Six reasons graduates should gun for startups – James Pursey

Today we have a guest post from James Pursey with his top six reasons to join a startup!

I graduated from university in 2011 and had my whole life planned out. I was going work for a young startup company for a couple of years to gain experience, then start my own business. Plans are all well and good, but when a job offer for a recruitment company came up with big cash figures floating in the air, I changed my mind.

To this day it was one of the worst mistakes I’ve made. I chose money over what I really wanted to do because it felt like a ‘career path’ I was meant to take. I quit after six months of what I can only politely describe as un-enjoyable work and went to work for the startup I should’ve gone to originally. Eventually I left and ran my own company for a couple of years and now I’m back at another startup.

I think a lot of people get drawn into careers they don’t want, and a lot of them stay there because it’s the ‘sensible’ thing to do. Joining a startup isn’t irresponsible, it’s not reckless and there’s a lot of advantages over more established companies. Here are my top six reasons to join a startup.

1) You’ll build a broad skillset

In most jobs, you do the role you’re hired for and nothing more. If you’re employed to run social media you’ll spend your time tweeting, pinning and updating statuses – that’s great but too much of anything can become a chore. Startups operate on an all-hands-on-deck basis, which is a clunky way of saying that (if you want to) you can get experience across all aspects of the business, even areas you’d never even thought of. More exposure means more skills, which means you’ll be even more employable after a year in a startup than after your first-class honours degree!

2) You’ll be working with like-minded people

By like-minded I mean people like you! Startups require a lot of brainpower to get off the ground, a lot of hard work and a heck of a lot of working under pressure. Without stereotyping people too much, startups are typically powered by young people.

You’ll be working alongside people of a similar age, with similar interests and a similar attitude. Startups are all about culture and they’ll hire people that fit their own sense of humour and work ethic – in other words, if you join a startup the chances are you’ll get on like a house on fire with the other staff members and work won’t just be work, it’ll be a damn good laugh.

3) You’re not a tiny cog in a huge machine

Every single member of an early-stage company has a vital role to play. Regardless of your specific job you can rest assured you were hired for a reason and that reason will help the business succeed. That means you’ll have a lot of responsibility early on, but remember that accountability comes with that. If you want to have ownership and work autonomously, don’t join a corporate.

4) Startups are cool

Some startups require you to work long hours, some can’t match those corporate salaries, and I’m sure you could send me a list of reasons to work for a big company, but one thing startups nail every time is culture.

From pool tables to nap time and daily cooked breakfasts, startups are quirky and like to treat their staff to keep them motivated and make work less of a chore! carwow has a very well-used table tennis table and every Friday the fridge is full of beer.

5) You can develop fast… really fast  

I joined carwow in Februrary as a sales exec. I didn’t want to work in sales though – I wanted to work in marketing. So I audited the site and presented my findings to the founder a couple of weeks after starting. Fast-forward six months and I’m the Head of Inbound Marketing. Put simply, if you have a passion that can serve the business, and you prove your value, you may just get that job you’ve always wanted – without changing companies.

6) It’s one heck of a ride

carwow is a comparison site for new car sales. Believe it or not, nobody in the country does what we do. Within 12 months of launching, the company has grown from nothing to selling £10m+ worth of cars per month, and last month around 5% of all Volkswagen Golfs sold in the UK were via carwow. We also raised a seven-figure investment sum to grow even faster. Now, read that again and tell me it doesn’t sound like an awesome place to work.

So there it is, six top reasons to aim for startups. Any questions at all? Tweet me: @JamesPursey