The Reality of “Startup Life”: Three Things Startup Founders and Employees Wished They’d Known

Startup life, it sounds glamourous to some, but in reality, it’s not. It’s hard. You do it because you’re striving to make a change, not only in the in the industry you work in, but also the wider community, which will benefit future generations.

I’ve been working for Accodex since 2013, originally as an accountant before the business model flip in 2015, and since the flip, as the Business Development Executive. During my time with Accodex, I’ve worked with many startup businesses across Australia, as well as accountants in both Australia, the USA and UK, and there are three things that startup founders or employees of a startup wish that they’d known before going into business.

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So what are these three things about startup life that people wished they’d known before they created or joined a startup?

  1. It’s not easy.
    Working for a startup means that you spend a lot of time building infrastructure, policies and procedures in order to be able to grow the business. You work long hours; you answer the phone to prospective clients when you’ve finished working for the day or on your day off. Further, if there’s not enough cash in the bank, you might not be able to pay your staff on time. If it’s your own business, and clients don’t pay their invoices, you don’t get paid. Make sure you have some savings in the bank as cash is king to being able to keep operating!

  2. Be prepared to learn on the job.
    Yes, in some cases you may have a degree from a university or other tertiary institution, but that doesn’t teach you everything you need to know to be able to do your job. For example, when I started working for Accodex, I had no idea how to sell to be able to engage and retain new clients, nor did I know how to prepare a tax return. This was due to the universities ramming tax legislation down your throat instead of giving you practical experience. You’ll need to learn what works and what doesn’t on the job in order to be able to assist in growing the business. Be prepared to do lots of research and absorb a lot of content in order to be able to grow your skill set and do your job to the best of your ability.

  3. You have to be able to sell.
    Being able to articulate the mission and vision of your organisation, as well as the services that you are providing is key to ensuring success. In order to be able to sell, you have to have high communication skills, as well as high emotional intelligence. If you are not proficient at communicating, I recommend that you invest the time in improving your communication skills and emotional intelligence. You need to be able to understand your audience and understand their reaction to the products/services you are offering so that you can continuously improve their experience; if you cannot do this, you will not be able to create a viable business.

 

If you feel that the startup life is for you, be confident, motivated and strong, and focus on your “why”. That is what will get you out of bed in the morning.

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Photography by Danny Ortega, Georgina Jackson and the team at Intuit.

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