How to End Your Summer with a Bang: Two Weeks at a Startup

This summer, I’ve had the privilege of exploring many different industries through my time here with Techvibes. I had a chance to attend a bunch of conferences (like C2-MTL, The Art of Leadership, and NXNEi), as well as chat with people who I find very interesting or insightful. In my spare time, I even got a chance to write an e-book about getting published.

Two days ago, I started a two-week pilgrimage by immersing myself in internet marketing and public relations with Toronto startup Loose Button.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard of Loose Button. I first set eyes on Loose Button a couple of years ago when I went to visit my friend who was working there for the summer. Back then, Loose Button was still exploring and was actually a clothing e-retailer that imported items from around the world.

Throughout the rest of that year, I watched it make the gradual shift towards beauty products and cosmetics, until they finally announced a monthly package of cosmetics samples for their members called a Luxe Box. Word spread about their Food for Thought seminar series, and Loose Button started gaining momentum.

The Luxe Box continued evolving, and I caught wind of it again this summer. I heard Loose Button was making the transition from a monthly Luxe Box into a seasonal one: instead of shipping boxes twelve times annually, they would be shipping four times. That’s going to be a rough PR spin, I thought to myself.

As Loose Button introduced their revamped membership, I saw the transition they were trying to make from subscription commerce into a true community. This is my first week with Loose Button, and I find that I’ve learned a ton already. First and foremost, I’ve recognized the importance of partnership and creatively collaborating with partieswho we can exchange value with.

There was also my introduction to project management tool Asana, which has really taken a load off my mind. (I previously wrote about Logic Software’s Birdview. If you have any other recommendations, comment or shoot me an email—I’d love to give them a whirl!)

While desk jobs from 9am to 5pm may be tiring, working a startup really shatters the metric of time. Our work is measurable directly through click-throughs and the bottom line. The reverse is also true: if any member of the team doesn’t meet their goals or contribute as they’d promised to, it reflects in email complaints or even in the bottom line.

I’ve consistently left work at around 7pm, and I’ve been far from the last to leave. It’s not as if we dawdle our time away, but as a startup we need to move faster than most other organizations. That means executing more on a daily basis, which means putting in more hours or being extra productive.

So far, the experience has been quite grueling compared to my norm, but I’m glad I’m going through it. It’s forcing me beyond my current level of knowledge and fortitude, and pushing me to figure out how to execute on a much higher level with a stage that has many more eyes and spotlights.

If you get the chance, email an entrepreneur you know and spend a couple of weeks working with a small startup. It could be the refreshing change you need. Or it can make you grateful that you’re going back to school or a normal job.

Just be careful. You could also catch the very infectious startup bug.