1. Innovation and innovative people rule the day. If you are a problem solver, innovator, idea-person, or risk-taker, sometimes a big company with lots of hierarchy and layers can feel stifling. A startup, and the people working for one, must be willing to move forward with bold ideas to survive. This allows you to try new things constantly and help create the future, which can be oxygen for innovative types. --Brooke Norton Lais
  1. Trust and job autonomy is part of the DNA. One of my favorite things about working for a startup is that you have much greater job autonomy. There’s a level of trust and respect that comes with working in an environment devoid of micro-management. There’s no babysitting. No hand-holding. It’s not for everyone, but for the self-starters and entrepreneurial-minded, it’s paradise. --Josh Warren
  1. You learn the primal importance of the team. While startup founders can get a bad rap for being control freaks, the good ones learn the primal importance of building a great team and enabling that team. Casting is of the utmost importance. You must find the right people with the right skills and then help them gel into a symbiotic team. A lot of things need to come together to get a company off the ground and it’s simpler when all team members believe in the company’s mission and trust each other to play their individual roles to bring it to life. The team has to be greater than the sum of its parts. --Brooke Norton Lais
  1. You learn to fail fast and come back stronger. In a startup, you will experience the ups and downs and day-to-day failures that naturally come with working at a brand new company. In this type of environment, there is no time to dwell on the failures.  Instead, you have to learn how to diagnose and share the reasons for the failure (to avoid a repeat performance), find the remedy, implement the remedy and then move on. In startup life, you must learn how to accept failure as a natural part of the innovation process then internalize the lessons and get back to work. --Brooke Norton Lais
  1. At startups, opportunities to expand your expertise or increase responsibility come quickly. At startups, teams start small. This can be a huge opportunity to step outside of your assigned role. At larger companies, you are often limited by your job description. But at startups, if you see a need, it’s easier to step up and fill the need. Is the company lacking reporting? Build it. Is there a better way to optimize documentation and organization? Map it out. If you’re a passionate self-starter you can prove yourself to be a valuable asset. Not only that, you have the opportunity to dip your toe into different departments to see what you enjoy and it’s often easier to change functions or grow into a new role. This happened for me. I started out as an analyst, but on a small team I was able to dabble in account management, marketing and sales. Then, I was asked to assist the team with product manager responsibilities and found a new career path that I truly loved as a result. --Haley Turman 
  1. Even benefits plans are cool. Most startups walk the walk of being innovative even in how they treat employees and create benefits plans. Startups are more likely to have cool benefits like unlimited vacation, free snacks, casual dress code and openness to remote work. --Brooke Norton Lais
  1. It’s a fresh start unencumbered with technical debt. Envisioning ways to change an industry is my favorite part of creating new products. In a startup environment, you are able to start fresh. In past positions at larger companies, we had to consider legacy systems. In the tech world, this means dedicating sprints to fix what is broken or mend what could break – we call this “tech debt.” If things break, revenue is compromised and therefore fixing often takes a higher priority than building something new. But, when you fill your roadmap with tasks that are dedicated to tech debt, the time allowance for new, creative developments is capped. At a startup there is no tech debt. You and your team get to hit the ground running and build something from scratch the right way. All of your effort can be dedicated to creating something that is industry-changing. --Haley Turman 
  1. In an executive role at a startup, you must be both a generalist and a specialist. It just depends upon the day. To be an effective executive leader of a startup, you need to be a generalist and have a detailed understanding of the functional parts that come together to drive the business. In a startup environment, you must be a strategic implementer.  You’re bound to get hands-on (specialist) experience from day one. This bootstrap mentality also helps you grow into a special kind of executive leader-- a generalist with specialist know-how.  --Brooke Norton Lais
  1. You are an architect of the future. Working at a startup has provided me with an opportunity to solve advanced issues with a future-forward mindset. Defining what “can be” possible is professionally exciting and something I want to be a part of. -- Ed Combs
  1. Creativity and innovation are valued. Startups give you the freedom to create and innovate. Having worked at established insurance carriers in the past, innovation and creativity were not valued in the same way they are at a startup. At many startups, it’s a cultural imperative to build something that improves an industry. This not only brings creativity and innovation to the forefront in your day-to-day work but also creates a dynamic where innovation and creativity fuel career advancement. --Steve Bentz