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EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage

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Rank #74 in Design category

Arts
Business
Design
Careers
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Architect Mark R. LePage explores the business of architecture, firm leadership and the everyday life of an architect. From Gābl Media, EntreArchitect Podcast features weekly interviews with inspiring, passionate people who share their knowledge and expertise… all to help you build a better business as a small firm entrepreneur architect. Proven business strategies for architects, including financial management, profit, marketing, sales, productivity, and planning.

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Architect Mark R. LePage explores the business of architecture, firm leadership and the everyday life of an architect. From Gābl Media, EntreArchitect Podcast features weekly interviews with inspiring, passionate people who share their knowledge and expertise… all to help you build a better business as a small firm entrepreneur architect. Proven business strategies for architects, including financial management, profit, marketing, sales, productivity, and planning.

iTunes Ratings

131 Ratings
Average Ratings
117
9
2
1
2

Amazing free resource

By Chicago mies - Aug 01 2018
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Mark's podcast is such an amazing free resource for anyone running a small architecture firm or someone that wants to start one up. The guests always have something useful to contribute and Mark's no-nonsense and engaging personality really make listening to this a true delight. I'm formulating a plan to start my own firm and this podcast has been so tremendously useful. My favorite way that Mark engages a guest is that they'll often recite a bunch of generalities for how to be successful but Mark always asks pointedly "ok, so how do we do that?" It's because Mark has and is there himself running a small firm, so he gets it and gets down to it!

Constant inspiration juice

By FAHRENHEIT STUDIO - May 06 2017
Read more
Who knew ?? That one day the Heavens would open and pour out such awesomeness!

iTunes Ratings

131 Ratings
Average Ratings
117
9
2
1
2

Amazing free resource

By Chicago mies - Aug 01 2018
Read more
Mark's podcast is such an amazing free resource for anyone running a small architecture firm or someone that wants to start one up. The guests always have something useful to contribute and Mark's no-nonsense and engaging personality really make listening to this a true delight. I'm formulating a plan to start my own firm and this podcast has been so tremendously useful. My favorite way that Mark engages a guest is that they'll often recite a bunch of generalities for how to be successful but Mark always asks pointedly "ok, so how do we do that?" It's because Mark has and is there himself running a small firm, so he gets it and gets down to it!

Constant inspiration juice

By FAHRENHEIT STUDIO - May 06 2017
Read more
Who knew ?? That one day the Heavens would open and pour out such awesomeness!
Cover image of EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage

EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage

Latest release on Oct 30, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 1 day ago

Rank #1: EA130: How to Build a Successful Architecture Firm That Works with Architect Declan Keefe [Podcast]

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This month, we’re shifting our focus from technology to management.

How do we build a successful business? How do we build the right systems and team? How can we efficiently and effectively do what we do as architects in the most profitable way?

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, Declan Keefe of Placetailor talks about How to Build a Successful Architecture Firm That Works. 

Declan spent his younger years focused on photography and fine arts before realizing that wasn’t the direction he wanted to go. He began to think about architecture as large-scale, “occupiable” sculpture, convincing himself that it was okay to transfer into architecture without compromising his creative path.

While still in school, Declan found a job as a founding employee to start Placetailor, a firm that wanted to fully integrate the design and building process of architecture. Every member of the team had to have an understanding and a base skill set of being able to both design and build. Three years into the business, when he was a project manager and still in school, the founder of the company stepped away. Rather than allowing Placetailor to die, Declan stepped into the role of owner in 2013.

Placetailor is working to provide a fun experience for clients by creating a brand with loud colors, snarky commentary, and relevance to the times. While splitting his time between design and working in the field, Declan realized that they needed to do some work to actually run a business. He put his head down in the office to figure out how to let people know who Placetailor was and how to convince potential clients that what they’re doing is a good idea.

His plan was to transfer the business into an employee-owned cooperative. They began to test the boundaries of where architecture and construction met, and to figure out their roles in high-performance and energy-efficient buildings.

How did he work to make that transition to a successful cooperative?

  • Help each other to balance different strengths and weaknesses
  • Incentivize with a three-year vesting period prior to becoming an employee-owner
  • Test geographic and technological boundaries
  • Strategized to streamline systems on larger scales for sustainability
  • Developed bylaws as a cooperative, an operating agreement and general rules and guidelines for how they operate as a team

How do they dream and decide on which decisions to move forward?

  • A dream is born
  • Decide how much time & money can be allotted to pursue that dream
  • Invest in the idea first before someone else does
  • Let ideas work through the architecture, development, construction and investment arms
  • Prepare for meetings by trying to anticipate where different people are going to end up so the meeting can continue to think through impacts on the business
  • Use digital minutes to track decisions throughout meetings

Connect with Declan online at Placetailor.com and on Twitter @placetailor & Instagram.

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The post EA130: How to Build a Successful Architecture Firm That Works with Architect Declan Keefe [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Jul 01 2016

53mins

Play

Rank #2: How to Get Started as an Architect Developer (Best of EntreArchitect Podcast)

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How to Get Started as an Architect Developer

This week, enjoy the Best of EntreArchitect Podcast as Mark R. LePage invites Declan Keefe of Placetailor back to share his knowledge about How to Get Started as an Architect Developer.

For full show notes and a list of references from the original podcast, visit EntreArchitect.com/EA134.

Connect with Declan Keefe online at Placetailor.com and on Twitter @placetailor & Instagram.

Visit our Platform Sponsors

Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.

Access your free 30 day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

CORE by BQE Software is designed specifically for architect’s project management!

Get a free 15-day trial of CORE at EntreArchitect.com/BQE.

ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

The post How to Get Started as an Architect Developer (Best of EntreArchitect Podcast) appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Aug 25 2017

1hr 15mins

Play

Rank #3: EA187: 60 Minute Business Plan for Small Firm Architects [Podcast]

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60 Minute Business Plan for Small Firm Architects

Did anyone tell you you needed to know how to run a business when you became an architect? Whether clients come knocking or not, it’s not so easy to keep them knocking. The solution is to write a business plan.

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, 60 Minute Business Plan for Small Firm Architects.

Maybe you’ve heard the words “business plan” and you feel yourself shutting down. Before you do that, let me share my vision. It came from years and years spent putting together my own various business plans. Finally, I put together a stripped down, one page version that I was able to put on paper quickly and develop as I went along.

