Bring it on Brits: Nikhil Shah

9 Aug

Continuing with our inspirational interviews, today we have Nikhil Shah. Nikhil set up the online community Mixcloud – a space that allows Djs and musicians an area to upload their music and to share it with their fans and followers. Check out what he has to say about setting up your own business, maybe it can inspire you to start yours…

When did you set up Mixcloud?
It was pretty much about 2 years ago now that we started working on the business.

What was your inspiration to set up Mixcloud?
It was more of a frustration than an inspiration; we were trying to solve a problem. I’ve been a DJ most of my life and used to do student radio, as were most of the other guys who started the business. As Djs we were frustrated by the lack of tools to distribute our music online. At the same time as fans of music, we were frustrated by the lack of good content online. So from the perspective of music creators and consumers we realised that both of these problems could be solved by creating this one platform online.

What sort of music do you play?
I play a lot. Anything ranging from hiphop, funk to house and dubstep.

What characteristics do you think it is important to have to be successful in what you do?
I think a very important characteristic is to want to solve a problem or to change something rather than to make money from it. If I wanted to do it to make money, I could have done it in a much more efficient way. You have to work so hard when you are starting your own business that you need to have something that’s driving you beyond financial gains.

Tenacity is also really important there are a lot of challenges that you face, cash flow, engaging the right people, dealing with the recording industry, royalties etc. Every milestone brings new challenges, so tenactiy is essential.

Resourcefulness is another key one, when we set up we got a grant from the government but didn’t want to get a lot of other funding. We still own 100% of the business, so resourcefulness has been key along the way and making the most of what we had.

What was your childhood dream?
As a kid I dreamt a lot about music. I wanted to be a DJ, but as I grew up and started getting more into that, I quickly realised that this wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted to pursue. I wanted something that stimulated me more and I found more intellectually challenging.

What is it that gets you out of bed every morning?
The desire to build something that is genuinely awesome.

What advice would give to someone that is trying to be successful?
Draw on all the knowledge and expertise around you. As an entrepreneur you have to be a lawyer, a manager, a salesman, a marketeer, a product guy and you can’t do all of them yourself. You have to be very good at taking advice and assimilating the right knowledge from the right people. Whether it is your friends, your family, the government, mentors and just people in the industry. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help. Don’t be stealthy and not talk to people about your ideas. Get as many people involved as possible.

What one word do you think embodies the bring it on spirit?
Realise.

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