Startup Tip: Entrepreneurs Need To Get Their Hands Dirty

I believe that it’s important for entrepreneurs to get their hands dirty by doing certain jobs before hiring people. Getting your hands dirty not only gives you a better perspective on the work that must be done, but also helps you contribute when your team’s capacity is stretched – as it often is at a startup. Moreover, most investors, and especially VCs, prefer to work with entrepreneurs who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. I discuss these issues in the following short video.


  1. Ross,
    How did you get your hands dirty and what did you do until you got stretched too far?

    Thanks for continually posting good videos.

  2. Le – I believe that it’s important for entrepreneurs to do ANY and EVERY job on their own first, unless they don’t have the know how or technical expertise. For example, we needed to hire developers because we didn’t have that expertise. Same with marketing. But before we hired others, Mike (my co-founder) and I handled customer service for six months and community management for four months. At times, I’ve contributed to our dev team (mostly front end work) and system administration, to get a better feel for our needs and to better understand when we might have to hire additional people. Currently, I’ve been spending some time with our conversions and SEO/SEM efforts.

    For more about doing the job yourself first, I suggest you take a look at this video from Fall 2009: Do The Job Yourself First.

  3. I fully agree and would like to add 2 things.
    1. getting your hands dirty keeps the energy levels up. There are some many tasks to be done at a startup, and so much to learn… taking responsibility and tackling new tasks can keep you motivated and not fizzle out.

    2. Don’t get locked into “hands on”. Learn when to pass the torch to someone that can do it better so you, the entrepreneur, has time to work ON the business not IN the business. this is my biggest problem.

    Thanks again, Ross, great vids

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