“The greatest value in creating a business plan is not the final document.  It’s the communication, the prioritization, the focus, the clarity, and learning that makes the process worthwhile.”  – Jim Horan

Where are you now? Where do you want to be in the future?

5 Step Process for a Simple Business Plan for Small Firm Architects  

  1. Create a vision statement.
    Get a single piece of paper and write a single paragraph about your vision. What will your business look like? Where do you want to be? Do you want a high design firm? How much money are you making in your vision? What’s the big picture Consolidate that paragraph into a vision statement that embodies the essence of your vision.
  2. Describe your mission.
    Why did you become an architect? Why did you launch this firm? What propels you toward your vision?
  3. Develop simple strategies.
    Break it down into simple steps of how you’re going to reach your vision and mission. Create 5 steps and work your way backward from your end goal. What do you need to do to reach your goals?
  4. Make specific goals.
    Specify benchmarks that will lead you to execute your strategies. Be specific and give yourself a deadline for each.
  5. Commit to an action plan.
    What tasks will you complete to accomplish your goals? Who will work toward each goal? What does the time line look like? Find the steps required to reach your goals.

Everything you need will go into this document. Once you’ve finalized your business plan, revisit it often. Revisit and revise your business plan 2-4 times a year to ensure that each piece is still relevant. This is an evolving document, and that’s okay!

These periodic revisiting of your big ideas keeps you focused and wanting to push your firm further.

What’s your vision for your architecture firm?

Visit our Platform Sponsors

Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.

Access your free 30 day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

Core by BQE Software is a brand new software designed specifically for architect’s project management!

Get a free 15-day trial at EntreArchitect.com/BQE.

ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Referenced in this Episode

Leave a Rating and Review at iTunes
EntreArchitect Academy
The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur by Jim Horan

Enrollment for the EntreArchitect Academy closes Friday, October 6, 2017!

To learn more and sign up NOW, visit EntreArchitect Academy!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Kucher Serhii (edited)

The post EA187: 60 Minute Business Plan for Small Firm Architects [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Sep 29 2017

26mins

Play

Rank #4: EA121: The 12 Critical Categories of Business That Will Take Your Firm from Struggling Studio to Small Firm Success Story [Podcast]

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In architecture school, we all had a dream of what we would become when we became architects; designing beautiful spaces and making the world a better place with each project. We each told ourselves a story of success as an architect. We imagined a studio filled with light, working with talented people and surrounded by the iterations of our creativity. Powerful projects, patrons and processes of purpose that allowed us to pursue our passions.

How is your dream looking today? Are you succeeding or are you struggling?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Mark R. LePage will share The 12 Critical Categories of Business That Will Take Your Architecture Firm from a Struggling Studio to Small Firm Success Story.

Business is a game, and like any game, you have to be able to learn and play by the rules to win. There are critical steps that need to be taken in order for our firms to thrive and become the success stories of our dreams. The only way to small firm architecture success is to hit each one of these twelve critical categories:

  1. Finance // Are your books in order? The numbers are how we make it all work financially. How do you manage your money? How do you put together your financial reports? Should you use debt to grow or not?
  2. Business Development (Sales) // If you don t have sales, you don t have business, you don t have an architecture firm. Are you selling your services?
  3. Leadership // Are you a strong leader? How can you become a small leader? Do you know how to build strong teams? Are you familiar with the roles, responsibilities, and results expected in your firm?
  4. Culture // Have you defined what your firm’s culture looks like? Are you intentionally developing your firm culture?
  5. Client Fulfillment // How do you manage the expectations of your clients? How do you develop systems that help you fulfill clients’ needs? How can you develop strong project management skills? Are you using the EntreArchitect Hybrid Proposal?
  6. Technology // What design software are you using? Are you using the best equipment and software that you can afford to make you into the most productive in what you do? Is your technology relevant and are you looking to the future technologies that architects will be using?
  7. Business Management // Who are the people in our firm and how are they working? What are the processes that those people are working with? What are the products and services that we’re creating and serving with? Do you have an interview process, a hiring process, a conflict/resolution process, a firing process? Are they documented?
  8. Personal Development // Are you learning and exploring to build a better you? What are you doing on a daily basis to care for yourself mentally and physically to make sure that you stay strong and healthy? Are you sharing what you know with others?
  9. Marketing // What strategies and systems of marketing do you have in place now? What types of marketing should you be developing? Are you connected through social networks? Is your website telling your story in a captivating way? Is it a way for you to connect further?
  10. Life // How do you integrate your firm with your personal life? Are you learning the skills of scheduling and prioritizing to live a better, more integrated life?
  11. Community // How can you build a business that does good for others while building a business that does well?
  12. Planning // Do you take time to look back at what you’ve been doing to evaluate if you’re on the right track with your goals? Can you look forward at how your plan will evolve further down the road?

If you are running a firm, these things aren’t optional. Focus on each one of them, schedule time and be intentional to develop systems and strategies.

Mark struggled and searched for the answers for years, but when he focused on the fundamentals, he saw his firm turn around. His projects got better and his business grew.

He wants the same for every small firm out there, and that’s why he launched EntreArchitect Academy in 2014. Every month we’re diving deeper into these critical categories beyond what you see on the blog and hear in podcasts to learn all there is to learn. We have exclusive live trainings with experts who provide resources on what they know in each of these subjects. We break into smaller groups that support one another and help one another grow. Every member has access to our digital courses, document templates, systems templates from experts, and access to a whole library of videos that talk about so many topics. Early bird enrollment with a discounted rate is open until general enrollment opens.

Enrollment for the EntreArchitect Academy opens on May 2nd and is limited to the first 50 new members!

Click here to enroll in the EntreArchitect Academy

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The easiest way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.
Access Your 30-Day Free Trial at FreshBooks.com/architect (Enter EntreArchitect)

Referenced in This Episode

New Year. New Budget. [Blog]
Basic Financial Statements for Small Firm Architects [Blog]
6 Ways Your Architecture Firm May Benefit from Working with an Investor [Blog]
Financial Intelligence for Small Firm Architects [Podcast]
4 Steps for Changing an Architect s Mind on Money [Podcast]
The One Thing by Gary Keller [book]

Join us in Philadelphia at the EntreArchitect Meetup

The post EA121: The 12 Critical Categories of Business That Will Take Your Firm from Struggling Studio to Small Firm Success Story [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Apr 29 2016

41mins

Play

Rank #5: EA192: Earl Parson – The Entrepreneur Architect Series [Podcast]

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The Entrepreneur Architect Series: Earl Parson

At EntreArchitect, you’re encouraged to share your knowledge. When we share with other architects, we all benefit. We are able to learn from one another and the profession will grow. One of the goals of EntreArchitect is to provide a platform for other entrepreneur architects to share their stories.

