Business Systems Thinking as the Second-In-Command

While being second-in-command means supporting the leader, it’s often difficult to understand where you fit in. According to Joshua Hudson, a second-in-command needs to build robust systems that support the leader’s vision to identify which ideas are viable and which need to be passed over.

Joshua Hudson — CMO of I Build Your Brand — explains how he supports and complements the CEO’s vision for growth by using business systems thinking to automate processes so multiple projects can run simultaneously.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The importance of playing Devil’s Advocate to the first-in-command
  • Why you need to over-communicate with your business partners
  • The necessary tools for systemization in today’s world

Host:                Josh Fonger
Guest:              Joshua Hudson
Duration:         30:54

Please Note: The following is a computer auto-generated transcript and will include some inaccuracies.


Josh  0:00  
Welcome to the Work The System podcast where we help entrepreneurs make more and work less using systems and I'm your host Josh finger. Today we have a special guest, we have Josh Hudson. Josh is the Chief Marketing Officer of I Build Your Brand, an agency that handles client relations, copywriting, funnel creation, and digital marketing for the Gen Z and millennial generations. So Josh, why don't you give us the backstory of how you got involved with I Build Your Brand and what you're doing today?

Hudson  0:28  
Okay, I'll try to give you the quickest elevator pitch I can because I can make my story super long. First off, thank you for having me on. It's good to have Josh today. We had the quickest backstory I could give you a summary is I've been an entrepreneur my whole life was that kid in elementary school selling candy on the bus, you know, but did quite well in school. And when I was eighteen, a very tragic event happened to me. And I'm 24 Now, by the way, so I might be one of the youngest people on this podcast, not sure. Yeah. But when I was 18, my father passed away. And it sent me down a pretty rough spiral. And I ended up trying to search for that thing in life that was going to make me happy. And one of the things that really spoke to me was following that untrodden path of entrepreneurship that the system in terms of the government in the school system had laid out for me, right, so I didn't want to do that. And I searched around and I ended up finding this person that really spoke to me both as a genuine, intelligent and just overall amazing human being. And her name was Elizabeth Herrera, and ended up going to one of her masterminds spending a majority of my money, so my student loans and met her and began working for her for two years, show my valued as good as I could, and it didn't take too long before she realized that I was a great complement to her and a just an incredibly hard worker. And so she decided to bring me on as a partner. And you know, from 18, to now being 24, we've been together, and now we have an incredibly successful business together. And, you know, I work to help her in any way that I can. She's a CEO, I'm the CEO, and we're kind of like peanut butter and jelly. 

Josh  2:15  
Yeah, and that's what I really want to explore during this podcast. And during this show. You can also get the backstory of how we met, which I think is very interesting. But I think that that's what people want to hear. Because we usually talk to owners, founders, authors, speakers, but you mean the systemizer of Elisabeth’s business and growing it from seven to eight figures and how you're able to take an entrepreneurs vision and put it into practice, I think will be really cool for our audience to hear about. So what was it like, in the beginning, maybe the business was, I'm gonna guess, all over the place. And what have you done to kind of get it systemized?

