Joshua Rystedt is the founder and managing owner of R Creative, a marketing agency that reimagines its clients’ digital effectiveness and increases online leads or sales.
R Creative leverages a full spectrum of digital marketing services, as well as more traditional offerings, to give its clients all the tools they need to grow their sales funnel. By leveraging the latest marketing and technology trends R Creative is fully equipped to help its clients’ brands grow.
Small business ownership means wearing a lot of hats. From managing projects to balancing budgets to keeping clients happy, business owners know that the job is rarely a tidy 9-5 deal.
In some ways, that can be a nice arrangement.
Schedule flexibility is an appealing aspect of pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor and may be the whole reason that some people take the plunge. But flexibility can bring its own challenges, including a blurred line between work and a business owner’s personal life.
This is the position that R Creative owner, Joshua Rystedt, found himself in around the time that his online marketing agency was coming to the end of its second year in business. It was a great time: R Creative was growing like crazy … but so was Joshua’s family.
“It got to this point where my wife would finish making dinner and I was still pacing the back deck, fielding a call in the only place our toddlers couldn’t find me,” Joshua recalls.
“My wife was frustrated because she wanted us to sit down to a family meal together and my kids were frustrated because it felt like all I did was work.
“The most ironic thing is that my wife and I started this business on the dining room table and it was just computers and notebooks and sticky notes everywhere. We ate dinner at the coffee table most of the time during those days – little kids think everything is an adventure so we got away with it for a while.
But everything has its season. After a few years in business, putting our family time on hold so that the business could thrive wasn’t a realistic path forward. And we both knew that that crazy time needed to end.”
Enter BELAY Virtual Assistant Tammy Potter.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to struggle with burnout after the first year or two of running their own business. And certainly, no one expects that starting a new business is going to be a walk in the park.
In fact, according to Joshua, the first two years are similar to the early years of parenting: lots of tasks that need immediate attention at all hours of the day – and night!
However, once those early days fade into the rearview, it’s important to free up the schedule to allow for some much-needed rest, as well as creative time to work on the business, rather than in all of the daily business functions.
After the initial growth period at R Creative, Joshua discovered that he not only needed a vacation but also time dedicated to brainstorming new strategies for company growth and client satisfaction. The newborn business had some growing to do.
Joshua knew that he needed to give up some of his work to other team members to free him up for other tasks, but the problem was that there wasn’t anyone to hand work off to.
“So, my specialty is web development,” Josh shares.
“I like to design and I love to get into a ‘coding hole’, which is where I blank out and dissect these obscure bits of code that make things work online. The problem is that those activities aren’t the best for a business owner to be focusing on. Someone has to pay the bills and answer the emails.
“Even though my passion for developing is what got me here in the first place, it couldn’t be the only thing I was going to do if I wanted to run a successful business. There’s just no way that works out.”
At first, Joshua thought of hiring someone to take on some of the web development work and other content creation tasks, but those hires were beyond the scope of the budget and training time he was able to dedicate to the task at the time.
Even without hiring direct web help, Joshua knew it was time to reach out to a team that could help pair him with the support staff he needed to keep his business running.
“You think, ‘Oh, I’m going to go into business for myself because I like to do this thing and want to make money doing this thing,’ but what they don’t tell you is that if you don’t surround yourself with a team that can handle the other 80% of running the business – answering your emails, fielding client questions, redesigning stuff that doesn’t work, balancing the books – you’re never going to get to do that thing you love.
“You’re just going to be running around playing business manager and the passion that got you there in the first place is going to get all used up on tasks you don’t enjoy.”
Joshua realized that what he needed during the growing years – and beyond – was a Virtual Assistant to help with some of the day-to-day operations at R Creative. And that’s when Joshua turned to the BELAY team for help finding the right person to help him take R Creative to the next level.
R Creative was quickly paired with a Virtual Assistant named Tammy, who took on email tasks, meeting coordination, and a variety of tasks related to the virtual products that R Creative offers.
It was a step in the right direction for balancing work tasks and allowing Joshua to get back to some of the creative work that helped take R Creative to the next level, growing from a two-person show of Joshua and his wife to a team of 12 creative and support members that help clients reach their online marketing goals.
“Hiring a Virtual Assistant was key for me to get back on track with the stuff I liked doing, and frankly that I’m good at doing,” Josh adds.
“It’s amazing how taking that step to realize that this business has to be more than me running the show opened up a world of opportunity I hadn’t even thought of. I have support for tasks I don’t want to do or can’t do as effectively as someone else.”
Now, years later, R Creative is going strong and Joshua is grateful for the time and mental freedom that hiring a Virtual Assistant opened for him. Joshua is a strong advocate for business owners to surround themselves with others who can support and uplift the brand, especially new businesses that are looking to take their first step.
And it all started with working with a BELAY Virtual Assistant.
“If you have me running the calendar, we just won’t need a calendar because eventually, I’m going to call it quits and go do something else,” Joshua shared with a laugh.
“And then, all of a sudden, I have space to land these new projects that now I can hire a web designer and a project manager and whoever else I need. But that mindset shift at first – letting someone else into the inner workings of what we were doing and allowing them to share that mental load – that was huge.”