We want to interview you! What’s your story? Do you want to share your knowledge or the story about how you were inspired to pursue this profession? How do you become an entrepreneur architect?

Join us for our series called The Entrepreneur Architect, where each guest has the opportunity to share their story and answer some questions that will provide value to each of you.

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, The Entrepreneur Architect Series featuring Earl Parson.

Background

Earl Parson is an architect based in Los Angeles, California practicing residential architecture as Parson Architecture and is the founder of CleverModerns.com, an online platform empowering DIY owner-builders with plans and coaching.

Origin Story

Earl was born and raised in Muncie, Indiana, and his life intersected with architecture as a kid when his best friend’s dad was an architect. He saw the giant drawing boards and electric erasers, which may not have directly inspired him, but was a role model in his life of an option when he grew up.

His dad owned a two story, three storefront building downtown as an investment and hobby, and there were constantly projects to fix it up that Earl was around. In addition, they added on to his house while he was growing up. There was a moment where he began falling in love with the old buildings.

Though he knew he wanted to be an architect, he wanted to get out and explore the world. He spent time in St. Louis for his undergrad and ended up at SCI-Arc for grad school. He worked for some architects around town and then ended up on his own after the recession, and never looked back from there.

After graduating, Earl and a friend took a summer off doing design work, building furniture, and other odd jobs. Later, he worked for Marmol RadzinerW3 Architects, and Studio Works, and eventually got a full time job Pasadena City College teaching drawing and Keating.

After the recession, he started Parson Architecture. In 2009, some friends connected him with a gallery in Chinatown where architects and designers came together and had a show of furniture and other objects.

Earl started doing some work for daycare facilities that required a certain amount of professionalism, creating a great growth opportunity to establish business practices.

Where and when did you start welding?

When Earl was a kid, his grandparents lived on a farm in southern Indiana. His grandpa made everything he had on his farm. He had a lightbulb moment seeing his grandpa create and realized that everything that had ever been created was first thought of and built by someone.

Once he bought a house and had the space, he bought a welder and started accumulating equipment. That creative outlet kept him sane during the recession.

What big goal did you achieve? 

Earl entered the Charrette Venture Group Business Plan Competition. He received an honorable mention, but the real achievement was the mental and psychological hurdles it took to enter.

Thought it took courage, Earl worked to develop his plan and put it out to the world. He would sit down each morning for about an hour to develop his ideas. Earl relearned how to have an idea and develop it so that it’s something worth considering.

What is Clever Moderns?

It’s a platform that Earl is currently developing. The idea is to be a passive income strategy to grow a community around people supporting each other in the home DIY owner-builder world.

Not only do they want to sell the plans, but Earl wants to provide coaching and support for people who want to build the homes themselves. There are a lot of people out there that love the idea of having interesting architecture and design who may not go out and hire an architecture. In there is the hidden market for those who want help and encouragement to do it themselves.

The lightbulb moment came when it dawned on Earl that rather than charging a better fee for his services, he just gave the plans away for free. If the plans are free, how does the rest of it work?

Currently, Clever Moderns is building their first prototype houses. In northern Arizona, Earl is building Quonset huts.

What has been your biggest struggle?

For Earl, putting his ideas out there is terrifying. The fear of creating a newsletter was holding him back. Earl’s friend Halelly Azulay at TalentGrow LLC encouraged him to get at it and offered support.

His secret method to focus is to put his phone in airplane mode. It becomes a psychological barrier that says he’s focusing his time on the most important thing in his immediate present.

 Quick Questions

What s your target market? For Clever Moderns, it’s DIY Quonset people.
What s your fee structure? Parson Architecture is a stipulated sum generally based on a percentage, for Clever Moderns is more of an hourly consulting fee
Other than architecture, what makes you happy? Playing the piano.
What s the best advice you ve ever received? 
Get your architecture license.
What s one personal habit that contributes to your success? Meditation.
What s a recommended app or internet resource? Google Chrome internet browser, Speed dial 2 to open various windows and easily go where you want, Trello and LastPass password manager
What s a book you d recommend? Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“If you really want to improve your business for tomorrow, you have to do the hard work of sitting down with a blank piece of paper and develop the ideas that are going to shape your business.”  – Earl Parson

Connect with Earl online at Parson.Architecture.com and CleverModerns.com. Follow his  on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Visit our Platform Sponsors

Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.

Access your free 30 day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

Core by BQE Software is a brand new software designed specifically for architect’s project management!

Get a free 15-day trial at EntreArchitect.com/BQE.

ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Charrette Venture Group invests in small- to mid- sized architecture firms with the goal to create action behind aspirations. Do you want to become a larger, stronger business?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/CVG to learn more!

Referenced in this Episode

Download the Profit For Small Firm Architects course for FREE.

Leave a Rating and Review at iTunes
DIY Quonset Dwellers on Facebook

The post EA192: Earl Parson – The Entrepreneur Architect Series [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Nov 03 2017

1hr 4mins

Play

Rank #6: EA185: The Passion, The Process and Problems of Running a Design/Build Architecture Firm [Podcast]

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The Passion, The Process and Problems of Running a Design/Build Architecture Firm

Do you want more control? More money? More happy clients? More architecture with better design? Is design/build the answer to our professions problems? Will building your own projects be the solution to success for your small firm? What does it take to run a successful design build firm?

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, Mark speaks with Jim Zack and Declan Keefe about The Passion, The Process and Problems of Running a Design/Build Architecture Firm.

About Jim and Declan

Jim Zack is based in San Francisco, California as the co-founder and partner at his design build firm, Zack de Vito: Design + Build. He visited EntreArchitect Podcast on EA102: Risks and Rewards with Architect Developer Jim Zack. He’s a current facilitator at EntreArchitect Academy’s Design/Build Mastermind Group.

Declan Keefe is a founder and owner at Placetailor and a three-time guest at EntreArchitect Podcast: EA130: How to Build a Successful Architecture Firm That Works with Architect Declan KeefeEA141: How to Build a Brand that Resonates with Your Most Valuable ClientsEA134: How to Get Started as an Architect Developer.

How are your design/build firms structured?

