It's not all beers, table tennis & emotive slogans
When people think of Startups, they often think of the Facebook style offices, with numerous ball ponds, indoor slides and everyone wearing t-shirts with their favourite tech companies logo’s on. This might be true in Silicon Valley, in much later stage startups with $$$$$$$ of funding. But the story for early stage startups elsewhere can be very different.
Founding a company is an extremely emotionally and mentally taxing endeavour. You take on more responsibility than you have ever experienced before and you constantly have to be on your toes, ready to learn how to do something, or tackle a complex problem at a moments notice. Nothing can prepare you for trying to draw out an 18 month product roadmap, produce a pitch deck to raise £500k of investment, help design v1.2 of an app, interview freelancers for user feedback, keep Twitter and Instagram updated, communicate progress with past investors and advisors, create regular blog posts, manage the company accounts, interview new hires, create financial forecasts and actually try and stay on top of your inbox. And that is just a standard week of startup founder life.
In addition to that, Availo is currently in an extremely high-stress position where we’re in the final stages of closing a round of investment with a number of VC’s in London. The whole team is relying on me (as the CEO) the close the round, as it’s needed to provide their salary and job security. Not to mention that their families are also relying on you to close so they can pay the bills. This sense of responsibility (especially at a young age) is definitely a burden at times.
Insecurity is not often promoted or talked about in early stage companies, even though it is there, but when you don’t quite know how you’re going to pay next months rent, let alone grow at the speed you know you need to, the insecurity is most definitely in the front and centre of your mind. Sometimes you can’t help but ponder what it would be like to have a nice secure job and a predictable salary.
However, every single founder will tell you they would change very little about what they do and that they love the intense atmosphere of a startup. The flexibility of running a company is unbeatable, the opportunity to get involved in every aspect of a business is incredibly rare, and being able to actually love going to work is a massive privilege.