A Startup Rollercoaster: My First Year After Leaving the Corporate World

Leaving behind the comfort and stability of my corporate job to join a startup was one of the most exciting and daunting decisions I have ever made. As I reflect on my first year at the startup, I have experienced tremendous growth, unexpected challenges, and incredible opportunities. Here’s a glimpse into my journey over the past 12 months.

Team Growth and Change

In the beginning, our team consisted of just two people, but we’ve since expanded to 14 and now settled at a core group of 8 full-time employees. This period of rapid growth and subsequent contraction has been intense, but it has ultimately propelled our startup’s momentum. As the team has evolved, so has our ability to adapt and work together, creating a truly dynamic and powerful atmosphere.

Stagnant Salary Amidst Inflation

One of the more challenging aspects of my startup journey has been the lack of a salary increase. Despite the growing inflation, my pay has remained unchanged, putting a strain on my personal finances. However, I remain optimistic that once we hit our customer milestones and generate revenue, I will receive the salary bump I’ve been anticipating.

Returning to the Office

With the pandemic finally behind us, we’ve transitioned back to working in the office. This shift has significantly improved collaboration, but it has also led to increased living expenses, particularly in terms of fuel and eating out. As we continue to adapt to this new normal, finding ways to balance these costs with the benefits of in-person collaboration will be crucial.

The Value of My Shares

When I joined the startup, I was offered 1% of the company. Since then, we have raised an impressive $8 million, and the company’s valuation has soared to nearly $40 million. As a result, my shares are now worth between $350,000 and $400,000. This substantial increase in value has not only provided a sense of financial security but has also reinforced my belief in the startup’s potential for success.


My first year at the startup has been a rollercoaster ride, with incredible highs and challenging lows. From team changes and salary struggles to returning to the office and seeing the value of my shares grow, this experience has been both rewarding and educational. As I look forward to another year with the startup, I am confident that the lessons I’ve learned, the relationships I’ve built, and the growth I’ve experienced will continue to shape my journey and contribute to our collective success.

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