Being a part of the Contractor Services team at BELAY is incredible. One of the best parts of my job is having so many conversations each month with our contractors about what brought them to BELAY and why they choose to pursue "The Third Option." A particular phone call with one of our virtual web specialists stuck out in my mind this month and I want to share it. Please meet Joshua Rystedt - and his story of "why."
Why did you choose a Third Option?
I’ve been working in the virtual space as a web developer since 2004. Yet my life has been one of competing goals and aspirations. Since long before adulthood I’ve wanted to be a loving husband and father, be an honest pastor, and pursue my love for technology. My combination of passions just wasn’t easy to balance. In 2011, I accepted a call to serve as the Youth Director of a local church. In 2013, I got married after a whirlwind romance. Since the birth of our first child, I’ve wrestled with balancing ministry, tech, and family. Growing my career as a virtual Web Specialist turned out to be my Third Option. I didn’t have to choose between being with my family and growing my career. Today, I work from home full time (and take breaks to play with my three children). Evenings and weekends are filled with family, ministry, and theological education. Over the past year I’ve embraced my Third Option and my work / life balance has never been better.
What do you love most about your job/client/project list?
There is a lot to love about being a virtual Web Specialist. I love that I have the opportunity to flex my creativity and technical knowledge to help my clients reach the next level. I love that my clients are able to spend more time on what they do best. My favorite projects often involve difficult problems and complex design requirements. I love a challenge.
What has changed for you/your client since starting the partnership/engagement?
I currently serve multiple clients each with diverse needs. Each client is unique and each engagement and project evolves in unique ways. But regardless of how things change the client’s personality, brand, and market must always come first.
How have you used your background in web design/support to help your client?
My clients are amazing. Whether they’re setting tomorrow’s healthcare standard or educating children in South America, my clients are the real pros. I’m just privileged to be able to utilize my knowledge of front and back end Web technologies to help take their organizations to the next level.
What from your background helped prepare them for serving clients virtually?
I credit my elementary school education for the independent work ethic necessary for successful virtual work. I was homeschooled by a single mother and business owner. In late elementary school much of my schooling was independent study. I had a list of assignments to complete by certain dates, had to read and research on my own, and demonstrate mastery of the material. I’ve never lost that independent and driven work ethic. Perhaps more importantly, I learned the importance of self education and research. Today, as a virtual Web Specialist, I bring the same independent drive to my clients’ organizations.
What was one of the struggles you had transitioning to a remote workplace that you have had to overcome?
I’ve worked virtually to some extent my entire career. But there was an important transition period in 2017 where I stopped commuting to an office job during the day and began working virtually from home full time. I had two children then. The biggest challenge was developing a new balance where my life family and work life helped and fuelled one another. My wife, a professional copywriter, also works virtually full time. We had to develop a strategy and schedule to ensure that one of us would be on “child duty” while the other was in meetings or accomplishing tasks with a tight deadline.
What is one thing about what you do that makes you excited to get up tomorrow and do it again?
Hearing how my work has helped take my clients’ organizations to the next level fuels my work. Few things are as encouraging as helping others succeed.
What else to you want someone to know about working virtually?
Working virtually can be a blessing for you, your family, and your career. But it takes initiative, passion, organization, and cooperation from your family. If you can choose your Third Option, do it! But be prepared to work hard.
And anything else you want us to know?
My clients are my heros. They’re the ones who have made my Third Option possible even as they make their communities and markets a better place.
It’s Your Turn
At BELAY, we can’t help our clients achieve their vision if we don’t have a team of virtual assistants, virtual bookkeepers, and virtual web specialists at the ready to serve them with excellence. If you, like Joshua, have a heart to serve and see the people you support go farther, we’d love to talk with you. Visit our jobs page and see where you may fit with BELAY.