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What one must know before wanting to join a start-up

Holachef founder Saurabh Saxena wrote this email to a prospective employee. After reading it, he decided to join -- more than ever

Saurabh Saxena 

Saurabh Saxena, founder, Holachef
Saurabh Saxena, founder, Holachef

Dear start-up Enthusiast,

I am glad that you have shown interest in joining Holachef. However, before you come on board, I want to be 100% sure that you have set your expectations right for working in an organisation like ours.

Holachef is a start-up; full of many dreams and uncertainties. As a start-up, the only thing that matters for growing in the right direction is the attitude of our people, our team.

The willingness to get hands dirty, the ability to be a good team-player, the enthusiasm to learn something new with every challenge, the competence to build and mentor a team, the maturity to deal with frustrations, the intent and the thought that patience is the key, the acceptance of the fact that people make mistakes and that no one is born with perfection are some of the most important qualities you must have before you step into the start-up ecosystem.

There will be times when things won't go as per the plan, disappointments will be at an-all time high and criticism will surround you. There will be times when your ego will be hurt. It's the ability to digest all of it and still move forward that defines a start-up. Agility and flexibility need to be ingrained in our blood. Learning from every disaster is the only way to exist. And let me remind you, there will be many disasters along the way.

Team goals become individual goals and vice versa -- that’s the kind of environment we need to create. Personal whims and fancies play absolutely no roles. Mediocrity is unacceptable. And there has to be a way to improve on a daily basis and strive for excellence.

Short-term business needs may not sync with the company’s long-term vision. Processes may be vague or may not exist at all. Hiring can be a painfully long and frustrating process. Budgets may sometimes be tight while there may be moments when the only thing on the mind would be ‘survival’. Expect to be the most crucial screw in the organisational structure once in a while; and sometimes be prepared to feel that your role is not a priority for the company at all.

'Trying' may not be an option - it's only 'getting sh** done' that matters.

Limits will need to be stretched and midnight oil may have to be burnt. At times, you will have to explain things to someone who doesn't understand it at all. Perseverance is another virtue you will need in abundance.

Rome wasn't built in a day nor were the greatest that exist. It takes time and sweat. It takes fights, bruises and blood baths. It takes courage.

Please be sure of what you are getting into beforehand.

Neither me nor Holachef has proven anything to anybody yet. We aren't big, we are just a tiny blip on the radar. Where we go from here is entirely in our hands and depends on our attitude.

Saurabh Saxena is founder and CEO of, a food-tech start-up where professional and amateur chefs can sell their meals

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First Published: Wed, September 16 2015. 15:53 IST