Advice When Looking for a Start-up to Join From a Start-up VC

As media jobs continue to decline, you might be thinking of starting your own business. Or maybe you want to find a gig at that hot new start-up in the media world. Well, it’s not that easy according to venture capitalist Albert Wegner.
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In a new blog post, Wegner, who’s a partner at the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, gives some advice to that job-seeker who might be eyeing the start-up world for a new gig.

There are a few ideas he has that could relate to the media professional pondering a smaller, but growing platform. The big one, “if you join a startup but not as a co-founder then it is best to join one that already either has clear traction and/or is venture backed,” says Wegner. “The risk-reward ratio is worst for non-founders in pre-traction/pre-funding situations.”

So, basically, make sure someone that else, besides the creators, thinks the new business has a chance to last past Christmas.

Here’s another word of warning Wegner has: “Being a generalist is tough because even startups look for some degree of specialization as soon as they get to be more than a handful of people.”

This could workout ideally for journalists looking for a new venture to join. Often new websites have niches or beats they need to fill, so look for those opportunities that fit your background.

And finally, if you’re thinking of striking it out on your own, and starting the next Huffington Post, Wegner says “The best way to tell [if you’re an entrepreneur] is to look at the things you have already done. If you have never taken the initiative to create something from scratch (and even if that something is just a new club at school) you are probably not well suited to being an entrpreneur [sic].”

Hopefully, that didn’t crush anyone’s dreams.