Going it Alone: The Challenges for Entrepreneurial Architects

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Most architects follow a similar route. They spend years learning their craft, get a nice job with a good firm, and live a comfortable life thereafter. But what happens when that isn’t quite enough? What if you are just as entrepreneurial as you are great with AutoCAD and creating blueprints? While starting your own architecture is a big gamble, it can be hugely rewarding. And in today’s guide, I’m going to reveal some hints and tips on how to tackle the challenges of making your dreams a reality.

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Do you have the experience?

While working for a firm, the chances are you have designed all kinds of buildings, features, and environments. That’s all well and good, of course. But how much experience have you had with running a business? There is a big leap to make from architect to CEO – and it will take time to develop those skills. While you are working for an architectural firm, it is essential that you show an interest in the business side of things. Put yourself out there, make yourself available, and learn the ins and outs of how to run a successful firm.

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Can you handle the paperwork?

When you start out on your own, you will find you have to spend a long time doing tasks that were not your responsibility at your previous firm. And that means you will be losing money. How? Well, things like invoicing, marketing, tax returns were all below your pay grade in your previous role. But now, you will have to take them all on, meaning you spend less time on the money making side of your business. There are solutions, of course. Services such as My Build Estimate can help with your costings and estimates, for example. A virtual assistant can help you with the everyday tasks that stop you from earning decent money. And outsourcing to a marketing firm will give you the vital marketing knowledge you need to survive.

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Can you handle the responsibility?

Are you prepared to stand up and be counted? Any mistake you make is all on you. You’ll need to find the perfect construction partners to work with, or your reputation could take a hit. There is no sharing of liability. If something goes wrong, you won’t have the spending power on top class legal firms that your old company enjoyed. And, the challenge of always being ‘on’ and ‘available’ is something you might have difficulty in managing. The first few years of going it alone can be tough for anyone in business for these reasons. And, it’s also important to understand that there is no one else to turn to.

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Are you aware of the big picture?

The challenges of going solo as an architect are numerous. It can be expensive, and an incredibly big gamble. That said, I don’t want to put you off pursuing your dreams. If you can handle the challenges for a few years, until you become profitable, there is no reason why you can’t succeed. And who knows, maybe one day you will be as big – or bigger – than the company you initially left?

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