As a VC and even now, I have a pet peeve about hired advisers (or board members) at very early stage businesses. In general, start-ups should not be paying for advice up until a certain point. Sure, there comes a time when you have to pay external professionals. Early on you're most likely going to need legal advice and here I urge you to work with the best. Do pay for their services as you probably won't get them for free. Same goes for bookkeepers or real estate agents and so forth.
More importantly though, surround yourself with mentors. I all too often see founders get caught up in thinking they can pay their way to success. There are plenty of people who will gladly take your money (or equity) if you offer it. I've seen ever more of this again recently and hence this post. Why would you when the reality is that you don't have to?
If you put in the leg work to find good mentors, they can open up so many channels for you. There are tons of blog posts out there on how to find htem. They'll help you find talent, avoid mistakes they may have made in their own past, find partners, get access to customers and so forth. On the other hand, most paid advisers see you as a time slot. They will only do so much and when their timer rings they move on to the next thing. Even board members whom you pay are actually disincentivized by being paid. By putting a measurement on their time, they become far more aware of it and hence actually tend to do less.
Although I don't have scientific data on it, from my own experience with multiple companies, the paid advisers were always the least value-add. Don't get me wrong. These were often top notch folks. Unfortunately, by paying them they became dead weight or at best just average. It was always the guys who did it for free by being mentors to the founders that brought the most to the table. They tended to be available at all hours, opened their Rolodexes and actually did the grunt work alongside the founders to help the company grow. Consider this the next time you're opening your checkbook and think twice before you do.