Becoming Unstoppable: Canva Co-Founder Melanie Perkins Shares Her Most Important Entrepreneurial Lessons

Over the last decade, the design space has gone significant changes. Adobe used to dominate and monopolize the booming software landscape with just a few competitors in the market. Only a few major players were the answer to the design problems of all the industry. One player that has dominated the industry is the startup valued at about $15 billion, Canva. The company has a user-friendly interface, and they have given non-designers the option to create their designs for their company. With the ease of usage for people, the growth of Canva became unstoppable, and their company’s success is staggering.

At 34 years old, Melanie Perkins has become the youngest female running a tech company valued at about $1 billion. She was also named the 2nd wealthiest woman in Australia with Canva she co-founded, currently valued at $40 billion. Canva was launched in 2013, and Melanie Perkins has led the Sydney-based company’s growth and now has 55 million monthly users ranging from just individual creators to SMBs to even Fortune 500 companies. With the success of Canva, Melanie Perkins has shared some of the things she did to make Canva as successful as it is now.

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Learn To Give Back

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The team of Perkins has always been all about giving, and after the recent valuation of Canva at $40 million, the company has decided to donate a 30% stake of the company to a charity that deals with eliminating poverty. The overall donation equates to a hefty $12 billion donation. Melanie Perkins believes that it is a company’s social responsibility to give back to others, even in little ways. Of course, not everyone can give millions or billions of dollars but help in the littlest way possible. Providing services as pro bono can be a start and go from there. One more idea is donating a portion of a sale/income to a specific cause.

Failure Is Not An Option

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During the time that Perkins tried to raise money for the company Canva, she was rejected by about 100 people who were not giving her the time of day. Attempting to raise the needed capital is not easy, considering that she was based in Australia and looking for US investors. A lot of foreign investors see Australia as the land down under, a place that is so far away and a little risky to invest in. Perkins even called people off Yellow Pages to see if they could support and make any publicity for the company. If Perkins only accepted her faith and just saw it as a failure, she would not have a billion-dollar business now. She kept hustling for more than three years until she finally met investor Bill Tai. Although Tai did not invest in Canva, he helped Perkins and her partner Cliff Obrecht to connect with influential people to help their business grow. Perkins does not give up and believes that she is one step closer to a yes for every’ no’ she receives. She thinks that if she calls 20 people, one person will likely say yes to her. This is still her motivation, even 20 years later.

Take Note On Your Customers Feedback

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As business owners, more often than not, you think that you have the brightest ideas. However, listening to your customers’ feedback is essential and will make or break any business ideas you have. It is better to know what they think about your thoughts, considering that these solutions help your business support your customers better. When Perkins started Canva, she was initially frustrated because working with many design programs was way too complicated. She came up with Canva because she was having a hard time using different tools for her designing needs. Of course, there is always the option to hire a graphic designer, which is quite expensive, and there were no other options in the market. Before creating Canva, Perkins had founded Fusion Book, which is a create your yearbook app. The customers of Fusion Book then told them what worked and what didn’t, and eventually, they made some modifications to create Canva. When Canva came to be, it was like a Godsend solution to the consumers since designing is now as easy as 1-2-3.

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Sources: TechCrunch, CNBC, Entrepreneur

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