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6 Comments

Doubting of bringing additional people to help me on my side project after MVP launch?

Hello hackers community,

I'm software developer and I've been working by myself on a side project for over a year. I worked on it during my free time while having a full-time job, but after I quit my job for unrelated reasons, I decided I would work on this side project full-time for a few months until I release an MVP. I launched the MVP in June after many months of hard work.

Right at the beginning, I soon realized that the scope of the project was way too big for only one developer, but I decided to stay on my own and see how it goes. However, this thing keeps coming to my mind from time to time, because not only another developer would speed up the project, but also there's a lot of work related to marketing, SEO and social network that I cannot do alone by myself.

The thing is that I've been doubting for 2 main reasons.

  1. How should equity be divided, after all the though work I've put on it and all the work I'm gonna keep putting on it, I don't feel like 50/50 would be fair, and I don't know if anyone that would like to join, if that person would be really interested on joining taking less than a 50% equity.

  2. Whoever that joins really needs to have the same mindset that I have. I'm really enthusiastic about this project and I truly believe in the long-term potential. But I'm also realistic and I know that making this work and bringing some solid revenue could take 1-2 years. That's why my mindset is enjoying the process of working on this and not focusing on revenue in the short-term, and I don't know if I could bring anyone on board with same mindset/motivation. Because I believe that someone without this mindset, would easily give up in a few months.

What do you think of these concerns? Have someone experience something similar? Should I just give it a try and interview people to see if I could really find someone with same mindset that I have?

  1. 2

    Adding another dev gets your product ready to go out the door or down the road just a bit faster but then you have given some equity to a person who only bought you an earlier launch date or slightly faster turnaround. A successful offering will need to run for 5-10 years anyway so shaving off two months on launch or tweaks isn't going to offer much value over the long haul.

    A really smart person I know once said "once you have your product or service, everything becomes sales", it's that simple. After the launch of the MVP, you're going to tune and add features, fix bugs, etc. but it's going to become a sales and marketing operation forever and that's going to be the bulk of the work. The dev work will slow as you buy time to make your version 2.0 or follow your roadmap etc. but it will never likely have the 24/7 urgency of the original build.

    I would suggest finding a strong "front office" person to compliment your "back office" role. It will take more than just SEO, you need a generalist who knows marketing, which channels to use, how to find them, test them and exploit them. You are going to want someone who can think about positioning your creation in the market, crafting the right message etc.

    I don't think that 50% equity is out of the question for this person, maybe something in the 40-50% range would work. You have to consider that they may drag this to 5x-10x bigger than you think right now and then that person might start thinking the deal isn't fair considering how much value they generated.

    The issue right now for you is to find this person before you go too far past the launch of the MVP in any way so they can have early input on how it's presented. You may actually be behind the curve on this.

    For as hard as you have worked so far it's been in a one-person vacuum. You started with an idea, you are making an app/service/product out of it, you're going to turn it into a company but all that is the minimum entry fee - you have your product or service - the real sustained and risky effort is turning it into a revenue-generating BUSINESS.

    This is where solo devs sabotage themselves - they build, they launch, and then nothing. You're asking all the right questions so you do get it but first find the person, see if there is a fit (some overlap between you but not too much), see if there is a shared vision, let them do their market research to evaluate what you built and if they think its a winner - if they do they will share your passion for your solution. worry about equity as the last step.

    1. 1

      Thanks this is very helpful. I also feel like someone who could take that “front-office” role would take the product to another level and hopefully turn this mvp into a solid business. That for me is clear, and maybe sharing that 40-50% equity is fair.

  2. 1

    There are also other options - instead of bringing on a peer, you can also simply pay someone for their time and work to free up your time. I.e. more like an employee (it doesn't have to be full-time).

    If it is a development task or feature - bring on a freelance developer to develop that task. SEO you can definitely get someone external to do, also a lot of the marketing stuff. And so on.

    If you don't have the resources to pay anyone, then it is equity - risk must be balanced with probability and possible return. In general - the probability of any project (or startup) to succeed is quite low - hence, everything to increase that probability should be considered. You getting 50% of something is far much better than getting 100% of a failed project.

  3. 1

    that is not the right place for this question, if you looking for partners, put some description of what are you doing and what are you looking for and see what happens
    for answers of your questions, try the startup forum

    1. 1

      sorry, I’ve moved it. I didn’t know exactly where to post this.

      1. 2

        no problem, valid questions
        as far as the equity is concerned, usually it depends on how much value the other person is bridging in and what is the risk for them. If your project is making money and you bringing in another tech person 50/50 is out of the question, if you adding a sales person can be 50/50 but only if the sales person actually do some sells that are equal or more than the value of the shares .
        You better think about what value you project can bring, not the imaginary "subscription is 5$ and we have potential 3bilion customers so 15bilion" but the real, "subscription is 5$ and we have 100 new customers for each of the last 4 months and we predict 50% retention in a year and expenses are X$(all of them) so we have Z$ value"
        As far as the second one, nobody will have your mindset and will thing about the project the same way as you, you need to get to know them and see can you work with them and look for complimentary skills not the same as yours.

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