Five business lessons from Nalden - the entrepreneur behind WeTransfer

At the age of 13 Nalden was already building his own websites. By 16 he had started a blog, making it profitable within just six months. He would go on to found WeTransfer, the extraordinarily user-friendly file sharing service that is home to around one billion transfers a year and valued at over 100 million dollars.

What you can learn in this blog post?

  • How to advertise in a way that’s genuinely effective
  • How to make investors believe in you
  • How to build the right team

As you can see from his introduction, Nalden (the blogger name he still chooses to go by) is an entrepreneur at heart. So what can any budding business leaders out there learn from his story? Here we breakdown his VOOM Podcast interview into five digestable chunks, to listen to the rest, simply press play.

1. "People make the difference."

Nalden believes you need to surround yourself with people who help you keep going and make better choices. If they don’t do either of those things, why are you around them? He also says that hiring a great person can improve business performance dramatically in just a few months, whereas hiring a not-so-great person can do the exact opposite. So you need to be sure of what kind of person your business needs.

Listen to more VOOM Podcasts 

2. "Keep things simple."

Nalden explains this sounds "stupid", as it’s so simple. And I guess it is. But Leonardo Da Vinci also said that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". I think that what we can take from these two people is that keeping things simple isn’t easy. Yet Nalden has made simplicity look easy with WeTransfer because he prioritised it. For example, you don’t even need an account to use WeTransfer. How many service-based websites can you say that about? No wonder it’s so popular. Even your parents could cope with using it.

3. "Advertising isn't about shouting for attention - it’s about showing beauty."

A quick look at the WeTransfer website will confirm this belief of Nalden’s. Yes, there are ads. But how could you mind such beautiful ads? I go on the site and actually wonder what ad I’ll be shown. Oh, and they also have a higher click through rate (CTR) than Facebook. Not bad.

4) "From a business point of view, we were very interesting to investors because…"

"… we bootstrapped and became profitable in four years."

 

There are lots of stories out there about companies getting millions of dollars from venture capitalists before they’ve even made a single penny. Yes, they’re true stories, but they’re somewhat misleading - lots of entrepreneurs now think they can go to VCs with an "idea" and raise millions of pounds.

That is unlikely. What’s much more likely is that you’ll bootstrap, start turning a profit and become attractive to investors because you’ve already proved you have a successful business.

5. "In digital, nothing is finished - you’ll always keep iterating."

At some point, you have to "ship". There has to be a cut-off point. It might feel a bit like a point of no return, which can be scary, but it’s not. Because, as Nalden said, you can always keep iterating - and you should always keep iterating. It’s never going to be perfect, which means it can always be better. Release your product, listen to feedback, iterate, release again, and repeat.

What else you can hear on the podcast:

  • miPic founder Carl Thomas’ advice to anyone wanting to enter the VOOM competition (he’s a former winner!)
  • Carl’s thoughts on failures and mistakes
  • What Nalden and Carl like to spend their money on

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. 

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