The 6 Personalities Every Startup Needs


Your startup is your tribe.

You spend more time with them than you do with your family (#sorrymom). There are shared lunches and late hours and at certain points, you all wear every single hat. Because when you’re working to build something together, you switch hats, pants, shoes; the words “I can’t do that,” are not part of your vocabulary. In many ways each of you is the "ideal worker"-- something that gender and labor scholars have identified as the person who shows up early, leaves late, never says no, never gets sick, answers emails morning, noon, night, weekends, makes every meeting, is a go-getter, ad infinitum. These are employees who work hard and challenge themselves on a daily basis. In a dream world, every team member of your start-up is that person.

Here on earth however, there are specific people that fit better into certain roles and make the squad function like a well-oiled machine. 


Often the CEO. They think big and small, they see far ahead but also catch the tiniest of details right in the moment; the little things you would never even notice. Nothing gets past them, but it's because the Visionary knows how they want to see their vision executed. Thinking outside-the-box is one part of their supernatural abilities. They are highly-functional, fast-paced, and fastidious. The ways in which people consume everything has changed significantly. So if the visionary is not evolving, they're not doing their job. And ultimately, they are hurting the biz.


The Closer has perseverance and structure like you wouldn’t believe and solutions to any problem. In part it's because they’ve "been, there, done that"— and bring experience from many industries to the table. They know how to work a conversation to their advantage. They are great at team management and turning ideas into action items— especially at executing the vision of the dreamer.  For the Closer it's not an option to not get it done. And if you have the kind of attitude that accepts defeat, you're not the Closer. It's OK, not everyone is. But the Closer will take an idea and make it happen. If it doesn't look or feel right, they do it again. 


Part social butterfly part go-getter. The unicorn of the the bunch is known for making magic, and doing it with pep and a smile. From meeting with clients to working with talent, the Unicorn is the ultimate team player. And part of that Unicorn sociable, lovable charm means keeping team morale up even as stress rises. It's not magic, despite what you believe about these mythical creatures. The Unicorn knows how to make a room feel at ease by making every person feel taken care of. The Unicorn makes sure everyone is riding along with them. No one falls off the Unicorn's back. No one. 


Follow-through is one of the main traits of the no-nonsense employee. Enthusiastic but firm, the no-nonsense type is a bit like sandpaper— firm, tough, but smooths out anything. A nose-to-the-grindstone, no-nonsense worker that will always be crystal clear on what she needs-- especially if she doesn't like the way you're doing something. The No-Nonsense type is firm, tenacious, and gets everything in writing. They know, if you miss one detail, Rome topples. And we've already learned that lesson. From big picture, to the nitty-gritty, nothing is falling apart on the No-Nonsense's watch, even if it means a sternly worded convo, or two.




You know the person. They're always saying yes. They are there to talk out an idea with you, jump in, give you their thoughts, and share their best ideas-- all the while grinding out what's on their own plate. The Heart sticks on brand and is less concerned with credit than with crafting the right message. A headphones on, head down kind of worker, but tap her shoulder and she's right there with you. A startup is about the collective, so even though a certain job revolves around spreading the word, it's important that everyone else on the team is on message as well. Which, for the Heart means, breaking from the to-do list and jumping in where needed.  


A bit of a worker bee that’s self-motivated, the Pistol is a straight-shooter that fires off ideas, and gets work done at the same speed. The Pistol doesn’t wait for ideas to come to them, nor do they second-guess themselves, they are always providing the best. That means tons of ideas. Plenty of which get thrown out. But even if they're firing blanks, the Pistol never stops shooting.