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What is it like working in a startup?

Startup jobs aren’t for everyone. Read our latest blog to find out about the pros and cons of startup life, and if it’s for you!

What is it like working in a startup?

To work for a startup, or not to work for a startup – that is, indeed, the question on many of your lips. For most people, it’s uncharted territory and there are a lot of unknowns.


How will it compare to working for an established company?


What are the risks?


Will it help or hinder my career aspirations?


Working for a startup can be a supernova move for your career. But at the same time, it’s just not the right option for some people. 
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working at a startup, and if it’s right for you.

What is a startup?

First off, what even is a startup? Let’s take a look at some of the defining features of startup businesses:

  • In its early phases of development
  • Often seeks external funding from investors and banks
  • Generally less than 25 employees
  • Focused on fast growth

Advantages of startup jobs

Never a dull moment

When working for a startup, there’s never a dull moment. Startups are focused on growth and expansion. They’re always innovating and adapting to achieve their aims. So if you’re someone that thrives in a fast-paced environment, you’ll enjoy working for a startup.

Add many strings to your bow

Startups are companies that are in their early phase of development. This means they don’t usually have all the structure in place that you’d find in a more established company. As a result, you’re expected to muck in in different areas of the business. This can be a real asset to your CV since you’ll pick up different skills.

Family atmosphere

Since team sizes are usually quite small in startups, you’ll be far from any stiff corporate culture. Startups have a reputation for valuing creativity and creating a collaborative environment. In fact, many large corporations take inspiration from startups. Startups are teaching large corporations how to improve their atmosphere.

Make your mark

If you’re an ambitious over-achiever, a startup job could be a great choice for you. Since the focus is on growth, employees have the opportunity to make a real impact. You have the power to influence how quickly the company achieves its aims. Founders are often very receptive to ideas. Because of the small team size, they will often recognise you for your efforts.

Disadvantages of startup jobs

No stranger to change

If you’re someone that likes stability, order and routine, you may want to rethink working for a startup. Since startups are a work in progress, there are often holes in processes. This means changes can be initiated on a regular basis – and at short notice! Employees need to be super flexible and versatile in their approach to work.

Job INstability

Unfortunately, only 10% of startups in the UK actually succeed. That means your startup probably won’t make it past the 5 year mark. Yikes! If you’re working for a startup, you don’t have the same job stability as in a large corporate.

Lower salaries

Although startups have a lot to offer, high salaries isn’t one of those things. Since startups are working to a tight budget, they don’t have bundles of cash in the bank. This means they often scrimp and save on salaries and benefits.

All work and no play

Working at a startup is a full-time job – this is no place for the clock-watchers. Expect to be stretched to your maximum capacity and to keep working until the job gets done. To succeed with a startup, you’ll need bags of motivation and drive to achieve the company goals.

Have you got what it takes?

Working for a startup demands a special breed of person. If you like stability and structure, startups might not be best for you. People who respond well to change are better suited. Equally, people who are driven and enjoy collaborating will thrive in a startup.

If you’re looking for a startup job in London, browse the jobs on the SonicJobs app to find an opportunity near you.

Got an interview at a startup? Check out our tips for presenting in an interview and our list of questions to ask the interviewer.


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