One Startup. No Secrets. Start at the beginning.
I’d love to tell you sales are erupting so fast that we had no choice but to hire another team member immediately. While that would be a good reason to hire, that’s not entirely the case here. The truth isn’t that far off, but it’s a bit less glamorous.
MixedMade is growing. And we’re growing at a faster rate than we had anticipated. Fortunately Casey boldly quit his job four months ago and we’ve been relying heavily on his sweat to survive – he’s regularly lugged hundreds of pounds of honey up and down 3 flights of stairs and produced 1200 pound batches by his lonesome – all with a smile. Without his relentless efforts over the past several months, we just couldn’t have made it.
**Update on life without a paycheck from Casey coming soon**
I do all I can part-time, but as I’m now working remotely from London, my hands are tied when it comes to lugging buckets or stirring the kettle. With Casey and I contributing as much as possible, we’re still not getting to some of our biggest opportunities:
- We’ve done a less than stellar job contacting potential retail partners
- We’ve had OK-at-best communication with our customers
- Our social media could be much more engaging
- We’re barely scratching the surface with our data and analytics
Ted and I have known each other for 12 years since we lived together in Babson College's “Outdoor Tower”. I’ve always known Ted as intelligent, hard-working, really fun to be around (he knows how to quickly escalate things), and he has a knack for digging into the details until he fully grasps a given subject.
A few months ago Ted shared with me that he finally figured out the right way to direct all his entrepreneurial energy.
“I don’t necessarily want to start something, but I think I’d be the perfect #2 in a business I’m excited about”
A few weeks later, as I wondered aloud to my wife, “Who would be a great compliment to Casey and me?” the idea of enlisting Ted’s help became embarrassingly obvious. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, Ted is also a serious foodie and fan of Bees Knees Spicy Honey.
After a few agreeable conversations with Casey, the courting began. The thing that made me even more confident in Ted’s fit was the list of questions he immediately had:
- How keen is Casey to bring on a new team member?
- What do you see as a reasonable breakdown of equity?
- What do revenues and margins look like today?
- What are you forecasting for growth?
Sales / Partnership Strategy
- What have you don’t to generate sales thus far?
- Who has been managing all the proactive outreach to partners?
- What is your vision for the company / brand?
- Where do you see MixedMade going from a product perspective?
In our subsequent conversations it was clear Ted was interested most in the vision Casey and I have for MixedMade, and he wasn't interested in a pet project - he wanted to be a part of something that could turn some heads and push some boundaries in the food industry.
My answers were apparently good enough, because within days Casey and Ted were firing emails back and forth, Ted understood our data and analytics to a better degree than we had, and he injected a newfound energy into the initiatives needing most attention. (Bonus: Ted's wife is really smart and has worked as a retail planner and buyer so we should be able to sneak some free consulting from her).
- Cash = $0.00
- Stability = NONE
- Shared Vision = YES
- Equity = Yes
As Casey and I had to sort out 9 months ago, equity is rarely an easy conversation or an obvious decision. There is no perfect formula. However, I firmly believe that if you have the right people, and they feel valued and appreciated with a sense of ownership, you can’t go wrong.
Ted coming on board will make Casey and my equity more valuable. So we’ve brought Ted in as an equal partner in the company. That is to say, I have given Ted half of my 2/3 stake in MixedMade. His ownership will vest over 4 years, so we’re not risking too much in case Ted decides he’d rather get a job with Huy Fong or Heinz in a few months.
While 1/3 may seem like a lot for someone who has yet to contribute months of sweat and value, it helps that Ted and I have a history and I know what to expect of him. Further, it seems like startup founders these days are all too eager to give majority ownership of their company to investors, rather than their team who will do all the hard work.
Welcome aboard Ted! You’ve got a lot of work to do!
Haven't tried our Bees Knees Spicy Honey Yet? Go ahead, order a bottle or two. We're so confident you'll love it that we'll give your money back if you're unhappy for any reason.