All Hands On Deck – Why Work for a Startup

06 March 2019

Throughout school, university, post-graduate education and even into the working world, working for a startup won’t necessarily have been on your radar or on your list of aspirations (unless perhaps you were a budding entrepreneur since the get go!).

For those of you (like me) who have a slightly more risk averse attitude to life, revenue, rankings and reputation often dominate the focus of job applications, goals and career aspirations. Before I qualified as a solicitor, joining a startup certainly wasn’t part of my plan and until joining Stephenson Law, I had a misconception about what working for a startup was really like.

So why did I decide to make the jump?

The startup field offers a different way of working and a unique insight into the world of business. Research shows that this way of working may be much more suited to the generations to come so maybe this career move will become a lot more common in future? But whether you’re on the hunt for your first job or are an established professional looking for a change of scenery, here are my key considerations before joining a startup:  

1. Flexibility

This was a key consideration for me when I decided to join Stephenson Law. I needed more flexibility for my personal circumstances and Stephenson Law could offer this in a way that other law firms couldn’t. Being a small team and working closely with our CEO allows me to have more visibility and control over deadlines, office hours and working from home arrangements. Remember that this flexibility works both ways and you need to be flexible when it comes to change – things evolve quickly and you need to be adaptable in order to meet business needs.

The casual atmosphere is also a big plus of working for a startup and shouldn’t go unmentioned (although I haven’t yet managed to convince our CEO to employ an office dog!).  

2. The Learning Curve

I joined Stephenson Law as a qualified solicitor, so I thought I had a good understanding of the role. Whilst the legal services we provide are broadly similar to other firms, my role goes far beyond the title of solicitor. Working for a startup, you’re given a great level of responsibility and are expected to muck in wherever you’re needed, even if it isn’t quite in your job description.

From posting on our company LinkedIn page to helping build furniture for the new office, conducting interviews, putting together marketing materials or packing and unpacking boxes for the office move, no two days are the same and you certainly learn a lot about the intricacies of running a successful business.

Don’t be fooled; it isn’t always sunshine and roses. The learning curve is steep – you’re expected to take responsibility for your own development whilst balancing the competing demands of your role against the wider business needs, as well as always being on the look out for the next client and business opportunity. The ability to be proactive and work independently is a must for any startup employee.  

3. Making an Impact

As an employee of a startup, you really do share the highs and lows of the business. The benefit of this is that you are invested; the downside is that you’re not sheltered from the set-backs.

You have the chance to have a voice, be creative and contribute to the growing success. If you have an idea, you have artistic licence to pursue it and make an impact. When the business does well, your sense of achievement is huge. And when you get knocked back (which happens), it makes you determined to work even harder!