Among the toughest hurdles in getting a new business started is the problem of what’s fair for sharing ownership, how much to pay people, and how much ownership to give to different people. These are classic case-by-case problems, with no easy formulas to apply. Fairness is the goal, but that’s hard to figure except by working through the specifics.
If you’re what I call the Planning to Fly startup, meaning the high-end venture-capital-literate startup, you can really use the compensation archive at Ask the VC. It’s a very useful resource, lots of case-by-case stories, some judgment calls, some general guidelines, and specifics.
If you’re more the Building startup, this resource is less applicable. The options, general guidelines, and even the rules normally applied are different for the middle-of-the-road startups that might be getting financing from partners, SBA loans, Angel investors, or other sources. Even for you, the Ask the VC database will at least give you an idea of how far and wide these deals can go.