10 Anti-burnout strategies for success in an early-stage startup
How to have a thriving startup career while keeping your sanity
Anybody who joins an early-stage startup is out of their mind.
That’s what I used to believe. I mean, how can they not be? The intense pressure and uncertainty of early-stage companies can easily lead to burnout and derail even the most driven individuals. And burnout sucks. I learned it the hard way (I talk about my burnout experience at length here).
In an unexpected turn of events, after recovering from burnout, my career path led me to be employee #1 at an early-stage startup called Mnemonic.
As I was signing my offer, I couldn’t stop thinking: Am I completely insane for making this career move? Knowing what I know about burnout, can I prevent it from happening even in an early-stage startup?
After a year and a half at Mnemonic, I can say that the answer is 100% yes, burnout in startups is preventable but you have to be intentional about it.
I've come to realize that you need more than hard work and passion to be successful in a startup. You also need to be strategic about how you direct your energy, in other words working smarter, not harder. If you’re considering joining a startup, but you’re unsure of how to deal with the stress of it, keep reading.
After recovering from burnout, I put all my lessons in writing.
My advice from that piece still holds true, but there are new lessons specific to startups that I’ve gathered along the way, so that’s what we’ll focus on in this article: what does it take to thrive in a startup while avoiding burnout?
Here is what I’ve learned:
Watch out for the culture. Do not join a startup with a shitty culture, and if you accidentally do, GTFO ASAP. I’ve written an entire article about how bad cultures cause burnout and swore I’d never repeat the experience. Cultures are like sourdough, they need a good starter. If the starter is bad, you’re in big trouble.
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