With economic conditions uncertain, and millions of people remaining either unemployed or underemployed, it may seem difficult or even impossible to stray from the norm into the ever more volatile arena of startups. However, innovative spirits may be surprised to learn just how many directions are available in terms of developing a startup or securing work with one.
The General Assembly course, “Introduction to the New York Startup Community,” presented Friday, September 13, 2013 by Liz Vollman, Classes and Workshops Producer, not only provided an interactive discussion of resources for those just getting started, but also a forum for tools to put your startup to work or yourself to work in a startup.
There are many areas of interest, expertise and development when it comes to startups, and Vollman noted a few of these differing industries as retail, fashion, finance and film, among others. She continued in stating the underlying similarity to be technology and its use, which she described as, “entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to move these industries forward.”
For those that have advanced an idea from their selected industry or industries into the beginning stages of work or operation, there exists support—while you may be a visionary, you are not alone!
One such resource available throughout NYC, according to Vollman is co-working space. These spaces are available with numerous organizations throughout the city, and most provide office space, technology, and opportunities to present what you’re working on and network for financing. In terms of selecting a co-working space, Vollman said, “Try it on; see if you like the community.” She continued in providing information for a number of these spaces, a few to include, WeWork (wework.com), Green Desk (green-desk.com) and GA themselves (generalassemb.ly/).
Accelerators and incubators, as next mentioned by Vollman, take their support of startups steps further. Many, though not all, actually provide investment in addition to advanced resources of getting a startup to the next level at a much faster pace. She listed TechStars (techstars.com) as a top New York organization of this kind, along with NYC Seed (nycseed.com) and DreamIt Ventures (dreamitventures.com), though emphasized the competitive nature of securing this kind of support.
If you’re not quite ready to put everything you’ve got into building a startup of your own or if you’re looking for a job, perhaps even a career change, you may be more of a match for startup employment than you think. According to Vollman, startups are not simply looking for techies and engineers, and one common misconception as noted in the presentation is that “only developers get a good job at startups.” While these types of positions are obviously important to most startups, there is just more to it than that.
Sales, marketing, social media and particularly, customer service, as explained by Vollman, are all areas that startups aim to hire qualified applicants for. She continued in giving the example of Zappos, a startup that boasts top notch customer service and stands apart based on this. Startups, just like any other business, want to attract and retain employees that help create value for their organization.
If you are interested in exploring employment opportunities with New York startups, several resources given by Vollman include, rapportive (rapportive.com), The Muse (themuse.com) and Path.to (path.to/jobs).
A first step in deciding whether the NYC startup work realm is right for you may be to further explore the available support; and of course, if you need more time—take it. Jumping into building a startup or transitioning into a non-traditional workspace may take a leap of faith, but if you utilize the resources available to you, you may just land on your feet and take off.
Further information on GA can be found at https://generalassemb.ly/.