does an assistant make me look bureaucratic?

Editor’s Notice: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the previous COO of eBay, will provide candid, sensible, and generally shocking recommendation to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a query, write to Webb at [email protected].

Q. At what level ought to a startup CEO rent an govt assistant? Our enterprise has not but raised a Collection A spherical, but I’m struggling to carve out time to concentrate on strategic work simply purely based mostly on hours within the day and power ranges. I’d love some recommendation on what to do. 

-Scrappy startup CEO


Expensive Scrappy Startup CEO,

Making certain that you’ve the bandwidth and area to concentrate on what actually issues is tremendous essential. There’s not one set reply on tips on how to do it. There are alternatives, which can embrace hiring, or delegating, or restructuring.

I feel I perceive why it’s possible you’ll be feeling some hesitancy about hiring an govt assistant. Startups are presupposed to be scrappy, and as a founder it’s possible you’ll really feel strain to do all the things by yourself and never rent help workers till you attain a sure degree of success. An inclination in the direction of scrappiness is an efficient intuition, however on the identical time when you’ve got extra work than the bandwidth to do it and when you’ve got the money out there to rent help, it might be good to take action. With out this help you’ll proceed to be restricted, which in flip may restrict your organization’s development.  

Let’s look on the limitations it’s possible you’ll be dealing with:

Bandwidth: Are you constrained by time and unable to work on what’s most essential? In case you are sapped of time and power is there another person who can tackle some obligations for you? Can another person do it higher than you?

Assets: How a lot money do you could have? How a lot do you need to burn earlier than you attain the subsequent spherical of funding? Hiring somebody goes to price. Let’s say this place might be compensated with a major wage and probably some inventory. It’s important to ask your self, is that this the place you need to spend the cash? At this level you need to preserve your restricted sources in thoughts. In case you rent this particular person, you probably received’t be capable to rent another person. What do you want? Would an engineer who may construct out your product or a salesman who is aware of tips on how to get your first 50 clients get you additional? 

Maybe some founders see it as bureaucratic or “unstartup”-like. But it surely’s your job to unravel for work you possibly can’t get to. In case you can afford to rent somebody on this function and it’ll release cycles for you, it might make sense. Additionally take into account, this particular person may do jobs past scheduling, and so they may very well be devoted to assist different folks as nicely. It’s widespread for everybody at a startup to put on many hats and this function isn’t any completely different. 


Being a startup CEO is an all-consuming job. You might be presupposed to really feel like your hair is on fireplace a lot of the day. However in case you are not capable of get to what’s most essential and what you might be uniquely certified to do, it’s time to seek out different methods to get it achieved. You must discover a solution to get extra out of the hours within the day, extra money within the financial institution, and sooner development to make it to the subsequent spherical.