Startup salaries. For those of us who live in Silicon Valley, who doesn’t dream of hitting it big?
If you are senior enough, you can make good money off stock in a big company; for most people the opportunity to get a big chunk of change comes from a startup opportunity.
Many people are unaware that a startup has a very different compensation structure from a large company. Coming from one of the darling brands of the valley, you might feel that you should be entitled to ‘more’ than you currently earn.
Cash is at an all-time premium in most early-stage, well run startups requiring a pay cut if you’re coming from a bigger brand, with the rest of the compensation in the form of equity.
Only 11% of companies with less than 100 people have a 401K, while all but the very smallest boot strapped companies have health care benefits. Small companies have less perks generally–again cash is at an all-time premium.
You are very likely to receive a much bigger portion of a piece of the company in a startup than you have in a public company. In that sense, startups can pay ‘more’ in total compensation assuming a successful exit.
We talk to a lot of candidates that are bewildered by the notion of taking more risk, and earning less cash. They often expected to come over laterally or with a pay increase and still participate in the upside of stock.
It simply is not the way it works.
And at some point if you’re looking at a startup versus the bigger company, you’ll have to do some soul searching to understand if you really are an entrepreneur — not only able to create something from scratch but be a risk taker and adventure seeker.
It’s different for everyone but what we can pretty much guarantee is that a startup experience is one that enhances your career in ways that a big company simply can’t offer. Valuing that has to be part of the equation as well.