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Startup Life — Are you game?

Five months into my own startup — CloudifyOps — I must admit that joining or creating a startup, whether you’re just out of college,or in midlife after working for a few years, may not be for everyone.

The public perception is often a romanticized version of the startup lifestyle — Hundred-million-dollar investment rounds and billion-dollar valuations, high paying jobs, working on cutting-edge technology/disruptive products/services and awesome office spaces!

For the Entrepreneur — To be or not to be!

If you are thinking about making the leap, then a startup may be for you if you:

Nobody tells it better than Dilbert!

Build your own Destiny

There will always be naysayers in any business, and you might not get the support you need. As a Entrepreneur , you are your biggest supporter. You are stepping out on faith that an idea or business will work, and you will have to find others who believe in you and your vision. It’s not always easy, but you’ve got to go for it. If you’re OK with being a trailblazer, then a startup is for you.

Living out of your comfort zone

At a startup, you may have to live without so many benefits provided by the big corporations. There are no guarantees in a startup, so you have to make everything happen. I’ve found that in a startup, it’s all about the ask. Your ability to ask for what you need, for money you are owed or for collaboration on a project is essential. The worst you answer you can get is “no.” If you don’t have a problem asking, then a startup is for you. Get ready to hear a lot of “No’s” but never give up.

Like working 24/7 or at least 23.5/7 🙂

An idea or a solution to a problem can just come to you at 12 A.M or 4 A.M. As an entrepreneur you would stretch your night further or jump out of bed to get to the end of the solution. The grind is real. Working from sunup to sundown is sometimes what it takes to get it done. Money should not be the motivator. If you are prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before, then a startup is for you.

Learn, Unlearn, Learn Again!

It is important to learn new things everyday as an entrepreneur. For a start you will need to learn how to work as an entrepreneur and unlearn how to work like an employee. Learn — New technologies/Business Concepts/How to take risks, Unlearn — Fear of Failure & Learn Again — how to pick yourself up when you bite the dust…And Repeat!

Funding — Wise or Otherwise

Only a fraction of startups ever get funded, and if yours does, congratulations and welcome to a whole new world of pressure and problems.

If you have the resources and you can afford to spend several years establishing your brand without worrying about money, then a startup is for you. There is always the possibility that your startup won’t actually see a profit for a while, so you need to be able to manage in lean times. If you are fine with putting in lots of sweat equity without seeing immediate financial results, then a startup is for you.

One Hat fits all- CEO to Office Boy

Startups are usually lean and mean. They are short on money with everyone wearing several hats. Everyday you juggle roles — Set directions for the company as a CEO and the next moment step out to courier some important documents and then grab some piping hot biriyani on the way back for your team that has been busting their ass since morning on a new project.

If you are able to juggle many responsibilities without complaining or breaking a sweat, often simultaneously, then a startup is for you.

Best Friends = Best Co-founders (Conditions Apply*)

We’ve all been in those 2 AM discussions with friends where startups ideas get started at the second glass and get built into the fourth glass of whiskey. Almost all of them are forgotten the next morning. Choosing the right co-founder is crucial. In fact, the same prerequisites of mutual trust, respect, compatibility and adaptability hold true in case of a startup too.

The other big Question! — Are you ready to work in a Startup?

It’s definitely not for some. Many people who are great employees at established firms quickly flounder and fail in a startup atmosphere.

Here are the key traits that determine whether employees can successfully make the switch to the startup world.

“Uncertainty is certain”

One thing I always look for when considering candidates who don’t come from a startup background is how comfortable are they with ambiguity? Priorities can change at the drop of a hat when you’re building a new business. You may walk in on a Monday and find you need to drop a project you’ve dedicated months of effort to in favor of something more promising. Can you pivot on at the drop of a hat?

“Embrace Risk”

I want people who have demonstrated in the past they are comfortable taking risks. Working for a startup is an inherently risky move. All start-up firms operate in a volatile environment. The risks are high but so are the rewards provided you stick on until the Startup sees success.

“Be a part of Building a brand from the ground up”

You’re going to face flak from peers and loved ones when you turn your back on a brand-name company to work for an unknown one. I know I did when I left a well paying job and started CloudifyOps. “What the hell are you doing?” was a common refrain. It’s a question of perception. Are you bold enough to think you could help create the next marquee company?

“Chief Magic Creator — Naah !Forget job titles”

If you like to be told what to do, you’ll fail at a startup. If you think, “Hey, that’s not my job,” you’ll fail at a start-up. The well-defined job titles and duties that are traditional of large corporations are erased here. You have to be able to prosper in a situation where there is no hand-holding and often not a lot of direction given.

Everyone at a startup is an entrepreneur. When employees have ideas that appears promising, we’re unafraid to let them steer that project — even if it’s far removed from the job they were hired to do. In short, if you’re not a self-starter, forget about working for startups.

“Arrogance — Let it go”

To survive in a startup environment defined by constant change and learning, you need to admit your weaknesses. You need to ask for help when you’re stuck. That can be hard for star players emerging from a corporate world where office politics often reign supreme. But at a startup, teamwork isn’t just a cliché; it will be your daily reality. If you don’t play nicely with others, the startup scene isn’t for you.

Thought Sources — Lot of Motivational blogs from other successful/unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

CloudifyOps Medium Link for Blogs:

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