The Net Positive series expands to tell the story of a growth leader, Gonçalo Henriques, his growth journey, both ups and downs.
Net Positive Growth – Dan Siepen
The Net Positive Growth Story of Dan Siepen explores how determination and networking can build accelerated growth in the startup world.
Accelerated StartUp Growth
Dan Siepen has found great success by taking initiative, building community and by fostering an environment of accelerated startup growth. Dan is an experienced Growth Marketer working for an exciting health startup here in Sydney. He offers startup growth advice and consults for a few startup & eCommerce companies. He also enjoys building growth marketing resources such as these growth checklists.
A real moment of growth within his career was when he was part of the founding team to build Australia’s #1 coding school. Dan was yet to finish his final year of university but was armed with purpose. Dan was focused on a particular career and skill set, growth marketing for startups. What made it so much better was the future he could create with the startup. Dan knew that he would be able to add plenty of value to this company, while also boosting his personal skills.
It turned out to be an experience worth its weight in gold. To be able to be on the ground level at this startup was a real opportunity for him. This led to building a brand, growing the business from just a few people to a big team with locations in 3 of Australia’s capital cities. Being involved with accelerated startup growth was an experience that provided him with so much value.
One of the key roles as heading up growth for the business was to accelerate community engagement and relationships with startups and businesses. These relationships were crucial for the business as it helped build up credibility and reputation in the market.
Trying to build the brand reputation as fast as possible through accelerated methods was one of the key growth initiatives Dan could see helping the business grow fast as a whole.
In other words, working more on the advocacy side of the business was ultimately helping out the top of funnel acquisition of new students and corporate clients. It really accelerated the brand and increased conversion rates.
Whilst this was one of Dan’s key responsibilities, it helped Dan’s personal network immensely as it built up quickly. He says the people he had met during that journey were really interesting people and led to more introductions to fascinating people and opportunities.
On top of that, Dan also ran growth hacking events which eventually turned into Australia’s top growth hackers community. Dan’s circle was growing and he was in love with the work he was doing. He was a happy camper.
Within the organisations where Dan was working, he was quite younger compared to his colleagues. He had achieved a lot by his mid-20s when it came to career progression.
There are some valuable lessons that took from this period of his life, that he still holds himself accountable to this day:
- The importance of a great network:
‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Dan agrees with the idea, to an extent. His biggest learning in regards to a network was just because you may “know” many people, not everyone is a valuable connection. The people who he was close with, and created meaningful connections garnered his best opportunities in startups. This is still true, to this day for Dan.
- The value of consistency and a positive attitude.
‘Every day is game day’. No matter how busy one is, or how stressed you are, you need to be switched on every day. This is especially true in the world of startups. The situation can change, but your positivity must be a constant. Positive energy and camaraderie are powerful. If a team takes a hit to morale, or the positive energy is lost, the impact can be enormous.
- Being open-minded and knowing how to deliver opinions.
In his career and throughout the course of his life, Dan has met plenty of people and plenty of personalities. Dan recounted his gratitude for the opportunity to be able to meet such different people, from all walks of life.
A key learning for Dan was seeing the impact, the toxicity, and the unfairness that close-mindedness creates. This can be really damaging when it comes to people delivering opinions during meetings and discussions.
When it comes to startups and growth, you actually can’t afford to be close-minded. Change is a part of the process, it happens all the time, and can be incredibly quick.
Opinions are important. It’s great to have your own perspective and outlook for projects and ideas. However, the control of one’s reactions and delivery can demonstrate someone’s character with more clarity. I think we’ve all come across people who don’t have complete control over these two elements.
Taking it forward:
The learnings that Dan previously stated have all impacted him, his career and his life. They all shape the person who Dan is becoming, a better version of himself with each passing day. Not just accelerated startup growth, but personal growth too.
What was the lowest moment of the experience?
Dan didn’t have one particular low moment. One moment that was on the lower end of the spectrum (and which many of us will face) was making some bad hires. If you chat to any founder or anyone who’s part of an early-stage startup, they can easily understand the consequences of a bad hire(s).
The process of letting some people go was tough. He knew it was the right decision for the organisation, but it didn’t make it any easier. You’re still delivering another person some pretty terrible news.
Dan has a few challenges coming 🙂
Currently working for an exciting startup as their Head of Marketing & Growth called Wellshare, Dan shared that there is a big vision for the business, whilst currently being in the early stages.
He carefully selects the businesses he works with and sees that there are a lot of innovative businesses that will be born within health care.