Jim has been involved in building things for a long time and he’s been in business for 25 years. He began working construction when he was 15 and was trained in carpentry long before he was an architect. Zack de Vito is organized as two different companies: one a construction company and one architecture firm. They’ve found that a lot of liability and contractual details organize themselves well in those two separate businesses.

Conceptually, they try to make it feel like one company. Architects come to the office and sit and draw, and construction workers go to the site and build. As hard as they try to integrate the two day in and day out, it may not always be as seamless of a process.

Zack de Vito has a project manager, estimator, a partner at the construction company, 6-10 carpenters, and 5-8 people in the office ranging from an interior designer to Jim’s wife, who performs office management and marketing for the firm.

Placetailor is set up similarly although technically their architecture and construction companies are formally one business, where their development entity is a separate business. As far as scale, Placetailor has almost the same team setup as Zack de Vito.

Their business came from a true design/build model where they weren’t doing any design for any other firms, and all their projects were able to be completed internally. In the last few years, they’ve switched to provide architecture for other builders as well. Even though they’re one business, they functionally work as architecture, construction and real estate development. Development is separated because it has a much higher level of risk involved.

Was there a point where you went from  a traditional architecture firm to an architecture design/build firm?

For Jim, it’s been an evolution. He’s entrepreneurial by spirit, and did a design/build project with his dad when he was 23 years old to design and build two house and each have one. Eventually he went to architecture school, bought a house and remodeled it. When he opened an office and started making things, his knowledge led him here. He wanted to be a cool designing architect who wanted to get his hands dirty.

A lot of their work has been self-motivated projects where they design and build buildings that they owned. The more they did it, the more they realized they needed to start doing that for their clients as well.

Declan’s business was started as a design/build firm. They saw a split between architects and builders in the industry that was leading to lower quality buildings and design, and they decided to do something about it. As they began to create higher quality buildings, they quickly got into high performance, energy efficient models, which launched them into the energy efficient design side that they’re working in now.

The development side came from their desire to create consistent work; they decided to take the risk and create their own projects. They wanted to create a demonstration to other developers: if they could prove the business model to other developers, they would hire Placetailor to do the design/build work they wanted to be doing. Now they’re even doing development consulting where they share how they do things and find success doing it.

Declan, how does your employee-owned business work?

When someone becomes an owner, they are an equal part owner: they have an equal equity stake and a equal vote. Anyone who comes into Placetailor who sticks around for three years and meets a certain line of criterion, then they can become an owner too. Right now, there’s five owners and a sixth coming in at the new year. There are five more people in the company who, if they’re around in a few years, may also have an opportunity to become an owner.

The ownership decisions are defined really clearly, and everyone has to be on board for a decision to move forward. As an ownership, they’ve decided what percentage of profits are evenly distributed among the owners.

What advice would you give to someone looking into design/build?

It depends on the market and the person. Jim is a “maker”, and the motivation to build is what got him to this place. You have to make a decision on the front end: are you a builder or a manager contractor? There are a lot of design companies who want to start managing constructing but are effectively managing owner builder projects. They’re set up so the client takes all the risk and they just kind of assist through the process.

If you’re a young architect doing it on your own, and you’re doing it to have control, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons already. Declan believes you need to learn how to communicate, facilitate and manage. Do it because it’s the business model you believe in and it’s the way in which you want to work. If you want to be able to actually manage things, you need to do the work to gain the knowledge of what’s hard, what things cost, why to make one decision over another. If it’s possible and you’re willing, find someone who’s willing to take you under your wing and learn the skills you need to know.

First, figure out why you’re doing this. If you’re looking for control over the project, you may be looking for more of an architect as developer role.

What are some risks of being a design/build architect?

Figuring out how to profit from construction is a huge challenge. There can be a naive attitude that the contractor figures out the price, puts a markup at the bottom and walks out with a bonus at the end. It’s taken them a lot of time to work out how to best manage their finances. The “huge markup” turns into nothing if you don’t manage it well.

To build a building verses design it, there’s a lot more people involved. When you deal with more people, you have the risk of dealing with all the things that could happen with all the people that are involved. These things can happen in any business, but the more people the greater the risk. It makes things difficult on the hiring side; how do you know if someone is good at their skill until you get them in the field with your team? Every little decision affects your bottom line. 

A big part of being a design/builder is trusting that you have the right people in place who can do their jobs. If you can’t let go, you won’t be able to do the job with all the moving pieces that go into it. The skillset of an architect is set up to think creatively about the business side, but often we see people falling into the same, easy business model. You can do your business differently if you want.

What would you say is the best part of being a design/build architect?

Jim enjoys going by the job site, seeing the development, the framing, the foundation, the finishing, and the final product. He loves being involved in the day to day construction.

Declan loves having the team, those who are doing the job in the field, in the office, and on the investment end. There’s a wide range of amazing people they get to put together to make amazing things for their clients.

Connect with Declan Keefe online at Placetailor.com and on Twitter @placetailor & Instagram.

Connect with Jim Zack online at ZackdeVito.com or on Facebook.

Visit our Platform Sponsors

Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.

Access your free 30 day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

Core by BQE Software is a brand new software designed specifically for architect’s project management!

Get a free 15-day trial at EntreArchitect.com/BQE.

ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Referenced in this Episode

Leave a Rating and Review at iTunes
EntreArchitect Academy

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Zolnierek

The post EA185: The Passion, The Process and Problems of Running a Design/Build Architecture Firm [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Sep 15 2017

59mins

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Rank #7: EA126: Successful Technologies for an Architect Startup with Architect Danny Cerezo [Podcast]

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It s June and all month long we here at EntreArchitect are focusing our content on the category of Technology. On the blog, here on the podcast and inside EntreArchitect Academy we are diving deep into the many technologies we can use to make our architecture firms run more efficiently and more effectively.

This week Mark R. LePage invited the co-founder of a relatively new firm to join us to discuss the many technologies that he is using to launch his small firm.

Architect Danny Cerezo is on the show and he and Mark discussed Successful Technologies for an Architect StartUp.

Danny Cerezo is based in Los Angeles, CA and is the principal and co-founder at c|s design. After spending time in service with the Navy, Danny worked for a developer near Palm Springs. He attended Woodbury University in San Diego and graduated with a Masters in Real Estate Development geared for and taught by architects, following that up with working to earn his general contractor’s license. After finishing and selling some projects, creating relationships and getting requests for architecture work on the side, he and his wife, Pam, formed c|s design.

What technologies are you using in your firm?

