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  • Rani Tria Anggiani

Fresh Graduate Guide to Survive Startup Hustle

Are any of you have interest in working in a startup company? to establish the same understanding on the word "startup", as usual, I will give you the definition of startup itself.

A startup is a company that is in the first stage of its operations. These companies are often initially bankrolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand. Due to limited revenue or high costs, most of these small-scale operations are not sustainable in the long term without additional funding from venture capitalists. Read more: Startup Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

But in reality, the word "startup" often being associated with early stage tech company. Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Airbnb are once a startup. But in Indonesia, we still have a very few giant tech company, of course we have Tokopedia, Traveloka and Gojek, but the rest are still in early stage. I have experience working in both corporate and startup company, but apparently, startup caught my attention more. There's something about the energy, the people, and the vision that I love about startup that I'm working with. In a startup company, everyone will need us to do a good job because you are the part of the wheel of growth. Every contribution count, and sometimes, your mistake is also part of the company learning curve. Technically,I was graduated in 2015 but I was actually been working professionally since 2013 so when I graduated I already had two years working experience. For as long as two years, I kinda work for three different companies and observe how the management run it businesses. As for myself, I was a soon-to-be fresh graduate, a junior, that allow older senior staff throw tasks on me, but because of that, I gained work ethics of doing task beyond my attained skills and of course beyond of what the company paid me to do. It's not always bad to do something beyond what you are capable doing, you will know why.

So without any further due, here's my personal tips for fresh graduate to survive startup hustle (I use "startup" because so far it's my my area of expertise)

1. Change "I don't know/I can't do it" to "Okay, but give me some time"

As you're working in a very limited resource company, the management will often ask you to do task that is definitely not in either your job description or contract. Maybe you are hired as marketing but one day you have to handle procurement and logistic. One day you are a finance, the other day you are HR, and also business development. At first, I was so picky about what I have to do and what's only good for my future career as marketing. But as I learn different roles in a company, my learning curve is also increase. I spent 80% of my early days googling how to do the task my boss gave me. I have a habit of quickly says "yes" and find out later how to do it.

The amazing part is, sometimes you will find yourself amazed with the work you've done. Because you never imagine you will do such task. Plus side is, you don't need extended course on how to learn things, you can use your company as your business classroom. But avoid in making mistake that hurt company management process such as cutting bureaucracy etc. I guarantee skill you attained from accepting task beyond your job desc can get you another skill that you can add on your Linkedin profile.

2. Be a team player

In a startup world, whether you like it or not, you have to make a true connection to your team mates or other team, either way, you cannot stand alone. Because the company is still small, your task have higher chance to be connected to other division directly from yourself to completely other team. Sometimes you don't even have a supervisor to supervise you all the time. You are the executor, the supervisor, and the manager of your own division. That''s why being a nice person with nice personality is an essential key to survive startup. If you have an attitude every time there's a town hall or all hands meeting, most likely other team will not trust you every time you make decision, even though probably you're a smart person. The one thing that you have to understand in startup companies, other team member failure is also your failure. Because one bad performance from other team might affect your performance as well.

3. You are the manager of your work life

Don't expect other, sometimes even your own boss to supervise you 24/7 when doing your job. Beside managing your subordinates, you ought to manage your daily task as discipline as possible.Your boss (probably the CEO himself) might not remember what task and KPI he had given to you because of the workload he has. He might have to do fund rising, meeting with key partners, hiring, and thinking a bigger picture for the company, that sometimes you have to set your own daily task and set your own KPI. At the end of the day all you have to do is summarize what you've been doing at present it in numbers, yes numbers, the only presentable elements that measure the outcome of your tasks. KPI also should be in numbers or percentage. Don't get very frightened by numbers, you can see the full job description of your job along with KPI on trust worthy source on Google. If you wrap your progress presentation well and achieve the right KPI on the agreed deadline you had with your boss, you can proceed to the next task. And plus, you get the full authority to manage your daily task later.

4. Be a man of knowledge

Read, watch, read, network. Feed yourself with as much as knowledge as possible. Because of the lack curriculum that startup has in giving SOP to their staff, you have to read a lot of stuff to get your stuff and set your mind in the right mindset. The entrepreneurial mindset. There's some days that you might learn so much from other people in the company, but there's other days when you will be the one who giving out knowledge. Working in startup is like growing a baby by co-parenting with several other people.To grow this baby, when setting up the target and goals for this baby you have to know the full potential of where this baby can go. That's when you have to read a lot of market research, trends, and analyze your loyal customer. You cannot just work and go home, you have to "own" the company you work for to give all your shots. To put it into logic, if you don't know where the company is going, how can you prioritize which task you should do first and later? .My boss said you can divide your readings based on two things : mindset and operational. First you change your mind, your work ethic etc, and second, you learn about operational side.

So in summary of my unintentionally long article, I think the keys to success in startup hustle are: discipline, integrity, consistency, positive mental attitude, management skill (which you can learn by doing). Trust me, the traits and skills you gained from working beyond what you are paid will be useful in the future when running your own company. Don't be afraid to do beyond you're current ability, cause that's how you grow.

So is there any of you who currently working at a startup or building one? Do you agree with me? or want to add some more tips? just leave it on comment!

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Rani Tria Anggiani

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