As a co-owner of @maidenmedia, I (like the other owners), get paid less then any of our other 12 employees. Considering that we previously came from double or triple the average salary in this industry, you can see why (over time) this leads to the R word (resentment).
Conceptually; it makes sense. As owners, our payday comes in the form of bonuses and when the company turns a profit. This way we run the company conservatively (no massages in the break-room) and investors have comfort and confidence in our structured incentive to build the company and turn it into a profit generating behemoth (some may call this success).
At some point, when your organization becomes more structured and representative (in terms of teams, departments, processes etc.), it'll be important to think about the value of what you contribute in your role and how much that's worth in a dollar amount. Even if you don't pay yourself that amount (due to cashflow, equity, and other common startup considerations), it's important because that is the true cost of running and leading the business. At some point, your going to want to:
- Start paying yourself that amount
- Hire someone to do your day-to-day and pay them that amount
- Configure your finances to properly account for the true cost of running the business and the untampered profit (or loss) that comes with it
Don't wait too long to asses your value and align your finances to it. Otherwise, as an example, you may be forced to do number 2 prematurely due to a bad circumstance and not be fully prepared.
If your much earlier in your startup, it's important to consider Cash vs. Equity and what the right balance is for yourself, and incoming partners/employees. I think this article does a great job in starting the conversation: