Not many people dream of working for a startup. Most aspire to work at the heavy hitters of the working world – the Shopify’s, Google’s and Sony’s, the companies that have established themselves in their industry – and can you blame you? These companies are proven, respected and probably even known by your mom; so why wouldn’t you want to go corporate?

Trust me, I’ve been there. Throughout my 3 years at college, I imagined where I would land once I graduated but once I got there I discovered what I dreamt of wasn’t reality. My dream jobs wanted dream employees – 3 years experience for a starting position, come on – and I was left wondering what the alternative was. That’s when my friend introduced me to this very company, Arctic Empire.

So instead I applied at the app dev startup and managed to get in as an intern, and eventually worked my way to become their account manager. And after working here for over year, I confidently say working for a startup is awesome! Why? Let me break it down for you:

 

More Responsibility

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Your average startup will have anywhere from 5 to 20 employees on staff a time, meaning everyone is there for a reason. As a startup, you’re a lean, mean fighting machine. You’re expected to pull your weight, wear multiple hats and contribute in a meaningful way, and if reading that sentence made your blood pressure rise then maybe the startup life isn’t right for you.

But if you’re like me and value being an integral part of the company, I can’t recommend a startup enough.

Since starting at the Empire, I’ve become a hundred times more productive and versatile than I was before. And the best part? I have my work recognized on a daily basis and there’s nothing more satisfying than that.

 

Gain Experience

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No more theory, no more hypotheticals; when you’re at a startup, everything you do matters. As a hands-on learner, I’ve easily learnt more about business and client relations in my one year at Arctic Empire than I did during my three years at college. It’s a whole different ballgame when you’re playing for real.

Not only that, my skillset and industry awareness has grown significantly by working so closely with true experts and veterans of graphic design, programming and business operations.

I’ve worked on projects at Arctic Empire I never thought I would be involved with. I’ve written press releases, mocked up provisional patents, and hosted booths at game expos – just try to find me an account manager at a fortune 500 that’s done that. If you want to branch out and try something new within your industry, work at a startup.

 

Relaxed Culture

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Today, I wore jeans and a t-shirt. In the summer I wear shorts and flip-flops. Even though the neighboring lawyers and government workers in our building may give us a judgmental glances (read: envious) in the hallways, my boss never will. Because that’s the great thing about culture at a startup, no will ever judge how you eat, dress or what you’re passionate about – you’re free to be the person you want to be.

Oh, and did I mention you can drink beer at work – on occasions, of course. Wink.

 

Learn Directly from the Company’s Founders

You need to be the right mix of crazy, ambitious and overly passionate to become a successful entrepreneur. It takes a very unique mindset to leave behind a well-paying job with salary and benefits to start your own venture.

Whether it’s to create a new product, service or just to follow their passion, entrepreneurs are natural innovators that approach problems from unusual angles – making them extremely valuable as mentors. The Arctic Empire co-founders are always challenging me to try new things and approach issues from a different perspective. And as an industry noob, this knowledge is priceless.

Every successful startup has true innovators, and if you find the right ones, you’ll learn plenty.

 

Start your own Venture 

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One of the most valuable things I’ve experienced from my time at Arctic Empire is the high’s and low’s of running your own business. You can learn a lot from how a business capitalizes on the momentum of a high and pick its self up after a low. And while my time here has mostly compromised of high’s, its given me a deeper appreciation of what goes into running a business.

In just one year, I’ve gained a ton of perspective on goal setting, product launches and business operations – something that will be truly invaluable when and if I ever start my own business. And while your average startup probably won’t have your dream salary or a plethora of health benefits, they’ll pay you back with the knowledge and opportunities to start your own venture.

So, if you’re ever toying with the idea of starting your own business, working for a startup is a great opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to lead a successful operation.