Question: I'm considering working at a startup, but the money's not as good. What kind of benefits does startup work offer outside of salary?
The Satisfaction of Influence
"You will have a much greater ability to influence big decisions at a startup than in a traditional company. Particularly if you choose a startup that has a team and product you care about, playing a key role in its success can be extremely rewarding."
- Doug Bend | Founder/Small Business & Startup Attorney, Bend Law Group, PC
Real Ownership and Results
"One of the biggest benefits of startups is that anyone can come up with an idea, execute upon it and report back on the results without having go through multiple layers of red tape and approvals. People who thrive on driving projects and seeing them completed love startup work because they can see an immediate impact from their efforts."
- Matt Mickiewicz | Co-Founder, Flippa and 99designs
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Experience, Excitement and Equity
"Working at a startup isn't for everyone, but if you go that route, the experience will be worth it, especially if you're thinking of launching your own company one day. Startups can be exciting, too, with important decisions being made daily -- and quickly. And, if you can work it, see about getting equity in the company in case the idea is a big hit."
- Sam Davidson | President and co-founder, Cool People Care, Inc.
A Serious Sense Of Accomplishment
"When you work in a startup, the impact that you have is tremendous and quantifiable. In a corporation, you're a speck of dust, just a mere cog in the machine. But when you are an integral gear that enables the machine to work effectively and efficiently, that's a feeling that money can't buy."
- Danny Wong | Co-Founder, Blank Label Group, Inc.
"When a client tells you how much he or she loves your product, that has to be one of the best feelings in the business world. That's especially true when you created the product; you put the vision and hard work into it. You don't get that kind of satisfaction working at a big company."
- David Adelman | Founder and CEO, Reel Tributes and ReelGenie
"I'm surprised by how many startup teams I've met that have partners living in different parts of the country or world -- ours included. Startups are often able to be more flexible about where their team members work from. Location independence is all the rage these days, so that's a huge benefit for potential employees."
- Allie Siarto | Partner, Director of Analytics, Loudpixel
"The problem with most 9-to-5 jobs is the robotic work schedule -- come in, complete tasks, go home, rinse and repeat. The thrilling part of working for a startup is that each day is completely different. The clients you work with and the work you do for them varies, from day to day, minute to minute. Knowing that you won't be bored is a huge selling point."
- Matt Cheuvront | Founder, Proof Branding
"The pace of work at a startup makes it a fantastic place to learn an incredible amount about your craft (design, development, etc.) and industry in a very short period of time. Even if your startup doesn't work out, you'll still have an amazing amount of experience to carry with you into your next role."
- Jennifer Vargas | Founder, Accompl.sh
High-Level Opportunities, Fast
"Getting in early. Unless you're being headhunted as CEO, it will be challenging to reach the top levels quickly if you join an established company. In contrast, as a startup grows, so should your status in it. Many of today's wealthiest business people are where they are because they got in early."
- Nicolas Gremion | CEO, Foboko.com
True Professional Growth
"At startup, you'll likely do a wide variety of jobs which will give you a breadth of knowledge unlike most of your peers. For instance, our marketer worked with numerous channels: organic, paid, email and affiliate. Our web developer has helped with product design and mobile app development. These experiences provide startup employees with a competitive edge in the job marketplace."
- Bhavin Parikh | CEO, Magoosh Test Prep
"When you work at a startup, you will be offered more ownership over a product/business than what any corporation can provide. When you have complete ownership over something and can make it succeed, there are few things in this world that creates more joy and satisfaction. It's true happiness."
- Eric Bahn | Founder, Beat The GMAT
Freedom and Flexibility
"Startups are less concerned with working 9-to-5 and putting in face time than larger corporations. Get your work done and do it well, and the flexibility will be there."
- Josh Weiss | Founder and President, Bluegala
A Stake In The Game
"Startups aren't for everyone, and the only way to know if they're for you is to go work at one. In return you won't get stability per se, but you will get a crash course in making the world your oyster and the experience of working on a team that has a deeply ingrained mission. With an equity stake, you'll see a new side of motivation unrelated to the stable paycheck. Do it while you can!"
- Derek Shanahan | Co-Founder, Foodtree
A Chance To Make A Change
"I know that sounds corny but it's true! In a startup, you really have an opportunity to make a difference and be heard. In corporations, you are simply one of many and there is way more hoops to jump through to get your ideas realized. Startups are often founded by dynamic people who are open (and eager) for new ideas to breathe life into."
- Erin Blaskie | CEO, BSETC
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