Jaimie: My guest today on the podcast is Dr. Lucy Burns and Dr. Lucy Burns is a GP based in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria in Australia. Dr. Lucy's past experience running a medical weight loss clinic was the inspiration behind creating an online learning platform embracing and teaching low carb real food lifestyle and mindset change. Now, as a young adult, Dr. Lucy focused on exercise to control and manage her own weight and health. This was not sustainable and ignoring her nutrition and psychological health, as well as declining mobility due to her muscular dystrophy meant at 50, she was overweight, obese, and insulin resistant in 2018. Dr. Lucy lost 20 kilos. For our American listeners, that's 44 pounds by adopting a low carb, real. food lifestyle, and more importantly, has maintained the weight loss and also the changes in a mindset. Dr. Lucy is known for her positive can do attitude and nature and is an eternal optimist. She practises meditation daily. Well, at least every second day.
And Dr. Lucy speaks about weight management and the low carb real. Food Lifestyle at conferences all around the world for medical professionals, as well as events for the general public. And Dr. Lucy is a mom to two adults, well kidults we call them, who are still happily living in the family home. Dr. Lucy Burns, welcome to Pitch Perfect.
Dr. Lucy: Oh, thank you, Jaimie. Thank you so much for having me. I'm honoured to be a guest.
Jaimie: Oh, I'm honoured to have you here. And I should also mention that Dr. Lucy is a paid to speak alumni member and in my PR club, if you want to find out more about that, prclub. com. au. I have so many cool things to ask you about, but one thing that's not in your bio, and this is how I got to know you, we're in the same, um, Her Empire Builder, um, program with Tina Tower.
And you have transitioned as a GP in your own clinic, your own practice. I've got so many questions to ask you about that as well. But in the last couple of years, you've moved to online. Can you tell me a little bit about that journey and, and what prompted you to do that? I'm sure it was in order to, to scale and reach more people, but how did it all come about?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah, absolutely. It was to scale and reach more people. So I guess, um, a couple of things were that yes, in your bio, in, in your intro, you've absolutely nailed it. I, I was, I, I found myself, uh, you know, at the age of 50, just look, I'd spent my whole life on a diet, on a diet or off a diet. There was, there was the two, there was only two gears on a diet or on a bender.
And so I, and I had just yo yoed and got to this point where I was heavier than I'd ever been. Like even when I was pregnant and I had massive babies and put on 25 kilos with each pregnancy So huge and so I just and I had just decided oh, well, that's fine. Look, I'm 50. I'm frumpy. It doesn't matter, my husband still loves me. I can buy elastic waisted pants. It's no big deal and then but then what happened was I got some medical issues related to that. So there came a point where I had to do something. And the weird thing was that as a doctor, I had been giving all the wrong advice to my patients because it was the same. I was telling them to do the same thing I was, which is, you know, just do some more exercise, reduce your calories, eat low fat, and you know, you'll be fine.
Except I wasn't. And so I had to come up with a new way of thinking. And I just, it was just fortuitous. I stumbled into low carb through another doctor, a great friend of mine who I just went on holidays with. And she's, you know, I'm piously eating my bag of carrots and she's eating steak with butter on it.
I'm like, what's going on here? And she was, you know, she, she'd lost weight. She looked amazing. Her health was fantastic. And I thought, okay, I'll give this a crack. And then when I gave it a crack, it was like an epiphany. I thought, Oh my God, this is amazing. For the first time in my life, I'm actually not hungry. I'm not, you know, thinking about food morning, noon, and night. It gave me some space. And so I just thought I've got to share this with the world. So I set up a, a clinic. So I was still doing some general practice, but I transitioned over into this. Weight loss and metabolic health, and, and I initially called the clinic Epiphany Medical Weight Loss, which I thought was such a good name.
I was so happy with myself. But there are a couple of things that came about with relation to that name. And I guess this is where you probably need to do some market research or do a, um, you know, what do you call it when you ask a little group of people what to do? Uh, I, cause I didn't do any of that. I was just so happy with myself with this name.
And then a few people thought that there was a religious element to my program because unbeknownst to me that the Epiphany, the Feast of the Epiphany is a, is a Catholic big day. And so they, they came to me that and I'm thinking, oh no, no, no, no, that's not it. And then a number of people, and if it was just one, I probably would have let it slide, but a number of people asked.