Hudson  2:58  
Okay, there's a couple things there. So when I first started working before, and I think this is valuable, because it might show some entrepreneurs, you know, what they should do when hiring, what I, what we sometimes our company referred to as Spartans, they're the people that you know, are quite intelligent, very hard, working, ambitious, and willing to work very hard without a without much reward at the beginning in the pursuit of a future benefit, right? So much sense. And so when she hired me, I mean, she just put me to work with almost almost no managerial guidance, just kind of let me do my thing, told me what she wanted the outcome to be, and then saw how I was going to achieve that. And let me do my own thing. She provided a little bit of mentoring and guidance here. But for the most part, she just wanted to see how hard I could work, how I could figure things out and what outcome I could achieve. And so for the first year and a half of working there, there were a lot of things, but one of the main things that I did was just write press releases for her Amazon products. She was an Amazon seller at the time. She was doing seven figures a year on, through FBA, that platform, and she wanted me to write press releases, and I believe I wrote over 1000 press releases, perhaps 2000 have the exact number somewhere. But it was a tremendous number of press releases, averaging 500 words per press release. And, I mean, she just wanted to see how hard I could grind it out. It was a lot of work. And I did a lot of things on the side too, with an This was before I'd ever read a word the system. But I began creating systems just because intuitively I can save myself time and produce more by creating small systems on the side. And, you know, over time, she just saw how hard of a worker I was and the results I was bringing and I complimented her in that sense. So it was very different from her and in a lot of ways. And she ended up bringing me on as a partner. Now being a partner That's where things got a bit different. I got equity in the business now. And have you ever messaged somebody? Or have you ever gotten texts from somebody, a person like this in your life where you can tell who's texting you just by the frequency of buzzes your phone is giving you this? Over and over, she's that kind of person, right? One thought is produced in 2830 text messages, right? So there's a lot of texts coming. And it's all just one thought, I'm completely different, I will send you a 7000 word email with one message, though, you know, very different. And that's just how her brain works. I'm gonna be incredibly brilliant, as I don't know if he's an IQ test, but it would be off the charts, just like a lot of very successful CEOs are. And she's very creative and has incredible ideas. She's the kind of person that has ideas and can spot opportunities in the market so quickly, and it's such a frequency, it's incredible. She's made million dollars all over the place. Since she was 20 years old, she had a million dollars selling Pokemon cards in the 1990s. She made a million dollars coding bots on laptops and her dorm room that would pick up digital money on the Sims made a million dollars that way, you know, she made a million dollars selling info products, doing day trading, she's she's all over the place. And that's her being a serial entrepreneur, and she loves it. And there's nothing wrong with that, obviously, she's made millions of dollars. But her thoughts are very much like how she texts, right, they're kind of all over the place. And there's a lot of scattered ideas that work. And, and so that's how working with her in the beginning was. There were a lot of different ideas, not a whole lot of organization, not a whole lot of systemization. And so I came in as a complete opposite and a complete compliment. And we began to work together to take her ideas and her execution on those ideas and begin systemising and begin hiring a lot of VA is in the Philippines for example, in creating a lot of systems with a lot of tools that I think we can talk about some of those tools and how they're very valuable and and using those to make these businesses hands off so that we could we could make them basically work on their own with with very little management and then move on to the next thing, which made her all the more happy. She got to explore more ideas instead of trying out 20 of them half ass or doing one at a time and Sachi couldn't do the rest. Right. And and it's working beautifully as an example, both of our Amazon businesses on FBA, we barely touch them, I mean, maybe 15 to 30 minutes of work per week, if it's a rough week, you know, and and they don't do nearly as well as they could if it had our full divided attention. But, you know, she wants to do a lot of things, we want to do a lot of things and we have a bunch of fairly successful small businesses. And that's what it's like working with her and the compliments have just been incredible.

Josh  8:01  
So for someone listening to this, who either is the serial entrepreneur with tons of ideas, or they're second in command dealing with someone like that. How do you tell when an idea is worth putting into a system, it's going to be repeatable, versus an idea that is probably gonna get thrown away tomorrow or be a one time thing. Point in actually putting this into a repeatable process. How can you tell?

