12 Traits Workers Need To Succeed In A Startup

work at a startupWith Facebook about to mint a whole new bunch of gazillionaires, you might wonder: Should you try to get a job at a startup? Before you send out a blitz of resumes, though, you need to consider whether you have what it takes to succeed in such an entrepreneurial environment. We asked some top entrepreneurs, and here's the 12 things you need.

Can You Roll With the Punches?
"Working at a startup means being comfortable with wearing many hats. Unlike bigger organizations, small companies require more flexibility and creativity. If you prefer to work in an environment where there are set positions and goals, then a larger company may be more appropriate. However, if you enjoy dynamic and constantly evolving experiences, then working at a startup could be a good fit!"

- Alexandra Mayzler | Founder and Director, Thinking Caps Tutoring

Endless Motivation
"It's hard to constantly be motivated on what you're working on. Sometimes you just want to take a long break or work on something else temporarily, but it's crucial to stay motivated. The more persistent you are, the greater the chance of success for your startup."

- Ben Lang | Founder, EpicLaunch

The Hunger To Learn
"If you are on your own, never stop learning. Use everything that happens to you as a learning experience. Use failure that occurs on your path to success as a case study to further improve your business. Continue to sharpen your skill sets and broaden your knowledge base. Never stop learning and never let someone tell you that something can't be done or you can't do it. Make things happen."

- Jay Khor | Managing Partner, Versutia LLC

Tolerance Of Ambiguity
"When you're involved in starting a company, things change rapidly. What you're doing one day could be completely different the next. This is the biggest difference between startup and corporate culture. Expect to do things outside of your job description and move quickly."

- Nicholas Tart | Founder, 14 Clicks

Love Of The Circus
"A startup is like a traveling circus, where everyone has a specialty but everyone is also willing to do what needs to be done to get the show unloaded, running smoothly, and then packed up again at the end of the day. Being involved in a startup requires being equally willing to manage, code, consult or empty the trash cans. Be willing, and you'll be golden."

- Colin Wright | CEO, Exile Lifestyle

Where's Your Drive?
"To work at a startup, one needs to be driven, self-motivated and enthusiastic. This is something I state in all of my job descriptions (even for internships) because I believe each employee needs to have these qualities. It's also important to have an entrepreneurial spirit and be an independent thinker -- these qualities get you far in the startup world!"

- Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

Ability To Get Things Done
"In a startup, the ability to get things done is the most important quality to have, often with a minimum of resources, funds and limited information. Being able to push forward, make decisions independently, learn quickly from your mistakes and adapt to constantly changing circumstances and information are qualities that every CEO seeks out."

- Matt Mickiewicz | Co-Founder, Flippa

Incredible Patience
"Things take time. A lot of time. Regardless of how fast you move, your customers and partners aren't nearly as invested in the business as you are. It's important to push as hard as you can, but if you can't deal with waiting, entrepreneurship will be a frustrating experience."

- David Adelman | Founder and CEO, Reel Tributes

Unmatched Perseverance
"Perseverance is a word that summarizes exactly what it takes to be a startup entrepreneur. It means commitment to your company, hard work, patience and having endurance. Startups are extremely hard and stressful, so if you don't have perseverance, it's going to be impossible for you to be successful."

- Dan Schawbel | Founder, Millennial Branding

Dedication Is Key
"Startup life is only for those with the right mixture of perseverance, initiative, resiliency and vision. If you have a glamorized view that you'll spend a few months building a website and then strike it rich, you'll soon be handed a reality check. Be prepared for the fact that the hours are going to be long and your social life will be nonexistent for a while. Be ready to commit 100 percent."

- Robert Sofia | Co-Founder & COO, Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC

True Grit
"You need to have passion. There is no specific DNA that makes up a specific role in a startup or to be an entrepreneur. If you're passionate about what you're doing, there shouldn't be anything that can get in your way."

- Ryan Holmes | CEO, HootSuite

Teamwork Is a Must
"Every successful entrepreneur requires the ability to be a team player. You cannot do everything on your own, so make sure you are willing to share tasks or take on someone else's project. It will help you get through the long hours, and when you hit a goal, you do it as a team."

- Bobby Emamian | CEO, Prolific Interactive



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Robyn L

These are absolutely some key traits to working at a startup. It takes more than just a skill-set, it takes a mind-set. If you think you have what it takes then take a look at http://www.startuphire.com They have thousands of jobs at startups to look through. Lots of the sciences as you'd expect - programming, software engineer, etc but also Biz Dev, marketing, product management, accounting as well.

May 14 2012 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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