I read a lot of articles and books related to startups and their journeys.
Reality is that there is no need to read much, as everything relies on "making things done" and getting your hands dirty before really judging what it means to "be a startupper" and most of all before giving suggestions to others.
Having partially lived the startupper life in first place, and having joined a company that used to be a startup myself (Teads.tv is the company I currently work in), I can give you my personal suggestions related to what to look for, before joining a startup as employee.
1. Would you use the service or the product they sell and make money for? Or would someone you know do it?
I think it's very important to relate yourself to the reason why the startup exists. Does it solve a problem you "feel" or understand and do you think it's something useful and believe in it? This is already a great starting point.
2. Are the founders people you trust and estimate?
The startup founders are the real asset of an early-stage company. Are they aligned in the company vision? Have they already managed other successful companies and ideally already successfully exited them?
3. Has the company already received financial funds?
Are these funds going to allow the company to sustain the business for more than 1 year? If not or there are doubts about it, be aware your job is not 100% safe. You can risk if you really like it, with the consciousness you might have to find another one soon, if things don't go well as expected.
4. Are there any possibilities to grow in your role, not only in the country you work for, but also abroad?
The international expansion of a company, even if at early stage, should be in its DNA. Make sure it's included in the founder's vision and that the role you are hired for allows you to grow with time.
5. Do you hardly believe in what the startup does?
I think this is the most important point as startup times are hard to face. There will be ups and downs and hard working times to cope with. In order to "survive", you need to hardly believe in what you do, as this attitude will also bring you closer to potentially get shares and be part of the owners team.
Hope you found this article interesting and true.
What is your experience? Would like to hear your thoughts as well (firstname.lastname@example.org)