So what, what's an Epiphany? Uh, yeah, that's not happening. So again, it's interesting because you really, you think you've hit the jackpot in your own brain and then you realise, no, you've actually got to do some market research sometimes with naming a program or naming a clinic or whatever it is. So, um, so in the meantime, I've been running this clinic and I was saying the same thing over and over and over again to my patients and I thought, ah, there's got to be a better way. There's got to be a way in which I can, you know, do this so that everyone can hear it all at once that I don't have to keep repeating myself because it was the same message.
I was hearing the same problems from the same people and so we, I, I met beautiful Dr. Mary and we formed a partnership and I sort of rebranded to Real Life Medicine, which actually suits us so much more and is relatable and is, is the foundation now of our brand. Is it, and it's easy for me because it means being real, means I am allowed to be vulnerable.
I'm allowed to not turn up without makeup on. I'm allowed to, you know, just. Be who I am because it's actually part of our brand. Yeah.
Jaimie: Wow. And so a beautiful friendship and partnership was then formed. Did you just meet Dr. Mary, who I, who I love and know as well and just go, let's go online. Is it, was it as simple as that and you just created a course and then sold it and then a million dollars later bobbed your Uncle. Was it, was it that easy?
Dr. Lucy: Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, uh, it's interesting. So yeah, we. I didn't know Dr. Mary. She's not like my bestie from a hundred years ago or anything, but we did meet at a low carb conference that I was speaking to and I just happened to finish my talk and have to go and sit down and I sat next to her and I thought she looks groovy and, uh, yeah, she looks nice and we chatted and we suddenly realised there was all this synergy that we had both done very similar, um, things in life.
We both had, we'd both done a hypnotherapy, we were both hypnotherapists, we'd both done the same course, we both passionately believed in meditation, in stress management, and of course low carb. So there was a lot of synergy in our belief system, so that was good. And I liked her, and I just thought, oh yeah, yeah, let's do a business together.
Which I now realise is pretty naive, um, and, and I am just really lucky. That she's fantastic and that we are the yin and the yang of each other and that is just pure luck because I know for plenty of businesses, they do form a partnership and it doesn't work out. Uh, so we, we have got some legal stuff in place, but the, the key really for our partnership is we have just lots and lots of conversations about what our brain is thinking, what's in our head, where we're at, what's going on so that we can both, we just have absolute honesty and trust in each other.
Jaimie: Yeah, I love that. And so just to venture into the online space from there, uh, was that an easy transition? Cause I know for a while you were kind of, when I've talked to you, you were doing it as a side hustle and you're still practising in your clinics. And were you and Dr. Mary doing this on the side and just like, how did it kind of eventuate into what it is now?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah, totally. Initially a side hustle. Um, because again, we, you know, we were both working in. Very successful medical practices and, you know, you can't just stop that and start something new without a dramatic drop in income. Um, and so we, you know, look, we were also quite, quite lucky because COVID came and as Melbourne was the most locked down city in the entire universe, there was not a lot for us to do for months at a time.
There was no social gatherings. There was nothing to do. So it just gave us again time and space to create our program. But I think the trap that lots of online course creators fall into is the program's the easy bit. Like that's simple. The harder bit is marketing it and selling it because as a doctor, I never had to market and sell anything.
I just opened up a clinic and people came. It was like, you know, build it and they will come. They did. But in online, they, they, they don't see you, they're not, you're not as visible. And initially I think particularly, and again, COVID blessing for us is that now online stuff is. familiar to people. So people initially wanted to see somebody in person.
They said, oh no, I don't really want to see you on zoom. I want to see you in your clinic. And I go, um, but now then it, then it became, they had to do zoom and now they're used to it. So the thing for us was the course was the easy bit. And I, and when I say easy, it's a lot of work as you know, you're filming videos, you're making handouts, you've got to make sure your content's great, but that's, that's, that's just not. That, it's, you just can't do that and expect to sell stuff.
Jaimie: Yeah. I mean, and so what was some of the big mistakes you made? I know you, you've talked about the fact that it, filming alone takes a lot longer than what you think. Um, so, you know, can you tell me about that and some of the mistakes or maybe naive mistakes that you made in hindsight?
