Life at a startup is anything but boring. And if you’ve ever worked for a startup, you know how true this is.
If there’s one truth we’ve learned in the past 12 months, it’s this: Life at a startup is anything but boring. And if you’ve ever worked for a startup, you know how true this is.
But that’s also what keeps you going, right? At least, that’s what excites our CEO Will Naso.
We recently asked Will some questions about what life at a startup is really like, how COVID impacted the business, and what advice he’d give to anyone considering working for a startup.
Team Biteline (TB): What does ‘startup life’ mean to you?
Will Naso (WN): There’s a lot of freedom that comes with it. Especially when it’s just you and a few others. There aren’t many external forces organizing the way you work. Which is cool, because you get to figure out a lot of unique ways to get things done. But at the same time, it can be really challenging and scary. You can end up down rabbit holes. In a startup, everything is exciting and unexpected. You never know exactly what you’re going to get, but that’s what you sign up for.
TB: Tell us about the Biteline team culture.
WN: From the very beginning, we’ve built a team of talented, and scrappy people, many of whom are self-taught. And we’ve been able to build an ‘open to failure’ culture that startup life lends itself to. You have to fail over and over against to actually achieve what you’re going for. We have a lot of trust in our team, and everyone is accountable to the shared mission of what we’re trying to achieve.
TB: How has COVID impacted Biteline? Any lessons learned?
WN: For us, COVID came at a critical juncture. We’d had good traction and momentum in marketing, and our app progress was strong. But we were also just setting out to raise funds right when the pandemic began, so there was a lot of trying to figure out what to do. We were asking funders for money at a time when the world was in a massive state of uncertainty. It was so weird pitching to investors over Zoom, and asking people we’d never even met for money.
But at the same time, the pandemic highlighted a need for a service like ours. Once dental offices opened back up, there was a huge influx in patient visits, and Biteline has been a tremendous resource to the offices and dental hygienists who use it.
Throughout all of the uncertainty, I just kept pitching and did what I could to keep some air under our wings. Ultimately, we were able to get our funding, and we grew stronger from it.
TB: Are you a believer in the work-life balance philosophy, or work-life blend?
WN: For me, it’s a work-life blend. I don’t have kids, and I structure everything in my life around work. But I do think it’s important to carve out time for the “life” stuff. I recently joined a mastermind group, and one of the big talking points is on living a scaled life; Being able to be a highly productive, energetic entrepreneur, but not making personal life tradeoffs. I think there’s a way to do it and achieve a true work-life balance, but it also depends on the person. Reality is always going to look different than the ideal. Plus, everyone’s definition of ‘balance’ is different.
TB: What advice would you give to someone considering working for a startup?
WN: Get to know the person and company you’re interested in as much as you can before making a decision. When working for a startup, you’re not going to get a clean-cut job description doing XYZ; you’re signing up to create a brand new alphabet.
If you’re going to work for a startup, that should excite you. You should go into the job not knowing what to do. If you’re one of the first 12 hires, you should plan on not having any idea what to do (laughs). And that’s the most exciting part.
Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.
And don’t forget to share with your dental friends!