Pros and Cons of Working for a Start-Up: What to Expect and Not to Expect on Job?

With start-up culture experiencing a boom in the recent times, and new age entrepreneurs capitalising on the trend shift, gig economy taking over the world of work, there are many opportunities as well as challenges presented to the new age mobile-friendly workforce.

Looking at the pros of working for a start-up firm, does put your skills to test and offers many challenges to learn on job and grow; however there are cons to working in a start-up culture as well.

Culling through sources, we hereby present some key takeaways on “What to Expect and Not to Expect” for jobseekers with entrepreneurial mindset before they embark on their start-up journey.

Pros: Why Work for Start-Ups? What to Expect on Job?


1.       More Responsibilities and Challenges

While working for start-up might seem enticing at the onset, but it’s not an easy road ahead. Since with limited human capital resources, start-ups are keen on establishing their presence and identity in the competitive market.

Only join a start-up, if you keen on shouldering more responsibilities and eager for new challenges on job, that put your skills and abilities to test. Remember, your manager in a start-up would expect more from you for a lesser pay or no pay at times, so be prepared to expect this. Think twice before you chart out a cautious career move.


2.       Ability to Assume Leadership Roles Early On in Your Career

Start-ups are always keen on recruiting young talent on board with pulsating energies to drive and work long hours towards accomplishing their business objectives. However, during the process you have a lot of learning in store to seek, know and explore.

As you learn, execute and perform tasks within the timeframe, you get a chance to prove to the top management about your leadership traits and soon assume leadership positions early on in your career. This is one perk that MNCs and established institutions do not provide to employees, and it definitely cannot be equated with money though.


3.       Sense of Ownership and Pride

Bringing your passion to work every day on job, not just gives you a sense of immense satisfaction deep within, but also makes you feel a sense of co-ownership and pride in working for a brand. It’s like nurturing your baby with tended love and care to see it grow; this analogy can be implied in this case.

You have the opportunity and liberty to innovate, express your creative ideas, seek approval from the management and even implement it. If the idea turns out to be successful, you gain appreciation and rewards. Cashing on the opportunity will help you get noticed by your team and create an indelible impression on the minds of your reporting manager or CEO. When you see your efforts, bringing in profitable returns to business, then you derive a sense of pride and immense satisfaction on job. This overwhelming joy cannot be equated in monetary terms.


4.       Unconventional Work Environment

Working for start-ups can be fun to learn and thrive in an unconventional work environment with flat hierarchy structure. Everyone is treated fair and equally in a start-up. Most start-ups do not comply with the linear-hierarchical styles of functioning as a team.

The camaraderie you experience working for a small committed team, and being recognised for your efforts gives you immense pride to love what you do for a living, and empowers you to give in your heart and soul to the job you’re entrusted with.
5.       Direct Access to the Founder or CEO

Given the size and lack of hierarchy in an organisation, you enjoy direct access to reach out to the top management – the senior manager, CEO and Directors and express your concerns. While you can choose to self-advocate your skills, but your contributions in a team get easily noticed by those on top. Also on the flip side to this, even your mistakes and errors are least left ignored.


Cons: What Not to Expect When Working for a Start-Up?


1.       Strict Work Timings and Minimum Hours at Work

Working hours can be really long and strenuous when you join start-ups, this would leave you with little or no time to manage personal fronts. Excess time on job does impact your health, work-life balance, it can lead to productivity burnouts with sense of monotony being established in performance standards, reduced drive to perform and provoke irritability symptoms.

Working long hours however does require passion towards the job role, however if monetary growth is what you seek in a short-term, then working for start-up culture is not the way to lead.


2.       Balanced workload and deadline pressures

As human resource with talented skillsets is limited in a start-up, you will soon find yourself burdened with excess workload – more than what you can accomplish in a day. Plus the deadlines hovering at every point of time on the back of your mind can make you lose sleep and result in excess stress.

Since start-ups operate lean and mean, everyone in the team is required to pitch in to keep the company afloat. You will have to work on weekends and holidays to complete the workload assigned. There is no clock or recognition to work overtime.


3.       More Pay, Perks and Benefits

Since most start-ups are partially funded if by the government or are brought to existence through self-funding, the compensation you receive working for start-ups is very low. Though the experience and knowledge you gain on job, the skillsets you hone during the process of working for a start-up cannot be weighed on monetary terms – the real monetary benefits are too less for you to sustain working for the company.

Lack of enough financial advantages, privileges and medical assistance, reimbursements, leave policy and others provided by start-ups makes it difficult for the talent to continue working and oomph up the brand quotient.

To retain talent within start-ups, managers should be able to instil within the team a sense of deep conviction and clarity in terms of business goals, and long-term dividends in the near future.


4.       Rewards, Recognition Programs and Leave Policies

Working for a start-up in gruelling work conditions, with not being paid adequate, and neither being appreciated nor rewarded for all your efforts can make you feel demotivated at times.

A word of cautionary advice to all job seekers aspiring to learn and further their entrepreneurial drive, with an illusion on mind of being your own boss in a start-up culture is – undeniably trust your abilities, core competencies, learn to evaluate the opportunities, threats, risks, brand value and recognition before you commence working.

Every employee feels the need to be valued and recognised for their contributions, however if there is a slack in workings now, then you never know if you should even see a future with employers who fail to recognise right talent.

Also leaves allocated for a year by the start-up company is not carefully listed, employees are thus required to work on weekends; contractual workers never enjoy vacations or paid time-offs from work – this could seriously impact productivity, performance on job and affect work-life balance in the longer run. Time to think twice and act wise!


5.       Security on Job: What if the Firm Goes Out-of-Business?

Working for a start-up can yes, leave you with some insecurities such as the most common being – “What if the company goes out for business soon? What next?” These questions can give employees sleepless nights and reduce the employee’s commitment to perform. Most start-ups do not survive more than a year since they lack financial funding and support networks.

This could bring you back into the job market unemployed, seeking job once again in a short span of time. Unpredictability is one of the pitfalls of working for a start-up culture. However, if you are adventurous and risk-taking, and strongly believe that long-term rewards are worth the risks taken – then you can choose to plunge. Good luck!



Next read: 4 Helpful Applications For Startups