30 Startup Growth Lessons I Learned Before 30

Scaling, failing and everything in-between

Daphne Tideman


I entered the fast-moving world of growth at twenty-one. I was young, naive and desperate to look older. I spent more time thinking about what professional clothing to wear to a meeting than planning the agenda.

I thought that looking older would ensure I was taken more seriously as a Growth Consultant. I fixated on what I wore, I changed how I spoke, and I constantly dreaded the all-too-frequent question of, “How old are you actually?”

At twenty-six, I was hired as a Head of Growth for a successful startup. Instead of being enough to satisfy my fear, the feeling only intensified. I was hit with the biggest case of impostor syndrome.

Who am I to lead growth at a company already making six figures? What do I even know or have to offer them? Why the hell did they hire me?

There was a little relief in working for a remote company, as I only had to stress about dressing my top half appropriately. I spent a lot of time anxiously fidgeting in my sweatpants.

I just turned thirty, and I’ve stopped having that feeling. Not only because of the cliche of wishing you’d look younger but because I don’t feel too young for the industry anymore. In fact, I’ve started to fear the opposite.

Am I too old not to have figured out the perfect formula to grow a company?

Do I really have to be on Tiktok?

In these moments, I’m forgetting the most important two lessons I’ve learned over my near-decade working in growth:

1. There is no perfect growth formula

There isn’t even a perfect growth process or team. It truly varies per company. There are, however, underlying principles and a general approach that will help you to figure things out quicker. But we won’t find that magic X ingredient any time soon.

2. You will always be learning

If you’re not learning something, you’re likely dead. Thirty is far from old, I know that. It’s more that the saying, “Your twenties are for figuring things out”, that worries me.



Daphne Tideman

Startup Coach | Love to help eco-friendly startups and growth hackers grow | Author of Growing Happy Clients