Entrepreneur Interview with Jonathan Aufray – Growth Hacker
In my Startup Founder series I feature interviews with entrepreneurs with kickass profiles from all over the world. I hope they will inspire you as much as they inspire me! Today, we meet Jonathan Aufray – Entrepreneur.
Hey Jonathan, Nice to meet you! Could you introduce yourself?
Hi Matt, nice to meet you and thanks for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your founder series.
My name is Jonathan Aufray, I am a 33-year old French entrepreneur. In the past 15 years, I lived in 7 countries (France, US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Australia and Taiwan). I am now living in Taiwan. I have a BA in Marketing passed in Ireland and a Master Degree in International Business passed in Lyon, France.
I love traveling, discovering new culture, meeting new people, playing football (Soccer) and hanging out with friends.
How did you start your entrepreneurship career? What motivated you?
I have always liked to work with small businesses and startups as I can really see my contribution when I work with them. I have worked with hundreds of companies from 70+ countries.
4 years ago I was working at a startup doing growth marketing. During my time as the startup, we found our first offices, got accepted in an incubator, raised our seed round, got accepted in an accelerator and increased the number of users by 500%.
During my time at that startup, I was in contact with many other startup founders. I found that my skills were in high demand in the startup world. Why? Because many startup founders have a tech background and, therefore, they don’t have much knowledge or experience in marketing, growth hacking or sales.
So, during my time at that startup, I was also working as a marketing consultant for startups. Then, I decided to quit the startup to start Growth Hackers. At Growth Hackers, we help startups, entrepreneurs as well as established businesses with digital marketing and growth hacking. We don’t only do consulting. We also execute strategies for them. We are growth-driven and data-driven. We help companies drive targeted and qualified traffic to their websites and apps, help them generate leads, improve conversions and increase their revenue.
And have you encountered any obstacles in your entrepreneurship experience?
Yes, of course I encountered obstacles. I don’t think any entrepreneur didn’t.
I am going to tell you one (Not all of them as I think it would take too much time):
When I started Growth Hackers, at the beginning, the goal was to help Taiwanese startups go global. However, I quickly found that many Taiwanese startups and entrepreneurs are very humble. Of course, being humble is a great quality but that can also become a burden when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Why? Because many local entrepreneurs don’t think their product is good enough for the international market and they don’t want to promote their product outside of Taiwan (Or Asia).
The value that I provide is definitely based on a global scale as I speak French, English and Spanish. If they want to grow in Taiwan, China or other asian countries, other people, consultants or marketers could provide more value than me.
Because of that obstacle, we pivoted to become a more international company where we help businesses from all over the world grow. We still have a few clients from Taiwan but most our clients come from Western countries such as the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
Do you encourage anyone to go with entrepreneurship?
I do encourage people to become entrepreneurs. However, I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everyone. There’s a lot risks with entrepreneurship as well as a lot of stress and work. The media pictures entrepreneurship as a dream because they mostly talk about great successes. But, what people don’t see is the hard work, stress, failure, fear, rejection, patience and so on.
Any advice for people who want to create their own business?
Focus, be resilient and don’t give up. I believe these are the most important to create a successful business. I see a lot of entrepreneurs that give up way too quickly.
But, there are many other advice to give to founders and entrepreneurs. This is why we came up with these 27 reasons why startups fail and how yours can succeed.
What are your favorite tools in a daily basis?
I use a lot of tools on a daily basis such as:
- Buffer: I really like this tool for social media management, especially for their great and simple UI.
- Trello: this is great to check what you need to do and how your team is progressing.
- Slack: communicating with team members with Slack is just great.
- Zapier: automating many tasks become more and more important and Zapier makes it easy.
- Google Analytics: how awesome it is to have such a complete analytics tool for free.
There are many other tools I use and we use at Growth Hackers. You can find some of our favorite growth hacking and marketing tools here.
Let’s talk more now with one of my favorite subject 🙂
How do you grow your community around your brand/startup?
We use 3 main channels to grow our community around our brand:
- Content marketing: we publish 1 long-form article a week where we give tips to marketers, startups, brands and entrepreneurs.
- We use social media a lot where we curate a lot of content. We try to not be too self-promotional but rather give news and tips. We mostly use Twitter and LinkedIn. We have a presence on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest but we aren’t that active.
- Email marketing: emails are great to stay in touch with your subscribers and community. Same as content and social media, we try to give tips on our newsletter, not being too self-promotional.
What do you think about social media nowadays?
Social media is crucial for pretty much any startup, business owner or entrepreneur. You can create a community there easily without spending much money on it (Except Facebook where it becomes ‘pay to play’. But, you could still create a Facebook group around your brand)
To know you even better, could you tell me what is your best achievement so far?
I think my best achievement is to have become a ‘real’ international kind of guy whereas I couldn’t speak a word of English when I first went to England for a 1-year study gap year.
What values do you stand for?
What’s next for you?
We’re currently revamping our website, it should be ready within a couple of months.
We want to start giving more importance to our company culture. For us, a great example of awesome company culture is Buffer. We try to implement a lot of their values and processes into Growth Hackers.
The next for me is to keep making people happy.
Well thanks Jonathan for this great time 🙂
Discover more about what Jonathan does with Growth Hackers: