Studio IX:                                All right. First thing's first. Who are you, and what do you do?

Tobias Noyes:                        My name is Tobias Noyes and I'm the founder of a small digital marketing and web development company called Renaissance Group.

Studio IX:                                And what does Renaissance Group do?

Tobias Noyes:                        We focus on two things. First, we design and code beautiful/intuitive websites. Second, we use a variety of digital marketing techniques, like search engine optimization, paid search, and Facebook ads to drive traffic to those sites.

Studio IX:                                Cool. We should get you working for us. (laughter)

Tobias Noyes:                       Okay, this is actually just a client meeting then.

Studio IX:                                Yeah. We're just recruiting, that's all we're doing. So, what are you passionate about?

Tobias Noyes:                        In regards to business, personal, or both?

Studio IX:                                Across the board.

Tobias Noyes:                        Interesting, that's a great question. The good thing about it being transcribed and not recorded is that it doesn't take in consideration pauses. I could pause for 10 minutes and think about it.

First and foremost, I'm a Christian, and so the number one priority in my life is glorifying Christ. I’m also passionate about family, community, personal growth, and ultimately making a positive impact, which is why I love entrepreneurship. When you work for yourself, you’re able to steer the ship. I do a fair bit of work with nonprofits as well as donate 10% of gross sales to philanthropic organization. I’m able to do these things because I don’t have a boss or board to report to.

Studio IX:                                What do you enjoy most about the work that you're doing?

Tobias Noyes:                        I absolutely love my team & company culture. One of our core values is to “take things personally.” As the founder, my desire is to provide challenging & meaningful work to my employees, which I believe fosters a culture of excellence and commitment.

The average American will spend 10,000 hours “working” over the next five years. Because of this, I don’t really like the term “work life balance”.  If my team and I viewed Renaissance Group as a necessary evil, just to pay the bills, we’re doing something wrong.

My teammates and I sincerely care about one another, our work, and our clients. It’s not just a method for a paycheck. We take it personally.

I love having the ability to do enjoyable, meaningful work with some of the most incredible people in the world.

Studio IX:                                And when did this company start?

Tobias Noyes:                        I started Spring semester, my fourth year in college. So, about a year and a half ago.

Studio IX:                                And you are the founder?

Tobias Noyes:                        I'm the founder.

Studio IX:                                Awesome.

Studio IX:                                So let’s backtrack to your passions, and think about the work you're doing. Is there a place where those dovetail in some sense?

Tobias Noyes:                        That’s a great question. Going back to my number one priority, Christ, I see Renaissance Group as an extension of that, which permeates every part of the business from company culture, to quality of service, to our clients.

I have a desire to positively impact the world around me. I see Renaissance Group as a method to do that. Ultimately, I plan on moving into services like cybersecurity, IT optimization, finance, etc. Ideally, Renaissance Group will become a full fledged consulting firm that can help nonprofits increase their efficiency and impact.

Studio IX:                                What's an aspect of the work that you do that people might be surprised to know about?

Tobias Noyes:                        We do a really good job of showing clients what we do, how we do it, and what are the results. We have a commitment to transparency, which is very important for a marketing firm. We’re confident in our work and the results that we provide. Too many firms have metrics like “brand awareness” and “engagement rate”. These things don’t mean much. People care about conversions–sales, donations, volunteer signups, etc. To the best of our ability, we avoid these “micro-conversions” and measure real results.

Studio IX:                                Is there a memorable story that comes to mind from your work? A turning point, anything in starting the company that stands out to you?

Tobias Noyes:                        Yeah. I was actually just recently having this conversation with one of my employees about this. Renaissance Group’s first client was a small, family-run business in Richmond, VA... Now, one and a half years later, we’re working with much larger clients, one of them is worth roughly 100 million. Graduating from UVA, I felt pressure to land a high paying corporate job. There’s insecurity not knowing whether or not I made the right decision to start this business. It was almost surreal to have the realization that we’ve actually come a very long way.

Studio IX:                                Where do you see all of this headed in the next five to ten years?

Tobias Noyes:                        I have a passion for starting things, not necessarily managing things.  I love web development and digital marketing, but I don’t see myself doing it long term. My plan is to continue to grow the business and then hire a manager to run it for me while I start another company, probably cybersecurity.

In ten years, my hope is to have several “consulting” type companies: marketing, IT optimization, cybersecurity, strategy/operations, etc. I can use those different companies in tandem to add value to other organizations. That’s where the name Renaissance Group came from. Stemming back from a “Renaissance Man,” who is someone that’s an expert in a variety of fields, I want to run a company or parent company that has expertise in a variety of fields. So long story short. For me, it’s not so much about the what (i.e. digital marketing), but the how and why.

Studio IX:                                What do you enjoy about being here at Studio IX?

Tobias Noyes:                       Honestly, I just love it as a co-working space. I was initially running the business out of Milli, which was very inefficient. It’s surprising what a monitor or two will do to improve your workflow.

My biggest issue is that the coffee is too good–I love snowing in space! I’m pretty sure I’m paying more to Snowing in Space than I am to Studio IX. (Laughter)

Studio IX:                                Cool, that's it.

Tobias Noyes:                       That's it?

Studio IX:                                Clean and simple.