Advantages VS Disadvantages of Joining a Startup

Author: Aditya Rajgarhia, CEO and Founder,

Joining a startup is not something you can by the roll of a dice — it has to be a thoughtful decision. Even if it’s a plunge, it has to be a calculated gamble. Thus, one should contemplate the various advantages and disadvantages of a startup before joining one.

Here are some disadvantages of working at a startup:

1. High risk

More than 85% startups fail, but they never planned to fail. It could be a case of running out of funds, a fallout between co-founders or simply a case of not being able to take off in the first place. Depending upon what stage you are entering a startup it could be a risky proposition, especially if the startup is in the first year or so and hasn’t gone past the product-market validation stage.

2. Unstructured

Nothing is fixed, not even your job-description, role or who you are reporting to. One needs to be really flexible and be a team player. A software engineer can be asked for his views on a marketing campaign, and anyone can be asked to fill in for others who are absent. You are expected to take care of work that is not a part of your official responsibilities. This could be difficult at times, but there’s no escaping it.

3. No place to hide

It’s easier to disappear in the big MNC staff, and one can take his/her own sweet time to get adjusted and learn. Whereas a startup expects results from you right from the word go. Also, you will probably be working in a small team, which means more transparency.

4. Lack of Resources

A startup is always running on strict cash-flows, mostly in a bid to grab a bigger market share, so little and lesser important things might have to take a back seat and be cautious on that seat, it could be broken :p

5. More Demanding

Long hours, constant pressure, lesser leaves, working Saturdays, etc. are all the things which can be associated with a startup. So be ready for a house on fire.

But pretty much every disadvantage can be viewed as an advantage too!

1. More Rewarding

Being among the initial employees of a startup can be a life changer if you own stocks and your company ends up getting a successful initial public offering (IPO) or gets bought by a large company. Companies in India are definitely beginning to offer generous amounts of equity.

2. Personal Growth and Experience

This is the biggest advantage of joining a startup. It’s the best way to learn the nitty gritty’s of business. You will learn much more while working for a startup as compared to doing an MBA. Startups are relentlessly fast-paced and present you with an opportunity to learn not just about your department, but other unrelated departments as well.

3. Freedom

Startups value people who are creative and innovative. So you can expect a lot of freedom as long as you are working in the right direction. You will not be bossed around, and people who like freedom while they are working can breathe easy.

4. Excitement

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The vibe in a startup is that of sheer excitement. It’s the thrill of being a part of a fast-paced startup growing each day that produces pride and gives one with a sense of accomplishment. You will never regret long work hours and hard work.

5. Environment

A startup’s environment is that of a college. No dress-codes, games, interesting interactions and other cool things that one generally associates with a college. This makes the work environment fairly chilled out and work seems play.

Being a founder myself and having worked at both startups and MNCs, I would definitely encourage considering a startup over an MNC to those who want faster career growth and an opportunity to learn. Just choose wisely and ride this startup wave successfully, by being at the right place at the right time.

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