Start-up survival: 10 skills every startup employee should master

Working in a startup ain't for the faint of heart. It's an environment filled with uncertainty, rapid changes, and relentless challenges.

Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or a newcomer to the startup scene, there are essential skills that can make a significant difference in your ability to thrive and contribute effectively. Let's dive into the ten skills that'll turn you into an unstoppable force in the chaotic world of startups.

#1 Entrepreneurship - chaos as usual

Getting into the startup game means more than just creating something new – it's about digging in and getting your hands dirty with problem-solving, making decisions on the fly, and taking risks that might not be everyone's cup of tea. It's not your regular 9-to-5; it's a wild ride of innovation and growth, where the only certainty is uncertainty. It's not about spotting opportunities; it's about finding them in the dark alleys where others fear to go and embracing the thrill of building something extraordinary.

#2 Growth mindset - mediocrity is not an option

You would think success in startups is about avoiding mistakes, but it’s really about embracing a growth mindset. This includes earning your daily PhD in "What the hell went wrong" and being excited for the chance to find out and learn from it. It's more than just surviving challenges - it’s about conquering them and demanding more because, let's face it, being content is for the people who still think VHS is a cutting-edge technology.

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#3 User-focus - research, learn and conquer

In the startup world, being user-focused isn't a strategy; it's the only way you can survive. Everyone, from a founder to a software developer needs to know who their users are and be in tune with their needs. Your goal is to understand them and actively seek and incorporate their feedback as if your startup's life depends on it (spoiler alert: it probably does). Listen to users’ feedback, or neglect it and risk getting buried in the graveyard of forgotten startups. The choice is yours, but in this cutthroat game, burying your head in the sand is just not an option.

#4 Grit - from struggle to victory

Grit in startups isn't just about stubbornly sticking to your goals; it's about being resilient and sticking to them despite the chaos, setbacks, and the occasional existential crisis that hits you harder than an unanswered Slack message. It's the kind of determination that makes Sisyphus say, "Hey, at least it's not a startup.” Grit isn't just a quality; it's a middle finger to adversity, a defiant declaration that when life hands you lemons, you're not just making lemonade – you're launching a line of artisanal, small-batch lemonade that disrupts the entire citrus industry.

#5 Adaptability - roll with the punches

Startups are known for their ever-changing landscapes, but adaptability isn't a polished skill; it's straight-up survival mode. It's the ability to adjust quickly, learn on the fly, and stay relevant in the face of constant change. In this unpredictable journey, adaptability is the practical skill of handling the unexpected and turning challenges into opportunities. In a startup, people with a sense of adaptability don't just weather the storm; they break out the umbrella, sip some coffee, and dance in the rain of evolving possibilities.

#6 Tolerance of uncertainty - unpredictability is your playground

If you're the kind of person who panics when the Wi-Fi is slow, start-up life isn't for you. Tolerance of uncertainty is what separates the survivors from the overwhelmed and enables individuals to make decisions in the face of incomplete information. Embrace the uncertainty, and you'll find the strength to navigate through the challenges that lie ahead. But remember, if you need a guidebook to make every decision, maybe go back to troubleshooting your internet issues – that's a problem you can actually solve.

#7 Resourcefulness - work with what you have

Making the most out of scraps is a survival tactic in startups. It isn't just about solving problems; it's about having a mindset that says, "I can turn this rubber band and a paperclip into a billion-dollar idea." It means making the best out of limited means; it's the knack for turning a tight budget or sparse materials into a thriving venture by finding innovative and practical solutions. Resourceful individuals aren't gracefully navigating constraints; they're elbow-deep in the trenches of limited resources, turning pennies into possibilities.

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#8 Experimentation - fail fast, succeed faster

It's not just about throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks; it's about launching spaghetti into space and hoping it lands on the moon. Those who value trial and error aren't just adding innovation - they're the practical backbone of startups, helping them adapt to market changes and stay in the game. Adopting a mindset of constant trial and error creates an environment where creativity survives, helping the start-up navigate uncertainties and grab emerging opportunities by the neck.

#9 Effective communication - talk with purpose

In startups, talking for the sake of talking just won’t work; it's a waste of time. The art of clear communication, active listening, and teamwork isn't just a corporate fairy tale – it's the thin line between a tribe of winners and a bunch of lost souls sending mindless messages on Slack. It's the key to ensuring everyone is rowing in the same leaky boat towards the same distant island of success – or at least in the same general direction.

#10 Emotional intelligence - secret weapon you never knew you needed

In the emotional rollercoaster of startups, you need more than just a seatbelt; you need emotional intelligence. It's the art of not losing your cool when the rollercoaster suddenly goes off the rails and crashes into a pit of despair. Mastering the art of understanding and managing your emotions, while also empathizing with others, will become your survival guide for this emotional maze. Emotional intelligence is the glue that holds teams together during the start-up journey – without it, we are all just screaming into the void.

In the unpredictable world of startups, these skills are more than just a checklist – they're survival tools. Navigating the chaos demands grit, adaptability, and a knack for turning scraps into solutions. It’s a tough journey, but it offers an unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional growth, allowing you to have a direct impact on creating groundbreaking ideas, rapid skill development, and being a crucial part of shaping the future rather than merely adapting to it.

Ready to embark on a start-up journey with us? If you've got what it takes, send us an Open Application or if you have an idea, tell us all about it!