It's been almost six years since I walked through the doors of General Assembly's first campus in New York's Flatiron District. It was a coworking space at the time, full of aspiring entrepreneurs tapping away at their laptops. The energy was electric and I knew instantly this was something I had to be a part of.
Although I'd grown up being exposed to startups, watching my father build and sell companies, I never thought of myself as particularly entrepreneurial. When I joined the General Assembly team there were only a handful of us and I was relatively new to the New York tech community. I had to quickly immerse myself in all things tech -- founders, companies, trends -- and six years later I've watched GA grow from a team of eight people to a truly global company with 25 offices and 700 employees around the world.
As part of my previous role, I studied tech ecosystems across the world, developing the strategy to embed GA into those communities. From Seattle to Singapore, it was exciting to see how much innovation is happening outside of Silicon Valley.
Startups are constantly changing and it's important to be knowledgeable on the space to figure out where you might fit in. Stay on top of product announcements, recent rounds of funding, and overall trends. Attend events and don't be scared to cold email individuals. Some of the best connections I've made are people that I simply reached out to and asked to grab a cup of coffee.
Working at a startup has been an incredible learning experience, both personally and professionally. I've been given huge responsibility with little direction, pushed to work faster and smarter creating systems and processes out of nothing. I've worked with people from different backgrounds from all over the world. I've been exposed to different cultures and have met so many inspiring entrepreneurs.
For anyone debating taking the leap, don't be afraid of the challenges that may come. If I can do it, you can do it.