5 Things I Learned Working in a Startup

I’m the digital marketer of a startup called Kretaro. In 2019, I met the founders with no idea what will be coming next. I was planning to switch my career from accounting to digital marketing and then Kretaro thing happened to explore the world of digital marketing.

Working inside a startup is great. You have autonomy, you’re given a lot of responsibility, and it’s easy to see how your work makes a difference.

These are the things I learned working in a startup. I don’t intend to write about technology or best practices for startups. I assume most of those other blogs will be way better than I could ever be.

Since I only started blogging recently, I thought I would create a list of things I learned while working at startups.

1. Don’t get stuck in your idea

The first thing I want you to know is: don’t get stuck in your idea! If someone else suggests an idea, be open to accepting it. Take advantage of the diverse background of your coworkers and learn something new.

Another thing that has been really helpful for me is learning about how other people work and think about problems. My coworkers have different backgrounds and experiences, so when we talk about problems we’re facing or new ideas for products, everyone brings something different to the table. That makes our discussions more interesting and productive because we all learn from each other!

2. It is good to get comfortable being uncomfortable

Working at a startup is a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, you’re on top of the world, and the next, you feel like your whole world has fallen apart.

It is an incredibly exciting time watching a company grow from nothing to (hopefully!) something. Every milestone (big or small) that you reach has huge importance. Every little success adds up, and you always have something to be proud of.

You never know what could happen next in your career when you work for a startup, which can be both exciting and frightening at the same time! As you are stretched and tested, you develop more character and perspective. For me, the uncertainty and excitement of working in an area that no one has explored before is inspiring.

It is good to get comfortable being uncomfortable because it will help you grow as a person and learn new things about yourself. I have learned that great things come from hard work and perseverance, so if there’s something you want badly enough then don’t give up!

3. Your opinion matters

Working in a startup has taught me that your opinion matters.

When you’re working in a big company, there are so many people involved in the decision-making process that it can be hard to know how your voice is being heard. But when you work at a startup, the team size is small, which means your ideas are heard—and they’re actually taken into consideration.

It may sound like a crazy idea, or maybe even completely impractical for any number of reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s important to know your mistakes and learn from them. And who knows? That crazy idea could be the start of something amazing after some discussion and brainstorming!

And even if your opinion doesn’t get taken into account or used in some way, just having the opportunity to share it can help you improve your own skills—you learn what works well and what doesn’t so well when you’re talking through ideas with other people who are trying to solve problems.

4. Increase your workload at your own pace

I had worked in a big company, where everything is delegated and there are clear rules about what you can do and when. But startups are different—they allow you to increase your workload at your own pace. You can take up as much work as you want, and they don’t hand out assignments or delegate tasks; instead, they trust that you’ll figure out what needs to be done and get it done on your own time.

And it’s worked so far! The culture at my new job is really interesting; everybody knows that if there’s something they’re passionate about doing more than anything else at the moment, then they should just go for it! The company trusts us to make good decisions about how we want to spend our time and what we want from our careers.

It doesn’t always work out perfectly—some days I’ll sit down at my desk with nothing but time on my hands because I didn’t realize how much work there was until it was too late—but for the most part, this system has been great for me.

5. Wear as many hats as possible

When I started working in a startup, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that startups moved fast and were constantly on the lookout for new ways to grow their business, but I didn’t know how much of an impact I would have on the growth of the company.

I quickly learned that being a part of a startup means coming up with creative solutions to problems every day. It means wearing as many hats as possible because we only have six people sitting around our table and a million and one things that need to be done. My job title morphed from designer to copywriter to operations to customer support and back again depending on what projects needed my attention most urgently.

But one thing never changed: working at a startup is always exciting! The pace is fast, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement of building something new and amazing—and there’s no better feeling than knowing you’re contributing directly to making your company better every day.

Conclusion

Being surrounded by motivated people inspired me to work harder in order to prepare myself for my future. I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to have been at a startup during these times and I feel that my overall skill set has improved substantially because of it and that I am better prepared for any future career opportunities that come along.

My time at the startup was a roller coaster of emotions, ups, and downs. I learned a lot about myself and my surroundings. Sometimes I would wish to leave, other times I want nothing more than to stay. In the end, I made the right decision for myself.

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Salini Pillai

An enthusiastic marketer empowering entrepreneurs to build a brand, market it on social media, and create a life they love.

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Salini Pillai