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Balancing the Grind with Jordan Richards, Founder & CEO of RCCO

Jordan Richards is the founder & CEO of digital creative agency RCCO, and also the co-founder of WILD, a video production company.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

It probably sounds a bit unlikely, but my career really started when I was 12 years old. Of course, I didn’t have a fixed career plan at that stage, but I started designing phone cases at school, and I enjoyed the experience of earning money and doing what I thought of as ‘running a business’.

When I was 13, I sold my first website to a fishing company. And that’s where my love for design and code took hold. Later, I started a design business on the side of college, but quit early when I won a Google apprenticeship. And I stayed with Google for a total of three years, finally leaving to start my own ventures. 

RCCO – a creative agency for tech pioneers – has been my main focus since then. My current role is leading the team as CEO & Founder, supporting our ambitious growth and ensuring we have the right team in place, alongside consulting with our largest clients. 

Alongside RCCO, I have co-founded a story-led video studio called WILD and a Webflow development specialist called Ramp. For these businesses, I act as a consultant, supporting them in growing and scaling faster, while connecting them into the RCCO family.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Meetings, meetings, meetings! I have too many meetings for my liking! If I’m not careful, my whole day can be full of them, so I have to guard my calendar and try to build in a mix of focus time and meeting time. This means I can get tasks finished while focusing and be present in meetings separately.

So, my typical day is a mix of internal meetings and client conversations. They’re both really rewarding, as I help clients solve problems with creative solutions, and guide and support the team in their initiatives. But sometimes I do need to take time to focus, just to get jobs done. I find days at the weekend are good for doing more creative tasks where there is no time pressure or responsibilities to worry about.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

YES! We fully support remote working and have even taken that a step further by offering Unlimited Working Away – a benefit for all employees to work from anywhere (even outside the UK). We also offer flexible working hours within a reasonable time for aligning with the UK-based team.

A lot of businesses have been reluctant to make that move, but it has made a huge difference to our team. They can visit family in their native countries, and see more of the world, whilst completing their job and being more motivated. And for me, it means a personal challenge to travel more. The restrictions of COVID have kept us all at home for too long. Being able to work remotely without being hypocritical, means that I have the opportunity to go more places than ever before.

 4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

When you are building a business, there is always something on the to-do list. Having the ability to switch off and decide when to take a break is a superpower.

I have made my calendar my best friend, and I use it to make sure I book in and block out time for not just work, but family, friends, experiences, and rest. I now see more people than ever before, while still having a lot of time to grow my businesses. And, importantly, making time to rest and recover.

While it’s tempting to completely throw yourself into an enterprise, I’ve learnt that ambition is best served by being busy enough to feel motivated and excited, but also not so busy that you don’t know where to get started.

Saying “no” is a really hard thing to do but also the only way you can strike a balance between these two things. And that’s something I carry through as an employer. I will always happily – and honestly – tell employees that if there is a good reason, say no, and I will understand!

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I love meditation and in the last month, I just hit a proud milestone of 4,000 minutes! After reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, I realised that the key is to keep things short and consistent. It’s better to make it manageable and do 10 minutes a day than to put the pressure on yourself to do more than you have time for. 

I’ve also stopped drinking caffeine. Once I got over the initial loss, the smell, process, and taste still gives me enough to keep me energised. Caffeine can give people a very anxious sort of energy and I want to be as calm as possible during the busy workday.

Lastly, I have tried very hard to not work on Saturdays. This is my sacred day for fun, friends, and family. I like, on Sundays, to rest, catch up on some more light work, and prepare for another busy week. Previously I would work most weekends if I wasn’t planning for something fun.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

There are a couple of books I always recommended. 

The first is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a great read about how we all live in our minds and could do with being more present! Were you fully listening to the last person who spoke to you or thinking about something else…

The second is My Morning Routine by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander. It’s a series of interviews with lots of successful people, showing how different all of their morning and evening routines are. It provides some great inspiration.

And I really enjoy the Diary of a CEO podcast. It has such great interviews that go really deep with successful people and the journey they have taken to get to where they are.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Yeah, doesn’t everyone have essential apps these days?

My Fitbit is my absolute must-have. I love tracking my fitness and sleep. I feel the best way to improve something is to track it. Which is probably quite a tech-person perspective! Since using this I have taken much more notice of when I go to bed and how much sleep my body truly needs.

I also get a lot of use from Sunsama, which is a task tracker, which when combined with my Google calendar, allows me to prioritise tasks for the day and ensure that I have allowed time for working on initiatives amongst the meetings I have scheduled.

And I have such a bad memory, Google Keep is a great way for me to quickly jot things down. Whether stuff for a shopping list, or interview questions!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Working parents. I find when people take time for parental leave and come back to work, they seem to have developed the superpower of work-life balance. When you have something else so important to do outside of work, it seems to enforce this clear divide between work and family. I’d love to find out how they manage to still be successful but work less hours!

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think the most important thing is finding what works for you. There are hundreds of ways to manage your time, relax and perfect your routine. But there’s no point doing any of it if it’s not right for you. So, read about others and take inspiration. Try a few different things and keep perfecting it. Until you find your thing. Life will keep changing, so it’s something you always need to come back to and refine. But it’s important that you always put your wants and needs at the centre of it. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.