I graduated from Durham University 3 years ago, after studying Economics and obtaining a 2:1. I loved every second of my time at uni but by the end, I was excited to start my career and figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Here’s a bit more information about my journey after University and how I ended up in a fast-paced sales role for a London start-up. And why I would recommend it as a move worth making
What I did after graduation
After graduation, I spent the first couple of months working in a bar and doing a lot of work as an extra in television and film to earn money, whilst I thought more about where my degree could take me. The more I looked into different roles the more I was drawn to sales.
Working in sales wasn’t always something I’d thought about whilst at Durham. My dad was in finance and I always enjoyed Economics at school, so I was pretty short-sighted when it came to what careers were available to me. I interned at a big bank and did plenty of applications to banks for graduate schemes. It was only when I thought about the skills I have and what I enjoy doing, that sales started to make more sense to me as a career.
So, I started looking into sales jobs online with a real focus on startups and young companies – and eventually, I landed myself a job at a tech startup as a Sales Executive.
Moving on up!
I spent two years in my first job and had an amazing time, I learned a lot. However, when I was contacted by a recruiter about the role at my current company HeadBox, the UK’s only SaaS enabled marketplace for inspiring meeting, off-site and event spaces. Their vision is to reinvent the global events industry through technology, so the opportunity sounded too good to turn down!
Having met the team and found out more about the product I soon realised the potential for the company and for myself. I had my first interview on a Wednesday and had signed the contract by the following Wednesday, it all happened very quickly! I’ve now been at HeadBox for 8 months as a Senior Business Development Manager and am so glad I made the move.
The startup environment
When I joined the HeadBox team, the company was 3 years old and growing at an extraordinary rate, it was an exciting time to join. I’ve found it really interesting seeing the inside of a business and how it works in more detail. I think this is a major benefit of working for a startup as you learn so much more about the business from all aspects.
For example, I was brought into the HeadBox team primarily to promote and sell a new technology product HeadBox had just built, called STACK, a booking, payment and CRM software for venues – and when I started, this product was in its infancy. I’ve got to work closely with the product team on developing this and getting it up to scratch. Working with product has been something I never thought I would be a part of but I’ve enjoyed growing that knowledge and trying something new.
There are two other main reasons why I love working for a startup. Firstly, the speed at which things happen is great. Every day is completely different and working in that sort of environment means you’re never bored and always busy.
Secondly, I like the level of responsibility you are given from a very early stage. After my first week of training, I was pretty much pushed in at the deep end and left to crack on with making sales. It can be daunting at first but also gives you a sense of freedom to build your own processes and work out what your selling style is. This combination means you can have a valued input, you are listened to from the start and the ideas you suggest can be actioned quickly and turned into something tangible.
Sales roles in startups compared to bigger companies
Having worked in larger corporates earlier on in my career, I think one big difference with a sales role in a startup compared to a bigger company is that I have the trust and responsibility to run with my own ideas to an extent. For example, exploring new sectors and avenues and trying out different things. Within sales at a startup, when there is a small team, you are genuinely contributing to the performance and revenue of the company in a major way.