Growth Hackers with one mission only: business growth and success – Jonathan Aufray
Name: Jonathan Aufray
Job Title: Founder & CEO
Company Name: Growth Hackers
Company Url: https://www.growth-hackers.net
Company’s mission: helping entrepreneurs and businesses from all around the world grow with branding, digital marketing, growth hacking, lead generation, conversion rate optimization and revenue growth. We use unique strategies we developed internally with one mission only: business growth and success. We measure the success of our agency by assessing the success we bring to our clients.
Jonathan Aufray’s Story
In the past 17 years, I lived and worked in 7 countries. I am originally from France and I now live in Taiwan. I also lived in the US, the UK, Ireland, Spain and Australia. I started to work when I was 16yo with summer jobs and my experience is very diverse going from waiter, bartender, fruit picker, tractor and forklift driver, warehouse cleaner in my early career and after that I moved to international digital marketing, sales and growth hacking.
I have always been attracted by small businesses as I like to be challenged and see the value of my contribution. I am not saying that working for big brands like Apple or Google isn’t challenging but let’s be honest, if I work for one of those companies and I take 6 months off, they will be fine. When you work for a startup or an SMB, if you take a 1-week leave, the company will suffer already.
I was introduced to growth hacking in 2015. Because my background was in digital marketing for small businesses; once I started to work with startups, I kind of pivoted to growth hacking. Indeed, startups need fast execution and iteration, even more than SMBs. I always found that marketing was limited because there was always a disconnect between product development and marketing.
There are a lot of definitions of growth hacking out there. Almost everyone has their own. So, I do have my own growth hacking definition as well. Some people believe growth hacking is a buzzword for marketing. Some people think growth hacking are just cheap tactics to get millions of users. I don’t think so, but I respect their opinions.
That’s what I love about growth hacking: it’s a mix between psychology, product development, data, designing, engineering and marketing. This is the link that was missing between those departments (Product Dev and Marketing). Growth hacking isn’t just here to grow acquisition channels but also to grow/improve the product in order to make it more user centric.
I’ve worked with businesses and entrepreneurs from more than 90 countries. Now, I am the co-founder and CEO at Growth Hackers. At Growth Hackers, we help startups, SMBs, entrepreneurs, marketers and organizations grow with digital marketing, lead generation, conversion rate optimization and growth hacking.
Not a big fond of describing myself, so I am going to say what people usually say about me: I am a people’s person, honest and easy going.
In my free time, I like to travel, hang out with my friends, play sports and meeting new people.
- One of the biggest challenges I faced is being tricked to badly intentioned people. Because I am a people’s person, I always see the good in people and sometimes this makes me naïve. In the business world, I have learned from experience that some people have bad intentions. They are just in business to scam people. I even met people with psychopathic traits, which is surprisingly not uncommon.
- I find that working with startups is great. Why? Because it’s very challenging, you learn a lot and you’re definitely never bored. Also, you can see the contribution of your work vs working with a large corporation. For instance, if tomorrow I work for Google or Apple: if I do an amazing job or a poor job, the impact will be small, and I won’t be able to evaluate my contribution. With startups, you can see results right away.
- Since Covid, the business world is going more and more remote. A lot of companies hire freelancers, digital nomads and agencies, which has a positive impact for our agency. However, the problem is that new marketing agencies are created on a daily basis by people who have little to no marketing experience. So, I keep hearing nightmare stories of entrepreneurs who worked with those low-quality agencies, which give us a bad name in the industry.
How did you deal with challenges you faced?
- About mental health, my answer might be different from most people or entrepreneurs I guess. A lot of people, when they face challenges, turn to podcasts, blogs, events, etc. When I face challenges, I turn to people. Being with people is what makes you happy and gain back my confidence. So, when I face challenges, I will hang out with people.
- About competing with low-quality agencies, the goal is to provide the best service possible to our existing clientele so we can gather genuine testimonials and references from them.
Advice to fellow entrepreneurs and founders
- Be confident in yourself but don’t think you know everything or that you’re better than anyone else. You need to be humble and learn from other people. Don’t talk, listen and ask questions.
- Overnight success takes years. Don’t think you will become successful overnight. It takes a lot of time, effort, energy, failures, mistakes and struggles before succeeding.
- Constant learning is essential for business success. I’m learning every day either by reading books or blog posts or by testing new tools, new strategies or processes. The best way to learn is by trying new things, making mistakes and learning from these mistakes.
- Sell the benefits not the features. When you promote a product or service, focus on your target audience and the advantages they will get from it.
- When you focus on problems, problems grow. When you focus on your business, your business grows. When you focus on you, you grow.
- Lead by example. Show to people that you apply what you say.
- Launch Fast – Test – Gather Feedback (And most importantly act on it) – Optimize your product accordingly – Promote – Scale – Repeat.
- Have a long-term vision but set and celebrate small milestones.
- Gather feedback and data but most importantly act on it.
- Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about the future. Learn from the past, learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them.
- Don’t keep your ideas for yourself. A lot of entrepreneurs are scared to share their ideas because they believe it’s going to be stolen. An idea is worth nothing, execution is everything. Focus on execution.
- Treat people (Partners, coworkers, employees, managers, customers…) the way you would like them to treat you. Be respectful and understanding.
- Praise publicly, criticize privately. If you’re happy about someone’s performance, give them praises in front of others. But, if you aren’t pleased with someone, have a conversation with them.
- Alone, you can go fast. Together, you can go far. Your team and the people you surround yourself with are keys to success.
- Focus on solutions, not problems. Be a problem solver not a problem hunter.
- Don’t try to please everyone. As Steve Jobs was saying “If you want to make everyone happy, just sell ice creams.” Even if I don’t really like ice creams myself.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Try to improve and get better. So, compare your today’s self to yesterday’s.
- Master the one thing you’re good at and delegate the rest.
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