seats. Show up for an hour and close that monster big deal and I guarantee you no one will question what you do with the rest of your week. You need a day off to deal with something, take it. Have a terrible day and want to leave early, off you go. But when that email arrives at 11.00pm and needs dealing with or when that big meeting on a monday morning needs everyone in on a Sunday, that happens too.

Startups are extremely cash flow sensitive. Before you drag your current salary and extensive benefits package to the deal table, learn about burn rate. Even well funded startups start off by losing money every month. Until things get cash flow positive don't expect massive salaries. Startup money is about a long term play.

This great article at Business Insider about the fantasies and realities of startups is required reading You might also want to read "My Lover has a Startup and I want to burn it down!" for a rather extreme perspective

So assuming you're clinically sane, why would you want to work at a startup?

The only real answer is because that's all you ever want to do. Some people are simply built and wired to work at startups. Imagine coming to work every day where every single day was going to be an adventure, where all you could be certain of was that something expected would happen that day - that's life at a startup.

The lows are low, but the highs are higher than anything you could ever experience in a 'normal' job. Nothing beats the feeling of your company signing that big deal or closing that funding when you've been part of building a company from the ground up. The sense of team in a startup is far beyond just your 'work colleagues' - they're your second family that you see far more than your actual family at some busy periods. Sure you bicker and row at times, but since every day is like a little bit of Christmas you soon get over it. There's a sense of freedom, a sense of real purpose, if you're at the right startup for you then you know that you're actually helping your customers solve a problem which can a buzz in its own regards. You get obsessed about getting things done and moving the business to the next stage.

Remember when you were a kid and imagined finding a job that you'd be excited to go to every single day of your life?

You wanted to work at a startup, you just didn't know it yet.

We've currently got some great roles that we're trying to fill ASAP so the Trustev army can keep marching. You can check them out here

Topics: Careers