  • Design Software // Whatever’s best for the task at hand. For renovation and addition projects, Chief Architect. Primarily for design they use Revit, but are considering switching to ArchiCad as Mac users.
  • Project Management // For overall project management, Trello for the big picture to create systems, project templates, and identify steps for each phase. For detailed task management, ToDoistEvernote to easily scan documents, record audio, organize, search and share files for each project. “If anybody’s not using EverNote, I would say pause the podcast right now, go download it and then come back. It’s fantastic. Danny also uses a smart pen called Livescribe that’s digitally connected so that every page from the notebook automatically gets uploaded to Evernote.
  • Accounting // FreshBooks for the ease of use and its robustness where clients can come in to check retainers, invoices received and paid, expenses and track time. QuickBooks as a preference for their accountant, who’s then able to check their work. In order to avoid doing the work twice, a Zapier account integrates the two softwares.
  • Communication // Primarily using email but considering using Slack to capture all the information in one repository.
  • Mobile Apps // Dropbox as a server. Social media apps like Morpholio to share creative ideas and SquareSpace to host their website.
  • Website // CandSDesign.com and the blog are geared more towards clients. To share within the profession of architects, Danny uses Medium to blog on topics like “6 Things I Learned My First 2 Years Running Our Architecture Firm” and “Architect as Developer. You Can Do It Too.”

Connect with Danny on Facebook, Twitter @dcerezo_LA and @csdesignlaLinkedInInstagram and Medium @csdesignLA.

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The post EA126: Successful Technologies for an Architect Startup with Architect Danny Cerezo [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Jun 03 2016

47mins

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Rank #8: EA215: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Architect Developer [Podcast]

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Architect Developer

If you’re interested in becoming an architect developer, this is the episode for you!

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Architect Developer with Danny Cerezo of cs design.

Background

Danny Cerezo is originally from New York City, but moved to LA long ago. He has a bachelors in Architecture from USC and a masters from Woodberry San Diego where he studied under famed architect developers Jonathan Segal and Ted Smith. He’s a liscensed general contractor who has recently started a contracting firm with a development partner where he’s now designing and building a development project as an architect.

Origin Story

Hear Danny’s origin story in EA126: Successful Technologies for an Architect Startup with Architect Danny Cerezo.

cs design is a small husband and wife firm in LA. In 2008, Danny decided he wanted to pursue the architect as developer route, and today the firm is split between traditional projects and partnering with developers to do their own projects.

In LA, there is so much development that isn’t necessarily attractive, and it made Danny wonder why people weren’t developing things that were more architecturally significant. Through talking with others, he found a whole world of people who were architects and developers and took a leap.

If someone wants to be an architect developer, what should they do?

For Danny, he knew that he wanted to do it but didn’t have any money. The natural action for him was to find someone to partner with. The developer he went to work for was willing to do some smaller projects with their funds and equity.

How do you show someone that you have the skills needed to take their money and turn it around for a profit?

You have to learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk. What are the fundamentals of real estate development? Do you know how to do a pro forma? Can you talk about risks and potential pit falls of a project? Are you familiar with comps? Build up a base of tools and knowledge. Figure out how to convey your goals to those who you’re hoping will fund your development.

Danny has written the whole process out on Medium.

What’s a pro forma?

It’s typically a spreadsheet that shows what it would cost to do Project X, where that money comes from, what the return will be, and what everyone gets from the project. How much are you putting in and how much are you getting out?

What is the process as an architect developer?

Danny suggests staying local. Jonathan Segal says, “If you can’t get to it in 15 minutes, it’s too far”. You’re familiar with what’s closest to you. Once you find the land, figure out how you’re going to borrow the money for the lot. Get as creative as you want with how you acquire the land.

Once you pull the money together, give a verbal offer or letter of intent.

Next, there’s 12 months to pay the financiers back through the construction loan. That means there’s 12 months to design, permit and get a construction loan. The construction loan that you get covers the cost of the land to pay back your sellers, the money for the fees, and pay for construction. Usually the bank will loan you 75% of the total development cost, which allows us to pay back the sellers and start construction.

If you borrowed a dollar, you have a dollar to spend. As an architect developer, you only have the money that you have to spend, because you have to pay out what the pro forma says to each party at the end.

After we’re done and we get our certificates of occupancy, we hope to sell them for the prices we had in the pro forma. Then, we pay back the bank for the construction loan and those who gave us the money for the  soft costs. Whatever’s left goes to the developer, the fee and interest negotiated over time.

During construction, is the process different doing it as a developer?

The only difference is that you’re way more involved. On a typical project you may be doing some construction administration and some site meetings. For architect developers, you’ll go to the job sites every week and sometimes more.

You’re way more invested in it than a typical agreement, and that’s a selling point when you’re looking for a partner. You care about the project more than the next firm because you want it to succeed.

You also know the pro forma and what the parameters are around what can make this project fail or succeed. Having been there from the beginning, you know what the project hinges on and you have to be involved to makes sure it stays on track.

What do you do for marketing?

Throughout the project, stay on social media and share what you’re doing. Pick a good real estate agent who can get the word out and create interest.

Where are you now and what are your next steps?

Danny’s first project started in 2015, and now they’re framing the second project and have another one they’re about to submit for permits. They have a general contractor company and are starting to look at larger projects.

Are you rolling your profits into the next project?

Once this project sells, part of the money will go to savings and the other part will allow him to contribute more to the pro forma and become a bigger stakeholder in deals moving forward. Eventually, the goal is to have enough paydays to be ready if a great opportunity comes along.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Play a simple ‘what if’ game. What if _____. Think of something beyond your comfort zone. What if you did that? What’s the worst that could happen if you did?”  – Danny Cerezo

Download Danny’s free Architect Developer Worksheet

Connect with Danny online at CandSDesign.com or find him on social media on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and Medium.

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EA126: Successful Technologies for an Architect Startup with Architect Danny Cerezo [Podcast]

The post EA215: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Architect Developer [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Apr 13 2018

54mins

Play

Rank #9: EA270: How To Build a Brand as a Small Firm Architect (Edited)

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How To Build a Brand as a Small Firm Architect

No matter what business you’re in today, a lot of your business success relies on branding and marketing. What should your small architecture firm be doing to make sure that your brand is being shared correctly?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, How To Build a Brand as a Small Firm Architect with Bryon McCartney.

Connect with Bryon online at ARCHMARK.co or find him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can access your free web presence audit at ARCHMARK.co/EntreArchitect.

