I've have a couple successful conversations with two founders of a b2b hw/sw tech solution startup and they let me know that they'd like to "progress things further". I'm guessing at this point that would mean discussing what kind of terms of employment I would agree to.
I don't know how to start even thinking about what's reasonable in terms of equity/salary cut. I am aware that in principle equity is worthless unless the company exits, but I really have no gauge of what kind of early-stage employee equities and salaries vs market rate are reasonable. I feel somewhat awkward discussing the money because as for now the company is pre-investment, running off a small grant and the two founders' savings and side hustles. That makes my salary essentially come directly from the founders' pocket and feels kinda... personal?
And then it obviously becomes more complicated than that because of non-money terms. Should I negotiate working hours? Work-life balance is important to me, not only for mental health but also for productivity. After meeting the founders and chatting about work-life balance briefly they seemed like they broadly reject the 80h-week Silicon Valley startup grind mentality which is good. I'm aware that working in a startup is likely to have crunch-times when extra effort is necessary but would discussing nominal work week length be unreasonable? Originally before applying to a startup I was interested in negotiating a 4-day week with a bigger company - is it unreasonable to even bring it up with the startup? Is it likely to paint me as lazy and unwilling to commit?
I do realise there is a lot of broad questions here and I wouldn't be surprised if there already existed resources with the information I seek, in which case I'd much appreciate if you could point me in the right direction!
About me: embedded software dev with 1.5y professional experience at a top technical consultancy. Graduate of some really solid technical universities - probably the main reason I've been considered for this position given the amount of responsibility necessary to develop the product at such an early stage.