Note: The below blog will appear as an article in American Corporate Partners Advisor Net. http://www.acp-usa.org/
Transitioning Veterans have many options to help them find a position. But one option that is overlooked by everyone are the options provided by startups. A startup is a brand new business that is attempting to provide a solution for a problem. Startups can provide an opportunity to learn new skills and to help you with your transition to the business world. Below I will show how I became involved in the startup world and how I believed it has helped me with my transition.
One of my LinkedIn connections (Mark Monroe, CEO of MyUnfold) had asked to meet with me to discuss how the Army prepares people for their transition. He had founded a startup that focused on matching job candidates to open positions based on skills assessments and a no search no apply model. He was interested in MyUnfold assisting in finding Veterans jobs.
Well during the meeting a light bulb went off in my head. I asked who was doing HR for MyUnfold and he said no one. So I asked if I could set up the HR department for MyUnfold. My thinking was that I would gain experience doing HR in the startup world and I would work with younger non-military people who would provide me a different perspective. I also looked at this as an opportunity to network and find new opportunities.
This was one of the best things I did during my transition. The experiences and skills I gained working for a startup was instrumental in my successful transition. I learned how HR works in the business world by going through the pains of setting up a HR department from nothing. In startups there are a limited amount of people. So everyone pitches in to do everything. I helped out with business development, content, business strategy, research and many other tasks. I liked to say that I helped out with everything except coding. So I learned all these skills which made me that much more marketable.
There are cons to working for a startup. The first one is that most startups have no funding which means you are working for free. However, most startups instead of paying you a salary will provide you equity in the company. Based on your skills and your contribution you may receive anywhere from 0.1% to 5% or higher. I know that 0.1% does not seem like a lot of equity. But keep in mind that Facebook was a startup just 10 years ago. Just imagine what 0.1% of equity in Facebook is worth now if you were one of their first employees. Keep in mind that each startup and each situation is different. Once funding is obtained then salaries are paid. But you should expect these salaries to still be at the bottom of the compensation tier.
Startups fail around 99% of the time. For every Facebook or Google there are thousands of startups that fail. If you do work for a startup it should be because you believe in what they are doing and to gain experience. It should never be to become rich.
If you are the type of person who is unable to work for younger people who are probably smarter than you and you are inflexible in your thinking. Then a startup would not be the right environment for you. Most startups are founded by people in their 20s and they are very bright. They have a vision, purpose and focus and they have their own ways of obtaining results.
One great way to learn about startup opportunities is to go to www.angellist.com and sign up. With angellist you can look at opportunities based on location and job. For example if you lived in Seattle and wanted to do marketing, you would simply use this as your query and all marketing jobs for startups in Seattle would appear. Right now there are 670725 startups on Angellist. These startups are all the U.S. The city of Austin, TX has over 1900 startups alone.
You can also google the city you will be living after separation for startup networking opportunities. For example google “startups Dallas” if you will be moving to Dallas, TX. Everything to do with startups in Dallas, TX will appear and you can choose which ones to become involved with when you move there.
I have had a great experience in the startup world. I have learned new skills and met some great people who are changing the world. I liked the experience so much that I plan on working on my own startup soon. I highly recommend that you look into startups as another tool to use during your transition process.