Dr. Lucy: Oh, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So hilariously, the first time we thought we'll film, we, we hired a beach house that had beautiful, um, you know, decor and we thought, yep, this'll be great. We'll just bang it all out in a weekend. It'll be fantastic. And we, we did, we did makeup and we got lighting and we stood there and basically I yelled into the camera like some.
Car salesman. And we look back and I was, you know, again, so much makeup on. I looked, I don't know, it just, it certainly wasn't me. I, um, and, and over the top makeup, because I thought, oh, you know, when you're on camera, you have to have more makeup than normal. So I look back and I just, you know, I looked like I was, um, dressing up for some sort of, uh, You know, guys and Dolls musical or something.
It was just ridiculous. So anyway, consequently all of that got canned because, and, and reading scripts for us didn't work. Like, it's not who we are. It's, it just, it sounded stilted. It just wasn't relatable or real. So, uh, we thought, oh, so that, that was not unhelpful. Um, so we just practised. Look, we practised.
We go online a lot. I'm very good at off the cuff. Um, but that's practice. I didn't just wake up and be good and off the cuff, uh, it, it was practice and you just practice and it doesn't matter. And I'm practising and it's great because there's, you know, Facebook or, or Instagram, they're a fantastic avenue to practise.
And if you don't have a big audience, well, it doesn't matter because if you bugger it up, what three people have seen, who cares? It's not like you're at the MCG with a hundred thousand people watching you. And then you get to practise and as you practise your audience grows, you get better, you refine your message, you stop ums and ahs, you get clearer and it just grows.
Jaimie: Yeah, absolutely. And so did you, how did you kind of market the course, which you put out there in the beginning? Did you kind of rely on your existing client base or did you literally start from scratch? How did you, how did you promote it and get yourself out there?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah. So look, we initially started with just, um, a Facebook page and a Facebook group. So we wanted to create a community and we did that for six months before we even offered our. course. Um, and so lots of my, my patients, Dr. Mary's patients did join and then they invited their friends. But, um, and so, but again, they weren't the necessarily the people who were going to buy the course cause they were already seeing us one to one.
So why would they buy a course? They can come and see me in the clinic. It, it, having that little base of loyal supporters, if you like, uh, in, It just increased. It's like a snowball. It just, they invited a friend who then invited a friend, that friend then lived in Queensland and that friend then had a friend that lived in America and then that friend invited some other friend.
Um, because we have lots of content in the group, like it was valuable to them. It wasn't just, Oh, here's a group and there's, you know, no one moderates it and there's nobody giving any. You know, authority of great advice. So I think that was the key was to actually provide value and service first, then people like you, uh, again, being vulnerable.
It meant that again, has our brand of real life medicine. I didn't have to dress up every morning and put on makeup and wear fancy clothes. A lot of my lives were done. Actually, in my dressing gown, with my hair messy, just talking about life.
Jaimie: Yeah. I love that. And so how did you grow it? Because, um, you have earned a million dollars now online.
Um, that's huge, amazing. You've got your own podcast, you know, you're on other people's podcasts, you're in third party media, you're in a few masterminds and memberships. What was the secret to sort of really scaling it and really getting yourself out there?
Dr. Lucy: So I think certainly starting a podcast was great.
So we started, uh, so I guess we, we, the fateful weekend of the Beach House was in, um, November 2019. Then we sort of started the Facebook group and in 20, May 2020, we launched our first course and it, it sort of toddled along and it was okay. And again, we weren't paying ourselves or anything like that. We were, that's why it was a side hustle.
We were still relying on our clinic income and every bit of money we made, we just poured back into the business to try and get it to grow. Um, but the podcast was definitely the game changer. So we started a podcast called Real Health and Weight Loss, and we initially wanted to make it sort of fancy.
And then I thought, bugger that. Anything that's too clever or cryptic sometimes, like EpiFanny, doesn't work. We just had to make it as obvious as possible as to what the podcast is about. And so it's called Real Health and Weight Loss. And it's, yeah, it's been like phenomenally successful and I'm so proud of it.
