(A Warm Introduction) I’d like to thank you very much for taking the time to read this. As a solo-founder I worked on a side project which turned into an mvp and gained some minor traction then realized a UX designer is vital after revenue. (Information about me) I'm on the search for a talented UX designer and as a solo-founder I will be doing all the recruiting. I built a product, shipped it out to a very small subset of users, and received some feedback but not even close to Product-M-Fit. The product is validated and profit has been made, but the must-have experience is absent. (Can I have your opinion?) All I ask if you could give me one piece of advice, for the following question. What would you do if you were a Solo-Founder with a limited network, and no funding as of right now to recruit a top UX designer? First Hypothesis: To recruit a UX designer before funding, and offer equity percentage in the company. Seal the deal, Hire the UX designer after funding. Try and convince the UX designer to collaborate with me to conduct deep user research (technically for no compensation) while I look for funding. Second Hypothesis: Recruit and hire (out of my Pocket) UX designer before funding, conduct heavy research, and user testing. (I can’t really afford to spend a lot though) (Only Previous Founders,Angels,or UX Designers Please answer)
I think you've really answered your question pretty well! The common options are:
1) Deferred compensation. Find someone that will agree to take a note in lieu of payment, with an enticing arrangement to pay them for their work when you get revenue.
2) Partial cash, partial equity. Equity doesn't have to mean a share in the company today. It could take the form of options (with vesting over time), or vesting that is dependent on certain milestones (perhaps revenue) being met.
3) All equity - Again with the vesting possibilities in #2 above.
Unless you have no other choice, you might want to avoid anything related to equity due to complexity, legal expense, and other reasons.
A good option might be to see if you can find a good but inexperienced UX designer who needs to build a portfolio, and would see this as an opportunity to get a case study and build credibility, in exchange for a reduced compensation rate.
Lastly, consider hiring a UX designer on a site like Odesk. Many offer services at low hourly rates, and some of them are probably really good.