Are You Start-up Material?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Question reader:  When I look for jobs online, it seems like the only ones available are for large corporate companies. I’m inspired by the start-up scene and would love to find a job with a new and smaller company. Where can I go to look for these types of positions?

I know movies like The Social Network have glamorized start-ups so before you start looking for a job at one, take this quiz. Choose a or b for each question based on what sounds most like your natural tendency:

Question One:

a.     I am good at teaching myself how to do things.

b.     I prefer having someone teach or mentor me.

Question Two:

a.       I like structure and performance benchmarks.

b.      I do not need structure to be productive.

Question Three:

a.     If my boss came to me and told me he could not make payroll for 30 days, I would quit.

b.     If my boss came to me and told me he could not make payroll for 30 days, I would use my savings or borrow some money so I could continue to contribute.

Question Four:

a.      I prefer to do one project at a time and then go on to the next one.

b.      I like multitasking.

Question Five:

a.      My dream is to have my own business someday.

b.      I would prefer to work for someone else.

Give yourself a point for each of these answers: 1. a, 2. b, 3. b. 4. b. 5. a

If you scored four or five out of five, I would definitely advise you to pursue positions at a startup.  If you score is 3 or less you may want to focus on an existing company with a more stable culture, perhaps a small or midsize regional company can give you the environment you need.

So, if you are startup material, you have to be prepared to do some extensive hunting for the right match. Normally startups do not have a big staffing or advertising budget, so the best way to get in is through a founder or someone who knows the founder.  Here are seven places to look for jobs or meet the founders of new or emerging companies:

  1. Craigslist or other cheap/free job posting sites in your city: Startups usually have a very limited recruiting budget so they post jobs where they can afford it.  
  2. Business Plan competitions sponsored by universities or economic development organizations: Most business schools and cities sponsor business plan competitions where entrepreneurs can pitch their business for cash prizes.    
  3. Entrepreneurship networking groups: Look for groups on LinkedIn and locally for face to face meetings at 
  4. Innovation associations and conferences: Connect with innovators online and in person through, and 
  5. Investment companies and conferences: You can often find start-up founders as they are putting efforts into raising capital.
  6. Professors of entrepreneurship at business schools: Often these men and women are in touch with students and alums in early stage companies.
  7. Job boards for startups: Check out .

Laurel Donnellan                                                                                                                             CEO                                                                                                                                                 Bright Livelihoods

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