What to Do Before You Go Work for a Startup

Before you go work for a startup, you better prepare yourself. A startup doesn’t have a working product, or it has a working product that no one will buy, or it has a product that sells but can’t figure out how to market and sell the product profitably.

Working at a startup is not that easy. You are going to try making something out of nothing, or fixing all of the things that exist but that aren’t working. Mostly, startup also close to run out of money.

With those burden, you need to prove to the hiring manager at a startup that you have what it takes. The hiring manager need a proof that you will understand the ups and downs on working at a startup.

Then, what’s your proof? It’s quite simple. Start something first. Starting something is hard work and pretty thankless most of the time. You’re building stuff, you’re trying stuff, and most of this stuff won’t work the first (or second, or third) time. It will be discouraging, and that’s the point.

If you’ve gone through the process of starting something meaningful, you’ll know how it feels to try things, fail, bang your head against the wall, and try a few more things that will probably also fail.

So, if you haven’t experienced the fear, stress, and frustration of starting something, then get to work! There is no better way to build up the mental toughness that’s needed to succeed at a startup.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to do:

1. Initiate a Networking Group

There are many platforms to make this easier, like Meetup, social media groups, or Eventbrite. You can organise a group around your area of interest, whether it’s cooking, coding, or college basketball. Of course, organising is the easy part. Recruiting people, running meetings or events, and promoting the group is hard work. And you might fail. But that’s the whole point of this.

2. Go Blogging

Blogging is certainly not a piece of cake, especially for those who don’t even like to read. It’s one thing to write a couple of posts a month on a blog using a vanilla theme. It’s another (and much more challenging) thing to post good content consistently, add custom features to your blog, perform search engine optimization, and systematically improve it so you attract more readers and followers. A startup would be impressed if you did all of those things.

3. Build an App

This is for you who have coding skills. If there are specific startups you’re targeting in your job search, see if they have an API that you could build a web or mobile app around. Then, show up to your interview with a working prototype, and expect to get some appreciation! If you don’t know how to code, don’t let that discourage you. There are lots of great sites like CodeAcademy and Treehouse where you can learn to code at your own pace.

4. Write an Ebook

Writing a good ebook requires commitment and lots of effort, even before you publish it. Good thing is, the ebook will put you as spectacular candidate. There are not so many people who are able to make one.

5. Teach a Class

Everyone is an expert at something. So, pick your subject and use a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to teach a class on that topic. It’s a challenge to create compelling content and recruit students for a class. Aside from helping you build the tenacity you’ll need at a startup, teaching a class is also a great networking opportunity and positions you as an authority within your area of expertise. Bonus points for sure.


Now, what are you going to start first?


Next read: Startups, Please Hire More Women

Article contributed by Startup Jobs Asia‘s Team.

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