Ditch your perceptions of ten people crammed like sardines in a converted garage, or job ads searching for “social media gurus” and “Wordpress wizards”. Startups are more than that, and roughly 300 million new businesses start up each year.
Working at a startup is most certainly not for everyone, but it does come with a set of unique perks that are sure to set you up for personal and professional success no matter your industry. A 2015 survey by Accenture indicated that only 15% millennials would prefer to work at a large corporation.
What’s so great about working at a startup? We can think of a few reasons.
1. Skills to pay the bills
You’ll pick up a handful of skills beyond your job description. Often, working in a startup requires a Jack/Jill-of-all-trades mentality. Maybe your job title is Copywriter but you also moonlight as the copier machine technician. Sure, a simple example, but you get the idea. If you’re up for a challenge and like to get hands-on, you’ll be afforded many opportunities to learn new things, and to show off the seemingly unrelated skills you already have.
“Being a part of a team like ours, with so many passionate and talented people, allows for some pretty unique collaboration opportunities. Not only that, but you’re exposed to each department in your day to day job, allowing you to broaden your horizons and carve out a truly unique career path.” Jennifer, Content Manager
2. Growth opportunities galore
Eyeing a new position in your company? Typically, moving between roles and having the opportunity to go for something totally out of your skillset can be tricky in a more corporate environment. Being unbound by traditional growth processes allows you more freedom to pursue your professional dreams.
“The Newnauts [new Luno team members] that walk through the door each month are carefully curated and bring with them limitless developmental opportunities. Getting to experience this on a monthly basis is why I chose to work at a startup. Fresh faces translate to continuous growth and improvement not only for Luno and our teams, but most importantly, for me as a Lunaut.” Jaime-Lee, People Team
3. Creating your own tradition(s)
But this is how we’ve always done things is the worst excuse for not challenging and changing poor, cumbersome processes. At a startup, having more of a say in how projects and tasks are executed forces you to challenge the status quo, and do things differently. It encourages strategic and creative thinking, which has a knock-on effect towards how you’re able to grow in an upward trajectory.
“I believe that when it comes to the team, Luno, being a fast-growing startup, offers personal and professional growth on par with more established tech companies. Opportunities for growth are abundant, if you’re after them. I think Luno understands that in order to achieve our ultimate goal of being the best in the industry, nurturing teams is a necessity. Progress in people means progress for the company.” Karalee, Scrum Master
4. Nothing corporate to see here
Free lunch at work, travel allowances and tonnes of company swag are generally not unusual at startups. Where corporate, long-standing companies often offer more traditional benefits, startups tend to be more inventive and innovative. Startups have had the opportunity to learn from big established companies - especially as most founders came from them. This means they’ve been able to observe and learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s not hard to understand why a happy and engaged employee could only be good for the business as a whole. Who really remembers to bring their packed lunch to work anyway?
“A quote from William Pollard comes to mind: ‘Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.’ The takeaway is that working at Luno inspires creativity and innovation in many ways which include benefits such as Inspiration leave day and the opportunity to upskill through online courses, to name two. These work towards making change and personal career development exciting to adapt to, despite inevitability.” Akhona, Customer Success Manager
5. Shiny new things
“Can we have that?” If there’s a better tool or software you need to get the work done, chances are it’ll be easier to suggest and implement in a startup environment. Startups are constantly on the hunt to streamline processes and make getting the work done easier and faster. If that means you need shiny new software, if you motivate (aka kindly request or beg) ) enough, it’ll probably happen.
“We’re building a new financial system. Emphasis on new. That means we have to take a disruptive approach to everything we do and the tools that we use to get it done. It’s also not always clear how we should do things, so we have to hypothesise and experiment until we find what works for us and most importantly, our customers.” Joe, Product Owner
6. Team up, level up
At Luno, we work in decentralised teams across the world. It may seem kind of lonely being part of our three-man Indonesian team (by the way, if you want to join them, check out these vacancies), but it does enforce a teamwork-makes-the-dreamwork mentality even more. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it also wasn’t built by one Roman.
“Working with a large number of people from different backgrounds has been one of the highlights of my Luno experience so far. There’s so much to learn from people of different cultures and backgrounds, and the best thing is we’re all united in our goal — we may be separated by oceans, but not by spirit! Nothing like working with a smart, talented and a super-nice group of people to achieve great things!” Aaron, Country Manager: Malaysia
7. Work hard, play hard
Taking time to smell the roses you’ve lovingly planted is always a good thing. In order to provide excellent service alongside an excellent product, it’s important to take a step back and enjoy the ride. Basically, if you’re not having fun with what you’re doing, is there really a point? It’ll never be fun all the time, but we’ve got to make light where we can. We wouldn’t recommend impersonating team members on Slack to try and cop a free massage at work (yeah, we have those, too), but it does ensure there’s never a dull moment.
“I’m glad we decided to mix work and play, that’s not to say we’re not serious about what we do, there’s always an emphasis on quality; quality of work and quality of life. It’s important to have a balance between what you do and who you are; we work together to deliver an excellent product but there is still an I in our team, one size doesn’t fit all. I never got that massage though… and yes, there is a meme for this.” Sachar, Compliance Analyst (AML/KYC Specialist)
8. Keep it lean
There’s a new way to work these days, and they’re centred around lean and agile mentalities and environments. At Luno, we’re constantly looking to make things slick and to work as efficiently as possible with what we have. With proper alignment and planning, there’s no need to return to the drawing board a thousand times, it means we get down to the nitty-gritty and get things done.
“Disruption is the name of the game and this happens at such lightning speed today. Working with a team that’s comfortable with implementing change fast and with lean resources is a lifeline in the fintech space.” Chinedu, Marketing and Customer Success Lead in Nigeria
9. Making a difference
What you do moves the needle and drives the business forward. There’s nothing more exciting and motivating than being able to see and know that your hard work is making a tangible impact. More often than not, metrics are shared throughout the team, and what’s the point of success if there’s no one to share it with?
“Every engineer cares about the ability to build a product, ship it and watch it make a difference. The startup space is better suited to enabling this rather than a big established company. Building a product for the end-user and having the ability to quickly iterate is a very important skill for an engineer, and the startup space offers you that. You get to see your contribution make an impact. And above all, you have the opportunity to grow.” Joël, Software Engineer Web Frontend
So, are you sold on pursuing your startup dreams? Whether you’re looking to start a business of your own, or work on something you believe is going to make the world a better place, we can guarantee you’ll reap the benefits and feel rewarded.
Sure, you may have to sacrifice some sleep, but if it’s what you’re after, it’s important to ensure the startup’s goal aligns with your own. Want to join us on our journey and mission of upgrading the world to a better financial system? Check out our vacancies and let’s set up a coffee date.