Stop trying to learn how to growth hack and start selling

Nowadays everyone wants to learn how to growth hack. Recently I went to a meetup and a few people that I met there asked me what I did before starting InspireBeats. I told them I was involved in growth and immediately their reaction was, “Wow! Growth Hacking! Teach me how to growth hack my startup.”

Growth hacking isn’t overnight success. All those stories that you hear about like how Dropbox growth hacked their way to a million users aren’t something that happens overnight and it sure isn’t something that everyone can do even if they push their best effort into it.

We come articles every day with headlines like, “How I got a million page views by doing this.” or “10 ways to create emails that convert users.” The truth is that what works for them might not work for your startup. The information provided in the article could be a gold mine, but there might be thousands of other people doing the same thing after reading that article.

Take those opt-in popup boxes for example. The people that were using opt-in boxes for their blogs in the very beginning probably received a good amount of email opt-ins. Optinmonster was a beast. It was the easiest way to capture emails at the right time. Now a few years later, we have Sumome, HelloBar, and a million other small plugins. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even bother to read what’s on the box anymore. I literally just click the X.

Growth hacking is about finding a unique way to grow, exploring new channels, and doing things that don’t scale. If you’re starting off, don’t try to learn growth hack, instead go do it. Go sell something. Selling is the bread and butter to every type of business. Doesn’t matter if you’re selling a pair of chopsticks or an enterprise deal, it’s the same concept. If you can sell, you can grow your business. If you can sell, you won’t ever starve. Money is oxygen.

The successful growth hacking stories are one in a million, but selling isn’t. If you’re starting off, go build some list and start outbound emails. See if people even want your product before you begin any type of growth hack. Learn along the way and develop both sales skills, marketing knowledge, and you’ll feel a lot more confident about yourself.

Knowing that you’re able to sell anything is a much more powerful skill than knowing how to growth hack something.

It’s also funny how people look down at the power of sales. I recently joined an entrepreneur group and my buddy wanted to introduce me as a growth hacker because people like growth hacking more than anything lead generation or sales related. He was so true. People were a lot more excited to talk about growth hacking over sales. They were more interested on how to growth hack something over how to get your first 100 customers by sending outbound emails.

I’m not saying marketing isn’t important. I breathe marketing and love every little bit about it, but marketing itself can only get you so far. Learning both sides of the table will get you from point A to point B a lot quicker.

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