Even though she says it still feels too good to be true, Laura Luck has been working with words for the last decade – starting with a journalism and PR degree, weaving through marketing and communications and landing in UX writing.
She’s worked agency-side, in-house and as an independent contractor (yep, she’s seen some things, pal).
Laura says it’s her job to help tech companies sound more human: through tone of voice and brand messaging strategy, website words, in-app microcopy and whatever else it takes to make a better user experience.
Here's what she shared with me about her journey of going out on her own...
1. So Laura, first thing's first...is your name really Laura Luck? As in, that's what it says on all your official documentation. Or is it a social media name? You have to let our community in on the truth, because it's such a cool name!
Ha! Yes it is my real name — it’s on my new passport and everything. (But I wasn’t born with it, I can thank my husband for it!)
2. OK. Now that the most important thing is out of the way 😏, tell me what inspired you to start your business and what steps you took to get it off the ground? Are there any things you used to say 'yes' to in the early days of your business that you say 'no' to now? And why?
Long story short, I moved interstate to Tassie and couldn’t keep my in-house role in Queensland. Having my own business was never something I thought I could do, it was always on my wish-list though... however it came around a lot quicker than I anticipated! I’m so grateful I just jumped in because I think it’s something every business owner should do — start before you think you’re ready (what is ready, anyway?)
I used to say yes to everything! But over time I’ve learned what I’m good at, what I enjoy and what fits in with my new lifestyle as a mum — and that’s UX writing. If I get a request for something that doesn’t fit that bill, then I say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and pass the details over to someone I know will be a better fit.
3. Coming from a journo/comms background, writing seems like a natural fit. But you don't just brand yourself as a copywriter, in fact, you're a 'UX Writer + Strategist'. At the expense of sounding like I'm having a stodgy boardroom interview with you, can you unpack this for us and help us better understand what you do vs what a typical copywriter does?
I think every copywriter has their own special way of working, but what I try to focus on is the partnership between the user (customer) and the brand’s strategy. I also work exclusively on apps or websites (sometimes emails and scripts too, depending on what’s needed) to make sure the user’s experience is consistently good.
As a UX writer, my sweet spot is combining both voice of customer data and brand voice so that all parties feel like they’ve accomplished something. I have a pretty intensive research period where I collect all the data, empathise with the user and get right into my client’s brand voice. Plus, my clients tell me I’m fun and easy to work with which is the most important thing from my perspective!
4. That's super interesting, especially since UX is becoming a hot topic, not just in the startup space, but also with big business. Aside from diving into your FREE UX Writing course, what 3 other things does someone who's starting out in UX writing absolutely need to know?
1. Write what you want to say on your site and then cut the extra words back by 25%. That’s a good place to start!
2. Read your writing out loud. If it sounds clunky and hard to get your mouth around, then chances are it’s going to be jarring to your users, too.
3. There’s so much value in just doing the work. Even if you practice by re-writing the microcopy on apps you have on your phone!
5. We all know that in service based businesses, we can really get carried away with doing the work for our clients and not pouring enough effort into working 'on' our own business. What do you do to overcome this? What's your strategy to stay motivated to give your own biz enough love when you're juggling clients and mum life?
Oh gosh. It really is the first thing that falls by the wayside. But one thing I’ve learnt is that when I put the effort into my own marketing or business admin, things seem to flow a lot easier and I genuinely get more enquiries (in fact, I’m usually booked at least a month in advance!). So it’s definitely worth it!
At the moment, my focus is on building relationships. I don’t really have a strategy for that because I think it diminishes the genuinity in it. I really love meeting people (I’m an extrovert!) so that’s my motivation to get out and talk with people face-to-face, via video chats and in Slack and Facebook groups. I try to publish on LinkedIn at least once a week and to Medium once a month...ish. Everything else I kinda just wing it!
6. Speaking of clients, who is your ideal client? Why?
Ohh tough one! I have had so many amazing clients. Usually it’s a business that’s doing something new and different, or disrupting an industry... and definitely one that puts their own customers first.
I love working with startups, because you can feel their excitement and that makes me excited! I also make sure I work with people who are flexible and encourage remote working, and who don’t mind that I will sometimes be interrupted on calls with my little assistant ;) (so far so good!)
7. Are there any common questions/objections you get when you're in the phase of pitching your service? How do you answer them?
I think there’s still a need for education around the UX writing capability for businesses in Australia. So some of the work I do with prospective clients is letting them know how I can help them, by helping their own customers (a lot of it comes down to the data, results and testimonials from my past clients).
8. Let's talk about marketing for a minute. Instagram seems to be one of the best places to build community right now, but I wonder if it's always the best go-to for finding clients. You have a lovely community and you're active on Insta, so I'm interested in your thoughts on this topic. When it comes to your biz, what part does Instagram play in your marketing strategy? Are there any other platforms you focus on?
It’s really not cool or strategic… In all honesty – I use Instagram purely because I enjoy it (most of the time). I don’t get clients on Instagram, but I do build great relationships and I get to share my knowledge with others (and learn from them too). Sometimes those relationships lead to referrals, but mostly I just like making friends and practising my ‘speaking to camera’ skills haha!
9. Now for a less sexy side of growing your own gig - I'd love to hear your thoughts on super. Is super something that was part of your 'business success' strategy from day one? Is it something you only started doing when you found your feet? Or is super still on your to do list?
Years ago I had a corporate marketing and comms gig for a financial services company, so I’ve always been a stickler for super. When I started my business, I had good intentions from the get-go, but sometimes super took a backseat to just making money and getting my business ticking along.
Nowadays though, I have a set amount going into my super account each month, whether I have a busy work month or not. It’s a great way of keeping me accountable – and it’s something I think women should definitely make a priority.
10. And last, but definitely not least, where do you go to up-level and draw inspo from? Fav books, podcasts, blogs? Any other resources we should know about? Constant learning is the name of the game around these parts.
I love Medium for reading up on new things in the UX field and finding new people to follow and get inspiration from. Of course I’m gonna mention it, but I love anything from Seth Godin!
Rapid Fire Questions:
Coffee? Tea? Or cocktails?
Ohh coffee is definitely more required these days!
If you won a million dollars what would you buy?
A house in the fancy part of Hobart and a trip to Disneyworld (*cough* for the kid, sure…)
What supply in your house is running low right now?
Milo – it’s devastating.
If you had to pick a theme song for your life, what would it be?
Send me on my way by Rusted Root (no other reason than that I just love it)
What's a weird quirk you've got?
Ha! So many. The one that trips me up mostly is that I have to have my fitted sheet on my bed tucked waaaay in. Like, if it feels even a little bit loose I cannot fall asleep haha.
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