7 Tips on How To Excel As a Startup Employee

  1. Find your vocation

Be Responsible

Startups consist of smaller teams where each employee’s contribution to the organization’s success is crucial. If a single worker doesn’t do their job properly, it is likely to devastate a startup’s operations.  

If you want to work for a startup, you need to embrace responsibility and work hard on your tasks. Chances are that you’ll be the only person in charge of an essential project, making you the sole factor that determines its success. Your boss most often won’t have the time to guide you, so you’ll need to manage your workload, make effective decisions, and own each project that is assigned to you. 

While this may sound daunting, it means that you’ll be in charge of your successful endeavors and move up the ranks quickly if you perform well.

Take On Different Tasks

As an organization that is built from scratch, every startup has plenty of tasks that need to be performed. This means that your job description will most commonly be just the core of your responsibilities. 

Aside from performing the tasks related to your job role, you’ll often have to deal with many others, such as training new workers, following up with clients, updating the calendar with important events, etc. You’ll likely take part in brainstorming sessions and complex discussions about the future of the company.

Sometimes you’ll even have to deal with menial tasks that you might not be particularly happy about. What is important is you never say that it’s not your job to do something. Working for a startup means that you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and get the work done just like everyone else in the company.

Define Your Role

One of the best aspects of not having a strictly defined job role in a startup is that you get to establish it yourself. 

In larger companies, you’re commonly stepping into the shoes of a role that plenty of people have performed before you. The company will expect you to focus on the tasks that have already been defined for your job description and you commonly won’t have to cross the boundaries of your regular duties.

When you start working for a startup, chances are that you’ll be the first person hired for a particular role. Without clear boundaries and with the expectation to perform all kinds of tasks, you can define your job role in a way that fits your preferences and take on different kinds of responsibilities that you’d otherwise not be able to. 

What makes this aspect particularly beneficial is that startups usually don’t care about your role as much as about the quality of your work. 

Develop Ideas

Startups thrive on innovation, so you should contribute with any great ideas that you’ve got. What’s important is that you don’t just share them but also provide practical solutions for how to execute them. 

Instead of listing a bunch of incomplete ideas during a meeting with your team, identify three or four that are the best and take your time to think them through. You’ll pitch them easier when you can answer most of the potential questions and you have a plan that includes specific details such as a timeline and estimated ROI.


Communication is crucial in a startup. Since you’re working in a smaller team, you need to build a strong relationship with everyone. If there are any issues between startup employees, they need to be identified and dealt with as soon as possible. While you might spend a lot of time working on separate projects, you and your co-workers need to communicate about your goals and progress. 

If you’re having trouble with a particular task, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. Many people avoid asking for advice because they fear that they might come off as incompetent. You don’t have the luxury to improvise solutions that might compromise a project and make the startup lose a lot of money. You’ll find that startup teams are close-knit and if you ask a co-worker to give you a hand, they’re likely to appreciate it.

Understand the Risks

When you decide to work at a startup, you need to understand and be prepared for the potential risks that come with the territory. While startups may be flexible and adaptable, they are also prone to big changes that can come out of nowhere and make or break the organization. 

Some changes can affect various aspects of your job, such as your role, salary, benefits, and compensation package. If the startup is going through a rough patch, your boss may ask you to agree to a temporary salary reduction. If you are optimistic about the company and your future in it, you should consider helping it endure through the hard times.

You need to deal with the possibility that the company can make a wrong move and fall apart when you least expect it. Being a startup employee is both a risky and rewarding endeavor, so you should know what you’re signing up for and do your best to make it work.

Find Your Vocation

The majority of startup employees are fully aware of the risks and prepared to deal with all the chaos that comes with the job. This is because they think that it’s worth it and believe in the company’s vision. 

When looking for a startup you want to work for, it’s crucial to find the one that has a vision you support. If you don’t believe in the organization and your role in it, you’ll have trouble putting in the necessary time and effort. If you want to take part in a promising startup, find the one that you can align your career goals with.

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