How to be effective as an early-stage founder

Ada Ryland, Founder trainer and coach for the early-stage

Over the past several years, I have worked directly with many (100+) early-stage entrepreneurs and founders.

One thing that is clear is that many early-stage founders are experiencing overwhelm and decision fatigue. There is an unspoken question in the background — something like … "Why isn’t this working? What am I missing? Why is this taking so long? What am I thinking?! How do I do this?”

The truth is that founders are dealing with extreme uncertainty and are trying to predict the future – which, let’s remember, is impossible. The feeling of things not being “right” is very rational.

It is important to note:  When you are doing something new it is going to “take something” to get it working.  Several critical components have to be crafted, grounded in reality, and come together at the same time to have a “complete protein” of a business model.

Let’s be clear  -- most of the time it doesn’t work. This statement is true even for experienced founders. Those who make it through the early stage successfully are the ones who found a way to ask better questions and identify the most critical risks.

I can help you with this.

I can help you be a better navigator of the extreme uncertainty of the early-stage. I have developed a framework that organizes the ideas and tools and plans -- and integrates these to give you a way to see what is missing from your business model. This also helps you prioritize your most effective next steps.  You will be asking better questions of yourself as a startup CEO.  You will be more clear and calm -- and this directly affects your results.


“I wish I worked with Ada months ago. She’s literally saved me hours and weeks by working with her.”

— wayne lopez, vp product, vertify inc.

Why work with me?

My focus is on you, the founder -- not the idea. The point is for you to become a better founder and to learn skills to become an effective CEO. The “idea” you are working on might be “it” -- or it might not -- but YOU are the critical component that will make it so. What matters is that you have the competency to move the process forward.

The closer you get to reality, the more effective you can be.
— Ada Ryland, Founder Coach

I explain things plainly and practically -- as simply as possible, but no simpler. Early-stage founders do not need “beginner” conversations. They need a sophisticated approach explained in an actionable way.

I have what you need. My framework integrates proven principles and tools. While it is a unique approach, it fits with the curriculum in accelerator programs and business schools. It has been tested and “rings true” for experts who work with startups.

If you’d like more evidence, go to my LinkedIn profile to see what my clients (27+) have said about working with me.

I hope that I can play a part in your journey as you develop yourself into a successful founder. I would be happy to talk with you if you would like more information. Please go to the Conact Ada page and write me a note.


Ryan Heneise, of the Long Cut. "In this episode, Ada Ryland walks us through four models that can be used to validate a business idea before expensive investment in the MVP stage."  -- Ryan Heneise, of the Long Cut.

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It's not just me: every person I know who's worked with Ada wishes they met her sooner because of the clarity working with her brings. 

If you're an early stage founder, or interested in increased results for your company's product development, or a funder looking for better bets, RUN -- don't walk -- to Ada.

— laurie felker jones, FOUNDER & CEO, Juicebox hero


Ada’s approach integrates principles of customer development, advanced lean startup methodologies, academic theories of innovation, science, and other seemingly unrelated topics into a coherent and effective framework.

Ada’s background includes many roles — mechanical engineer, IBM consultant, technology evaluation manager, innovation program manager, copy-writer, and strategy consultant.  Ada’s focus is on clarity and “agency” for the founder – the person -- not on the business idea or startup. She brings a practical approach that help entrepreneurs lower that feeling of “spinning wheels” and “overwhelm” so that they can think clearly and make better decisions.


Ada's Advantage

My approach comes from the work of many other very smart people, who have based their work on other smart people who came before them (such is the way of progress.) 

I explain things plainly and practically -- and this approach has been effective for a lot of people. I have a way of seeing connections and integrating the different threads into a coherent and useful framework that can focus the efforts and clarify the priorities, regardless of the diversities of situations. 

This framework will help you ask better questions and become a better navigator of the extreme uncertainty of the early-stage. Being better at knowing where you are and what to do next eliminates a lot of unnecessary work, calms your mental state, and clears the way to focus on the true challenge of your particular business.

View Ada's experience

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“In our first meeting, Ada quickly understood my business and had an amazing ability to ask insightful questions that helped me to get to the root of my challenge. Her approach of enabling self-discovery versus simply telling me the issue was appreciated. I'd highly recommend Ada.”

— bhavnesh patel, ceo, volt480


"We did the unlimited package and we were able to really unleash the power of Ada. After our month long program we were able to complete paid pilots, develop a strategy on which customer we were going to target, and learn how to communicate effectively with team."

— kehlin swain, ceo, xplosion sports tech.

View dozens more client recommendations on LinkedIn