You already started very very well – togetherness. Yet this is one of the biggest challenges of first time founders. Hence the long and detailed answer.

It takes teamwork to make a dream work.

People all to often simply focus on the act of “finding”. That doesn’t get you anywhere and you end up with nothing. Therefor my recommendation:

1) CO-FOUNDER

Make it very clear to yourself that you are actually looking for a co-founder, a partner for your entire business life. That co-founder should stay, no matter what. You will face rough times and need to get through together. The best way – by far – is to look for two co-founders, not one and share the equity of the company rather evenly 33, 33, 34%. You as the original idea giver earn the extra percent. But since the initial value of an idea is zero – don’t feel you should have more than that 1 extra percent. If you put in $34,000 the other two have to pony up $33,000 to participate. If they don’t want to give that much money (typically they claim they don’t have it), they are not worth being a partner in this venture. If they don’t have it, they can sell their car, their TV and so forth. Sounds radical and brutal – right? Unfortunately you all will have to make much more radical and brutal decisions in the next 10 years than that. Make sure everybody is “ALL IN”. Meaning they and you put all your eggs in one basket. If the company fails it hearts seriously and twice (financially and emotionally). Best founders are co-founders.

2) TRUST

With the above straightened out, forget trust. Period. Nobody can afford to let the company down. Every founder will be caring about one thing: Making this ventor work no matter what. Trust becomes a non issue.

3) TALENTS

Now make sure you look for exactly the talents you need and complement your talent. Start with making clear to yourself what you are really good at and what you love to do, day in and day out. Then write down what you just don’t like and hope to never do. Split the list of “don’t wants” and look for those talents. Assume you are an engineer do not look for another engineer no matter what. If you are an analyst, finance, production person look for the engineer and a visionary sales and marketing executer. Be very clear what you are looking for. Then go to LinkedIn and check if these talents actually exist :) If not – iterate.
Find the humanly best possible people.

Look for people who you could never – ever – afford to hire.

4) VISION

If your vision for the company’s future is not compelling and unclear – you would never attract top talents. Make sure you have a vision that compels others to look up to it. Your vision not only need to attract top talents, it need to attract customers, partners, investors, board members and so forth. No big vision, no big business, no good people.

5) SEARCH

After you went through the above exercise, your search will feel entirely different.
Promote your idea first. Instead of just searching for people to join, you will first promote your idea in your network. Give people the WOW. Let everybody know who you are looking for. Share the profiles of your ideal co-founder on your website, blog or something you can easily share with a link.
Adjust your LinkedIn profile. Put on your LinkedIn profile that you are looking for co-founders.
Go to meetups and conferences where you feel you find potential people and just talk to them. Business Cards may be out of date a bit but have them. Put your vision on the back of the card. Maybe hand written (of course printed). Share the card with everybody you like to hire and note their email address.
Directly contact people on LinkedIn. Connect and NEVER forget to send a comment with the connect request. Let them know what you are looking for and ask them if they know somebody in their network. I found some of my greatest talents that way.
Throw a party. You want to start a business. This is exciting enough to give a party. Rent a space in a fun and and inexpensive restaurant and just offer beer and sodas for everybody. It’s not that expensive but real fun. I did that once in Palo Alto and it is still remembered by many people. When you great everybody in a very short speech. Let them know that you can only do a follow on party when you have your co-founders. And once that is the case everybody is invited again. It worked wonders.
Advertise yourself. Buy yourself a banner for $100 and mount it on a small truck that you can rent for another $100. Drive and park around 11am at a university nearby, move on and hang out for a few minutes at around 12:00 in front of your biggest competitor. MOve on after just 5 to 10 minutes before they kick you out to the next. In the afternoon hang out at a train station and so forth.

And on it goes – get creative – get crazy… get into the mood of the greatest startup in 2019. :)

@AxelS

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