Hudson  8:29  
That's a great question. I would say for the most part, most business ideas can be systemized. Let's just throw that out there. There are very few businesses that can't be systemized. An example of something that couldn't be systemized that we've exploited has happened maybe two or three times. But things like cryptocurrency trading requires your undivided attention, and there isn't a whole lot you can do. You don't really want to trust bots, for example, you don't want to trust a virtual assistant with it. You might want to trust a really expert hedge fund or something but that's the kind of thing you kind of have to be there for and it's not very systemized and it's a lot of a trend. So if it's if it seems as if it's going to be a short term trend, and sometimes you can't tell until it's too late, but that's the kind of thing you can't systemize and you might want to consider staying away from unless you just enjoy it so much that you want to do it on the side and that's one of the things you know, I want to stress here is that, you know, a lot of this is about scaling and building your business but sometimes it's just about having fun too and that's why we have so many businesses as you want to have a happy life and and you know things like cryptocurrency for a while when it was at its peak, that was a fun thing to do. That was a great way to lose money as well. You know, and another example would be there were a lot of people going into PPD and selling medical supplies here on Coronavirus. You know, something's evolving so quickly seems like such a trend. Oftentimes a pipe dream, it might be something you want to stay away from now when it comes to the rest of the ideas that are probably system visible. Like I said just about any Anything is systemized double, then what I tend to do is we have all these ideas we sit down, and as the CEO a second command, I kind of have to force the sit down, right? Let's sit down, let's have this meeting was was planted time was made a commitment to have this conversation, I'll have a document ready ahead of time with the questions that I want to ask with my ideas that are always playing devil's advocate, and always pointing out all the things that could possibly go wrong. I consider myself a bit of an optimist. However, when I'm going into these meetings and these conversations, I want to consider the worst case scenario, you know, what is the what is the most we can lose. And with a lot of our ideas like drop shipping, or arbitrage, for example, there isn't a whole lot you can lose, because you can do things like returns, or liquidate. And you know, we just want to consider these ideas ahead of time. So we'll sit down. And we'll have these strategic meetings. And again, I will play devil's advocate in a non threatening way, oftentimes say, Hey, I think this idea is brilliant, which it usually is, however, what if this happens, we don't want to one of the main things I look at is I don't want something to consume all of our time. If it's a financial risk, that's fine, we can make more money. But if this thing is like consulting with a client, and I'm like, What if they are going to require 30 hours of your time a week? Try to stay away from that, right. And so I really stressed those things. And the thing that hurts most is our time. And so that's the kind of thing that I'll bring up and play devil's advocate. And if we decide that it's an idea worth exploring, which you know, we probably cut out 50% of the ideas, if not more, then we will begin to explore it in a very MVP type way, you know, a minimal viable product, see how we can spend as little time as possible and test the idea. And before we do that, we'll actually set out a document much like a strategic identity document, and do you know our expectations, the responsibilities and set some preliminary goals and milestones, and those usually come with deadlines, but one of the biggest things is setting those expectations and responsibilities. So it's been so important to us, here's what each of us are responsible for handling, here's what the rest of our team is responsible for handling. Let's let's get these things done. And stay committed to these responsibilities and expectations in the timeline a lot and see how it does. If it doesn't work, we drop it, it's no big deal, we might have lost a couple $1,000 we'll move on to the next thing. And we can always make it back with the rest of the businesses that are already systemized right. Now, if it works, then it's making a great profit, then we'll explore further. We'll use a lot of different tools to start building systems, try to scale it and and just treat it as a real business going forward. But before that, it's all testing and strategizing. And thinking about what could go wrong before executing on it. Does that make sense?

Josh 12:43  
Yeah, it does. So the person that you're working with as a second command? Do they? Do they like these devil advocate sessions? Or do they? Does that really bother them while you're crushing half their ideas?

Hudson  12:57  
I don't think it's pleasant. I don't think anyone wants to hear ideas crushed. And that's actually why I mentioned handling these devil advocate sessions. And these worst case scenario sessions, and a very gentle and very gentle way. You know, for one my, my business partner is, is somewhat emotional. So one of the big important things here is having self awareness, and having awareness of what each person is at heart, right? So it would be preposterous for my business partner, Liz, again, one of the most amazing people I've met in my entire life and never meet a person with more integrity, a person who cares about other people more. But for her to try and build systems would be a ridiculous idea. She just is not in her blood, you know, and, and having me as a compliment, my self awareness is I've got a computer brain, I've got a very programmatic mind, very logical. And again, that's why we complement so well. But going into that I'm aware about, you know, the kind of person she is. She'll show us that she has no weaknesses, but I'm aware how to speak to her now as a partner, right? We over communicate and everything, it's one of the most important things in our business is over communication. And so we have these conversations, and I think about how to say something in such a way that it will be received in the best possible way. I don't want any defenses thrown up. And so, you know, oftentimes I'll hedge, I'll say, you know, I see why this part of this business could be an incredible opportunity. However, let's think about what could happen in a worst case scenario where they took up your time, right? What are we going to have to sacrifice for that? And that does it in such a way that the idea gets through and it never upsets her and she's not want to get upset to begin with. I think I've seen her mad in my entire life. But still knowing how to communicate things as efficiently and receptively as possible is a very important skill. with your partner.

