Developers · Joint Ventures

Taking On More Than I Could Handle

Alex Rendon Conversion Junkie

Last updated on October 15th, 2018

I've been doing marketing most of my career. I fell in love with referral programs as I got really good at executing them using various solutions for many different brands throughout the years. I'm now in the mids of developing my own referral program software and I feel I might have taken on more than I can handle on the technical side of things. e.g. updates, bugs, trouble shoot tickets. I'm not sure if paying someone to help is better than giving away equity. As the commitment and passion is no the same. Any marketers out there been in same situation?

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

November 1st, 2018

Here are a few things for you to consider. Passion means almost nothing. It's a motivator for you, however it does not equal research, thought, effort, or good decision-making. What you want is a product that works correctly and is built efficiently. You would prefer someone who is considerate of your resources in the time and cost to develop this product. And you hope that they have insights enough to improve the product beyond what you imagined initially.

That's your must have, nice to have, and wish list.

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. So don't rely on experience as a guide for whether someone is good at their job. Look instead at results. Do they deliver on-time, do they stay within the budget, do they have repeat customers.

My suggestion is that you do not start with equity, and instead of hiring a contractor, hire an employee. An employee will automatically have a higher stake in the outcome because they won't have a job if they aren't doing good work. They'll be inherently more "invested" in the outcome because they want a future with the company. You will also then own your primary resource for support of the product. If your employee knows they will have to fix whatever they got wrong and support the issues, then they're incentivized to get it right the first time and to consider the ease of use as they program.

I know it can be scary to hire an employee because it seems like a commitment. The reduced risk in hiring a contractor is balanced by the risk of losing your resource when they no longer have an interest.

A word of advice from another marketer, make sure you're differentiating and not competing with your product. There are plenty of good ones out there already.

Andrew Chalk Co-Founder of a startup. CEO of a startup. CTO of a Hedge Fund. Quantitative Researcher. Superb COO.

December 12th, 2018

@ Alex Rendon : You are heading down a hole. Get out and hand the job to someone else. You own the work -- get a copy.

Then, tell him you want the money refunded. This sounds like an ideal small claims court case.

Matthew Maier, personal & community health experiments

October 25th, 2018

Yeah, the odds of finding someone who happens to care about new marketing referral software as much as you do are extremely low.

You have a better chance of finding someone who cares about being on a winning team and making lots of money.

If you're shopping for a cofounder your best bet is to lead with a clear outline of the opportunity. Basically, take one step to the side of offering actual cash and offer equity which is almost as good as cash because it will be worth more a little ways in the future. Or at least worth an equivalent amount plus the prestige of building a successful startup.

Basically you can just figure out what an appropriate salary would be for the person you need and convert that into a payout in several years when you're acquired, or a revenue share if you maintain ownership. Then make a clear, rock solid agreement about how they vest their equity through various accomplishments, otherwise they don't get anything.

The hard part isn't laying out the deal. Once you do the math it will be pretty obvious if anyone else is going to go for it or if you need to go it alone a while longer.

The hard part is finding a developer who you want and who wants this kind of deal. Most of the people with technical skills are already employed or working in their own projects. The developers who are looking for a marketing partner are usually looking for someone to sell what they've already built.

So that leaves the most likely option, which is to hire a contractor to do the work as you can afford to pay them. That should be a totally legitimate option because you're the marketing person. You should be able to convince people to give your business money that you can then use to pay the developer(s). If you can't convince anyone to give you money, and you can't build, you should focus on one or the other until you get good enough to make it work.

Alex Rendon Conversion Junkie

November 17th, 2018

I had not checked on this for a while. This is amazing feedback. Thank you! Weeks passed and I contracted a developer. I did not check to see if he had completed previous projects successfully. Instead, I went purely on his experience as a developer with 20 years + in multiple languages with various top brands. Perhaps this is where I went wrong.

I want to give me the benefit of the doubt, but so far I've paid him $1,200(scheduled payment plan) around the 1st of November. He got some stuff done, but since then, he's been really busy with other projects he tells me. As of now, he's 7 days behind the roadmap we planned together. 7 days is not a big deal. I get t

We talked on the phone, and he sounded like a straight forward guy. He's local to my area here in Austin, TX and after all said and done. We had agreed on a payment plan with shared equity post launch.

Like everyone else has suggested on here, I made some payments to him and offered him equity as well. He liked the idea and greed to work with me.

We were suppose to get on the phone to discuss my project last Tuesday Nov 14th. He had some questions about my UI. He says he had some personal issues and could not make it on the phone. so I told him no biggy, just send me some screen shots or record some screen share videos. It's Saturday night now and I've yet to hear back for him.

I hate to think the worst but so far it sounds like I should have looked for the results instead of experience. I'm getting a headache just thinking of it. I will update later what happens. I'm praying I didn't get screwed. In case your wondering I found him here on CoFounders : / I'm staying optimistic though : )

Kevin Macconkey Founder @ContentCollective Marketing; Founder @Kickstand Coaching; Copywriting & Content Specialist

October 16th, 2018

I've recently been in a similar situation albeit a touch different. I'm building a marketing automation management platform and have found it is hard to get someone as passionate as me when it comes to the concept.

However, if you can find a tech founder or developer willing to take the project on for equity, with the promise of some sort of reward for completion, you may find a bit more devotion to the work. Just a thought.

Best of Luck,


Alex Rendon Conversion Junkie

Last updated on December 11th, 2018

Update: Always check credentials before hiring anyone outside of freelancer sites. Like on this site, Linkedin even local meet up groups. I got robbed for $1,200 and have nothing to show for it. I did manage to get his ID and will try and file lawsuit through small claims court. I'm so pissed off right now. But still have enough to finish my project within budget. So I'm no giving up. I started getting a feeling this guy was not honest when I sent him a walkthrough video of the marketing plan for the software. He never even acknowledged the plan that was going to make us money. Where I've spent the last 12 months creating and planning. After giving him the 2nd $600 payment, he told me needed it asap because he was homeless. I was like WTF?? Sorry man, but if you're homeless you don't have your shit together, and I would of never giving him shit if he had said that the first time. Gotta admit he was very convincing and said everything I wanted to hear, and everything I needed to hear to release the money. Don't make the same mistakes I made. Always check credentials, especially references unless you're using freelancer sites where your money is in an escrow account and the freelancer won't get it until you're happy with the work. Please check out this video below for more info on this. I found this in my feed the day I came home after finding out I got screwed. Ironically.