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The Pros and Cons of Creative Startups
By: Tom Roarty
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I was recently presented with the opportunity to work with a print and new media startup. I have worked in startup situations in the past, and although some may be leery to put trust in an unproven product, there are some definite advantages to working for a new business as opposed to an established company.
The thing main difference between these two working environments is habit. As a business evolves, it finds out what works and what doesn’t. In many instances, the things that work are regarded as process. Although this makes total sense because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to stick with what works? Repetitiveness eventually becomes the repressor of creativity. It is probably why some of the world’s most established corporations have high turnover rates in their creative departments, with the exception of those employees who have started with the company.
Being a part of a startup gives you the opportunity to become a part of the development of a business, which is usually where long-term employees are found. By being able to start from the beginning of a venture, employees tend to have a pride that they can build on, as opposed to adapting to one that was already in place.
With startups, there are no pre-existing expectations. They’re a blank slate, really, one where employees could play a major part in shaping the future of their department and even the company. I have found in my experience that companies are usually started by people that have been part of an established business and decided they could make a change for the better. So usually there is a positive energy in a startup environment, which can be a refreshing change coming from a corporate environment.
But startup situations aren’t without risk. Yes, there is potential for new creative ideas, and the ability to be in that clean-slate situation with the ability to be on the ground floor of something big, but there is also the uncertainty of stability, since businesses take time to get started. Additionally, startups rarely have the funds to pay employees what they are worth right away, so there are professional sacrifices to be considered.
In the end, it all comes down to what you are looking for from a job. You can have stability, recognition, money, and creative freedom, but no job offers all of these things. Assess what you want, and focus on the things that are important to you. After all, your choice of employment is an investment in your future.

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