#BEYOUROWN MEETS LUCY HUTCHINGS HUNT
Lucy Hutchings Hunt is CEO of SYSTEMYZED and host of The Podcast Live The Change. She is a dedicated digital business strategist and total technology evangelist. Helped by an amazing and super-talented team of equally dedicated project managers, business coaches & software developers, based in London, Edinburgh, Perth, York, Manilla, and Montevideo too. Lucy and her team and go the extra mile to help clients build beautiful, authentic, powerful brands and profitable digital businesses. Lucy personally thrives on coaching clients to identify and meet their business goals as well as finding and implementing new digital products & strategies that facilitate sustainable ways to automate and improve their businesses.
Hey Lucy, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Lucy, I’m a digital strategist and technology evangelist. I mix vision, humanity & technology to unlock my clients’ business potential. Committed to helping individuals (& organisations) unlock their inner genius and step into their best selves in life and work. I also love helping to solve complex business ‘positioning’ problems and working out big-picture solutions. Personal Development combined with Brave Branding™, visionary technological solutions, and ‘long-game’ digital marketing is what I specialise in. I don’t want to see a client ‘flash in the pan’. I want to see them grow and thrive whilst embracing technology; viable, organically and enduringly.
Everything I do in life and business is underpinned by my mission to contribute fully to a burgeoning equality-based, heart-led, service-focused norm for entrepreneurs… specifically, one that inherently supports (not stymies) women to realise their potential in business. I believe a big part of making this happen is educating business owners to understand that it’s OK to be vulnerable and to get honest about when they need to ask for help. Its also about encouraging them to focus on achieving personal growth & fulfilment over ticking the boxes of old belief systems and outdated metrics for success. It’s about making sure they know to surround themselves with like-minded, supportive peers as well as to find the right business coach, consultant or mentor for them.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I launched my first online business in 2005. It was an online women’s magazine before online was even really a ’thing’. I was 25 and I literally threw my heart and my soul and every penny I had into it. We spent an enormous amount on technology to get started (this was a long time pre: WordPress and Squarespace!!). When funds started to run low I had to learn to code quickly in order to cut development costs. Regrettably, the business didn’t last past its third year but I learned so much about the online space and about business from it – not least how to hold my own and cut it in the digital world. It took me some years to come to terms with grieving the loss of that first business, anyone who has ‘lost’ their first business will know that pain.
In the interim I got married and had three children and continued to build on my digital expertise by building websites for friends and acquaintance for free!! After my third baby was born in October 2013 I became severely depressed. God knows why as it would be hard to imagine a more delightful little baby girl and I never doubted how blessed I was. Perhaps it was hormones, financial circumstances, feeling useless as my beloved business had ‘ ailed’, difficulty in communicating with my spouse about all that – maybe it was just plain postnatal depression. I don’t know. But it was frightening for my loved ones and for me. I got through it with the help of the NHS mental health services, tons of medication, lots of therapy and most helpful of all (in retrospect) by listening to a series of brutally honest and inspiring audio interviews with women from all over the world who were fighting for their own particular cause. Listening to the stories of the women who had all had their own struggles in one way or another (who doesn’t have struggles of some sort?)
I began to realise the common thread of success between all of the interviewees was that they had turned their personal struggles into a reason to serve others, a reason to live ‘on purpose’ for the greater good. They had used their struggles to find a higher calling. Listening to these interviews is what inspired me to stop moping around feeling sorry for myself because my first business had failed. I realised the inner entrepreneur in me would never be quietened and that I needed to pull up my big girl panties, put those lessons of failure to good use and just crack on with starting again. I drew a line in the sand, registered my company and started putting the word out. Slowly but surely, as I gained my first few clients and delivered great work, my confidence came back. As I started to become financially self-supporting, regain my self-respect and really add value to my client’s businesses, I began to feel passionate about sharing the lessons I have learned. Now, as well as running SYSTEMYZED I have my own Digital Coaching label – Lucy Hutchings Hunt. I also have my own podcast #LiveTheChange. I hope my podcast helps other people the way the ones I listened to helped to inspire me when I needed it most.
What is a day in the life of you like?
My alarm goes at 6am. I would like to say I leap out of bed and do 15 minutes of meditation followed by 30 mins of yoga before drinking herbal tea whilst writing my gratitude journal but that is a rare occurrence. More often I struggle to drag myself away from the cozy cocoon of being cuddled by my dog, husband and three children (who have by this point usually crawled into our Superking bed) so from 6am I usually spend at least 45 minutes negotiating myself out of their embrace. Once I am up though I’m all go. I ALWAYS start the day with an Arbonne immunity booster and blackcurrant fizz stick with hot water.
