When you are looking for a job, it is often easy just to think of the big players, the corporates, the blue chip companies. However, what more and more people are realising is that if you really want a job that gives you the best experience, the biggest challenges and potentially the greatest rewards, then choosing to work in a startup is the best option of all. One entrepreneur who has recognised just that is Diana Proca, founder of Workinstartups.com . Despite being in the midst of developing this excellent enterprise, TheEmployable were delighted when Diana agreed to answer some questions for us on herself, the Workinstartups platform and of course why job-seekers should be looking at employment opportunities in the startup sector .
Hi Diana, firstly can you give us a bit of background about yourself and your own career history?
Hello, first of all I want to congratulate you for your fantastic idea. I think people need to create their own jobs and opportunities in order to be more in control of their professional lives.
Now a bit about my background. I have previously completed a BA in Business Administration and right after graduation I started working for Procter and Gamble. I worked there for almost 4 years, long enough to realise that it wasn’t the place for me. It wasn’t very challenging and the bureaucracy killed the impulses of creativity. Afterwards I tried the banking industry for a year but the bureaucracy was worse there, so I decided to start doing something I really liked. Therefore I’ve done an MA in Events Management at the University of Westminster as I’ve always enjoyed organising events. I first entered the startup industry by joining Launch48 in 2009. After a year of watching heaps of startups being created I caught the entrepreneurial bug and decided to start something on my own. I spent most of my life in Romania and only moved to London two years ago. I came from a family of entrepreneurs, as both of my parents have their own businesses. I wish one day I will be as good as them.
And what do you feel that you gained from working with Launch48 ?
Working with Launch48 was a very educational experience. It was my first interaction with the startup world and understanding how startups are created and how they grow was just amazing. During my time there I learned a lot about how to start a business, the most basic milestones to follow and some gotchas shared by mentors. That helped me a lot when I started my own business as I already knew where to start from. The energy level that people had during the Launch48 weekends was also amazing. They worked continuously for 48h for a business idea that most of the times wasn’t even their own, with such passion that sometimes made me envious. That was another valuable lesson, that the passion you invest in a business influences the outcome significantly.
The idea came one day when I was looking for a job opportunity in a startup and didn’t find a website centralising the paid jobs on the UK startup scene. I also knew that most of the startups were hiring at that point so it seemed like a gap that needed to be filled. After a couple of days of thinking about it, I decided to build a job board and contact some startups to see if they had any available jobs and see if any would suit me. The people contacted were so excited about the idea and that encouraged me to keep it going (that was 6 months ago).
Have you applied for or received any funding to help you get the business off the ground?
No, funding is not something that we’re chasing at this point, we are still bootstrapping.
There are many benefits that I’ve personally noticed while working for both. One of them is having an actual impact on the business that you work for, influencing it in a significant manner. Unlike big corporations, in startups you must have ownership on your work as there won’t be a boss there everyday telling you what to do. You must find your own place in the team and do your own job without someone micromanaging you along the way. This is great for building your own professional confidence and defining your role according to your personality/character.
Another benefit would be the freedom to creativity. You can be very creative in a startup and pertinent ideas are very much encouraged. You can also choose your own way of working, your own processes, design your own systems and play by your own rules. You don’t have to escalate to make your voice heard; you just have to speak louder sometimes
Do you find that it difficult to sell the “working in a startup “ ethos to graduates who are perhaps more used to the Milkround and Graduate schemes offered by the larger, corporate organisations?
Not really, the world is changing. The generations Z and Y are very different from the previous ones. They have different goals and they all want to do something meaningful in their lives. Therefore they want to pursue careers that will enrich their knowledge and speed their personal development.
The most talented graduates seek challenges and businesses that improve our world and do not seek financial security. Also, corporations cannot offer financial security in this time of crisis, as they will discharge employees each time the business needs it. The current crisis made an impact on the corporate world and showed us that corporations are not as strong as we thought they were.
Everybody knows that startups are the catalysts of every economy as they can revitalise the markets with innovative businesses and also create new jobs. The government has seized that and they constantly support the startup scene with programs such as Startup Britain and more. With this massive support the graduates see the startup world as more and more appealing.
The jobs market as we know is extremely tough at the moment. What advice would you give someone who may be at the moment thinking about starting their own business?
Do not start just because you lack other opportunities. You should start if you have an idea that you are passionate about. If you have identified a problem that you have to solve, you will marry this problem and have to live with it for years ahead. Passion and perseverance are the factors that make the difference so be armed with that.
Do you think everybody has it in them to be an entrepreneur or do you think there are particular innate traits that every entrepreneur needs to have?
Everyone can be an entrepreneur but there are few very successful ones that manage to create disruptive businesses that improve the world we live in. Just start and enjoy the ride even if you don’t make it very big, it’s still worth every penny.
Finally, what plans do you have for the future for WorkInStartups?
The future is very exciting for us, we will be launching a new version of the website soon so stay tuned. Also, next year we have a couple of surprises that we cannot share right now but we will definitely let you know as soon as we announce them.
So, if you are looking for your dream job, check out the site here and make that dream come true.
Thank you very much to Diana for taking the time to speak with TheEmployable…
If you are looking to start your own business, think you have a creative idea or you are a self starting business champion then find out more about Startacus the online community celebrating the self starter – launching soon…