Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
I am Jordan Richards, founder, and CEO of RCCO, a creative agency for tech pioneers. We are a tight-knit team of 20 based in London working globally on a variety of tech and startup projects. Our design and development teams support businesses with key components for growth, such as branding, website and app design, video, and presentations. I am also the co-founder of WILD, a story-led video studio, and Ramp, a Webflow development specialist company. I act as a consultant for these businesses, helping them expand and scale whilst integrating them into the RCCO family.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
My typical day consists of a mix of internal meetings and client conversations. My role as founder and CEO is to lead my team and support the growth of the business whilst consulting with our largest clients. A large part of my role is problem-solving. From helping clients solve problems with creative solutions to guiding my team through their initiatives. Both aspects are really rewarding.
What’s great about what you do?
I get to grow multiple teams while making brilliant creatives for our clients. My goal has always been to mix my design background with business skills. Every day throws challenges and new scenarios but I love that we all have a problem-solving mindset and come together to build kick-ass solutions. As a company we really support diverse career paths, and prefer to not look at education, instead hiring people from apprenticeships, internships, entrepreneurship/freelance, work experience, and more! It’s not that we are against university, but we want to support all types of career paths for young talent.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
As the CEO, I find hiring a huge challenge. In order to meet the demands during times of rapid growth, hiring can take a lot of time and energy. However, spending the time on making sure we hire the right people will ultimately ensure we reach our targets and continue to deliver excellent service. At times we can become a bit of a recruitment agency. As a company that offers hybrid working, it is also a challenge trying to maintain company culture whilst my team work away from the office. Whilst we have seen a big boost in company morale, trying to plan for activities and collaborations effectively can be tricky! We offer unlimited working away for our diverse team so that they can spend invaluable time with their families across Europe, a great way to ensure that morale is high.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
With less than 20 people we have been able to collaborate with over 20+ teams at Google globally. A real testament to our ways of working and talent! In an incredibly short amount of time, we designed and animated a "Year in Trends" video for Google and got it live before the year ended. In less than a month, it received more than 500k views! We still see it as a great lesson in teamwork and it was amazing to watch it go live before Christmas. We’ve now got to the stage where we can build some really cutting-edge technology solutions for our clients, there is nothing better than imagining an idea and seeing the design and development teams make that a reality! We have supported a scale-up tech brand, Ad-Lib, since its inception over 4 years ago. We worked with them on brand strategy through to identity, website, and marketing content. They recently sold for over $100M which was a great credit to the collaboration and work we had supported.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
A few years ago, a client of ours chose to launch a legal case against us. Their internal design team was envious of how much work was being sent our way and not to them and rather than figuring out how to enhance their offerings and become a better business partner, they set out against us. Now we look back and laugh as it ended in us becoming an official creative partner, becoming even more integrated into their business, and in turn gaining more creative work. Sometimes when a big challenge comes your way, you need to be a creative, and positive leader - finding solutions and flipping problems into opportunities.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
Before founding RCCO, I was a creative at Google for three years. I started an apprenticeship there at 18 and continued on once I had completed the course. If we throw way back to the start, I began by making and selling phone cases at the age of 11 while still in school. A few years later, I sold my first website for £500 and started sub-contracting work alongside college. Since, I have pursued being in the creative industry and looked to combine my creative mindset with business skills!
Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?
I think everyone has seen it but hybrid working has caused big challenges for agencies. When everyone is remote, or everyone in-person then that makes things easier. When you try to combine a random and everchanging mix of the two it can create quite a bit extra work when planning anything team-related. It also has a big impact on managing culture and is hard for founders to balance structure while being flexible. I also think that with the economic shifts, agencies are being a bit squeezed in the middle. Some clients want things cheaper, and staff needs more pay. Businesses have the challenge of keeping running and trying to make a profit as either side closes the gap closer.
How has your background, upbringing, and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Definitely! My parents are the owner of a heating company, so I learned hard work and business traits early on getting stuck in helping them. Throughout school and education, I hated learning from books and lessons, I always wanted to just dive in hands-on and learn on the go. While at school I regularly played on photoshop, Serif Webplus (an old-school web tool), and many more apps where I learned skills on the go. This really formulated my idea to leave A-Levels early and pursue an apprenticeship. Nothing for me compares to experiencing real projects, real clients, and feedback from a diverse range of people.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Treat yourself like an athlete. If you were Lewis Hamilton going for his next World Championship win, how would you train your mind and body? We don’t have to make quite the sacrifices of a world-class athlete, but what inspiration can we take from this to apply even just a small improvement to our routine? Athletes don’t compete every single day, they take time to rest, recover and train to then have bursts of excellence - and as entrepreneurial athletes, we should think about how we can do the same. I regularly when younger maybe put business too much first and my personal health slipped thanks to this. Now I have put myself first every day with mind and body exercise, I am even more productive and creative! Sometimes more work can seem like you are achieving more, but it's about the quality and impact of work that matters.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Take the jump, there is no better time than now. You will always wish you got started sooner! Don’t be too harsh on yourself, the key thing is that you are always learning. Try to be a tiny bit better each and every day - the possibilities are limitless. Read Atomic Habits, and find some books and podcasts in the field you are interested in, absorb as much information as possible.
Where can people find you and your work online?
You can take a look at our website https://www.rcco.uk/ or follow me on LinkedIn.