Software engineers are very much in demand right now. If you're looking to hire someone, you will have to pay through your nose. As the founder of an early-stage startup, you might be cash-strapped. Let's talk about what you can be doing -
- Build an MVP yourself. At this stage, understanding the market is more important than building a product. Try no-code solutions and hack together an MVP yourself. It will be well worth your time even if you have to learn this. Or you can bribe a dev friend and get her/him to spend a weekend piecing together something that you can take to the market. Get market validation before you hire someone.
- Raise funds. With market validation and some conviction, you should be able to get some money needed to build something. You might want to bootstrap the whole thing yourself, but don’t make this harder than it is.
- Talk to everyone about your startup. In-person events, house parties, online events. The next time someone asks you what you do, take this chance to talk about the super-cool problem you’re trying to solve. If the person seems interested, ask for their help. Get them to work together, connect you to their dev friends, or do anything else they can do. You might find a co-founder or a founding employee who is ready to take a salary cut because they believe in you. If you can showcase your excitement about the problem, you'd find it much easier to find talent, partners, clients, and investors.
- Build an online presence for yourself. Kind of the same point as the last one, but specific to online media. Most ideas are not worth a lot, so don't try to be secretive about what you're trying to build. Instead, talk about it with anyone who'd listen. Write blog articles, create threads on Twitter, and get into discussions on online boards. You're bound to find someone who resonates with you.
- Traditional recruitment platforms are all about volume. You’d be competing against VERY lucrative opportunities so it’s will be tough. You either find a way to stand out or talk to so many people that you end up finding someone.