Starting a business is difficult, so many people pick a co-founder to share the load.

Trying to pick a co-founder is no easy task, though. Unlike with other employees, you won’t be your co-founder’s boss, and the repercussions of them quitting will be much greater. Picking a co-founder also isn’t like networking or making friends – the two of you will be working closely together and have many difficulties to work through.

Here are a few things to think about as you pick a co-founder.

Someone Trustworthy

Trust and honesty are imperative for anyone in your business, but especially you and your co-founder.

You need to pick a co-founder that will be completely honest and upfront with you, and you need to be comfortable being equally honest with them. Being honest with each other will lead to an open, trusting work relationship that can last for years.

Similar Drive

You and your co-founder need to have similar drive and work ethic. Either you both prioritize work-life balance, or you’re both willing to rearrange your personal lives and work late nights and weekends.

Neither option is better than the other, but if one of you works more than the other it will breed resentment. Resentment between co-founders can break a startup.

Different Skillsets

No one can do everything their business needs by themselves. Co-founders should have skillsets that fill in the gaps of each other’s skillsets.

This helps with the division of labor, too. Maybe one of you builds and fine-tunes the product, while the other focuses on marketing or accounting.

Good Temperament

One person’s bad attitude can ruin everyone’s mood. Try to pick a co-founder who knows how to leave their personal issues at home and won’t take out their frustrations on you or your employees.

People will still have bad days, but it’s important that both you and your co-founder won’t fly off the handle when you’re in a bad mood.

Similar Vision

You also need to pick a co-founder who is on the same page about your goals and vision for the business. When you start from a place of understanding, there will be fewer issues caused by conflicting goals.

Different Personalities

While you and your co-founder should definitely see eye-to-eye about many things, it’s still good for you to have different personalities. Different personalities complement and balance each other.

One of you may be a planner, while the other is a doer. Together you can plan and execute a good business strategy. Maybe one of you is more outgoing and social than the other. The outgoing one can take the lead on networking and external affairs, while the other focuses inside your business.

Someone You Work Well With

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s important to pick a co-founder that you get along with and work well with. You cannot build a good working relationship if you don’t like each other.

Just remember that you’re picking a co-founder, not a friend.


Unfortunately, there is no formula for picking the perfect co-founder. The right fit will be determined by you and the needs of your business.

Don’t rush into it. Take the time to catalog what your business needs and to be honest about your own shortcomings. Then start networking and getting to know people you think might be a good fit. After a lot of work and a lot of research, you will be ready to pick a co-founder.