And the thing about that is that it's, I think there's a couple of reasons for, it's consistent. We have not missed an episode yet. Um, we've had extra episodes. Every single week we've dropped an episode. We don't do seasons. I, I think that people forget about you if you have a down period, a downtime, sometimes like, you know, the Christmas period, for example, we might get less listeners. But we never get none. So obviously somebody's always listening. The thing about the podcast is that it's, it's content that you can repurpose. And so it's a really great, just, it's our pinnacle platform, if you like, and it's where we get our most people listening and people just. No lie can trust you. And so many times I'll say to people, I'll say, how, you know, where did you find us?
Oh, I listened to you on the podcast, Dr. Lucy, you know, you're in my ear. And I go, Oh, goodie. So, um, yeah, I think it's key.
Jaimie: That's amazing. Yeah. And I mean, was it hard? I mean, people, um, who listened to this show, um, they do have their own podcast, but some don't, some think it's really hard to set it all up and you've got a huge following.
I mean, how many downloads have you had now?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah. We're just about to hit half a million. So, um, yeah. Yeah, obviously it didn't start off like that. It started. And you know, the interesting thing is I look at our podcast and I think, wow, there's stuff we could do better still. Like we are now looking at actually changing the way, like using SEO.
We don't use it. We just bumbled our way into a lot of this. So. The interesting thing is that I often look and go, right, there's stuff we could do better. And it's not about then being a failure. It's about looking at that. What, what could we do better? Because the better we become, then, then the, then the better our results are, the better, the more people we reach, but most importantly for us, it's the more people we help.
And I guess, you know, the program, when I say that the courses. You know, step one, it has to be good because if your course is rubbish, no one's ever going to recommend their friend to do it. So you need a course that's good. Um, but that's really been the word of mouth for us has been phenomenal and, and I'm just so grateful to all of our people that do, uh, you know, recommend us or promote us or support us because it's, it's really is the key.
Jaimie: Yeah, I mean, I've just joined the course and I just can't believe the amount of content that is in there and all the live coaching sessions as well. And what's been incredible for me to see is, um, cause we've got a Facebook group that you've set up for this round. The amount of people that are doing this for their fourth or fifth time, um, which, you know, How great it is.
They want to keep coming back for more. You've also built a membership. Um, was that on the back of that or did you have the membership first? How did that work?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah, initially we had the membership first. So, and again, I am. I think I'm, I'm very open to learning and seeing how people do things and recognizing what are my strengths and what are my weaknesses.
So, you know, I, I didn't know how to create an online course. I had no idea. So I, I went and learned off somebody and I, you know, I know a lot about doctoring. I know a lot about weight loss. I didn't know anything about courses. So I went and learned off somebody and there. Their formula, if you like, was to do a membership.
And when you're first launching your membership, you give your course for free, which nearly killed me. I'm thinking, really? Okay. So I just trusted the process and, and we did it. And again, that, you know, our first thing we, we had our membership and I, I think, you know, if we're talking numbers, we're pretty good.
Probably made 5,000 for the first month. It was like, Oh, wow, that's good. Um, again, we, Mary and I didn't see any of that because that all just went back into the business to, to learn more things, pay for more education. Um, and they got the course for free and it was great because what we realised though, was that the first iteration of the course, there was too much in it.
It was in seven weeks. It was seven steps in seven weeks. And it was like, Oh my God, this is like going to school. It's too hard. It needed to be spread out. So then the next, so then we actually looked at the course and just rejigged it a bit and launched it as a 12 week course, a 12 week program, and initially we called it the Spring Ring Reboot, which I then realised afterwards was a stupid name because what are you going to do in summer?
The Summer Reboot? The Autumn Reboot? So we had to come up with a name that was nothing to do with the seasons. And I guess this is one of the things in market research. I just keep thinking I've got the best idea in the world. And then I realised not, I don't always, you know, it'd be funny. And, uh, so then, uh, we did actually ask our audience, what do they think our program could be called?
And we gave them a list. We did a little survey and that's why we came up with the 12 week mind body rebalance. And that has been then the signature program for the last, whatever we're up to now, two and a half years. And we've, I don't know, launched it. 10 times.
