(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)
Personally, when I am cash-poor and time rich, my preference is to dig in and learn the basics of whatever it is that I normally would hire somebody else to do.
That's especially true with user research and user testing. Those are skills that any founder should have. As a founder, your number one job is to understand your customers, their problems, and exactly what it is about your product that works and doesn't work for them.
So I'd suggest you buy Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" and Kuniavsky and Goodman's, "Observing the User Experience". Read the first, and use the second as a resource. Then start doing that deep research yourself.
At some point you may reach the limits of your design skills, especially for thinks like interface or visual design. At that point, you can look at bringing someone in to help. But early-adopter audiences are frequently insensitive to design, so you should be able to get a fair way toward product/market fit before that happens.