Nik Shevchenko Of WLNC: 5 Things You Need to be a Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times

Charlie Katz
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readMar 20, 2022


Never downplay the problems.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Nik Shevchenko.

Nik is a 21 y.o. founder of a $30m+ valued startup. Since he was a kid, Nik dreamt of changing the world. At 15, he created his first company — Fund Platform. It took a while to release the 1st MVP before Nik figured out the power of no-code development.

Later, Nik built 15+ no-code apps himself and founded WeLoveNoCode to help other founders make great, fast, and affordable products. Today he has a fully-remote diverse team with members in 15+ countries worldwide.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was born in a village where people earned $300 a month. I created my first company when I was 15; it was called Fund Platform. Unfortunately, my personal story started with a lot of fails. Let me tell you how I got started with Fund Platform and what I have learned from all the challenges on my way.

I found a client, and he paid me an advance on a product that didn’t exist yet. The team of developers I hired promised to do everything I needed in a month for $30,000. Unfortunately, they did nothing: neither in a month nor six months. I couldn’t do it either because I didn’t know how to code. I hired other developers, but the result was the same. They failed to do anything for the next four months! Overall, it took me almost three years to create an MVP for my product.

Later, I sold that company because I didn’t want to be part of it anymore. I ended up at 500 Startups with another idea. I build MVP for my startup with $300,000 instead of $30,000 with my mentor. He also showed me different ways of developing a product by myself. That’s how I created my first app: with no code and in two weeks. Then I created another 20 or so apps for my clients and friends. And then WeLoveNoCode was born.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Before, I thought that the more hours I worked, the better the job would be. I would sleep in the office and work for 18 hours a day. Sometimes, I would skip showers for 2–3 days and wash myself up in some restaurant’s bathroom. I was trying to save money on renting an apartment to spend on a company. Anyway, the office was my home. But then, I realized that it was actually a mistake. The most important thing is to allocate time for my consciousness and work-life balance. When I started my current company, I realized that my well-being is one of the most important keys to success. Work-life balance is essential too. For example, it’s vital to turn the computer off on Saturday and spend time doing things for self-development.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am grateful to Che Guevara, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Unfortunately, when I was starting out, I had no mentors. I was trying to learn everything on my own. To constantly motivate me and remind myself why I am doing this, I printed out the posters of Steve Jobs and Che Guevara with two quotes.

Take a break; you’ll never be the first.” Che Guevara

Today, you do the best work of your entire life.” Steve Jobs

Every morning I would wake up and look at those words. They motivated me to do something, to improve my own life and the lives of other people. I am also grateful to Mark Zuckerberg. He is the person who did something incredible on his own, without help from his rich family. He knows how to make decisions, manage the company, and overcome challenges.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

I truly believe that you need to love what you do. The original purpose of my company was to solve my own problem. When I worked with the developers, I couldn’t verify what they were doing, and I failed the whole process. In creating WeLoveNoCode, I focused on things that I could do myself. Today, the purpose of my company is to help people develop their products fast. This is our goal.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

Four months ago, we discovered that we only had a few months of runway left. I made about 130 calls to different investors within two months to explain the situation. Our team also had a hard time. We practically worked around the clock to fix the problem and achieve the needed result. We continued demonstrating our growth with minimal costs. We mercilessly cut all of our expenses, preceded all unnecessary services, and reduced our burn rate by 40%. That enabled us to increase the runway by 2 months. I completely ceased my activities within the company and didn’t talk to anyone except for investors.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

Yes, very often. Every time it happens, I try to talk with my team members. This helps me to understand why I am doing this at all. When I see how team members work at night, moving things forward, I simply cannot give up. My team is the first source of my inspiration.

The second source of inspiration is the original goal. I remember when developers lied to me for several years, simply funneling money off me. But I am here to help myself and other founders develop startups without code.

There are also some inspiring books I would recommend. One of them is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. I recommend it to everyone, especially the passage about “struggle.” Every time I re-read it, I’m back on track.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

I have read many different books recommended by the “top billionaires.” But The Hard Thing About Hard Things is my favorite. It depicts situations much worse than your own, such as a company’s bankruptcy. Horowitz overcame it and brought his company to IPO, even though people said he was crazy.

I am also motivated by the biography of Elon Musk. What an incredible person! There was a story when he was very sick for over six months. But he continued to work. The second time was when his child died, but again he continued working. It is simply unimaginable. Elon has a strong spirit.

I would also recommend reading The Dip: it defines when to give up and when it’s time to keep going. Keep going if you can become #1. If you realize that you missed your chance, give up.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

The most important thing that a leader must do in challenging times is smile. Everyone will be having a hard time, but people must see that you are slightly mad and don’t plan to give up. If people feel your fear, they won’t perform.

The second most important thing is to keep going. There will be many situations in every leader’s life when you want to give up. And that’s what distinguishes boys from men.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

Constantly encourage your team members. Talk about something bad right away because bad news travels fast; good news travels slow. Everything must be put in straight. It is also important to share possible solutions for each issue. If people see that you have no options or ways out of the bad situation, they will, most likely, leave.

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

The best way is to say it as it is. If you have a problem raising money, that’s what you should say: “Guys, we can’t raise the money.” Don’t delay it. Always speak clearly. Never downplay the problems.

As for the clients, it’s best to not show them anything bad at all. Your clients are not your team. You have to delay their departure as much as possible and try to find a solution for any problem they have.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

Make short-term plans. We make plans for a week and the month ahead of when things are bad.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

Yes, but I wouldn’t apply this principle to a company, just its CEO. The failure always stays with the top management. I would say that the principle is: “no one gives a shit.” For example, “No one gives a shit that you’re failing.” Simply do what you have to do. Many people struggle with much harder problems such as death or sickness, so you just get brave and do your best No one gives a shit about your concerns: not the clients, not the customers, not the employees, not the investors, not even your mom and dad — no one. If there is a problem, you are the one who has to solve it.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. People try to downplay the problems when things go bad.

2. People are afraid of taking decisive action and think that things will improve independently. For example, when you are running out of money. As soon as you realize that something bad is happening, you need to take action. You have to compile a plan and put it into action right away.

3. Severance. When the company goes through some rough waters, some people will have to be dismissed. If you plan a layoff, make it massive and do it right away. After a part of the team is fired, the remaining people’s spirit goes down, and you will have to work to bring it back up. It’s easier to do after a single big layoff than after a series of dismissals.

4. With remaining people, you have to immediately communicate why they haven’t been fired. Explain that you have no plans to fire them, that together you’ll pull the company up again. This way, they will get their motivation back, and they won’t worry about being next in line for dismissal.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The Struggle is where greatness comes from.”

Excerpt From The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!



Charlie Katz
Authority Magazine

Executive Creative Director at Bitbean Software Development