Steven Lewis is the Director of Copywriting at copywriting agency Taleist, where he leads a team of direct response copywriters, editors and project managers.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started as a journalist in Hong Kong, where I wrote about everything from adventure races to business stories. I also had a couple of columns in a Sunday magazine, which was a fabulous gig. I still miss it.
Although I’ve passed through several incarnations, including starting one of Australia’s first social media agencies, the common thread in my career has been writing. Today, that means running Taleist, a direct response copywriting agency.
We’re based in Sydney but we have clients around Australia and through the US. We specialise in writing websites that turn visitors into calls, downloads, emails and sales.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I start at around 6.30. Some days that means writing or checking emails. Three days a week I post tips on LinkedIn. And sometimes I have calls because we have clients in several time zones.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
We’ve always had an office in the house. I don’t work well with distraction, so I’m no fan of shared workspaces. I’ve no doubt open-plan costs companies a fortune in lost productivity.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
This morning I started before 6 but I took the children to the park at 3 then came home for a bit more work and a family dinner at 5. Work-life balance for me means being able to do enough of both at the times that work for us.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve started fasting at least three days a week. I don’t eat for 20-22 hours, which has worked wonders on my energy levels and my weight.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
The Trends newsletter from the people at The Hustle is fascinating, and I tend to be reading three or four books at any one time, but to pick a favourite would be too hard without a genre. For work, though, it would definitely be Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Scrivener, which is software designed for writers. It takes an investment of time to get into, but you’ll never look back.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
The marketer Dan Kennedy. He is prolific but famous for his hobbies and the choices he made to allow him to pursue them.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
You have choices. If you work for a company that casually calls people “resources”, it’s because you and other people let your employer think of people in inhuman terms.
If you’re working till 10 pm every day, it’s because you’re doing the work of two people. The company should either bring in another person or pay you two salaries (and give you twice as much holiday). On a macro level, we get what we accept.
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