Josh  15:01  
So, let's say good, I think this is a really important, a lot of important things you just mentioned there in terms of self awareness. So if you are watching this, and you're like, gosh, I really wish my business had the systems in place. Oh, I know, I'll do it myself. Well, you need to have the self awareness that maybe you shouldn't, just because you know, it's a good idea. And you think it's going to help? Because it doesn't mean you should be the one doing it. You know, maybe you need Josh on your team to do that, which I think is I think people should have their second command. Not to do so. But we do train for things just like this. But why don't you tell us? So you get a good idea. You run with it, it works for a while. And you know, she needs you on other projects that are new? How do you then encapsulate this for your teams to actually keep alive? Or keep going? What do you have a certain tools or methodology? Or do they write like how to actually put those in place?

Hudson  16:01  
Well, you know, I would, for one, every single business is going to have its own unique challenges and its own unique systems, right? There's nothing that's going on. You can't use the exact same systems, project or business to business, except for a few things. One, like these meetings, right? The strategic identity, identity documents, the XP expectations and responsibilities, all of that's the same. But pretty much anything else is going to be very unique in the way you handle it. But we have, there's a tool for just about everything. And, and you can find employees for just about anything. And so our idea going into something is always to systemize it as quickly as possible. Because we already know ahead of time, we're gonna drop in too soon, or drop it, but make it a to take up as minimal amount of time as I possibly can. Right, the business might not reach its maximum potential in that case, but it's a it's a business that we want to do better than mediocre, we don't want put our time into it to make it you know, we do have some projects, where we say this is our number one focus, and we want to make that a nine figure business, right? That will become our main focus, by far, we'll do minimal attention to the rest. So you know, we're not individuals that want a sub par quality product, right? If we want to really make the best of the best, we'll go for it. But for those things that are just ideas and fun, we will systemize it like the Amazon FBA business, I told you, we spend maybe 15 minutes a week. And so when you say how do we go ahead and encapsulate it and make it very hands off? We're doing that from the beginning after the MVP, right? Let me do that as soon as it possibly can. And there's a wide range of tools that you can use, and also, you know, just just creating the systems in business from the get go for your employees that are going to hire we like our systems to be so. So dialed in that we never have to, like barely have to communicate with our employees. They don't have questions, right, communicate with them. We have meetings, but they don't have to ask us questions because he slps are so dialed in. You know, so we use tools, like I think a few tools that everybody should use, for example are you got to have, in my opinion, a landing page builder, something like ClickFunnels, lead pages, something along those lines, just to quickly create web pages unless you want to. I've played around with raw servers on AWS and stuff, it just takes too long. You know, if you want to build something quickly, I also recommend, you know, when you're making systems, if you want to be lean, use a tool like loom, right? It's free. They have like unlimited storage is an amazing tool, it works well, you record yourself, record your systems. And then depending on the business has many views and things like as AP or Integra mat, they'll automations between different tools, they use Google Drive a lot, the G Suite is you know, it's five bucks a month, you can produce an unlimited number of email addresses underneath that one G Suite for five bucks a month, you know, we've got one for all employees under one email. It's cheap, it's clean. And then you got Google Sheets to help create your own database and you're playing around with all these things, you can build the systems very, very cheaply. And we have a couple project managers in our business, which I think is key, right? We have our project managers in the Philippines who are very experienced and pay them quite well. And they manage the teams for us for the most part once they learn the systems from us. But you know, some other tools, many chat, any other bot software if there is communication with customers, but Google Drive tip here clickfunnels you know, you got those, you've got just about everything you're gonna need in terms of automation, if you have sales calls, things like calendly you know, it's another great tool, for example, but the project managers help a lot too. And so we always go to online find really qualified employees, we hire very quickly and test them out. If they're not a good fit, we fire them. But you know, we go. We've just kind of tested almost an MVP like way to give him one that she wants to prove themselves and we found some incredible really educated, smart and honest people that way that they're just really changed the game for us. And when they are doing the manding, then it takes things off our hands. Very quickly, there's very few buyers, because of the peace we make.

