Manage episode 351367670 series 3383733
In this episode we answer questions about how to hire your first employees! We answer questions including:
- How do I find the right co-founder to join you?
- How do you convince people to join your very early stage startup?
- What should you pay a co-founder?
All of these questions were submitted by listeners just like you. You can submit questions for us to answer on our website https://www.thestartuphelpdesk.com/ or on Twitter @thestartuphd - we'd love to hear from you!
Reminder: this is not legal advice or investment advice.
Q1: How do you find the right co-founder?
It takes a ton of effort. Plan to work on it daily, scheduling a minimum of 5 meetings a week.
Search for co-founders everywhere:
- Talk to everyone in the industry that you know.
- Tap into affinity networks: your school network, your work network.
- Communities where you have shared interests.
- Through trusted intros.
Don’t become best friends overnight. Look for someone with:
- Complimentary skills.
- A compatible risk tolerance.
- Alignment on company values. This includes:
- What their role looks like years from now.
- Who they envision as first hires.
You can start testing your fit as co-founders by solving problems together and creating things together.
Don’t get discouraged! It takes time.
Q2: How do you convince people to join your very early stage startup?
- It’s really hard.
- Like, really hard.
- Seriously, it’s hard.
Got it? Ok, let's talk strategy now.
People are most likely to join because of "you". Thus, they are most likely to be from your network. Offer them what they can’t find elsewhere: a chance to be creative and solve important problems with a huge impact.
Empower them to contribute meaningfully:
- Make it clear that they will have ownership of key decisions.
- At the same time: empower them by asking them where they can contribute the most.
Look for people who bring the passion with them and care deeply about solving the problem your startup intends to solve.
And of course, a key strategy is "build your startup"! That's right: people want to work with folks who create momentum. As you generate traction, you will demonstrate that this is a real opportunity, and it will make it easier to convince folks to join your journey.
Be patient. It takes a long time to hire your first few employees.
Q3: What should you pay a co-founder?
We heard a variety of answers on this one! First, some common details:
- Salary needs to be "enough": money stress distracts from being able to focus on the work, so avoid this stress if possible.
- Don’t pay as much as big tech companies: if someone wants a huge salary, they should go somewhere else.
- Don’t be afraid to make an early employee a co-founder if they deserve it and want to make that kind of commitment.
We saw differing opinions on other details.
- Co-founders should split equity equally, even if one of the co-founders originally had the idea, started first, or invested.
- For the first employees:
- 10% allocated for the first 10.
- Log scale: 2-5% for employee 1 but likely around 0.1-0.25% for employee number 10.
- Co-founders should never split equity 50/50.
- First employees should get 10%+ of equity since they are basically founders.
That's the magic of your startup journey: advice can help pave the way for a variety of paths to consider, and you can then decide how to apply it to your startup.