To join or not to join a startup, that is the question


Joining a startup is not something you can do by the roll of the dice - it has to be a thoughtful decision. Even if it's a gamble, it has to be a calculated one. Thus, one should contemplate the various advantages and disadvantages of a startup before joining one.

Here are some of the disadvantages of working at a startup:

High risk

More than 85 per cent of startups fail; but they never planned to fail. It could be a case of running out of funds, fallout between co-founders, or simply a case of not being able to takeoff in the first place. Depending upon the stage at which you are joining a startup, it could be a risky proposition; especially, if the startup is in its first year or so, and hasn't gone past the product-market validation stage.


Nothing is fixed, not even your job-description, role, or who you are reporting to. One needs to be really flexible and be a team player. A software engineer can be asked for his/her views on a marketing campaign, and anyone can be asked to fill in for others who are absent. You are expected to take care of work that is not a part of your official responsibilities. This could be difficult at times, but there's no escaping it.

No place to hide

It's easier to disappear amongst the large number of employees at a MNC, and one can take his/her own time to get adjusted and learn. Whereas in a startup, results are expected from you right from the word go. Also, you will probably be working in a small team, which means more transparency.

Lack of resources

A startup is always running on strict cash-flows, mostly in a bid to grab a bigger market share. So, the little and less important things might have to take a back seat. Be cautious on that seat; it could be easily broken!

More demanding

Long hours, constant pressure, less holidays, working Saturdays, etc. are things that are closely associated with a startup. So be ready to work for a house on fire!

However, on a brighter note, pretty much every disadvantage can be viewed as an advantage, too!

More rewarding

Being among the initial employees of a startup can be a life changer, especially, if you own stocks and your company ends up having a successful initial public offering (IPO) or gets bought out by a large company. Companies in India are definitely beginning to offer generous amounts of equity.

Personal growth and experience

This is the biggest advantage of joining a startup. It's the best way to learn the nitty-gritties of business. You will learn much more working for a startup, compared to doing an MBA. Startups are relentlessly fast-paced and present you with an opportunity to learn; not just about your area or department of work, but other unrelated work areas and departments as well.


Startups value people who are creative and innovative. So you can expect a lot of freedom as long as you are working in the right direction. You will not be bossed around - people who enjoy freedom while they are working can breathe easy.


The vibe in a startup is that of sheer excitement. It's the thrill of being a part of a fast-paced startup that is growing each day that produces pride, and gives one a sense of accomplishment. You will never regret the long work hours and hard work.


A startup's environment is that of a college. There are no dress-codes to be followed. You can participate in games, interesting interactions with your team mates, and other cool things that one generally associates with a college. This makes the work environment fairly chilled-out and work seems like play.

About the Author:

Aditya Rajgarhia is the CEO and Founder of Instahyre. He received a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. Before founding Instahyre, he worked at Silicon Valley startup Clustrix.)

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