This fires me up for the day. If I’m not travelling, I’ll often be the one to drop the kids at the school bus for 7:45am and then its straight to the office. The first thing I do is catch up with my PA and other team members on Slack to make sure we are all abreast of the day’s important tasks. I tend to do research, plan campaigns, write client digital strategies, articles and plan social media etc in the morning as I find my mind is clearer earlier in the day so I’m at my most inspired (although more often than not, mid-inspiration, I intermittently find myself taking calls from clients or troubleshooting some issue or another.
As I’ve recently started wearing a Fit Bit, it reminds me (late morning) to get up from my desk and take the dog for a hearty walk. I am based in the foothills of the Cairngorms in Perthshire, Scotland so this is always a treat as the views are spectacular. Afternoons are when I schedule client meetings – usually via the online wonder that is Zoom. If I’m scheduled to meet clients in person I either go to our office in Edinburgh or to The Allbright (my fabulous, women only members’ ‘club’ in London).
At 6pm my husband and I take it turns to pick the children up from school, cook dinner and supervise bath & bedtime. As I have a lot of clients in the USA I find evenings are often when I’m doing meetings with them or hosting group coaching seminars and webinars on a client-friendly timezone. I usually flop into bed with my dog curled at my feet about 10:30pm. I like to fall asleep to old comedies like Harry Enfield and Father Ted on Netflix. Then it all starts again the next day at 6am.
What is the concept behind SYSTEMYZED?
SYSTEMYZED is a Digital Growth & Digital Marketing Consultancy. We focus on strategy first and then follow with expert implementation. The idea is to ‘Reverse Engineer Client Brand Success’ by understanding what the client’s overarching business and brand goals are then by designing and implementing bespoke, cutting edge digital marketing strategies. This could include building or revamping a client’s website presence, adding a membership site to or re-energising an existing one with landing pages and funnels, organising search engine optimisation or conversion rate optimisation, or it could mean focusing on developing a super lean digital marketing strategy that involves only Facebook & inserts ads or just viral social media. It’s all about understanding what the clients visions, dreams, goals, and budget are then designing and implementing a tailor-made strategy based on proven techniques and methods. One that meets their goals in the most fabulous but cost-effective way.
How is SYSTEMYZED funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded etc?
SYSTEMYZED is totally self-funded. My first business had external investors and I hated letting them down when it ‘failed’. So when I start out in business again with SYSTEMYZED I was determined to try and grow organically. I’m not saying I would never look to get external investment again, I am just saying that to date it has not been necessary. We do have some ideas for an imminent project that may be suitable for investment though so watch this space.
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos within SYSTEMYZED?
We have the following core values:
- WE ARE POWERED BY LOVE*
- WE ARE PART OF A GLOBAL VILLAGE
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WHY
- ALWAYS LOOK FOR POTENTIAL
- EVERYONE HAS THEIR UNIQUE GENIUS
- AUTHENTICITY & RESPECT AT ALL TIMES
- CONSISTENCY & PERSISTENCY
- SERVE DON’T SELL
*mean people, lazy people, liars & bullies are not welcome!
Can you tell us how you are supporting your clients to become more digitally beautiful and more technically nimble?
We use listening techniques and expert coaching skills to get to the heart and soul of what a client needs. They often come to us wanting one thing (usually a website!) but because we dig deep into their business psyche we make sure they get what they need in order to reach their true business visions, dreams, and goals, not just what they think they want. The technology comes way after human interaction. That is the easy bit.
Can you highlight 3 key tips for efficiency and profitability?
- Develop your instinct – What I mean is no matter how tempting it is to hang onto every possible client just for the short term money – always listen to your intuition. If you feel a client is not resonating on the same vibe or wavelength as you… if your gut feeling is way off and your sixth sense doubts you should be working with them – step away from the relationship. In fact, run! It is far better and will save time and money for everyone involved in the long run.
- Don’t sign up for 12-month contracts on SaaS software – check there is a rolling month by month contract first.
- Think long and hard before putting people on your payroll. You can grow a fabulous, committed, supportive team by outsourcing. Only put people on your payroll if you are 100% sure growing that way is aligned with your business goals and strategy. You can scale to considerable riches without being responsible for an ‘in-house’ team and the associated financial and moral commitments.
Who does the team involve behind you at SYSTEMYZED?
My husband has recently left his long term career to joined me in the business which is a combination of exciting, scary, interesting! He has come on board to support me to grow the business into the grand vision I have developed for it.
We have a team of brilliant partners based across the UK and world. Martin who I know from that day of my first business is my right-hand man and is based in Uraguay. He has been my most dependable team member and he has been working with me for over ten years. I have a great cohort of Designers, SEO and CRO team members in Edinburgh, North Yorkshire, and West Sussex. We also have a back office in Manilla. The fact that we have a team in different time zones means we can support clients 24 hours a day.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
With my husband’s help and travel and education being our priorities, I want to continue to scale and grow the business as far as possible without impacting negatively on our family life.
