Interview with Niki Hutchison

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your professional career and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge has been believing in myself. Being criticised and underestimated in the workplace, which led to me doubting myself and second-guessing myself as a result. I’ve overcome it by setting up on my own, finding my own clients, being my own boss and proving myself time and again.

How did you find the confidence to step back from agency life and start up your own organisation?

It wasn’t a question of whether I could leave agency life, it was more a matter of I had to. 

When I made the decision to leave agency life, I had two young children and was working as a Senior Strategic Planner. This meant that weekly travel and overnight stays were the norm as I was conducting research up and down the country. I also wanted to prove to myself (and others) that I could use my marketing skills to grow a business from nothing and provide some of the things to young people that government research had told me they needed. I set up a kids hip hop dance company which went on to provide strong role models and fun activities to boys and girls across Scotland for many years.

What online brands do you think are doing a great job just now and what makes them stand out? 

Duolingo are doing well on TikTok where they create fun content featuring Duo their green owl mascot and have just shy of 5m followers. Duo is obsessed with Dua Lipa and they create lots of relatable content around him being rejected by her. This works really well on Tik Tok as this is a channel where users want to see funny content.

What do you think the biggest challenges are in being a confident marketer?

Keeping up with the latest trends for sure, but also feeling like you need to be knowledgeable in every area of marketing in order to be perceived as an expert. Comparing yourself to others unfavourably is a huge challenge in every industry so I’ll be sharing some tips on how to avoid that during the session.

On a personal level, where do you find inspiration?

I love to stay informed and spot trends (no surprise as a former Strategic Planner!) so I follow industry blogs, join communities like this one, and I also take inspiration from entrepreneurial communities where small business owners hang out. They’re often being just as innovative, if not more so, than the bigger players so attending conferences and events, joining business accelerators and masterminds and taking training courses with them is also something I make sure to do regularly.



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