Join us in Las Vegas for the 4th Annual Small Architecture Firm Meetup! CLICK HERE for details and to RSVP.

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Resources from this Episode

StoryCanvas example for a Commercial Real Estate Developer

StoryCanvas example for the movie Star Wars

Differences between Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations and Branding:

The post EA270: How To Build a Brand as a Small Firm Architect (Edited) appeared first on EntreArchitect.

May 10 2019

55mins

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Rank #10: EA252: How to Develop an Architecture Fee Proposal that Converts [Podcast]

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How to Develop an Architecture Fee Proposal that Converts

As architects, we know that our fees are a direct reflection of the work we do. Yet all too often, the way that our potential clients perceive our fee proposals doesn’t address our clients’ emotional needs and the value that we bring as design professionals. This week on EntreArchitect podcast, How to Develop an Architecture Fee Proposal that Converts with Ian Motley of Blue Turtle Consulting.

Connect with Ian online at BlueTurtleMC.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Want to learn more about how to address the emotional needs of your clients? See if Ian is coming to a city near you for his Fee Proposal Workshop Series!

Enroll in the EntreArchitect Membership FREE for 30 days! To learn more and sign up NOW, visit EntreArchitect.

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Jan 04 2019

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Rank #11: EA204: Construction Administration for Architects is NOT an Option [Podcast]

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Construction Administration for Architects is NOT an Option

A very popular topic around EntreArchitect is the role of the architect in the construction phase.  The number of firms providing architecture services and forfeiting Construction Administration is surprising.

One member of The EntreArchitect Community recently shared,

“I need to get better at selling my clients on construction administration. Most think they don’t need it and refuse it when I offer. I had a recent client back out on the service because my drawings were essentially too well done. Once they saw the final drawings, they decided the contractor could handle it without my involvement.”

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Construction Administration for Architects is NOT an Option.

During the past few years, we’ve began to discuss, as a profession, taking back the process.  The goal is to be viewed once again as the leaders of the construction industry. To make this happen, we must literally take control of our projects and lead the process from beginning to end. Construction Administration is not an option to be offered as an additional service, it’s an integral part of the architecture process.

Do you need to get better at selling your clients on construction administration?

Imagine a surgeon preparing for surgery and then handing it over to someone else to execute, or a lawyer spending months preparing a prosecution and then heading back to the office to prepare for a new case before the trial is over. It’s no different for architects. We spend months preparing a design, we work our way through three levels of increasingly difficult development and documenting exactly how a structure is to be built. How can we give it away? We’re responsible for the health, safety and welfare for the creations we make and we’re legally liable for what’s constructed from our designs. It’s our responsibility as licensed professionals to observe the construction of our designs and confirm that they are being built as we designed them.

Fivecat Studio Architecture provides Construction Administration on every project from a storage shed to a completely new construction.

How do we do it?

We’re a full-service architecture firm. We help our clients organize from their first ideas of the projects all the way through the end of construction. Most clients have no idea how our process actually works, and yours don’t either.

If you offer a service as optional, a client will look at it as such. Fivecat Studio proposes one fee that includes Construction Administration as a part of the overall service. If a client asks if they’ll work without construction administration, Mark and Annmarie let them know it isn’t an option for them.

8 Reasons Why You Provide Construction Administration

  1. We lead weekly project meetings and review the progress of construction.We’re there to monitor things and support them in answering questions throughout the process.
  2. We confirm that the contractor is executing the project as per the design and specifications.Our client just went through a whole process that involved a lot of time and money, so they want the project done the correct way.
  3. We’re available to quickly resolve unforeseen issues and unexpected conditions so construction progress isn’t delayed.Time = money, and, in our clients’ mind, having an experienced professional to walk through that process and keep things on track during inevitable crisis is invaluable.
  4. We review the contractor’s payments so we can have more leverage during construction.This allows us to protect the clients’ interest and confirm that they’re only paying for what’s appropriate at that stage of the project. Now the client feels confident that what they’re paying is accurate.
  5. We review shop drawings and submittals.We make sure they’re what the owner has payed for and help the contractor resolve any issues that may arise.
  6. We assist with preparing and confirming the completion of the punch list and that the certificate of occupancy is issued. We’re there to review and assure that everything is taken care of.
  7. We are legally responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the users of the buildings we design.We confirm that all the building and environmental codes are being observed.
  8. As licensed professionals, it’s our firm’s policy to be involved in the construction of every project. Ultimately, we need to protect our firm’s legal exposure in terms of liability. If you want to work with us, we have to be involved in Construction Administration.

The success of our firm depends on this. When we waive Construction Administration, we lose our ability to resolve issues quickly and may create bigger problems for ourselves. We’re ultimately working for our clients’ satisfaction, and, if we’re absent during construction, it’s really hard to manage expectations and keep our clients happy. The experience during construction is what clients will remember most when others ask for their referral.

The success of your firm depends on your involvement every step of the way. 

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NOT an Option [Podcast]
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Jan 26 2018

32mins

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Rank #12: EA146: Design-Build is the Future of Architecture with Luis Jauregui [Podcast]

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Design-Build is the Future of Architecture

Architecture, construction, interiors and furniture. This week’s guest is a successful architect from Austin, Texas serving the high-end residential market. He started his firm with a single speculative project and grew it into a $20 million integrated design-build firm.

How does a design-build firm like this work? How do they structure their fees and communicate with one another? How do they ensure that every project is built to the exact standards promised by their powerful brand?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Design-Build is the Future of Architecture with architect Luis Jauregui.

Luis is originally from Mexico, and his family moved often when he was a child giving him great exposure to different architecture styles throughout the country. His father was a civil engineer, so the construction concept was already built into him. In high school, he discovered how exciting building was to him. He enrolled in the school of architecture in Mexico City, and within two months of starting school the teachers went on a strike that lasted for months. He then came to the US and attended Texas A&M with a degree in Environmental Design and a Masters in Architecture. He felt fortunate to have a professor who saw some of his work and helped him find a job with an architect. By the time he graduated with his Masters degree, he had six years of experience working with four different architecture firms.

One of his mentors began developing his own projects as an entrepreneur and influenced Luis greatly. In Mexico, architects typically run their own construction companies and the consumer comes directly to them for a building. Within two years of graduation, Luis was ready to start his own design-only firm. Soon after, he pulled together some money for a lot and began developing properties in Austin and San Antonio. In 1986, the market crashed and and he felt really fortunate to still find some great commissions despite the downturn.

