I'm interviewing at a Bay Area-based fintech startup that's been operating for around 1.5 years with $ 7.5M raised. I'd be the 7th employee, and the 6th engineer.
I've got around 5 years of experience as a software engineer, including 1 year at another startup as a cofounder, and a friend of mine at roughly the same level of skill just accepted an offer for $ 240K including $ 30K in stock and $ 10K in bonus. My roommate, also at a similar level of skill, makes around $ 160K + $ 30K stock, though I've been at my cofounded startup for a while, so I don't know what I'm actually worth.
What is reasonable to expect from this startup, in terms of salary and stock?
Plenty of people dream of launching their own business, but then they undermine themselves, coming up with reasons to put off their dream just a little longer. And then they put it off again. And again. Maybe they don’t feel like they have the capital to pull it off. Maybe they simply can’t summon the nerve to take the risk. But, with the arrival of 2021, perhaps now is the time to ask yourself this question: “Am I ready (finally!) to go from employee to entrepreneur?”
It’s an easy question to ask. It’s a much more challenging one to answer.
After all, it’s natural to feel a little trepidation about leaving full-time employment with an established company to branch out on your own with a startup. Giving up the relative security, regular paycheck, predictable infrastructure and perks requires a certain kind of courage.
When you start a new business, success is not guaranteed. About 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and half succumb by year five, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers aren’t exactly reassuring, especially if you aren’t naturally the risk-taking type.
Of course, the transition from employee to boss could be an easier call for someone who lost his or her job because of the economic problems that 2020 and the pandemic brought. Those individuals aren’t giving up anything to make the move; for them, this might be the perfect opportunity to finally give in to any entrepreneurial urges.
If you are considering taking the plunge and starting a business this year, let me offer a few words of advice:
- Take a calculated risk, not a reckless one. Yes, starting a business requires a certain amount of risk, but that doesn’t mean you should be foolhardy. While I agree you have to commit to any endeavor for it to succeed, I’m also pragmatic enough to know that the risk must be balanced. Have a comfortable safety net before you jump. Chances are, debt will outweigh income at the beginning. So, for those currently employed, take advantage of the income from your full-time position before you cut ties.
- Think about building your business around your experience. For many entrepreneurs, success can be attributed to the fact that he or she started a business in a field in which they had prior experience. He or she was familiar with the industry from the inside and acquired a keen understanding of both its potential and its constraints. Certainly, some people do venture into an area where they have no background, so the “build your business around your experience” approach is not true for absolutely everyone. But in the cases where it is true, it definitely can make for a more solid transition and increase the likelihood of success.
- Be adaptable. One thing that separates successful startup businesses from ones that fail is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. We’ve seen this firsthand throughout the pandemic. Being adaptable doesn’t mean just introducing a new product to your realm of offerings. It requires constant attention to what’s going on in the world, analyzing your competitors, and most importantly, not getting too comfortable at the top of the pyramid. The business cycle is much like a StairMaster – once you get to the top, you have to keep climbing to stay up there.
- Don’t ignore reality, and don’t panic. In 2020, the pandemic threw just about everyone’s plans out of whack. Businesses that started the year with optimistic revenue goals suddenly discovered they were dealing with a completely different world. There was no hiding from it, certainly not if you wanted your business to survive. I firmly believe that successful entrepreneurs confront the brutal facts and deal with reality as it is. But they also are grateful, counting their blessings and trying to find the best in even the most trying of circumstances. For so many people, 2020 was a real test of leadership and entrepreneurial grit. But it also reminded us that entrepreneurs and business owners are the key to a successful economic recovery.
If you had launched a business a year ago, how would you have fared? Would you have kicked yourself for taking the risk or bemoaned your bad luck? Or would you have been up to the test, found ways to adapt, and dealt with the reality before you?
Ultimately, the only way to truly find out whether a person can succeed as an entrepreneur is to just do it, no matter how unsettling that first step might be.
Making the shift from the steady life of a full-time employee to the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship takes smarts, guts and support. But you’ll never really know if it’s right for you unless you embrace the risk.
The post From Employee to Entrepreneur: Becoming Your Own Boss in 2021 appeared first on StartupNation.
Not sure what to do here
He left the company 1-2 months ago.
We've been using the png/jpg version of the files he left us as pitch material, but it needs to be updated and he just doesnt provide us with the psd/sketch files.
