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If you’re launching a new company, cash is king. With what little startup capital you have, you’ve got to spend it wisely. Ask any founder whose startup struggled or even failed early on and the concepts of both spent cash and bad hiring strategy are likely to come up.
The go-to reaction for a lot of founders is to offer equity instead of a salary or hourly rate. The problem, however, is that this strategy can go south in a big way. Not having a working relationship with your new hire means that you’ve essentially brought on a partner — and a big partner if you leveraged a lot of equity in exchange for minimal or no cash upfront. Given that even freelancers and salaried employees might exit a company for any number of reasons without the additional complexity of equity, this might not be the right route to pursue at first.
Enter the freelance economy. Working with a freelancer is an excellent stopgap, so long as all your documents and expectations are clear at the outset. Get them to sign an NDA? Yes. Work with them hourly until they’ve proven worthy of being offered equity or a bigger role? Also a possible yes.
When to hire freelancers as a bootstrapped founder
Freelancers are often an excellent route to go for a founder who is looking for a way to scale quickly while also staying on a budget. Just take it from Joel Primus, founder of underwear company Naked and author of the book Getting Naked. For him and many other bootstrapping founders, outsourcing certain tasks was the key to being able to scale quickly and effectively.
“A bootstrapped team starts with hiring doers, problem solvers, and those with a deep desire to learn and rapidly expand their skills,” Primus says. Freelancers provide the perfect opportunity to address the overwhelm that easily accompanies the daily experience of a startup founder.
Recognizing that you can’t do it all alone means looking for people to hire. But family and friends willing to do you favors aren’t always the best solution. They might mean well but lack the technical experience or finesse to get the job done. And without much capital to pay, a part-time or full-time employee on the books could direct funds from other places where it’s much more needed.
Primus says, “For time-intensive tasks and projects like research reports, competitive analysis, lead gen and data mining or populating KPIs, hire remote talent on a site like Upwork. This frees up you and your team to execute critical objectives and avoid saying that you don’t have time.”
If you’re still stumped on how to get the funds to pay for freelance contr
How to Bootstrap for a New Startup by Hiring Freelancers