We just released the beta version of our web product to our sign ups. Our product design is moderate since at this stage, we are mostly looking into validating our product, but we understand that it needs major UX/UI work soon. Like most start-ups, our team consists of one developer and a CEO with limited financial resources; which leads us the question: when do you think an early stage start-up with a web/mobile product should seriously consider bringing a full-time designer on board (equity/cash) and how should they get design work done before that stage?
I would recommend to do it yourself at this stage. I've found Amir Khella's UX course on Udemy to be very helpful: https://www.udemy.com/ux-for-founders/
It's a structured, methodical approach that most people are capable of applying. You won't beat the pro's of course, but it will be good enough to start with.
In terms of UI, try to keep it simple and minimal for now. Consider starting from a good template. Less is more.
Your main focus at this stage should be on validating the core idea of your app and iterating that to achieve product-market fit. That will be way more important that professional grade UI/UX right now.