Surviving a Tech Startup


7th September 2019

Ever wondered how to grow yourself at a speed faster than you’re peers? Here’s one way, join a tech startup!!

BUT…make no mistake it will be no walk in the park.

Today we are going to talk about tech startups, with a focus on how to survive and thrive in one!

So what’s it like working in a tech startup?

I have worked in two tech startups in my career and I am also currently loving life in one right now…but I reiterate they are demanding dens of deliberate action!

A tech startup is not a place for a coaster, lazy attitudes or those who want to work in a boxed off role.

A tech startup is a place designed for the most passionate technology pros out there, a place where people working 8-8 6 days a week is not uncommon and it is a place where roles are often merged in more ways than one.

All this can have both positives and negatives, but most of all it can lead to tremendous innovation and creativity, where you can learn more in one year than you can learn in 5 at larger more established firms.

My 8 Survival Tips

1. Passion for the Product

If you don’t love the mission and the product, that’s it for you I’m afraid, game over…time to move on!

2. Work Hard and Play Harder

Having a work life balance can be difficult in a startup, so make sure the time you have outside of work is filled to the brim of fun activities, family outings, seeing friends…anything that makes you happiest.

3. Time Boosting

This first one is quite simple, but incredibly powerful. Wake up at 5am, everyday!!

You might hate it at first, but once you’re body clock adjusts, you will find the time boost invaluable…both for work and home life.

Second, how’s you’re commute going? If you can, get the train! You only need you’re laptop in front of you to code ?

4. Take Initiative

In a tech startup, you will be expected to do tech things, if you’re machine has issues…yeah…sort it out!

Do you know how to solve a core problem with some engineering magic? Great!! Don’t just say it…do it!

5. Best friend = Change

In startup land things change all the time and let’s be honest the world is changing…every single day anyway, so get used to it, embrace it and you will evolve.

6. Take those Holiday’s

You are going to be working in a relentless environment, the work itself is not only intense, but it can be psychologically demanding too…so make sure you take a breather every now and then, take those well earned holiday days and don’t waste them!

7. Step off the Gas when needed

I have bi-polar disorder, so sometimes things can get a bit too much for me and I swing like a pendulum between really extreme highs for the most part, but these can also be followed by debilitating lows.

A startup is an intense place, so if you know you need a break and I mean you really need it, you absolutely must take you’re foot off the gas. You can’t work or live life outside of work when you are ill, so don’t even try to push on! Learn you’re limits, get to know you’re boundaries and stop when necessary 🙂

8. Love it!

Don’t work anywhere! Even a startup. You have to be loving it.

If you don’t love it, or you find that what you are doing, you now call “work”, well that’s when you know you should start looking for other jobs.

To Conclude Embrace the Chaos

Things will seem mad at times and you will question things, this last piece of advice is simply to embrace it, embrace the madness.


Original Photo: Farzad Nazifi

Ordinal Walker



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