Josh  20:14  
With the hiring you do something a lot of the hiring you do is international, Philippines. Are there certain aspects of your businesses that you want to not go overseas? Or is everything overseas? Or how do you make a distinction? How do you distinguish between what you should send over there?

Hudson  20:34  
Yeah, so anything that is going to be an incredibly subjective and and, and personable or inter pressing, like, you know, face to face mutation mired in the States, but anything that doesn't require very subjective analysis with a with a native speaker, more face to face communication, than would then we'll go to the Philippines is, you know, but but you know, if we're doing sales, us, obviously, we're gonna raise people in the United States to do our sales calls for us. And we've even got systems for our sales calls, processes, I'll train our sales team, that any client relations, sometimes customer service, if it's it's very, very high quality services for clients, you know, if we're talking we have a $20,000, a month client, we have in the United States, conversing with our Amazon business and doing customer service via email, we're going to have that in the Philippines. So depending on the quality we want in that particular case, not to say there are VA in the Philippines aren't incredible quality, they just aren't the best with the syntax with the English language, or face to face communication, sometimes with anything, it just feels lower quality to the client. And that's when we go to the United States.

Josh  21:59  
So why don't you, just because the time is good is going through so fast? Why don't you give us a system that you've put in place, I'd like to have every guest tell us about a system they put in place either in their business or in their personal life that made an impact. So do you have any stories to share?

Hudson  22:16  
Let me think of a few. So we have entire systems and then we have slps. So I'm thinking about how much time we have left.

Josh  22:26  
Yeah, we've got maybe 5 to 10 minutes left. And though if you have a make you just do one SRP, if you have a procedure that did something, that'd be great.

Hudson  22:36  
Let me say this real quick. So I recommend just about anyone, any CEO like me, if they have the dedication of time, it's very easy to learn how to program very basic object oriented sequential programming language like Python, for example, it might sound complicated. Firstly, you can learn this in one or two weeks. And I recommend you do that. You can tell the computer what to do, you can tell a person what to do, I promise. And you can think with the logic of a computer, then you can tell a person step by step what to do, and I write my SLP is much like a programmer what is a sequential dial then there's no room for error. An example of an SLP that I was going to build one time was I asked my other business partners who is kinda lazy, not not, she's a hard worker of another's bar. He's lazy. He's intelligent, but by being lazy, he's the kind of person that would, instead of doing his homework, he would find shortcuts to do it and not and not do the work, right, something like that. And so I asked him to do a very large task when time and he said, Well, can you just program something instead? And so I took my understanding of Python, and very quickly, I was able to make a bot that could do what I wanted to do, which was going into Walmart comm scraping all of our orders, and entering all the data into a spreadsheet for accounting purposes, and it was 1000s of orders. And it was able to make a valuable asset for that business that was sellable and, and almost instantaneous versus it would take an employee dozens of hours, if not days or weeks, as an example of an ESOP that I made in the form of a program, which is an SRP. A program is an SRP at the end of the day, and it was written in code. And then an example of a system we know, our business I build your brand produces only thing we do not only with that company is doing webinar funnels or automated sales funnels for some clients that we choose. And we've built a lot of systems for that business with things like the integrations between Click Funnels and either everwebinar or go to webinar using JavaScript to to automate some things on the landing pages. But we've made the whole system brilliant because you don't have to do anything to sell a product right so we have, we have the ad that goes to an opt in page the opt in page is all automated through Clickfunnels, they click that they go to a thank you page hits them with emails, the email sequence over time Automated through an autoresponder, they then go to view the webinar, we have a bunch of if then statements if they saw the webinar do this if they didn't do this until they see the webinar, and then it takes them to the sales page. Of course all that's automated as well, the checkout process, the scarcity, the timer, the bonuses, the webinar itself is automated. So we don't have to do webinars every week. And then even the whole fulfillment process of that product over time is also automated. And even our customer service itself is automated through Zapier and sending notes to our VA is if there's a question that needs to be answered. So that's an example very quickly of a big system. I could talk for weeks about that. I've got two minutes if that.

