Don’t Hire Entrepreneurs!

This blog post is an unfinished thought on why you should not hire entrepreneurs to work at your startup. I’m sure it will come back to haunt me if I’m ever looking for a job at a startup. It was on my queue of posts to write, which I tend to wait for a while until I have some good points and answers, but it got “rushed” because of a friend made a comment about looking for a “developer-entrepreneur” he’s hiring.

I want to make sure for the rest of this post you understand my meaning of the word “entrepreneur” means someone who wants is creating a business of their own.

First of all, the word “entrepreneur” and “hire” contradict each other. By definition, you can’t hire an entrepreneur. You can hire an entrepreneur who’s not being an entrepreneur at the current moment, but by hiring them, they stop being entrepreneurs and become employees. Even if they own a good chunk of the company and have a critical contribution to the success of it. 

But that’s just a small part of the issue. The two bigger issues are: focus and focus.

The first “focus” refers to the fact that entrepreneurs — you know the one I’m talking about — are idea people. They can’t control themselves and they just have ideas for new businesses and projects. Most likely, they already have a side project they started before they joined your startup. Startup success requires focus. You don’t want to hire someone who is not spending every working minute thinking about your startup. 

The second “focus” refers to scope of work. Entrepreneurs tend to be more generalists, which in general is a good thing for startups, but can they be a specialist when you need them to? Will your jack-of-all-trades-entrepreneur-developer be comfortable becoming an exclusive front-end developer?

I’ve worked with some great developer-entrepreneurs, but they come with a baggage that’s not ideal for a startup. At your startup, you are much better off finding the best foot-soldier who works well in a startup environment, than hiring an entrepreneur.

Feel free to disagree with me on the comments below. As I said, I’m still thinking about this topic and I don’t have the answers yet.

Marcelo Calbucci

Marcelo Calbucci

I'm a technologist, founder, geek, author, and a runner.