Help me help other architects! This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of my book: Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect. You can help me make it better by leaving a critique in the comment section below. Thx you rock! -Steve
In parts 1 and 2, I shared the story of how my entrepreneurial aspirations have evolved over time. Although I once dreamt of starting my own architecture firm, I realize now that my dream was ill-informed and rather juvenile. Over a period of about 10 years I discovered the type of work that makes me most fulfilled and realized that starting my own firm was a bad idea.
But that was my story. Everyone will have their own preferences. How can you make the decision.
Should you start your own architecture firm?
I shared my journey to highlight the evolution that occurs in your career. I think it is rare for things to work out exactly we plan and that is a good thing. Life is about experiences and self-discovery.
If you think you would like to start your own architecture firm my best advice is to think long term. Ask yourself some questions:
What does your ideal life look like in 10 years? Consider health, family, home, community, religion, recreation, finances and your professional career.
What type of architecture do you want to be doing in 10 years? Think project type, scale and location.
What roles within a firm do you want to be doing in 10 years?
What type of firm will help you best achieve those goals?
These questions should guide you to your path.
The E Myth
Anyone considering starting a business should first read: The E Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. In the E Myth Gerber highlights one common fallacy about business: that being a good technician will translate into a successful business of providing that technical work.
For example, you may make a mean pizza pie but that doesn’t mean you will succeed at starting a pizza shop.
You may be an awesome architect, but that does not mean you will run a successful architecture business.
That is the E Myth. Many people jump head first into a new business without fully understanding entrepreneurship. Gerber goes on to detail proven strategies for running a successful business such as developing systems, organizational structures and marketing strategies.
For those interested in furthering their understanding of the business side of architecture I suggest you read:
- Architect + Entrepreneur: A Field Guide: Building, Branding, and Marketing Your Startup Design Business by Eric Reinholdt
- How Firms Succeed 5.0: New Horizons for the Professional Service Firm by James Cramer and Scott Simpson
- Art’s Principles: 50 years of hard-learned lessons in building a world-class professional services firm by Arthur Gensler
Other amazing resources:
What about you?
Did anyone not want to start an architecture firm? Whether or not you believed you could do it, I bet you had the same itch?