Josh  25:41  
Yeah, that's quite, that's quite a lot. And I think the pipe may be part of why someone should realize listening to this is there's a lot of detail work to put all those pieces together to make that kind of a system. And so if you are interested in doing that might not be worth doing it yourself. Unless you had a lot of time on your hands. 

Hudson  26:12  
Yeah, some businesses I know of charge anywhere from $1 million to $25,000 plus perpetuity for building that kind of system. But we've automated it so much that we can do it much leaner and produce even higher quality than some of those services. So yes, I'm very detailed.

Josh  26:26  
Yeah, but effective. Yeah, I would say that that certainly works, especially right now. All right. Well, Josh, this has been really helpful. Me, I got a lot of pages of notes here. But what did I not ask you, but I should ask you, do you think our audience of small business owners would want to hear about in terms of systemization?

Hudson 26:49  
Hmm, one thing you didn't ask me? Maybe one question you didn't ask was, you know, how do systems apply to like, everything? And so what I would say is, you know, if you ask me how systems have changed my life, that was the question you asked me, it really worked, the system gave me a lot of very valuable insights. For one. I think that, you know, top of mind was one of the most was one of the greatest insights for me, it's a very effective thing, it made the system realize that, you know, we're human beings, and we're going to have flaws, like procrastination. And it works for creating procedures, and systems and habits that are for like, for a human being who has flaws. Now, what I would throw on top of that isn't what the system was really the most important thing about what the system was, it is a way of thinking. And I think that's so critical. When you think with that kind of in that in that kind of way, we're everything's a system, where everything is a procedure on top of a procedure on top of a procedure dialing down in a human being all the way to the cellular level, you have processes and systems going on being coded by DNA, that's the way everything works. And everything from business to help, I've used Work The System, I lost 20 pounds in 17 days one time, because I had the system so dialed in, right? When I started my most successful relationship, I started off with a strategic identity document as crazy as that sounds, even though it helped so much. And so systems apply to everything. And it's a way of thinking and if you can think in that way, somewhat programmatically, then I think it can change your life in every way. 

Josh 28:37  
That's very cool. I'm going to tell Sam Carpenter, he said that because that's the main thing is I mean, the book does definitely go through how to do it, but the biggest thing is the mindset shift that he wants to make sure one gets because I can carry you through so many things. 

Hudson  28:55  
And I would say that is for that particular person, right? Again, self awareness, you know, that might not be you that needs to make that shift, you might need to hire somebody who's going to make that shift or already have that mindset.

Josh  29:06  
Yep. Cool. Well, where can people find you Josh? If they want more help maybe with their funnel or they want to connect with you where should they go?

Hudson  29:15  
Okay, easiest thing is you know, for that kind of client we like it to be very very personable so if you want help with that specifically or really anything else and it's very variable or subjective just email Josh at You can go to as well. But you know, it's actually kind of hard on purpose to find how to contact us there. 

Josh  29:36  
Okay, so Josh, and It's a kind of a funny story. We get we Elisa here, Work The System through referrals, we always get leads, and every day we're getting leads from Tai Lopez and his business. I'm like, Why? You know what, where are these leads coming from and long story short Josh, you did some training on building systems. And that is the source of all those leads. So appreciate you for doing the work as that was kind of like how these leads are coming to us and him through his training because Josh is a pro at putting systems into place and trains people on it. So that was cool how we made the connection. Yeah. So anyways, again, if you want to reach out Josh and send him an email. Josh again, Thanks for coming on the show. Thank you, everybody for watching the podcast today. If you want a copy of this book, work the system, you can get it for free at work the to download the audio or the PDF version. If you want the physical version like that behind me, we can mail you one for free, just leave us a review, and then send us a screenshot of that review to info at And once a week we pull a name out of a hat and we'll mail out a book. Otherwise, we will catch you all next week. 

Hudson 30:54
Thanks, Josh. 



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