Ken Wallace is the mind behind, a community of entrepreneurs who come together to support one another through mastermind groups. Mastermind groups are peer-led groups of 3-6 people who meet on a regular basis to help each other discuss and accomplish their business goals.


Giving things away for free is not always an effective way to grow a base of early adopters. It seems counterintuitive: people should be eager to try something new for free while you’re working on it, right? But it turns out that people don’t value things that are free. And certain products, like mastermind groups, are intrinsically valuable. Ken found that giving away the mastermind group matching service for free was actually raising red flags in prospects’ minds. They wanted to be part of a group where the other members had skin in the game. Lesson: even when you’re just starting out, don’t assume that it’s necessary to give away your product or service in order to secure early adopters; often it will have the opposite effect.

Building things is risky. Whether you code it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you, there is risk involved. If you build it yourself, the risk is that you’re trading an enormous amount of time for the product. If you outsource it, the risk is monetary. But there are ways to manage this risk:

  1. Don’t “build it and they will come”. Instead, build marketing into your process as a core competency.
  2. Build something small and iterate on it.
  3. Don’t fall into the “how hard could it be” trap. Even the simplest idea can go off the rails if you don’t take control of the process.
  4. Don’t manage individual developers unless you are confident that you can be a project manager, and your developer is really good at understanding the vision that you have and delivering fast and quality work.
  5. There are agencies that specialize in building MVPs. They’re generally more expensive than freelance developers but also can be more efficient.

There is no “there” in entrepreneurship. If you’ve ever been sailing, you know: once you get to your destination, it’s over. That was the fun part. The point of sailing is not to get somewhere; it’s to go sailing. Business is like that also: the process is a large part of why we do this at all. That’s not to say we don’t have a goal or a destination in mind, but the analogy teaches us that we can find satisfaction in each stage of building a business, even if we’re not “there” yet.

Links mentioned in this episode:


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2 comments on “Episode 001: Create Value Early in Your Startup | Ken Wallace

  1. This was a fun conversation! 🙂 Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your show, Ryan!

    • I had fun too Ken! Thanks for coming on the show! By the way I pulled part of the conversation out and we’ll be including it in a bonus episode. Stay tuned for that.

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