Should I join a company as a Founder?

If you have to ask this question, you are likely not passionate enough or ready in other ways to do this. The commitment to any startup is likely five or more years. And long working hours that can easily be sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks at times.  As a result, you need to know for certain you would both enjoy the work and are qualified to do the job offered. You also need to do your due diligence to understand the company’s team, finances and chances of success. About 85% of startups will fail. Just a fact.

Asking about a specific company is almost not relevant because the decision process for you is the same and we (advisers here) do not know your background or private information about the company. Nor did you say if this was a promotion, good salary, equity offer, no pay, or whatever. All 100% relevant to any answer.

My main career advice to people is, “Always be learning”. By increasing your knowledge and experience, your market value and options will go up. So, failure at a startup is not all bad, as the learning and experience you get may boost your career and create future opportunities.

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This decision is also based on your fixed expense and family needs. Some people cannot afford the risk of a lower salary startups typically can pay in exchange for equity (stock options, usually) upside.

I think if you have to ask here, you are not ready for this kind of career move and decision. You should have confidence in the company’s products/services and feel the market for them is large and growing.

We are all learning forever, and so it can be hard to know you are “ready” for any given move. No one is ever 100% ready, and there are always unknowns and challenges. You must be willing and able to accept some risk and have the confidence that if it did not work out you could find another position in a reasonable time before your savings run out. I usually recommend no one start a company or join as a founder unless they have six months of expenses in a savings account too.

Also check out my blog where I have loads of articles on entrepreneurship, scaling and raising capital.



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We are likely entering a recession, which will be a headwind for many companies. But historically, this is also a good time to start companies because there will be less competition forming in this period. Unemployment is low, so getting a new job is less difficult than usual.

No one can make this decision except you. There are many, many factors to consider. But it is not exciting, you wait and find something that does.

My company provides professional certification program for Founders, CEOs, executives and managers to help them accelerate their careers and reduce their risk in starting and growing companies. The skills you must gather include people management, strategy, marketing, technical skills in the domain and operations of companies. A team must bring about twenty different skills total to the party. These can be via virtual employees, contractors, advisers and coaches, but without some experience in all these areas there can be many deadly traps. Check these out at No one should start this journey without preparation years before to build their skills in business and entrepreneurship.


Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.

Call (619) SCALE06 or email [email protected] for a complementary strategic consultation


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