Building a Team | Month One
One month ago I had my first full-time employee start at Renga. Our team is growing and I am both incredibly excited and a little nervous. The stakes seem higher, but it’s right where I know that I need to be.
Ten years ago when I launched my first business I quickly realized that what I loved to do was to bring people together around a single project. The instinct to facilitate collaboration and my love for building businesses seemed like a perfect match, however, it has posed some challenges. One of the larger lessons I have learned is that you should never expect someone else to care about your business as much as you do. Earlier in life I would have very quickly gotten into 50/50 arrangements on a project because sharing it would be more fun. However, I have seen too many businesses started by friends with an equal partnership go entirely sideways and ruin both the business and the relationship.
I knew that with Renga I needed to resist the urge to invite others in too early because I have a clear long term vision. I needed to build something real to invite others into. To hire them as an integral part of the team but without asking them to make the same sacrifices I’ve had to for the vision. This is not only important for the health of our business but for those that I would be hiring, they would have an out. With Renga there is a clear understanding that the business is mine, I am responsible to my team to live up to my promises and to create opportunities for them to grow into. If someone feels that they are no longer interested in what we’re building or an opportunity of a life time comes to them, they can leave, no hard feelings. When startups hand someone 25% on day one, you’re asking that person to make a huge bet. If it isn’t what they thought they signed up for 6 months in, they will be unlikely to leave because they feel obligated to honour the percentage they’ve been given. I’m interested in creating with people who are passionate about what they’re up to and very rarely does obligation foster passion.
At the end of last year I was able to invite a brilliant and creative friend into the business with a salary that they can survive off of and a little piece of the company that grows over time. I have also been able to invite two others to be a part of the team in a capacity that they have determined. We are trying to build a team that is interested in solving problems with each other for a long time. Of course this has challenges and I wish that I could have the two part time people all the time, but that’s not my decision. I can enjoy what I have and help create in roads for that potential. Demanding that now would leave me without them. Life happens and people’s needs and motivations change, our work needs to be flexible to work with the sporadic nature of life. I have gotten to make some creative employment offers to individuals that I would love to be a part of the culture and it makes me so happy.
The most surprising thing this month has been how different Renga feels. There are a lot of challenges that have already popped up and I can’t imagine the ones that lay ahead. There are so many things I want to say about building, but if there is one thing I have learned it is that this is what I’m made to do. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I feel so incredibly blessed to be afforded this opportunity.