From drawing up wills to guardianship and estate planning arrangements, Lucy d'Ambrumenil does it all.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Lucy d’Ambrumenil, who runs Phoenix Wills in Singapore, gets it done like a boss.
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
My business partner, Åsa Wilkins, has been at the helm of Phoenix Wills since 2013 in Hong Kong. I knew of it as an incredibly well-respected market leader and as the go-to for multi-jurisdictional wills in the APAC region. So, I originally used it to set up wills and guardianships for my family when we lived in Hong Kong.
I am a lawyer by background. Having worked in private practice and in-house for over a decade, I was looking for an opportunity that was professionally challenging and, crucially, would work alongside my other “job” (my two young children).
Åsa, my now-partner, and I got chatting. Learning that there was a gap in the Singapore market of multi-jurisdictional will writers, and that our values were aligned, we decided to set up Phoenix Wills in Singapore. I’m very excited about partnering with someone who is a true expert, respected in her field, and also an ethical business leader. At Phoenix Wills, we are about information sharing as much as anything else. There’s so much misinformation out there about guardianships and wills. We are passionate about arming people with the correct information.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Red tape! Anyone who has set up a business here, particularly as a non-Singaporean, will empathise. It’s easy to feel deflated at each setback but I try to reframe it as a new challenge from which I can learn. I focus on the fact that the wins are that much more satisfying once the hurdles are overcome.
I remind myself of the well-known concept of stoicism to try and draw the line between what is in our control and what is not. There are so many things we can control in life and a lot of things we can’t. What we can control is only our response to them, and that’s where to focus our energy.
How do you stay motivated and energised?
From a business perspective, I’m motivated by my clients and the rewarding feeling of helping to put their wishes in place so that their loved ones are properly protected. You can almost hear the sigh of relief when clients sign their wills and other documents, having got the task ticked off the to-do list.
No client or situation is the same; that variety and personal connection is something I love about my work. We need to be good listeners in what we do, to ensure we capture everything relevant in the documents. All of ours are bespoke, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. There can be complex financial and emotional situations to consider, which we help our clients to navigate. Our aim is to take the anxiety out of this task, which can be daunting, and make it as stress-free as possible.
How do you keep stress levels low?
I balance my work with healthy amounts of time with my two little children. There’s nothing quite like a negotiation with a headstrong toddler or two to distract you from work stresses. I also try to build in some kind of movement each day. It might be a tennis match, a weights session, Pilates or even a walk just to clear my head. Exercise is just as much a mental tonic for me as it is a physical thing.
Favourite places to work?
I mix it up between my home office and our office on Robinson Road in the CBD. I actually love both in equal measure. It just depends on whether it’s a meeting day, in which case I go to the office, or a head-down will-drafting kind of day.
Can you share a work mantra that you use?
Don’t underestimate the power of a network – specifically in the context of what you can learn from others about business ideas, how to improve and what to consider. It’s so important to be open to learning from others’ experiences and knowledge.
One thing you can keep talking about for hours?
I’m probably supposed to say “wills” here, but that’s a bit depressing! On a serious note: travel. It’s my love of exploring new countries and cultures that led me from the UK to Hong Kong and Singapore. Many of us here are in the same boat and that’s why it’s so important to have properly drafted guardianship documents and multi-jurisdictional wills in place.
Your go-to self-care activity?
Am I allowed to say wine? I’m (sort of) joking, but I don’t think much beats a good natter with my husband or a girlfriend, mixed in with some belly laughter and washed down with a glass of wine. That, or a good game of tennis.
One piece of advice to your younger self?
Don’t overthink: trust your instinct, do it and see what happens. This is a key lesson that I’ve learned from growing a business. Being a lawyer, I sometimes find myself getting overly caught up in the details and the various eventualities of a particular decision because I always want to think five steps ahead. But it’s important to balance that mindset with the confidence to try something and, if it doesn’t work, be flexible and do something different.
Get in touch with Lucy d’Ambrumenil online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!