Up until this point, I was doing most of the work and building all of the websites. I was the only one that knew Webflow. Finsweet was making just enough money to support me. That’s it. No money for advertising, no money for growth, no money for saving. All I had was my time. In the second year, I made around the same as a full time minimum wage worker. At the start of the third year, I decided it was time to start making money. I needed to start growing Finsweet into a business. Add people to the team, take on more projects. This is a natural next step for any business that wants to grow. Every successful business goes through this - the founder has so much work that it can’t be done by one single person. It’s time to delegate. It’s time to improve quality.
Imagine someone who can do it all? I sell, they project manage, they design, they develop. This sounds so ideal to me. If I was able to have someone working on a project I didn’t have time for, we could grow the portfolio even bigger and make more money. We would have 2x portfolio output and the business could start making some real money. This was a great concept and I was motivated to explore it.Adding to the team is not just about freeing up my time or making more money. Adding to the team is also about improving our quality. When I hire somebody, there is 1 requirement. They are better than me at the job they are doing. Not better than me at everything about their job. But better than me in at least 1 core thing. If I’m better than you at everything, then you’re holding us back. We always need to get better, not worse. If I can do every part of your job better than you, then you can’t be on the team. Hiring people who are better than me allows me to step away further and further from processes I didn’t need to do.
The first official hire was a project manager, designer, and developer.
He was going to take projects from step 0 to launch. How awesome.
I only needed to watch from afar and give guidance when needed. He was going to do everything. Guess who that first hire was… the famous Duncan Hamra, Co-Founder of Memberstack. I saw a few sites Duncan built on the Webflow clonable page. I was impressed and I reached out. He was very early in his Webflow career and didn’t have client work experience… but I saw great potential in Duncan. I saw his work, saw his ethic and was sold. I knew Duncan was going to be a superstar from day one talking to him. After his first project, I was double sure. He nailed it. And he nailed the next one… and the next one… and the next one. Duncan was churning out sites for Finsweet. The new portfolio items were awesome, the sites were unique and fun, and he did all of the projects by himself. I only helped when client guidance was needed or there was an advanced Webflow question. When Duncan first started with Finsweet he was good with Webflow. After 4 or so sites, he was a pro at Webflow. I needed a cloning machine for Duncan.
Duncan left Finsweet peacefully to live the SaaS startup life. Good for him. I’ll always support him.
Try 0% / 100% a few times. Focus on making the client exceptionally happy and you will likely never have a problem. Get the project that is going to significantly improve your portfolio or client list. Do anything to get that project.
Build nicer sites, improve your portfolio, get better leads. Loop. Learn and get experience. You can always improve. You need experience with clients. You need experience with tests and experimental builds. Keep designing, keep developing.
Hire or partner with people who are better than you at one core skill. Get someone who's better a designer than you, get someone who's a better developer than you.
It’s your most important advertisement for new business.
If you want to continue growing, you need to grow your team. Start with a partnership. Start working with other people to better understand what type of people you need to work with.
If any of these things don’t make you happy and motivated, don’t do them.