Jaimie: Yeah. Wow. So one of the pieces of advice I give PR club members and any client is just to keep being consistent, do all the things, keep showing up, um, apart from your podcasts, I know you, you credit your podcast for probably the number one ingredient, uh, to your recipe for success.
What would be the second and, you know, other close runner ups as far as the things you've done to really get yourself out there?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah, I think, look, relationship building, so relation, genuine relationship building, where there is a win win for, for both parties in the business. So, uh, we set up an affiliate program, which, uh, you can do through Kajabi, which is our platform that we host all our courses on.
And we then approached a couple of people that we thought were in alignment with what we're doing. So, uh, the, the biggest, uh, I guess the best relationship that we've built is with a couple of women in Perth who run a company or a business called Thermo Foodie and the Chef. So they're thermomix queens, but they're low carb.
So there was the low carb component, but with recipes and it's like, I'm rubbish at cooking. They're great at cooking. They provide billions of great recipes and they have a huge audience. And so the key is, and this is the thing we realised a bit like, it's like business. It's like anything you could, you need this, the strategy.
But you need to know how to implement that strategy. So low carb is the strategy, but how do you implement it if you, if you don't understand what your brain is doing? So for us, I think the thing that helps us stand out, because the weight loss world is really saturated. Everybody, every man and his dog's got an idea on how to lose weight.
Not all of it's helpful. And in fact, lots of it's harmful. So these, their audience were people that knew about low carb, but didn't necessarily Know about their mind and how to implement it. So that was great. So we formed a partnership. We, um, purchased the rights to some of their recipe books. They promoted the program.
They were affiliates and suddenly our audience increased. Wow. I love that. Yeah, it has to be win-win for both sides. So I think that's where people get, think that an affiliate, Oh, they'll just be an affiliate if it's not in it for them. If there's not, I mean, and I don't know that the money necessarily is.
Is even the thing that will help with affiliates. It's, it's, uh, it has to align.
Jaimie: Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I even had someone the other day, he's got a course launching at the moment and I haven't even done the course. And this person said, will you be an affiliate? It's worth 400 for every sale. Um, and that's fine, but I thought.
I can't truly put my name to this. Cause I, I mean, I'm sure it's amazing, but I haven't done the course myself, so I don't even know if it aligns. And I think there's a risk there. Sure. I can probably get 10 people in this course. Um, and that's 4,000, but the long term repute, if that course is not what I think it's going to be, or that person I'm putting in there, it shouldn't be there.
And it can long term do damage to your reputation and credibility.
Dr. Lucy: Absolutely. And I think, um, and you know, if the course has got, like, if somebody said to me, Oh, could you, you know, would you be an affiliate and sell a course? It's got nothing to do with my, with me or my brand. You know, I don't know.
Let's say it's a course on, on how to detail your car. Okay. Why would I do that? Like it's... It's got nothing to do... Couldn't give a toss about that. Like, so it has to have something, it has to be something relevant.
Jaimie: Yeah. Note to self, don't try and sell Lucy detailing car courses. All you people out there who have those kind of courses, don't even bother.
I'm just trying to...
Dr. Lucy: And you know, yeah, so yeah, it's, um, yeah. So I think genuine relationship building is helpful and that's a long game. So these are long game strategies. Podcasting is a long game. Relationship building is a long game. Um, You do, you need, you need the long game. Um, but also I think for us, it is really getting education or learning.
Again, learning is one of my core values, learning of people that. That, that you trust who are knowledgeable, which is why I'm in your PR club, Jaimie, because you know, I, I don't know anything about PR, I'm rubbish at it, um, I've learnt a few. Uh, I'm still learning, you know, and getting tactics and, and strategy around that is really what I need to, to do.
It's why we're in Tina's membership because you know, business, we're still learning. Um, and I don't think we'll ever stop learning. I think when you stop learning, yeah, it's, yeah, you, when you stop learning, you stop growing.
Jaimie: Yeah. So true. I love you. You're sharing this story about how you're a very good student.
Someone tells you to do something and you do it. And like I told you in my public speaking course to always wear a jacket on stage. So you wear a jacket when you were speaking as the keynote speaker in Palm Springs. Um, and that's, that's really great that you, you know, cause you, you've sort of, um, followed quite a few different mentors over the years and you just do it.
