What’s it like to work at a fintech startup? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past few years. Becoming involved in startup can be a huge accelerator to reach financial freedom! So, at the beginning of the year I’ve decided to keep my eyes open for potential roles that I could fulfill at a fintech startup and I’ve found one at a great fintech in their very early stage!
This blog post is my very brief reflection on the past 6 months working at a fintech startup. In the coming period I will elaborate more on certain elements that gave me a different insight on life and business coming from a corporate setting myself. So this will be the first post of a series.
A huge eye opener
Starting at this startup was a huge eye opener for me. Of course, I’ve read about many startups and the struggles you need to overcome to be successful, but this was huge. It such a different world compared to a large corporate. Both in a good and in a bad way.
I can tell you this, it’s dynamic, demanding and very satisfying. You need to build something from scratch that has never been done before. That’s an enormous challenge and it gives huge satisfaction once you’ve pulled it off!
It’s not all glitter and glamour
In a corporate setting everything is arranged. From Sales, Customer support, HR to Finance. There are organization structures, policies, handbooks, work instructions, etc. Everything has been thought out and there is always a person you can go to in case things aren’t clear. That’s NOT the case at a startup.
Paper for the printer, coffee, toilet paper, chairs, computers, desks, etc. Everything needs to be arranged by you and a very small team of people. You need someone to help you on your project? Good luck with reaching out to headhunters, promoting the vacancy on LinkedIn, etc. Did I tell you that you need to get some actual work done as well?! Building a business is hard!
Teamwork and communication is essential
At a startup the team is the company. If you’re not able to work together as a team your startup will fail. From what I’ve seen, communication is a key element. So many struggles in the team and between founders were caused by personal assumptions and lack of communication.
A thing that Dutch people are very good at is speaking their minds. This will lead to clashes but it’s expected of everyone to do so. There will be some frustrations but no real hard feelings. Just spit it out and solve it to make work. That’s a very important trait you need to survive and thrive at a startup.
Startups are not for everyone
Obviously, startups are not for everyone. The hours are terrible. Working 16 hours a day 6 days a week is no exception. Especially at the beginning. You’re burning money so fast that you just need to put in the hours to at least have some proof-of-concept and minimum-viable-product ready to get more funding.
In the following blog post of this series I will write about real life conflicts between founders because of personalities, discussions about money and ownership of the company and my perspectives from a corporate background on finance and scaling a company. So please stay tuned!