I’ve kissed ass, I’ve kicked ass, and I’ve covered my ass on an industry-leading, financial sales desk. I’ve been to 12 Town Hall Meetings, countless trainings, 6 annual reviews and holiday parties each, and many mandatory happy hours. I’ve done the corporate thing and while I value and appreciate the experience and training that I received, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I will not deny that it served me well to learn how to move through the sales process, to feel comfortable public speaking, and to hone my competitive spirit in sales at a big company. I learned my fair share of politicking too. But, having been on both sides, the grass is definitely greener here at a startup. Here’s why. 1. Find Your Dream Job Let’s be clear, you don’t want to trade in your corporate gig for a lemon – you’ve got to put in the research. Whether you want to transfer your skills to a smaller firm where you play a more pivotal role or trade industries altogether, start sifting through available jobs on LinkedIn, A$G HotJobs Board, and places like AngelList. Be sure to read up on each company’s success track record, company culture, compensation and benefits packages, and anything else you deem important. Don’t stop with the company website; delve into the company’s (and a few future coworker’s) LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. profiles so you can get a feel for whether or not they’re a fit for your goals and personality. Once you feel you’ve found your perfect match(es) do everything you can to get your foot in the door and start putting together a list of questions, you need answered personally, once you do. Don’t be afraid to rant and rave a little too at the interview; the more you show excitement and alignment with their accomplishments, the better. 2. Be A Key Player One thing I learned in the corporate world was how to decipher a lot of bullshit…because somehow it always sounded like good news. What product are we expected to push more of this quarter? When and what’s going to be the next product launch? What distribution channels are doing the best/worst and what does that mean? My trusted comrades and I would recap each town hall meeting, brainstorm possible meanings and future outcomes, and then laugh about how right or wrong we were in our musings. Now, at A Sales Guy, I am one of the decision makers at the table with Keenan, our CEO. I’m privy to the business decisions made each day and often weigh in. In a small business, you make a greater impact. Your results matter more. So, if you’re not a rockstar and/or you’re afraid of exposure, maybe a startup isn’t for you and you’re better off hiding in the crowd. But if you’re ready for some real growth and leaps in your competencies, you might want to quit your job and join a startup (that you love). 3. Do Away with Micromanagement I’m sorry, but no one likes a helicopter boss. Sales is equally an art if not more than it is a science. One has to be able to add their own special flavor to the role. I’m done with recorded lines, compliance buzz words, and phantom plug-ins. If I never calculate another call stat, to see if my talk-time to touch ratio is sufficient, it would be too soon. Not being able to write what I wanted to my clients and prospects in an email, being told that sticking to email templates is a safer route, just made me sad. On the flipside, working for Keenan at A Sales Guy Consulting and Recruiting, I have complete autonomy. I now work in marketing, rather than sales, but I know that our business development and recruiting team is given the same liberties. Sure, not all startup companies are alike, but that’s the kind of stuff you dig up in your research. Like I said, the startup life isn’t for everyone. But, neither is climbing the corporate ladder. You don’t need to work for a big company to be successful. In fact, I’d argue, if you’re ultimately looking to become a creator, an entrepreneur, where better to earn your experience, than up, close, and personal at a startup?