They tell you to do. Um, but you're in a very competitive space. There are a lot of different people in that, you know, health and wellness, weight loss. Exercise mindset, um, sort of space selling their products, their courses, their memberships. Um, do you think, I mean, how do you stand out? Do you sort of think, well, people buy from people.
So I'm just going to be myself and you're very funny. You're very humble. You wear your heart on your sleeve. Do you think people are buying into who you and Dr. Mary are?
Dr. Lucy: Uh, I think that's a large component of it. Um, you know, we are. I think a high relatable, um, you know, again, falls within our brand. So it's great for us because neither of us are fancy.
You know, we're not, we don't wear designer clothes or anything like that. It's just not our brand. It's not who we are and it's not our brand. So that becomes easy. So we're in brand alignment, which I think is really helpful because it means that people think. And we are genuine, so being genuine is really helpful.
If your brand is, um, if you're as a person, if you're, if you wear designer clothes, like I think about Mel Brown and she's in brand alignment. She has a beautiful website, beautiful clothes, beautiful videos. And she always dressed, but that's how she is all the time. And it would be incongruent, I think, for us to stand to go and get fancy designer clothes and, and be like her because that's not us.
So I think the first thing is you do need to be yourself and be able to step into that. And it doesn't have to be fancy. And as I said, our, our course now. is not fancy. It's got great content, but it's still, it's not filmed in a studio or anything. You don't need to do that to, to be successful, but you need to be genuine.
Um, but again, what, and this is a Tina ism, what got you there, what got you here won't get you there. We're always tweaking and evolving carb.
But couldn't do it, you know, struggled with their mindset, stuck in diet culture, didn't know why they would, you know, fall off the wagon all the time. So our messaging was a lot around that. But now we're also realising that actually there's this whole world out there that still don't know about low carb even, they're still.
They're, they're still buying lady shakes or they're still, you know, doing some rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, just stuff. That's just BS out there. In fact, one of our new taglines we're thinking of doing is, um, that our program is based in science, not in fiction. And, um, because it really is. What, what, what we now wanna do is go, okay, there are people out there who are spending buckets of money on stuff that's not gonna work.
Just doesn't work. It won't work. It can't work. It's not scientific science. Science shows that it won't work, but yet they're lured into the marketing and the false promises. So we are now working a little bit on our messaging, uh, with Marie Kirkpatrick, who's another empire builder, to really just. Get that clear so that people who don't know about low carb can find out about it in a way that feels safe for them.
Jaimie: Yeah, I love that. So what's next for you? Um, what are you, what are you, so you're constantly tweaking and evolving what to your grand plans for the future?
Dr. Lucy: Yeah. So I think like everything, uh, so, you know, our, our biggest achievement this year was that we ran the low carb roadshow, which was a, you know, huge.
Uh, undertaking for us, probably bigger than I thought it would be, which is my, one of, it's a, it's a fault and a strength. I just go head first into things. Um, don't always think about how much work it was. It is because I think sometimes if you think about how much work it will be, you'd never do anything.
Um, but it was massive and it was extremely successful. We were really lucky. All the shows sold out. We had wonderful feedback from them. It was great. Um, so we will run that again next year. But again, the people that. Came to the low carb roadshow are the people that often already know about low carb. We, we really want to help people that don't know about low carb or have heard about it and think that it's, it's, um, waffle or, or rubbish.
So our next step is to really just try and broaden our audience and, um, yeah, just. Get that going.
Jaimie: Yeah. I can't wait to see what you do next. I love having you in my world through all different, um, avenues, whether we're in the same mastermind, we travel away together. Saw you in Port Douglas and Palm Springs this year.
Um, you're an absolute delight to be around and thank you so much for coming on to Pitch Perfect today.
Dr. Lucy: Oh, Jaimie, thank you so much for having, having me. And honestly, I don't know what, what is the, what's the woman equivalent of a bromance? Um, I feel like that's us.
Jaimie: I don't know. I'm sure there is an equivalent. We'll have to look it up.
Dr. Lucy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're effeminate.
Jaimie: Probably a normal romance, maybe. Yeah. No, absolutely. Yeah. Thanks so much.
Dr. Lucy: You're welcome. Bye, lovelies.