Don't undersell yourself.

Underselling yourself is a more common issue than it's friend overselling.

We'll return to the bigger topic of underselling at some point. And look at all the ways it can hurt. As its pervasive and a real bastard.

But for this week, let's see what underselling yourself has to do with messing up when it comes to hiring.

Hiring for a startup is hard. Made harder if you fall into the trap of underselling your company.

As a few people with not much money in the bank, it’s tempting to underplay your hand when it comes time to grab top talent. This is especially true for first time founders.

Reviewing a founders InMail approaches to senior sales people.

They went a bit like this:

Hi XX,

I’m XX of YY and I’m looking to find a sales person for my startup XX.

I’m interested in speaking with you about the role based on (relevant profile fact).

We’ve got some investment already and are a team of 3 and I’d like to see if you can help us grow to our next level.



We re-wrote it to this:


I’m XX, CEO of YY a startup that is pioneering the move to robotics.

Right now I’m looking to assemble a world class sales team to drive the company forward. And from your profile, I’d be interested in seeing if that’s you!

(Profile relevant fact).

To be clear, the opportunity here is huge. We’re entering a market worth $XXbn growing at XX% per year. Our technology for robotics is leading in this space.

We’re funded by XX, who’s investors include [famous investor name and achievements] and  [famous investor name and achievements].

When suits you to have a 10 minute introductory call so we can figure out whether your skills and goals might be a fit between you and XX?

It's key to remember - none of the above is false. It's true. Every. Single. Thing.

The difference here is we're coming from:

  1. A position of power - letting our own achievements shine rather than hiding them away
  2. A position of the customer - in this case, high flying salespeople who want to join a rocket-ship

Sales people don’t want to spend their days trying to flog dead horses. They want to be jockeys on thoroughbreds.

Different roles have different dreams.

A lot of tech people don’t always want to be billionaires. Or at least it's a pleasant side-effect for them. They probably want to solve really hard technical challenges and make a difference.

Each role has an area they’re passionate about. Find out what shines to those profiles and use it.

Your need to underplay your hand is down to your perception that where you are isn’t enough. And something I struggle with on the regular.

But remember this - if you run a startup, you’re already braver than all of the people that’ll end up working for you. And if you're joining a startup, well, you're a brave one too.

Don’t undersell yourself.

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