If you've ever seen "The Social Network," you were probably extremely motivated to start or join a tech startup after watching Jesse Eisenberg play Facebook pioneer Mark Zuckerberg. There's no doubt Facebook's success has made the idea of working for a tech startup cool and appealing. Tons of Millennials have given up their dreams of moving up the ranks of a Fortune 500 company in favor of free lunches, ping pong tables and wearing slippers and T-shirts on a daily basis.
Some of these Millennials join tech startups in the hopes of eventually benefiting from a big, nine-figure acquisition or massive rounds of funding and Uber-like growth years later. But let me tell you, that dream is far from reality.
No matter what type of startup it is, if you're thinking about joining one, don't do it for the money. Working for a tech startup is not a totally bad idea for you financially. After all, if your tech startup does grow to a point where it's taken seriously by investors and competitors, you could be in for a nice salary. Tech startups that do well usually pay salaries above industry standard (with stock options and other perks).
However, the big funding rounds and acquisitions we've seen time and time again over the past decade happen to very few startups. Not only that, startup employees have been screwed over tremendously due to their lack of understanding of startup economics. Just because your tech startup has experienced massive growth, that doesn't mean you're in for a big payday, especially if the company has outside investors. So, should you reconsider your start-up dream? If you're in it for the money, yes. Otherwise, keep reading.
You see, it turns out that working for a startup is actually pretty damn awesome if you believe in what the company is doing, want to have a significant role and actually like the culture and people. Here are three reasons why you should join that itty-bitty tech startup:
1. Do it because you like thrills.
The startup world is confusing as hell. It can be really fun and fulfilling, but it can also make you question everything about money, business, and people. If you're the type who seeks stability and security, startups aren't for you. However, if you're the type who gets high off of not knowing what's going to happen next, a startup is waiting for you.
That's not to say startups don't have plans. Every business needs a plan and direction on how to grow. But quite often, these plans are derailed by multiple factors, including lack of demand for a product, running out of cash and even a risky culture. So if you're down for a roller coaster ride, go hit up AngelList today.
2. Do it because you want to make an impact.
As a startup employee, you're expected to do a lot, sometimes even if you're not that qualified to do it. Startups have limited resources, so entrepreneurs will leverage any resource they have, including existing employees.
Startups aren't the places where it's OK to get one thing done per day, hide behind your desk and go home at 4 pm. If you want to learn quickly, grow professionally, work a lot and have a significant impact on your company's bottom line, the start-up world is waiting for you.
3. Do it because you believe in the product, the purpose and the people.
Would you want to stay at an office until 8 pm doing work you care nothing about with people you absolutely hate? Me neither. Caring about what you do, why you do it and who you do it with will provide the ultimate motivation in your start-up career.
Of course, not every startup has a noble purpose. Some are just companies trying to help other people make money. But if you believe in the purpose — professionally or personally — you'll feel much better about the work you do. It also helps if your startup cares about people — its employees and customers alike.