The startup world through the eyes of a former intern.
- Entering the startup world is like going to Disneyland for the first time, when that was your one and only wish. It’s incredible how evolving and fast paced this ecosystem is, and you either run as fast as it evolves or you lose relevance. Once you are passed your induction, you realize everything changes very quickly in order to be updated (and that’s just the nature of it).
- An extremely important — but not-so-fun — fact about startups is the finances. Once you get a hold on them, you will be ready to scale and exponentially grow your startup, otherwise you’ll hang loose.
Here are some things I would recommend, regarding startup finances:
- Have a well-thought-out budget.
- Get friendly with spreadsheet programs.
- Find the sources to fund your startup.
- Start forecasting.
Other than finances, when you work on a startup, there’s one thing that never changes: you need to be willing to learn and do research. Startups tend to have small teams (mostly at the beginning) so you might get asked to do tasks outside of your expertise, and you can’t say no. In those cases, you need to open up your computer and start doing your research in order to be able to deliver your work on time and successfully.
This one is for the doers: in a startup, at least 85% of the tasks they ask you to do are used. Your work is extremely valuable for them, and you’re definitely not taken for granted. Your progress on a startup might even be measured on execution. A quick tip on that: have initiative, and always… always be proactive.
In addition to that, something that might get you very inspired, is that many players of the startup world are millennials, and usually, contemporary to you. In my experience, being surrouned by so many young adults, creating such amazing companies, showed me that if they were able to be doing their own startups, I was not that far from having what it takes to build my own. Being in this type of ecosystem jumpstarts the hustler inside you.
Marketing wise, I have realized that most startups lean towards “Inbound Marketing” strategies. So, if marketing is your expertise, I definitely encourage you to get very familiar with all inbound marketing strategies because it can give you an advantage.
Once you’re immersed in the startup world, you’re gonna be exposed to wonderful components of the ecosystem like: incubators, accelerators, hack-a-thons, co-working spaces, startup weekends, and so many others that will sure keep making you fall in love with this incredible world.
Organizational culture in startups is quite different from other companies’ organizational cultures. Most startups let you work from home, as long as you perform as expected. In many of them, you have no strict dress code, neither office hours, and maybe, you might even be lucky enough to have game rooms at your office (or very comfy hammocks).
Truth is, the startup world is not for everyone. This ecosystem is for the people with creative solutions, will to hustle, lots of ambition and open minds.
My advice to all college students is: if you have the opportunity to do an internship in a startup, do it. It will help you grow not only professionally, but also on a personal level. They will certainly teach you how to work, and how to live one of the most amazing lifestyles… Hustling hard, working harder, and playing even harder.