I love that video.
Yes, I’m bias. But the truth is – No one is a master of everything.
Over the last few years, I’ve worked with many technical teams as a consulting CMO, content marketer or VP of Marketing. In all of these roles, I helped teams not just with marketing but also with customer support, fundraising, business development, operations, fundraising and more.
Peers in technology who are on the hunt for either a non-technical co-founder or their first non-technical hire often approach me looking for advice on finding the right person or to make a referral to someone I know with skills in marketing, sales and operations. While it might seem to many in tech that great non-technical founders are scarce – they aren’t that hard to find if you look in the right places.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the things that you can do to increase the likelihood of finding and attracting a top-notch non-technical co-founder for your startup.
Identify The Skillset You Want/Need
First and foremost, you need to make sure you have a role for this person beyond the idea that it’s what one potential investor told you to consider. Many startups have gone on to be worth millions of dollars (some billions) that didn’t have a non-technical co-founder.
A non-technical co-founder can be a huge benefit to an early stage team as it allows the lead developers to stay focused while they focus on things like marketing, sales, fundraising, etc…
Take a few hours and craft out exactly what elements of the company you as the technical founder want to own and what you’re willing to give up. Back in 2014, Buffer co-founder, Joel wrote a blog post that shared how he and his co-founder separated responsibilities:
Take the time to determine on your end, what are the roles that you want to tackle and which roles do you see your co-founder tackling. You have to understand your own strengths. You need to be able to articulate exactly where you’re weak and why this person is an important piece of your startups future.
Attend Events That Non-Technical People Attend
As a digital native, my heart wants to believe that you can build a found relationship through social media but the reality is – face-to-face is better. Don’t get me wrong, you can create something great without meeting and video is a great way to make it feel more personal but face-to-face interaction wins every time.
One of the biggest lessons I learned while running my marketing consultancy was that marketing events were often filled with people who already thought like me, dressed like me and did work like me. It slowly became a waste of time attending some of these events as they didn’t lead to any new business as everyone at the event tended to be people doing the same type of work or some variation.
Birds of a feather – flock together.
The same is found in business. Marketers go to marketing events. Sales people go to sales events. Developers go to developer events. Designers go to design events. You get the idea…
If you’re looking for a non-technical co-founder, go to events where you’re likely to find them. It doesn’t have to be conferences either. It could be a networking event in your city or after work drinks amongst marketers you stumble upon while browsing meetup.
Once at these events, be enthusiastic about your startup or idea and spread the word amongst the people there that you’re looking for someone to help with a few non-technical efforts. You don’t have to fall in love with a co-founder on the first night but if you find someone who can fill the gap – spend time with them, get their contact information and learn about their experience and life as a whole.
Tap Into Your Network For Introductions
Building on the last point, if you’re a marketer – you likely know lots of other marketers. If you’re a developer – you likely know lots of other developers. If you’re a real estate agent – you likely know lots of other real estate agents. If you know anyone who has chops in the marketing, sales, finance or operations space – reach out to them and ask for an introduction to anyone they know who might be interested in what you’re building.
Use your network to see if they know anyone who they may have interviewed in the past, worked with in the past or have heard about from friends that would potentially serve as a great partner.
Leverage Online Communities Where Makers Are
Some of the most talented and bright marketers I know are spending time browsing and interacting with people in online communities. Whether it’s answering questions on Inbound.org or hosting an AMA on GrowthHackers.com – they’re using these communities to establish themselves as leaders in the space and contribute to the industries that they’re passionate about.
You should also consider spending time on these sites and watching what content is being uploaded and which products are being launched. If a non-technical person rolls out an interesting side project, it might be worth connecting with them, as you know they’ve got the chops required to ship it. Here are a few great communities to check out while on the hunt:
- Private Slack groups
- Facebook groups
- Entrepreneur focused SubReddits
Do you already have a non-technical co-founder? How did you find one another? Do non-technical professionals have any other ideas on how people could get in touch with them? I’d love to hear any thoughts, questions or advice you have!