When most people hear the word startup, 3 things usually come to mind:
- Open Office Space with Laid Back Employees
- Sticky Notes and Whiteboards
- Ping Pong tables
While they are not completely wrong with this stereotype, people often fail to realise that sweat and hard work that goes into the startups before they can even afford to spend cash on a ping pong table. Even the internet giants today, the likes of Google and Amazon, started from humble beginnings, in the very refines of their founders garage walls. You won't be able to meet many people who can say they've worked in that type of teeth grinding environment, but I am lucky to say that I have.
Escaping a career of Corporate life, Easyship took me deep into the startup world (Interestingly enough, I was also the first member of the Tech team! wohoo!). I still vividly remember the week we moved into our newly rented warehouse in Lai Chi Kok, it was messy to say the least. Unassembled chairs and table parts lying around, waiting to be pieced together. As I walked in, I thought to myself, we couldn't possibly be spending our time assembling it ourselves. We had deadlines to push out a new product feature by the end of the night and our Operations team had to continue their daily hustle. I was wrong. We spent a good part of the day in rotating group shifts churning out the chairs and tables like a well oiled machine. Not exactly the Ping Pong table imagery you would have previously expected eh?
This opened me to two key characteristics you must have to strive at a startup:
- Make-It-Happen Attitude
Absolutely nothing will happen in a startup unless you make it happen. Our team experience with building the chairs and tables is a prime example, we didn't have the luxury or the resources to have the chairs be made by someone else. You can't be afraid to the dirty work, and this attitude really cascades down to how we conduct ourselves at Easyship. All of us are constantly proactive and push ourselves to become a company who consistently delivers (literally!). When I witnessed our entire team hastily assembling the chairs and tables, the "Make it Happen" attitude was evident in everyone. I've found that when you're entire team has this drive and motivation, you really can't go anywhere but up.
- Taking Ownership & Being The Leader of Your Own Contributions
More often than not, working at an early stage startup means you have to wear multiple hats and take up various roles. When the team is still small and development and growth plans are ambitious, you need to be able to do than what is asked of you. And this is the fun part. You get to take ownership of everything you do. You can strongly connect with your contributions and see it's impact upon the company and more importantly how it affects the customers. Intrinsically, this motivates everyone in the team to keep pushing for more and continually delivering amazing quality work, day in and day out.
In a nutshell, continually striving in a early-stage startup environment equips you to be ready for the unexpected. Be prepared to do anything and everything. Take initiative to get things done, whether or not you signed up for it. I'm extremely glad and proud that at Easyship, I am surrounded by amazing individuals with these common mindsets and I can't see us going anywhere but up.