I’ve recently celebrated my 1st anniversary at hubb, which also celebrates my first year at a technology start-up. I’ve been reflecting on my year at hubb and the journey I’ve been on, and here are 3 things I’ve learnt in the last crazy year.
Lesson 1 – It’s hard but rewarding work!
It isn’t for everyone and especially not the faint-hearted. Whilst working for a tech start-up is exciting, fast-paced and being able to see the impact of your work, you have to be able to adapt and upskill quickly. There is nowhere to hide, which is why it’s been so important that our culture is supportive, collaborative and doesn’t play the blame game.
Whilst there is undoubtedly an improvement in your work-life balance, you also need to be flexible. You may need to put in some late nights and long hours. The key here is balance and fairness, but also the sense that the whole team are pulling together.
Lesson 2 – It’s exciting!
When I started my journey with hubb, there were 5 other people in the business and £500k of premium on the books! We now have 30+ staff, 1,000+ customers, £15m of GWP and a complete stranger chanted ‘RUMP! RUMP! RUMP!’ upon seeing me in my fabulous hubb branded t-shirt at BIBA!
That speed of growth comes with a lot of work, a lot of change but even more reward. Start-ups are very different to what I’ve been used to in the past. Decisions are made quickly, every day matters, and the focus is entirely on rapid improvement in every area, and not just keeping the ship steady. It is not a place for big egos – everybody needs to give and receive feedback constructively for us all to thrive!
Perhaps the most rewarding part of that is that we’ve managed to attract world-class talent to the team. Being able to have an open and honest dialogue with them and face these challenges together offers a huge learning opportunity. I couldn’t ask for a better team around me and have grown immensely in the last year as a result.
Most importantly, all of the above is exciting! I never feel as though I’m going through the motions. Instead, I know that every morning I’m going to be tested. I know that I’ll learn something new and that I can make decisions and take action that will shape the future of the business. That is exhilarating.
Lesson 3 – Mentality is everything!
The biggest culture shock of a start-up is that due to the resourcing and fluidity of the business, you need to come with a “can-do attitude”.
By this, I mean that there is an “all hand-on-deck” mentality required and no matter how senior you may consider yourself, you need to roll your sleeves up and be prepared to take the bins out. Start-ups do not have the luxury of narrowly defined roles. This is a team of moving parts that need to operate at one entity to cover all areas.
As a result, start-ups have an increased sense of belonging, especially when you join early on. I sometimes look at the wealth of experience and knowledge around me and suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome. With the ‘all hands-on deck’ culture, you can ask any of your colleagues for help or advice, no matter your position or concerns, and you will immediately be offered assistance from your team, ready to jump straight on a call to help. Only this type of culture creates a strong sense of well-being which means you really become part of hubb or a ‘hubbsta’ as I like to call us.
And lastly, whatever you think you know, there is always so much more to learn. There is always a better way of doing things or room for improvement. If you have ever responded with “but that’s the way we’ve always done it”, then the start-up life isn’t for you.
The amount I’ve learnt about technology and automation in the last year blows my mind. I won’t pretend I’m a “techie”, but I’m fluent in acronyms now and there’s even a small chance I might even know what some of them actually mean!
Like with any job or task, if you don’t know or understand something, you go and research and learn about it. Well, when you start working in InsurTech from a traditional broker, it turns out there’s a lot that you don’t know or understand! You really need to put the effort in to broaden your knowledge and understanding every…single…day.
It’s been an incredible year, arguably the best of my career (so far). I was initially interested in joining hubb because I agreed with their thesis that there was a better way of broking. The traction hubb has made so quickly proves every day that countless other people share the same views.
It’s safe to say I made the right decision to jump on board, and I urge anybody else looking to grow and progress to do the same.