Currently, Luis’s firm practices in Houston and Austin, and serves design-build clients throughout the Dallas area as well.

Why did you decide to pursue client-service projects, rather than continue with spec buildings?

Design came from a lesson learned: the speculative market has a lot of ups and downs. The custom business emphasized great design, and built them into a great, well-known brand which allows them to spread to other cities. They started the interior design branch of the company, which hurt the brand a bit with a lack of control of the interiors. When a client asked if they could offer furniture recommendations, the interior design team kicked Luis under the table so they jumped into furniture design despite the fear to try something new.

Where did your initial fear with selection furniture come from?

The fear came from it being an unknown thing and the fact that there were others in the market who were doing a great job. The entrepreneurial spirit pushed Luis forward to being a leader in the industry.

How does your fee structure work?

The speculative work is one price for everything. Because they’re selling a product, everything is included in the sale price. Client services are the custom part of the business so it works very traditionally. Instead of “architectural services”, Luis wants his clients to understand that they’re engaging a design-build enterprise; the final project is not going to be a design only. In the contract, they specify that they have ownership of the drawings until they go to construction. From that point on, they move to the “pre-construction” and then the construction contract from the state of Texas.

Can you walk us through your process?

The preliminary stage prepares a cost estimate with every specific piece of the project projected. That way there’s no mystery of cost, so they can move forward to the construction process and continue to fine-tune the cost as they go. Having control of the cost allows them to manage the experience that the client has.

How do you create an experience for your clients?

Luis feels the responsibility and burden of the control that they have, and uses it strictly for the benefit of the client. In order for their brand to work well and maintain trust with their clients, Luis is very conscious of the fears that the client may arrive with and works to put those to rest with his presentation and process.

How does your marketing work?

Luis deemphasizes referrals because he doesn’t want to have to rely on his busy, wonderful clients to get his next client; that’s not a very reliable way to do it. What makes the phone ring is having a great brand (a great website, advertising in magazines, hosting events at homes, etc.) that you can spread around to others.

Do you have a specific sales process?

Over many years, Luis has tried to have someone strong at sales by his side throughout the process. His wife (who is his partner and a real estate specialist) knows the company, the costs and the firm’s story. She is a great person to pick up the phone and work with the client. It’s important to recognize what your strengths are and allow everyone to work in their area of expertise.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you have?

Because they control the design and the construction, it’s too easy for the construction arm to talk to the design team and ask them not to throw in any difficult designs. It’s important to Luis that the architectural design stays in tact. While everyone needs to listen to one another, it needs to be the right balance that ultimately clients benefit from. It’s a constant process of fine-tuning to prepare for and move through each aspect of the project.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Communication is key. Talk to your team, learn about construction, be involved and create those kind of networks. Step away from the keyboard and the design table and spend time in the field. Pay attention and connect to other networks of people.” – Luis Jauregui

Connect with Luis online at JaureguiArchitect.com or on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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The post EA146: Design-Build is the Future of Architecture with Luis Jauregui [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Nov 25 2016

47mins

Play

Rank #13: EA182: Building an Online Media Empire with Devon Tilly of The Art of Construction Podcast [Podcast]

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Building an Online Media Empire with Devon Tilly

Devon is the Denver-based owner of Mountain View Window and Door, a nationally-recognized company providing windows and doors for high-end residential projects. He’s the creator and host of the Art of Construction Podcast and brand, cohosted by Kevin Keefe. There they talk about all things business, success, and building sustainable, thriving business.

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, Building an Online Media Empire with Devon Tilly of The Art of Construction Podcast.

Devon’s Origin Story

Devon was the oldest of five children whose father began as a contractor and worked himself up to district manager. Every time him and his large family moved, they would buy a house and fix it up. Devon was always interested in the art of construction and the marketing of construction. He is passionately interested in construction and has lived that life long enough to speak the language. Sometimes he felt the industry was too corporate (“what’s your lowest price”) or too construction (“we’ve always done it this way”).

Devon moved to Colorado and earned his marketing degree, followed by a move into the construction world. He found he didn’t fit the corporate box very well as an expressive entrepreneur at heart. Thirteen years ago, he went to work for one of his customers. He loved the complication of construction that can either make or break the project. That passion drew him to focus on windows and doors.

After meeting his wife, he bought a company out and started Mountain View Window and Door. Now, they have two locations in Colorado, twenty-eight employees, and are about to close on an expansion of Art of Construction.

After being interviewed for The Chaise Lounge: Interior Design Podcast, Devon decided to follow a dream and begin a podcast of his own.

How did you grow Mountain View Window and Door so quickly?

The first step was to have a really good plan.

Next, he assembled a support team of a board of directors and an advisory counsel. Devon’s team was led by his father in law, Greg, who copyrighted a presentation “The Full Life Perspective“. From that, he was able to develop his full life perspective.

With a good plan, Devon knew he needed to take a risk to succeed. Him and Greg decided to buy a business. Greg helped him put his why together: to be the best supplier for windows, doors and hardware to contractors, architects and project designers in Colorado.

As Devon put his plan together, he followed everything laid out in The E-Myth Revisited. He looked at different platforms to see what they did well and what they could improve on. He got his masters and figured out that he was a visionary leader. That was the key, to find out who he was and accelerate that. 

Though most window and door companies wouldn’t hire a full-time, in-house marketing position, they did so that they could make changes and be active on the web. They hired an IT guy to create software and systems to scale in the future.

What mistakes did you make along the way?

Devon learned to hire slow and fire fast. At the beginning, he first hired really fast and filled the office up. None of the hires were bad people, but they didn’t fit the culture correctly.

Where did the Art of Construction start and where is it going?

The podcast began to grow the business, and Devon found that it really grew him. His goal was to learn and be able to teach the art of construction. The podcast has grown his business because he knows who he is, what the culture is, and where they’re going.

One video they just released was about a house that he and his wife lived in, remodeled, and now rent out. Devon always wanted to do a show home on it, and, when it was all said and done, he loved getting to do it the way he wanted to showcase his project.

From there, he started a monthly leads group where they discovered that everyone wants to do this, but small firms don’t have enough time and money. Devon decided to be the central point of creating a design center and project collaboration.

Next week, they close on the property. They’re looking for Grand Junction collaborators in two ways: to be a lessee of some space to collaborate with others or to utilize a monthly membership in a coworking space.

Do you have a consulting program?

