The startup scene is booming at the moment. Companies like Facebook and Google have glamorised startup culture and these days, the “next big company” is nearly always a startup. Most people think startups are full of hip twenty-somethings lounging around colourful, gimmicky offices, playing table tennis, writing code, and discussing techy-sounding marketing terms. Admittedly this is a pretty accurate picture of what a startup actually looks like, but there’s a lot more involved if you want to succeed at a startup.
For recent graduates, working in a startup can be a bit of a rude awakening – no one will hold your hand or micro-manage you and, if you’re not willing to put in the work, you might well fail.
I work for carwow, a rapidly-growing startup based in London. In the six months since I started, we’ve grown from a team of seven to 19 and seen a 150% increase in revenue. We’re still very much in the startup phase, though, which means rapid growth and facing new challenges daily. Things move at a frenetic, dizzying pace and everyone is expected to pitch in to meet deadlines. To succeed at a startup, you’ll need to be proactive, able to work independently, and willing to be a jack-of-all-trades. Work ethic is valued over years of experience and innovative solutions over traditional fixes. You’ll learn new skills daily, on the fly, and have to learn to adapt constantly.
On any given day, I wear a variety of very different hats. First thing in the morning, I handle Customer Service emails and return phone calls. By about 10, I’m loading up our Buffer with tweets and Facebook posts that will be posted at pre-determined hours throughout the day. Afternoons are a free-for-all – one day I’ll create and send out a survey to a group of our customers, asking for their opinions on carwow. The next I’ll put together gift boxes to get send out to car manufacturer PR companies and later in the week I’ll design case studies to send to journalists in an effort to raise brand awareness.
Throughout all of this, I’m responding to our customer reviews on Trustpilot, answering phones, and trying to remember to eat lunch! Things move quickly and you’ve got to be willing to keep up.
What sets working at a startup apart from other companies is the uncertainty. If you fail to raise another round of funding – poof – that’s it. The company shuts down and you’re out of a job. Working at a startup is certainly a risk, which is why it attracts so many recent graduates who typically aren’t put off by the prospect of the company going under.
If everything I’ve just said hasn’t put you off, you’d probably love working at a startup. A startup can be an incredible opportunity if you’re aren’t interested in pursuing a career at a typical corporation. Right now is an especially good time to get into startups, as the market for them is booming.
If working at a startup sounds like something you’d enjoy, you can get a head start now by joining an entrepreneurship society or doing a summer internship at a startup. We do offer summer internships, so send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
carwow is a comparison site for brand new cars. We’ve created a platform through which you can compare great deals from the best main dealers without the usual hassle, haggling and hidden costs.