Time really flies. It has already been almost a year since I came back to Hong Kong for good last summer. I have gone through some basic steps like drafting a job/ company wish list, getting my cover letter and resume ready, interviewing couple times with some smart and many boring people and finally landing my first full-time job. Instead of starting off my career at some BIGs as I thought I would, I began my journey at TalkBox, a small tech startup in my home town Hong Kong and I gotta say I am lucky I am in and I am loving it.
Make yourself a part of it
I like working for startup because of the open and flexible working environment that allows me to get involved in the development of the business. I can feel that my input matters and that I am helping build something. The good side is, because it’s just a small team, you get to touch on so many things that you won’t even get to see and experience if I work for a big company. But on the flip side, you really need some sort of self-learning attitude and mentality to drive yourself to touch and learn something you might not be super interested in or you are not very comfortable with. For my case, I played a marketing role in the team and started with some basic customer service works to engage with our end users via social networking platforms without knowing much about social media. I really had to learn from scratch by googling terms like “retweet”, and “hashtag”. I forced myself to sign up a personal Twitter account even though I wanted to keep my social life only in Facebook because I wanted to get myself familiar with the platform and functionalities (I gotta say I love Twitter better than any other social media platforms now). Once I got the basics, I had to move forward and drilled into something advanced like tweet analytics, followers’ behavior and profile, click through rate on link for each tweet and etc… in order to understand our users better and maximize the power of social media. And now I treat Twitter as one of my main and effective channel to reach out to app reviewers, tech editors or app communities for spreading out the words about our product and new release. Throughout this self-learning process, you will realize you learn much more than before because you are the one, who find out problems or questions, explore for possible solutions and finally execute and drive for results. This sense of accomplishment is a big part of startup and the reason behind why I enjoy my job on daily basis (I wrote another post for my company to explain why I think startup is a good move “Are you ready to “start-it-up”).
Get to know yourself more and get better
A great part about working for startup is that you get to try new things all the time. You might not know what exactly you are looking for, but once you find your interests or something you are good at it, you will get to know more about your characteristics and the career direction that you are willing to dedicate to. However, sometimes you might take a little longer to figure out your expertise. You might fail a lot or even get frustrated because you are working on something you are not comfortable with or you are not interested in. After 3 months I first joined TalkBox, I was involved in analyzing app analytics exercise and was responsible for creating weekly app performance report. All the numbers and data totally drove me crazy and I just didn’t have that much patience to deal with those numbers. From this exercise, I realized myself a little more and found so much I needed to improve. Impatience, carelessness, and lack of focus were my weaknesses that I needed to work on. I felt good even though I struggled a bit when dealing with those analytic reports because I got to know myself more and found a way to get better. Being sure of who you are does not only help you for your career but also for your life in general. It allows you to build up your skillset and confidence so that you know which place you should be in and what direction you should be heading to. This is the startup lesson I am learning on daily basis and I am happy to know myself a little bit more and see more room to be a better me.
The beauty of startup is that no one is going to tell you what to do next but there is nothing to hold you back from not doing it at the same time. You need some guts to TRY something you don’t even know if it is going to work but you still believe it and give it a try. You also need a humble heart to prepare for the failure because you will make bad move for sure but…who cares? We are right at the stage that allows us to make mistakes because we just have nothing to lose.
[photo credit: iwantcover.com]