Hi hans , that’s a good question, within most bootstrapped startups cash is not plentiful, but at the same time you can’t afford to compromise on quality - we all want the best.
I’ve had the good fortune of working with a lot of startups built on UNA, a few of which are now busy successful businesses that are making proper revenue. I‘ve also been involved directly in a few small biz startups - including UNA - so I know fairly well the journey from zero to hero.
As the number 1 requirement I’d say that it takes a strong vision & strong leadership - just because you don’t have the ability to pay professional level salaries, don’t compromise on professionalism. Be organised, have a business plan, have a budget, set clear goals & meet them.
Good people are inspired by money, great people are inspired by vision. If you have a strong vision & a solid product, you might be amazed the quality of candidate that you can attract.
Whilst asking people to work for less wages is I think acceptable, personally I never ask anyone to work for free, I think in a startup, no one should be getting rich, but everyone should get paid something.
Offering employee equity arrangements is fairly standard practice amongst startups, amd provides a sound incentive for your employees to stay around for the long haul.