What Is Growth Hacking and How Can You Use It in Your Life?

The practice of growth hacking has been rapidly gaining traction within startup companies as a responsible way to implement growth strategies. Because the most common metric to measure a startup’s success is growth, more and more startups are using this strategy to expand as quickly as possible while wasting as little resources as possible. However, growth hacking has a wide variety of different uses outside of business strategies.

Greenhouse interviewed Antoine Tyan, a veteran marketer and brand manager with over a decade of experience in Procter & Gamble, to discover how he implemented growth hacking in his personal life after successfully using it at work.

You can watch the full video here, and read our summary below.

So, what exactly is growth hacking?

To put it simply, growth hacking is the practice of finding more analytical, creative, and cheaper ways to grow something; a product’s consumer base, for example. In practice, it can be an alternative to older strategies that companies have traditionally used.

“For example, a company would traditionally launch a product after testing it over and over again, trying to make the perfect plan and minimizing risk. But that’s impossible because there’s no such thing as the perfect plan,” Antoine explained, “Meanwhile, a growth hacker goes ahead with the product. Growth hackers launch as quickly as possible because that’s the only way you’re going to get real answers.”

“A company would launch a massive product thinking this is the best thing since sliced bread. But that’s not how it works.”

According to Antoine, another drawback of over-evaluating a product before it launches – besides wasting time and resources – is that it doesn’t give people much time to adapt. People should be able to adapt to a product gradually instead of being forced to make massive habit changes.

A growth hacker would start small with a minimum viable product or MVP. Then, they would experiment, grow, and optimize it based on how people are using the product.

How can companies start growth hacking?

One way to growth hack a company is to start with individual projects or teams instead of making big, sweeping changes.

For example, Antoine started with his own team in one recent project. “Normally, I’d start with hiring an agency and formulating the perfect plan. But in this project, we didn’t have that luxury,” Antoine said.

“Through growth hacking, I realized that there was a lot less risk in starting small and trying to make things grow bigger instead of trying to launch a perfect product from the start.”

He realized that his team had to move agile. So they tried new things like hiring external team members and experimenting with new actions every week. He had to grow his team from scratch and build entirely new processes.

Before long, his team had started getting questions from the rest of the company about the way they do things. The culture started spreading.

Another example of growth hacking is Paypal's referral program. If a user gets a friend to also use the platform, both people get US$100 in credit.
Another example of growth hacking is Paypal’s referral program. If a user gets a friend to also use the platform, both people get US$100 in credit. Image Source: Fortune.

Antoine started to growth hack partly to adapt to rapid changes in the marketing industry since he started. “I started working when the digital age was just starting out. Soon after, content exploded. After that, social media exploded and influencer strategy was everything. There has never been a time where so much has changed in so little time.”

With the birth of big data and nearly infinite amounts of insights always accessible to us, it’s important for companies to adapt to new developments. This means that there is no linear path to growth anymore, and companies need to start constantly looking into new strategies.

How can we use growth hacking in our personal lives?

Antoine started planning to growth hack his personal life around late 2018. He’d realized that while he was succeeding at work, he was failing many of his personal goals like New Year’s Resolutions. He recommends literature like Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis – popularly seen as the pioneer of growth hacking – as well as Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday.

“I started thinking that I can apply some methods I use in my professional life and try to operationalize my personal growth.”

Antoine defined growth hacking his personal life as a way to improve selected areas of his life in an operational way. He resolved to start using growth hacking methods – starting small and optimizing as he goes – in his personal habits as well. This can include health, finances, personal relationships, or anything that people feel they can improve on.

According to Antoine, he’s made significant progress since starting this method in January 2018. He’s started writing a book about his method, he succeeded in having sixty consecutive weeks of exercise, and he’s revised the way he makes investments.

What is the TEST method?

The TEST method is Antoine’s way to implement growth hacking, both in a personal and professional context. It’s an acronym that stands for four main steps; Theme, Experiment, Systemize, and Track.

Theme

Start with deciding a central theme that you want to improve on. Keep in mind that a theme isn’t the same as a goal. A goal is a measurable metric, while a theme is a general direction that you can use to guide yourself.

After picking a theme, start listing down the specific actions that fall into that theme. For example, a theme can be ‘living healthier’ while the actions can be things like adopting a vegan diet, drinking more water, or getting more exercise.

Experiment

Once you’ve got a list, pick one action and experiment with it for about two weeks. Keeping the living healthy example, it can be something simple like having one glass of water every morning.

After two weeks, you can evaluate whether to keep doing that method, change something about it, or stop doing it. Whatever you choose, add one more action to your list and start experimenting with that.

Do the same every two weeks; pick a new habit and evaluate the habits you’ve done so far.

Systemize

After you’ve gotten into your habits, figure out more efficient ways to do it. For example, if it usually takes you 45 minutes to do something, try to cut it down to 20.

Try to commit to doing things at the same time routinely, so it would be easier to evaluate. Antoine recommends doing things daily in the mornings – it’s easier to focus at that time rather than after work.

Track

Don’t forget to keep track of everything you’re doing. Tracking is essential because of two things:

  • Motivation. It’s easier to feel like you’ve achieved something when you have evidence of the things you’ve done.
  • FeedbackYou need to see the patterns in your habits – for example, how often you skip doing things – so that you can figure out ways to improve.

There are a lot of habit tracking apps available online that you can use such as HabitBull and Loop.

So, what’s the conclusion?

Growth hacking is about removing unnecessary processes and figuring out the most efficient way to grow. One way for companies to do it is through outsourcing or partnering with service providers to handle administrative processes.

Greenhouse Connect can empower you with trusted service providers in fast-growth markets so that you can focus on your own team and products.

Check out more about Greenhouse Connect.

5/5 (1 Review)