That’s a great question Eduardo. The co-founder piece I think is harder. So much of it comes down to chemistry, personal preference, and timing. I’ve had founders want me to be their co-founder, but I didn’t think there was a good fit between our personalities. Other times I didn’t really LOVE the idea.
If I find that I’m on the fence, I’ll start by doing some light advising. And then in about 2–3 months, I’ll have a firmer idea if there is a fit.
It’s almost the same for being an early stage startup employee, but I’d say the major difference is that you also need to think about how you can adapt as the team and company changes. The founder won’t always be your boss. The company may pivot. And despite success/failure, you need to have your own reasons and goals for joining it. For me, it’s been mostly, what can I learn from the experience, and how will I grow in the amount of time that I’m there. That could be 6 months or 6 years.
On the more practical side, there are startup conferences, meetups, hackathons, accelerators, and sites like CoFounderLabs and Startups.co.
Have you already tried those channels?