I have a book launch planned for late 2019 which is exciting but there is much to do … and finding time to write onto of staying nimble in my own business whilst supporting clients – is like finding gold.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your business?
I believe that developing your one Intellectual Property is the answer to building exponential value into your business. We are in the process of creating an app that will democratise our strategy design process and make it available to even more business owners. This is really exciting to me as I know it will help me reach and serve many, many more people at scale. It will help us have our greatest and most positive impact.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Because of things that happened in my younger life, in the past, I have suffered from PTSD and it can get triggered in certain scenarios. For example, in between babies, I once worked for a complete sociopath who consistently messed with my head and left me mind-blowingly confused about my usefulness as a human. It took me months of therapy to recover but still sometimes now, if a client behaves in ways that remind me of that experience it can trigger old reactions and I can get overwhelmed with self-doubt and become overly self-critical. I need to check in with accountability partners regularly when this happens and get feedback on my responses to challenging situations. Often it is just me being overly sensitive but sometimes people are actually just jerks and its time to say adios pronto.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I have an amazing female business coach and mentor who I invest a lot of money with. She is way ahead of me in the business game but is still totally relatable and has a way of sharing her experience that really works for me.
She is based in Los Angeles and I check in with her at last once a month over Zoom and see her in person four times a year. It is no exaggeration to say that I have grown personally and professionally and my business is on track to grow exponentially since I started working with her.
What outlets do use to market SYSTEMYZED?
Not surprisingly we are focused on digital marketing! I also make it part of our business development strategy to get out and network in person as often as possible. Public speaking is my focus this year. As much of it as possible!
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
As mentioned before I have a fabulous business coach. I am also part of a Mastermind group which meets four times a year and is invaluable. I am a member of countless online professional support groups too, paid and unpaid. Nothing beats a spa weekend in a luxury hotel whilst hanging with my non-work soul sisters though.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about software design & development and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
Don’t try and do everything at once. Little and often. Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction! Things should be done in sprints. Its all about being lean and failing fast. It drives me mad that business owners often think they need to spend a fortune on a flashy new website when often that should be the last thing they get to. They need a strategy first and foremost. The website or end goal os software should be the culmination of that marketing strategy. It should bring all the multiple touch points and threads of the digital marketing strategy together in one perfect whole. But it should not be the first thing that people spend money on when starting a business. Strategy design first!
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Not just for millennials but for the nation as a whole, I would like there to be a nationwide drive for entrepreneurship training from the age of 7. We are no longer a nation of shopkeepers (have you seen the price of high street rentals!!) – we need to be a nation of digital entrepreneurs – we have to be as jobs as we used to know they are not there anymore. But it would help the whole of society if we all had compulsory personal and professional finance training whilst at school, college and uni. We should all learn how to balance the books before we go out into the world. If we can balance the books we can keep the business going strong.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Understand your numbers. Reconcile your accounts every day (or get someone very reliable to do it for you) but always take responsibility for your numbers. Never pass the buck on your numbers. (I speak from experience).
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
To run in the other direction if you detect a sociopath!
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I haven’t worked that out yet.
A seminal point in your career so far?
Starting my business again. It was such a huge leap of faith for me after my first one had failed. I had to give myself permission to try again and that was a very big step for me.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Seeing my clients achieve their business goals and knowing my business’s work has played a part in their success.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
I was momentarily floored when a passion project I was working on with a trusted partner came to an end in a rather upsetting way and I lost quite a bit of money in the process. I had been distracted by the project and as a consequence took my eye off the SYSTEMYZED business ball for a while but luckily nothing too awful happened and I am back on an even keel again. It was a warning that I have headed. I will be extremely careful about potentially co-dependent relationships and wary of who I get involved with in terms of business partnerships in the future.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Marianne Williamson is my all time business and life inspiration. She is quite literally a walking phenomenon of positivity. She proactively spreads love and peace wherever she goes.
Lewis Howes is my most recent favourite pacesetter to listen to. He has raised the barr in terms of what it means to be of service through entrepreneurship.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am currently reading The Success Principals by Jack Canfield. Every page has a nugget of gold on it.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- Lucy Hutchings Hunt Live The change https://www.lucyhutchingshunt.com/live-the-change-with-anna-mieke-andersen/ https://www.lucyhutchingshunt.com/live-the-change-is-lucys-podcast/
- ‘The School of Greatness’ by Lewis Howes.
- ‘Glambition Radio’ with Ali Brown.
How do you define success?
Success is: Giving your personal best to what you are doing at all times whilst focusing on being of service to others.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It means not hiding or stopping my unique light from shining because of what others might or might not think of me. It means living in my potential and truth. It means being 100% authentic at all times and trusting my inner compass as a guide for what to do next.
Finally, what can we expect from you next throughout 2019?
A book and an App! Watch this space.