Behind every successful business is an amazing team. Founders and CEOs often receive all the glory, but if you investigate closely, there is always a team behind them that made success possible.
We only tend to hear about the leader, but Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Mike Markulla. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Gordon Letwin. Mark Zuckerberg had Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker. There’s no doubt that the billionaires were exceptional people — but their team was a big reason for their success.
Here are seven ways to build a team, even if you have little or no money.
1. Offer stock options.
If you can’t offer them money yet, offer them equity in your company. This is how a lot of fledgling ideas got off the ground. Think of Facebook and how Saverin is now a multi-billionaire because of his shares in Facebook.
Most talented people won’t accept stock options alone as payment unless they truly believe in your idea. The big bonus is that once they are on board, such team members will work harder than your average employee because their success is tied to the company’s success.
2. Employ interns.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” — Benjamin Disraeli
If you have great work to offer and time to mentor and guide another, hiring interns is an alternative to paid team members. A fair number of interns are willing to work for free as long as your work will help to boost their resume and advance their future career.
Instead of investing money in these interns, you will be investing your time and energy into making the work interesting and helping them to grow. To start hiring interns, contact your local college and university career offices to post an internship announcement.
3. Hire contractors, part-time employees or students.
If you can’t afford a full-time team members’ salary, you can use contractors, part-time employees or students instead.
Contractors are great because you can decide how long the working relationship will last, and you can structure this according to your budget, your needs and your satisfaction with their work results. You also don’t have to worry about paid leave and other common benefits that permanent employees receive such as medical insurance. Popular places to hire contractors include Upwork, Guru, Fiverr and Freelancer.
I’ve hired more than 50 people through freelancing websites. After learning some valuable lessons about managing people remotely, I’ve built a powerful team of developers, assistants, writers and designers.
You can also look for talented part-time employees who are willing to sacrifice full-time pay in return for the freedom to work part-time. These could be stay-at-home parents who have to care for children or retired professionals who have had enough of the 9 to 5 grind and want to pursue other hobbies and interests.
Alternatively, students are also another option to consider as they are usually eager to work hard for a lesser amount of pay. Some online websites that you can use to find students include StudentFreelance, Barefoot Student and Wayup.
4. Defer compensation.
Deferring compensation can be tricky as you have to be careful with the wording in your offer letter and ensure that you are not breaching any laws.
This is where you negotiate with a potential team member to defer compensation until certain milestones or results are achieved. For example, you may negotiate pay to be deferred until sales quotas are reached or the company exceeds a certain amount of revenue or profit. Once those milestones or results are achieved, then you can pay them in the form of a cash bonus. You may also include back pay.
5. Exchange services.
At networking events, look for someone with skills that you need who has similar work values to you. If they also appreciate what you have to offer, you can form an informal or formal agreement to exchange services without fees. For example, you may find an accountant who is willing to share his or her financial expertise, in exchange for your help in managing their social media channels. You could negotiate an agreed amount of exchange or pricing or keep it informal.
Great places to network include Meetup groups, Eventbrite events, expos, seminars, workshops and conferences. There are also online exchange websites where you can trade services with someone else across the world. For example, Simbi allows you to trade your skills in exchange for another’s. Alternatively, you can collect “simbi” currency that can be used as payment for other services that you need from others.
6. Recruit close friends and family.
Sometimes, when you have no choice, you will have to seek out help from family and close friends. These people normally want to help you succeed and may be willing to donate their time and energy to help you get your business off the ground.
It is no secret that some of the most successful businesses — Walmart, the Trump organization and Mars — started off with family team members.
7. Inspire others to join you.
If you don’t have money, then at the very least, you must have a compelling vision that will inspire and motivate others to join your cause and support you. Your aim is to build a loyal following who believe in your vision.
The greater the change you can make in the world and the more inspiring you are as a leader, the more successful you will be in attracting others to work for you. A lack of resources is no excuse for a lack of success. What you really need is resourcefulness and the ability to inspire others to join you in your mission.