He doesnt even seem malignant about it, every time i reach out he just ignores us or says he's busy now and will get to it later
I've literally offered him a ransom to get our files from him, at this point im considering legal action. What can we do here?
Edit: I've been asking for about a month now, he was on salary when he made them.
Anyone know a lawyer for this?
Im a recent graduate working on my OPT in US. I landed a job with an early stage startup and they gave an amazing position for a starter like me (head of AI).
However, they are pre-seed and I'm just getting paid minimum salary. They specified in my offer letter that once they raise capital, they'll give me market salary and stock options though no figures were mentioned. They have an annual revenue of around a quarter of a million dollars so far and according to what they have told me, majority of this goes into operations cost and none of the founders are drawing salaries. I think I'm the first and only salaried employee in the firm (and I guess that kinda shows that they value me too). Work from home makes it extra difficult to connect with other people in the firm to get any more details. But given the structure of the company and my position as tech head, I believe what they're saying.
Anyhow, the thing is I'm gonna develop some major IP for them, which is atleast foundational to them if not generally innovative in the field. So I'd like to have my assurances before I put in that kinda work. It's been only 3 months so far. 2 things – a) I'd like to up my salary coz I really can't make ends meet with this b) I'd like to have the figures locked in and have appropriate compensation for the stuff I'm developing.
Can anyone please advise me on how should I proceed? Can I ask them to give me a revised offer letter with figures now and an equity document? What are my best options? What are the terms I should know, research, lookout for in the offer doc and negotiate with them? Can I claim any royalty rights to the IP? Is it fine if I ask for more pay? Not exorbitant but liveable.
Please note I don't have any work experience and I'm extremely nooby with this stuff. And this is kind of a make or break scenario for me when it comes to staying in the US. So kind members, please help me out. I'm researching on my own, but if you could help me with the best practices, I'd really appreciate it.
Joining a seed stage company is a huge risk, but there is also a risk to the founders having their equity stake diluted with each funding round. How can an early hire protect themselves from poor contract terms or unreasonable equity dilution?
Participating in the growth of a business is tough for everyone involved. How can you get hurt and how can you protect yourself from getting hurt?
ReturnSafe, a symptom checking and contact tracing employee health management toolkit for businesses, has raised $ 3.25 million in financing from investors including Fifty Years and Active Capital.
With companies looking to reopen operations and have their employees return to work safely, management toolkits that track employee health are piling into the market offering all sorts of strategies to maintain a safe work environment.
These include offerings from companies like WorkSafe; or the ProtectWell tool from Microsoft and UnitedHealth; or NSpace, which has similar features and a scheduling tool for booking office space safely.
For its part, ReturnSafe is boasting six-figure monthly recurring revenue and is working with 50 organizations since its launch six months ago.
The pitch to investors and customers is that the need to manage employees and ensure that workspaces are free from health risks is only going to grow in a post-COVID-19 world.
Of course, the best way for employers to ensure the safety and security of their employees is to provide adequate leave and time off if employees are sick, and to ensure that everyone has access to adequate testing at regular intervals should they not be able to work remotely.
Like other companies in the market, ReturnSafe offers a symptoms screener, a testing dashboard, a case management dashboard and a new vaccine management service. In addition to those software tools, ReturnSafe pitches a set of wearable devices with built-in social distancing alarms to ensure that employees maintain safe distances.
I started here a few months after the Series A round and we’re working on the Series B now. I know that the most important number to track is the share price, rather than my percentage of ownership, but I’m trying to figure out how much my stake would be worth if we became a $ 1 billion company and that’s easier to calculate if I know my total ownership percentage.
As a ball park figure, assuming my current equity equates to a 0.25% stake in the company, how much will the Series B dilute that percentage (on average)? By 10%? 20%? How much does a Series C typically dilute a stake?
Genuine question: as a startup founder, would you appreciate an employee approaching you, asking if its possible to squeeze in a meeting to ask questions about the general experience of founding a startup?
I'm at my first job out of college, working for a successful startup for the past 5-6 months. I've really began to think about my career as a whole and where I am headed. I've toyed with the idea of eventually starting something myself. In my head there's nothing more exciting than working on something that is my own. I would much rather work hard on something for a few years for it to fail, than sit at a 9-5 job that I am moderately interested in.
Even though I am on very good terms with the founders, and they are genuinely nice people, I am hesitant that approaching them might signal that I am looking to leave. What do you think?