Knowledge | 5 min read

The Startup Life Quiz: So you think you can SaaS?

If in the last 10 years you've ever job-searched, soul-searched or otherwise questioned your very existence, then you may have come across SaaS startup job opportunities in your pursuit of professional happiness.

SaaS-y, not to be confused with Sassy

Whether you're fresh out of school, still in the trenches of textbooks, or deep into your career with years of experience and scars to show for it, nothing can quite prepare you for working at a startup.

It doesn't matter who you're talking to or which article you're reading. There's one simple and unavoidable fact when it comes to startups, SaaS or not.

Most startups fail.

Ouch.

Industry babble once said it was 3 out of 4 that failed but as of late that stat's gone up to 9 out of 10—mostly because there are increasingly more and more innovators out there taking the entrepreneurial plunge.

Know your role but don't slow your roll

If you're reading this and you're a startup founder, then you're already well aware that the odds are stacked against you. And you're actively fighting the good fight to be a unicorn in the 10%.

If you're a job seeker, once you get over the slap-sting of reality, then you have two routes to choose from. You either stay as far away as humanly possible from ever working for a startup, or you can say, "I want to work for a startup."

If you're thinking of joining a startup from a big company then props to you and your balls of steel (and yes, this applies to women too).

Depending on the role you take on, from day one, there are many factors that contribute to your eventual success (or failure) in working for a startup company.

Working for a tech startup requires more than just guts or skills. There are lots of things to consider when joining a startup.

Take this quiz just to be sure:

Facts are facts and these are the 7 facts of startup life

Let's discuss, shall we?

Advice for working at a startup

Fact #1: If you don't want to work outside of the 9-to-5, then you shouldn't seek work in startups.

The startup workspace is casual by nature because the founders at work, themselves, are born out of innovation and entrepreneurship. They're not there to babysit but to collaborate on the path to make real impact. Many times there will be no perceived hierarchy even though there is one on paper. The rule is there are no rules.

startup environment

Fact #2: If you can't juggle juggling, and then juggle some more, then don't even think about working for a startup company.

More often than not, projects will be cast aside in favor of new ones or proverbial fires needing putting out. One day the sky might be blue and the next day it might be purple and you just have to run with it. The best startups to work for may have you wearing several hats at once, and maybe so many of them that your scalp never gets to see the light of day. If you're not juggling then something's not right.

Autonomous work groups

Fact #3: If you need hand-holding by way of a mentor or a manual then you'd best end your startup job search now.

That's not to say you won't learn or grow. On the contrary, you will be stretched and enriched by leaps and bounds because you have C-level management at your fingertips. But you will be steering the ship of your own professional development, so if you're not proactive by nature then your ship will sink–and fast. Don't be the next Titanic.

Working at a tech startup

Fact #4: If an impending onslaught of new apps and software platforms makes you anxious and insecure, then working at a tech startup is probably a bad idea to begin with.

Nobody's saying you have to know how to code or slap together a computer using toasters (unless that's what you were actually hired for), but you should definitely bring some level of enthusiasm for technology with you. If there's one thing you need to believe in besides yourself (and your founders) it's your product. Until you gain real traction and break through, it's all you (and the rest of the team).

Fact #5: If the thought of complete autonomy at work brings on a panic attack, then steer clear of roles in startups.

Looking to be hired to work in a startup environment means getting the jobs with high autonomy. Days may pass before your work is even seen, let alone loved or hated. With high rewards and recognition also come those times when you totally bomb and fail. Autonomous work groups get things done, through trial and error, but done nonetheless.

working for a startup

Fact #6: If you need a black and white separation of personal and professional life then working for a very small company such as a SaaS startup is not for you.

Especially at the start, you'll probably end up spending more time with your team than you ever did with your first boyfriend or girlfriend. Accordingly, you're going to hear and maybe see things that you normally wouldn't in a corporate environment. Heaven? Hell? You decide.

working in a small team

Fact #7: If you need to be told to meet your goals then you've already failed.

Getting a job at a startup is only the beginning. Entry level jobs in startups are a rarity, but that doesn't mean you won't be hired right out of school. Even interns can wake up on the other side of their internship with a job offer and cushy title. But working in a small team means all hands on deck and just leave your hands there for the foreseeable future.

So what is working at a startup like?

It's hard.

But the benefits of working for a startup are right there—if you can read between the lines. It's one of those jobs that truly become what you make of it.

There are plenty of startups looking for talent and Story Chief is actually one of them. Be sure to check back soon to see what opportunities have opened up.

Or better yet, drop us a line and we can talk about your quiz results:

Related stories