Do you know what is the most common question I get from technical founders? How do I find a Marketing Co-Founder who will help me grow the product?
Well, we’re gonna crack open this question right in this article.
But first, let’s take a look at why this happens. Often, product builders are people with a technical background and skills to understand the code – very product-oriented. If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of them. However, for success, the product is not the most important element… the customers are. If you’re able to acquire customers, then you don’t need the best product out there.
Don’t have time? Here’s the most important information for you:
- Ask yourself if you really need to search for a Co-Founder or just someone who will help you grow your business.
- Search for people with the right experience, skillset, mindset and leadership talent.
- Check out the most popular startup/marketing platforms like Indiehackers, FB/LI groups and even Upwork or talk to us.
- Convince the potential candidate by Salary, Equity, Vision and Goals.
- For Equity: never go for a 50:50 share, avoid too small a share, define who contributes what value and plan for the long term (in this article, you’ll find an explanation of the 1+4 year plan).
Still here? Good, let’s dive deeper 🤿
Do you really need a Marketing Co-Founder?
That’s the first question you should be asking yourself. If you’re not able to grow your business on your own, then you definitely need some help. However, the question is whether a “Marketing Co-Founder” is someone you should be looking for. As Neil Patel and Eric Siu discuss in an episode of their podcast show, Marketing School, you don’t necessarily need a CMO. You simply need someone to help you grow your business. Along the way, you’ll probably find someone who can fill the role of Marketing Co-Founder, optionally one who can also help you grow.
Anyway, let’s assume you’ve answered this question and come to the conclusion that you really need a Marketing Co-Founder. Then just keep reading 👇
Who should you search for?
Now we’re gonna dive into the most common mistakes people make when hiring a Co-Founder.
- Skillset – You want to make sure the Co-Founder has complementary skills to yours. They should also have some experience in your industry (e.g., SaaS), which is at least an advantage. Trust me, I worked as a marketing manager in B2B SaaS and built two agencies that worked with hundreds of clients. And I’ve seen people from B2C working in B2B SaaS companies who made wildly bad decisions simply because they didn’t understand the differences. You want to work with someone who understands what they’re doing. Only then will they be able to outline a winning strategy and help you acquire customers.
- Mindset – You want someone with drive who wants to build big things, not just a decent marketer. Also, you want your Marketing Co-Founder to have an experimental mindset. Becoming a fast-growing company is not about following the initial plan. It’s about outlining the strategy and then running experiment after experiment to find the right combination of tactics that work. If the potential candidate insists on their view, that’s a red flag.
- Leadership – We all play a long-term game and want to grow our businesses. So you want to have someone aside who is capable of leading people once this happens. I know of cases where everything went well until the company grew and people started to quit because they felt frustrated by the leadership of one of the Co-Founders. Plan for long-term success, not short-term.
Where do you find marketers?
Well, this is a tough question, even though you are probably here because of it. Logic says you should start searching in your circles because people who know you are likely to recommend someone who would be suitable. But there are other options too.
- Indiehackers – One of the first options you should check out. Here you’ll find a lot of people with the right mindset in one place.
- Facebook groups – There are loads of interesting groups, one of the active ones being “SaaS Growth Hacks”.
- Upwork – You can find fantastic marketers here. Most of them only work for a defined salary, but you can also find Co-Founders here if you get them excited about your product.
- LinkedIn – You can take a look at the groups here and also post a job. It’s all about the copy.
- .out of spacetime – If it’s about helping you grow and acquiring customers, contact us as we can definitely help you.
How do you convince marketers to work with you?
Now let’s go over what marketers are looking for. Here are four ideas:
- Salary – If you’re able to pay the marketer a fixed salary, great. If you can’t, you can give them a significant share of the profits for the early days and convert it into equity later.
- Equity – We’ll cover this in the next section, but yeah, this is a common motivation. That said, how much is your company worth?
- Vision – This might be something that will convince them, trust me. If you know exactly what problem you’re solving, chances are they feel the same way about it and want to be part of the team inventing the solution.
- Clear goals – If I were in the marketer’s shoes, I would want to see if you understand what you want to achieve. Give them clear goals about what you want to achieve with your business, and you’ll increase the chances of winning their hearts.
How much equity should you offer?
You want to protect your share in the company but at the same time motivate your potential Co-Founder. Therefore, it’s never easy to decide how much to give away. There are, however, several things you can consider to make the decision the best possible one:
- Never 50:50 – Whatever you may read here or in other sources, don’t forget the most important rule: never give a 50% share because then no one is leading.
- Too little share – If you’re pitching to the investor, it always looks cryptic if one founder has 95% while the others share the remaining 5%. Investors will often question the motivation. And the question is appropriate even if you’re not pitching to an investor. You simply want your Co-Founder to be motivated.
- Value definition – It’s also very important to clearly define the value you’re adding to the relationship. You certainly want the Co-Founder to add their time and commitment to the project. On the other hand, you may have added your own investments, created a product, etc. Calculate using these facts. A book that will help you if you don’t know how to proceed is Slicing Pie by Mike Moyer.
- 1+4 year plan – You don’t want to give your share to someone until you are sure the cooperation will work. The smart way is to promise equity after a certain period of time and results have been achieved. For example, let’s say a Co-Founder receives a significant share of the profits in the first year, 10% of the equity (and a decrease in the profit share) the next year and then 0.25% every month for the next four years. This way, the reward is fair, motivating and you don’t risk giving away the equity to someone who may not be a good fit.
What about full stack marketing team?
If you’re about to hire someone to help you acquire new customers, we’ll be happy to help you do that. Just, in addition to one marketer we have a full stack growth team experienced in working with tech brands, SaaS and other digital products.
And the best thing? It’s not expensive at all. For a small fee we can help you acquire more customers. Then we can scale the services to help you grow even faster. This way, the future results are paid by today’s ones. Just take a look at how we work 🙂
Anyway, I hope this article will help you find a Co-Founder and build together an amazing product. If you need some help on your path, we’re here for you.
Important 👉 please, let us know your feedback. If you like this article, share it with fellow founders. If you don’t or you’re missing anything, reach out to us and speak your mind. Thank you 🙏