Power in Numbers: Building Your Startup’s Team

For many years I’ve worked tirelessly to build BiggerPockets.com up with a team that consisted of a programmer, and myself (my wife does the books, so I can’t ignore her important role) — a team that most would call LEAN!

While he wrote code, I handled every other component of the business — sales, marketing, PR, business development, strategy, community development, seo, lead editor, writer, and more. (I also don’t want to forget to mention our awesome volunteer moderators and writing staff) I’ve put in countless hundred hour weeks and even went over 6 years without taking a single day off — including weekends and holidays. In other words, I’ve worked my ass off to get where my company is, and put a ton of importance on hard work, hustle, and determination.

I’ve lived and breathed the life of a solopreneur, and while I wouldn’t give up that experience for the world, things have begun to change for us and I just wanted to share my thoughts on that transition.

Before I do, lets look at some of the positives and negatives of the solopreneur life:

Positives of Being Solopreneur:

  • You don’t have to answer to anyone
  • You don’t have to deal with the drama that comes with partners or co-founders
  • You don’t have to worry about the headaches that come with employees
  • You can work when you want, how your want, where you want

Negatives of Being a Solopreneur:

  • You don’t have anyone to take over when something goes wrong
  • You don’t have anyone vested in the company to share ideas with or get advice from
  • You have to do almost EVERYTHING!

I can go on and on with the negatives, but I think the last point is the most important one . . . Doing everything is exhausting. Furthermore, when we have to do as many tasks as a solopreneur has, it is simply impossible to do all those things well. You just can’t be an expert at everything!

Are We a Company Now?

Last November I elected to hire a consultant to help me examine the business and spent a pretty penny doing it — it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. As a result of working with him, I hired our first full-time employee, improved our business by eliminating poorly performing elements, and started a new exciting phase of our startup’s growth.

Over the first quarter of the year, we saw AMAZING growth on the website, almost doubling monthly traffic over what it was before bringing on employee #1. We’ve also seen revenues grow, content increase, community growth increase, and a massive increase in productivity. I’ve begun to work FAR more on the business than in it, and that has been great for the company.

Let me reiterate — I am now spending my time as CEO of my company working ON the company instead of always managing the little details that can easily eat up a day. I can’t tell you how liberating that is. I actually took a day off recently, and I definitely need to let go a little more . . . I’ll get there!

I’ve used my newly found time to bring in other consultants and contractors, including an advertising and media specialist, who has helped me completely re-think how we work with advertisers. We just put out a new Media Kit (If you’re interested in advertising on BiggerPockets click here) and will be using the consultant to deal with many of the tasks that go with working with our advertisers.

Startup Tip: Hiring Experts to do things you’re not great at is Essential

The ad side of the business was definitely one of our weak spots, and getting the vast majority of the headaches associated with it off my plate, again freed me up.

We Have a Startup Team Now!

In order to further build the business, I realized that we need more development help, and this past week we brought on a new developer to the team — yep we’re a TEAM! This solopreneur has given up his old ways of working alone and now has a team that includes:

  • CEO — That’s me!
  • Lead Developer
  • Junior Developer
  • Head of Content Development & Community
  • Advertising Sales
  • Book keeper, moderation team, writing staff, legal & accounting, server

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be growing the team. Watching the increased output, productivity, and growth is extraordinary, and I’m ecstatic to bring on even more staff as we move forward.

Share your experience growing your startup company’s team in the comments below . . . I love hearing how others are progressing as well!

Photo: Hamed Saber

5 thoughts on “Power in Numbers: Building Your Startup’s Team”

  1. Hey Josh,

    Same thing we as well. I was trying to do everything myself for awhile. between business meeting and transacting deals I do not have time for the back office stuff.

    I have an assistant that manages my database, mails out my monthly letters, and does market research and tracking ROI. That frees my up to close deals.

  2. Hey Josh,

    I just visited BiggerPockets and there was a great article by Brandon that made me want to know more about the company hence I found your twitter and this site. No one remember the hours, blood sweat and tears that you will have put in for the most part many will never know or see it. Obviously you did a lot of work and still have plans of doing more. I congratulate you on a job well done and hard work does pay off. Good luck with the new team. I just started my company and right now its just me myself and I. Certainly key to hire great help and if you are not great at it hire someone else who is.

    1. Thomas – Sorry for the delay, but thanks for the message. Bootstrapping is tough and very lonely, but if you can build a successful business, there’s nothing like it. Lots of luck, and if you’d be interested in a guest post from us, we’d be happy to put one together. Just shoot Brandon an email at brandon at biggerpockets and we’ll make it so.

      1. Thanks for the reply Joshua! I did speak with Brandon. Great guy and we are working together on having him do a guest post in August.

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