Curious about what life is really like at a tech start-up? Alex is a true triple threat – ele Beauty writer, MBA student and founder of a tech company, she shares her experience of what daily life is really like at a start-up.
There are so many things that I thought I would be doing in my late twenties; travel, getting married, throwing lavish dinner parties. But somehow spending half a day making a powerpoint presentation featuring the best memes our start-up team made that year wasn’t on my list.
Sitting down to write this article, I wanted to write it in the style of what I do in each hour. But start-ups don’t work that way, my workday varies wildly from one day to the next. Today I conducted CFO interviews and yesterday I onboarded some new staff. In fact, two days ago, my Co-Founder and I sat in a four-hour Business Evaluation workshop with consultants for a grant program we’re involved with.
The time I spend within the start-up environment can’t be scripted in the same way my day could have been at previous organisations. I knew that working at a start-up would be fast-paced, I knew it would be agile, but I underestimated the variation day-to-day.
I co-founded a tech-company in 2013 with a few friends. In 2016, we pitched competitively for angel investment while I worked full-time in the construction industry. Now, in 2019, I spend my days as our Head of Operations, working with my Co-Founder to scale the company.
Six years ago, we were living every start-up stereotype. I vividly remember sitting in my Co-Founder’s garage, with our team of four, writing our business plan for an upcoming pitch. We sent it off to our mentor, and he almost immediately got in contact with us to say how terrible it was. Our small team stayed up long into the night redrafting the plan, redoing all of the numbers and eventually we got to something usable.
Now, in contrast to that garage, I work out of a co-working space in Melbourne’s CBD. We have 17 employees based in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra, with a view of significant hires in 2020. Our product has been used in five different countries by over 200,000 people.
There are difficult days, don’t get me wrong, a start-up environment is one of fast-paced growth, both personal and professional. There are days when your cash flow doesn’t look right, where your product breaks. Days where you have to make tough hiring decisions or where you have tension between you and your colleagues. But a healthy start-up environment breeds resilience, and a resilient team can find their way through almost anything.
Starting a business is really hard work, there are some years in the middle that I can’t pretend were easy, but the reward now is imeasurable, and I don’t regret the time we spent in a garage for the business and team we have now.
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