Why Working with a Start-up Mindset is Imperative

Online and offline networking is key when it comes to finding the right company to work for

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By Gaurav Wadekar • Feb 9, 2018


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After writing my last article on the similarities between finding a job and starting up, I realized that there are certain specific actions that need to be taken when trying to find a job with a start-up.

During the career span of 13 years, I have had a fair share of finding jobs through different ways. All this experience of hunting jobs and hiring people has helped me in understanding the mindset of searching for a job and working for a start-up. I realized that finding a job or working for a start-up is not just about having the right skills but having the right mindset too.

If you follow the steps that I mentioned in the earlier article, there is a good chance that you will find your next job but what if you want to work with a start-up. After digging around for some numbers in the context of India, I realized that there are more than a million technical graduates coming out every year, while there are only a few thousand technology start-ups starting every year. According to statistics, 80% of start-ups close in the first couple of years of operation and about 75% of graduates do not have the right skills when they graduate from the universities. Are these two numbers connected? I think so.

What does this mean? What do you have to do if you want to work with a start-up? What are the challenges of working with a start-up? What are the advantages? Let us look at each one of these.

Having an entrepreneur bend to thinking about your career is the key when the question is about working with an entrepreneur. Going back to the statistics above, getting access to amazing resources is one of the major reasons when it comes to the failure of start-ups. You can change this by taking the following initiatives:

  1. Identify the technologies which are trending at the time of your graduation. Current buzzwords are cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, digital, robotic automation and if you are not sure of any of these words, then forget the dream of been a part of the start-up
  2. Having a business acumen is so much important. One of the most important things for a company is to have traction with its customers. What value can you add to this? Each and every person working with a new business is supposed to be an advocate, brand ambassador and salesperson for the company
  3. Start identifying start-ups which are growing in your area of interest. Looking for opportunities like internships with such organizations. Nowadays, due to technology, you can consider remotely working for a company in another city too
  4. Online and offline networking is key when it comes to finding the right company to work for. Try to find people who are doing something innovative in your area of interest and connect with them. Do not ask for a job but have some valid conversations around the technology and the business in general. Leverage the power of websites like Meetup, Eventbrite and LinkedIn to meet such people

All these initiatives will help you in finding that next job with the start-up and also work with them. However, there are challenges and advantages of working with a start-up. Here is a snapshot:

Challenges of Working with a Start-up

Advantages of Working with a Start-up

Risk of losing the job

Reward of been a part of something that is successfully built at the end

There is no hierarchy at times and hence there is ambiguity in the role

Ability to outshine and grow in your career really fast by been proactive

No set processes and procedures and hence confusion around company policies regarding certain aspects of work

Ability to bring your own thoughts to create and make the organization a better workplace

Long hours at work

Opportunity to instil selfdiscipline in what you do

The points mentioned above are written in the context of working in the start-up industry but some of them are also relevant to working for larger organizations. New and small businesses are the future of the economy. It is not necessary that everyone will start their own business but can definitely think about contributing to the future by working for such businesses.

Gaurav Wadekar

Job search mentor

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