There are 3 kinds of startups: The ones that measure no expenses to get the job done and raise tens of millions of dollars. The ones that are so cheap that they design their own logo despite that none of the founders are a designer, and the ones that know when to spend and when to save.
Ben Elowitz, the CEO of Wetpaint, just wrote about when to hire external help for your startup on the Seattle 2.0 blog.
It hit me in the middle of my face.
For the first two years, Sampa was too frugal. I saved everywhere I could and that was not the right answer. One example was that I didn't want to pay more than $100 per template for our users, and that was not the right move. We also took too long to engage a Marketing firm and tried to answer a lot of hard marketing questions (brand, logo, name, positioning, copy, etc.) ourselves.
Now we are much better at understanding when to hire contractors/consultants to help us. It's not about how much it cost that you should think, but the cost in relation to the acceleration that it can/will bring to your business.