With the steady rise of information businesses, more and more job opportunities would be available within start-up companies which have its unique features.

I had the opportunity to work within startup businesses along my career journey especially immediately post launch.

Working for a start-up business has its unique set of working conditions when compared to working at an established organisation.

The following 8 points below details what you should expect when you work for a start-up business:

  • Long hours
  • Flexibility
  • Every day is unpredictable
  • Self reliance
  • Growth
  • High staff turnover
  • Relaxed working environment
  • Great satisfaction

Let’s take a look at each of these.

Long hours

Expect to work incredibly long hours as you may have to set up systems as these are not already established.

You will spend lots of time trying to determine what processes or systems will work best for the business by trial and error.

So if you are considering working for a start-up, be willing to sacrifice long hours, late nights, weekends and even public holidays especially in the pre-launch stage and immediately post launch until you find the system that seamlessly fits the operations of the business.


You may be hired for one particular role but you may be called upon to fit into different parts of the operations. 

I recall on one project, I was responsible for doing accounting but in addition I ended up doing sales as it was needed by the business.

This created a huge backlog as the accounting function was left unattended while I supported the sales function.

This contributed to me working late hours to catch up on the accounting backlog.

Your office space may not be the typical office where everyone has their individual desk or cubicle and you may have to share a small space with a conference room table and stationary supplies until the company grows and settles into its regular office space.

Every day is unpredictable

Due to the lack of structure and systems, it is difficult to predict what any day will look like.

To work at a start-up business, one must be prepared to embrace the unknown as you may think you have ironed out a concept until a customer calls with a complaint and you realize for the first time that the process that you have created did not consider the particular circumstance in question.

Scenarios like these can happen quite frequently immediately after launch and can take a number of months even up to one year until all the kinks are resolved.

So if you are dynamic and love an adventure, the unpredictability of working at a start-up could be gratifying.

Self reliance

Joining a start-up company could be a baptism by fire as rarely would your manager or team member have the time to sit and train you in the job that you are required to execute.

You will be required to learn the business by yourself and this may be without any orientation, training manuals and documents which more established companies will have.

This may require you sacrificing a large amount of your personal time to understand the business on your own and implement structures as required.

On the other hand, start-ups can give you the space to be creative and innovate.

When you join an established company, rules and policies are already edged in stone and to change them could require huge culture shifts and team buy-in which presents another set of unique challenges.  


A significant advantage of joining a start-up is that you will acquire new skills quickly through being self-reliant. It is always much more difficult to forget something if you have spent a considerable amount of time teaching yourself that skill.

By being your own teacher you can learn new skills rapidly which can add tremendous value to your resume. In addition, many start-ups have founders or employ consultants during this period who are highly skilled at their relevant business areas.

Working in start-up environments can give you the opportunity to interact one to one with experts in your relevant field which you will not get in a more established business.

This interaction and the experiences that you can gain during this period can be priceless.

High staff turnover

Start-ups usually tend to change employees quickly as many persons can suffer from job burnout due to the high performance demands that are expected while working in this type of environment.

Working long hours and weekends for example may not be a job that someone with family commitments can continue for an extended period.

Many persons join without fully understanding the stringent demands that goes with working at a start-up and therefore many persons tend to quit during the teething stage.

However, for those individuals who can outlast the grueling launch phase, there could be room for quick job promotions as the company grows and other employees leave.

Relaxed working environment

The working environments at startups tend to be more relaxed than established businesses. Dress codes are usually flexible where you can go to work with a jeans and a t-shirt any day of the week.

Working hours tend to be adjustable meaning you may be free to work from home without prior notice and go into office only on the days when you are required for meetings.

As everyone is usually busy, supervision is limited which means to a certain degree you can make some of your rules which provide a great degree of job freedom.

Great Satisfaction

Despite the long hours and the hard work that you put into the business seeing the efforts of your hard labour blossom can be a great accomplishment.

Usually the launch time in a business is when all hands are required on deck to ensure that the company achieves its objectives.

Some of the best team work, memorable experiences and comradery that I experienced in my career journey to date were while working on start-up assignments.

If you enjoyed this article, there are several others on this blog that can help you as you plan your career. Feel free to click on any of the links below to explore:-

How Working Abroad Can Enhance Your Career Journey

How To Write A Resume

11 Top Strategies To Advance Your Career

10 Top Career Planning Advice For Success

6 Valuable Benefits of Mentoring To Advance Your Career

Final Thoughts

Start-up experience can definitely add a lot of value to your resume. Due to the nature of these businesses, employers may view you as a more flexible and adaptable candidate if you apply for future roles.

So if you are considering working for a start-up, have fun and enjoy the ride. Hope these pointers prepare you for what lies ahead.

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What to Expect When You Work A Start Up Business


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