The Art of Construction has a master business acceleration program. It consists of three sessions including LinkedIn profile tips, presentation skills, and goal setting followed by access to a monthly group.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Set up a plan. If you’re running the show, read The E-Myth Revisited and Versitale Selling or get Audible to listen to the books. Always be learning.” – Devon Tilly

Want to learn more about the design center? 

Connect with Devon online at TheArtOfConstruction.net and MtnView.us. Also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Referenced in this Episode

Leave a Rating and Review at iTunes
EntreArchitect Academy Small Group Mastermind is for architects in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa facilitated by Katie Crepeau. Enrollment is limited to the first 10 members, so join today!
The Chaise Lounge: Interior Design Podcast
Art of Construction YouTube Channel
Mountain View Window and Door YouTube Channel
How The E-Myth Revisited Book Helped My Architecture Firm Succeed (podcast)

The post EA182: Building an Online Media Empire with Devon Tilly of The Art of Construction Podcast [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Aug 11 2017

46mins

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Rank #14: EA198: How to Overcome the Fear of Growing Beyond You as a Small Firm Architect [Podcast]

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How to Overcome the Fear of Growing Beyond You as a Small Firm Architect

For years, Sheri teetered back and forth between staying small and practicing as a small practitioner or making plans for growth and executing toward a bigger future.

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, How to Overcome the Fear of Growing Beyond You as a Small Firm Architect with Sheri Scott of Springhouse Architects

Background

Sheri is a member of EntreArchitect, but her and Mark connected online a long time ago and have been supporting one another as architects for a while. As a founder and principal at Springhouse Architects,  Sheri’s mission is to lead clients through the building process with the clients in control and Springhouse as their guide, advocate, and ally. With over 20 years of experience in residential architecture, Sheri brings knowledge and confidence to every custom home project. She’s a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and has her NCARB license. Sheri’s also lead architect on three HOA boards and volunteers extensively with her son’s high school marching band. She also feels privileged to be a mentor to teenage girls. She lives in Ohio with her husband and three boys.

Origin Story

Sheri’s moment of discovering architecture wasn’t very inspiring. When she was in high school after her parents’ recent divorce and her older siblings moved out to go to college, she was lost and her grades dropped. She was called to the counselor’s office, and they asked if she wanted to be an engineer. Everyone in her family was an engineer, so she wasn’t interested in that. The one class she was interested in was drafting. To get out of the office, she agreed to apply to architecture school.

She was accepted at University of Cincinnati and found the direction that she needed there. She wasn’t an artistic architecture student, but enjoyed the structure and the design classes. Sheri married before she graduated and had her first child the year after she finished school. The process of looking for a job with a six month old was different than many of those she graduated with; she had a lot of parameters in place.

After searching, she found Atelier Design close to home. They let her work part time with a flexible schedule. She was able to focus on her family but build the foundation of her career at the same time. She worked there for twelve years until the crash in 2008.

At that point, a lot of things happened that created the perfect storm. Her husband, John, lost his job and they took it as a sign that it was time for the next thing. John got a new job in Indianapolis, and they picked up and moved their whole family – now three boys – from Ohio to Indiana. Everything fell apart there.

When Sheri left Ohio, she started Scott Architecture and negotiated one of the builders from her old job with her and her work was back in Ohio. They decided to move back and start over.

After that, every month got a little bit better than the last.

How did things turn around?

In 2013, Sheri connected with EntreArchitect. That was another defining year in her career. She had to make a five year plan and she was amazed that putting her life goals on paper looked totally different than it did at that moment in time. Her whole career had been a balance of family and working, and she was happy doing that. She know, however, that in 2020 all her kids would be out of the house. Where did that leave her then? She’d built a whole career balancing things, and looking down the road looks different than everything she knew.

In that moment, she knew she didn’t want things to be the same as they had been.

What does your work with Charrette Venture Group look like?

Sheri was doing a lot of the right things and her business was growing quickly. She was in control of it where it was, but wasn’t sure if she could control it if it continued to grow. She also didn’t understand the path of who to talk to, who to bring in, what resources she needed, etc. to get to her goal of a 10 person goal in 2020.

She went back and forth with the decision to work with Charrette Venture Group when she had teenagers and a busy, stressful season. When she was ready to grow, she knew that she wanted something to focus on when her kids were out of the house.

Charrette Venture Group was instrumental to Sheri’s firm’s growth. She didn’t know where to start, and it was overwhelming to think that she could learn it all and find, pay for and manage the resources she needed. It’s been a two year partnership, and Sheri hasn’t regretted it once.

They bring things to the table that Sheri didn’t know and that she didn’t know that she didn’t know.  One helpful piece was forecasting: finding all the numbers for the jobs, the personnel, and more, that boils down to a certain number to decide if she needs to hire more people or find more work for the people she currently has.

She’s built a remote team that works well together; everyone likes one another and likes working with one another. Sheri has succeeding in creating the kind of firm that she was looking for when she entered the profession.

Eventually, she changed her name to Springhouse Architects. She knew that to grow she would have to release some of the client interaction and delegate some things, and she didn’t feel great about doing that with her name on the door.

When did you write your book?

Sheri started blogging, and then it turned into a book. It was hard work, but it’s been the single best thing she did in terms of marketing. It’s available as a PDF on the Springhouse Architects website for free. When they get cold calls or emails, they send the book over as an introduction of who they are.

Tell us about your recently released app.

The app – called Nester – is a photo journal app for anyone doing a construction project. It’s for the homeowner to remember what happened through the construction process. The app is free, and someone can go out to the site, take a pictures and write a note about what’s happening. The magic happens at the end of the project the app produces a hard bound coffee table book of your whole project.

Where did your name come from?

The name Springhouse Architects comes from the stone springhouse in Sheri’s back yard that she renovated into her own personal office. With three boys and two dogs, she needed her own space to work and meet clients.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Write down your five year plan. Look at your life and see what you want it to look like in five years. What big changes are coming? What are your priorities? Think through it and work backwards to figure out how you’re going to get there and who can help you get there.”  – Sheri Scott, Springhouse Architects

Connect with Sheri online at SpringhouseArchitects.com or on Houzz, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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Referenced in this Episode

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Nester app
Dream Inspire Design: What a Residential Architect Wants to Tell You About the Custom Home Process by Sheri Scott

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The post EA198: How to Overcome the Fear of Growing Beyond You as a Small Firm Architect [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Dec 15 2017

53mins

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Rank #15: EA208: How to Build a Million Dollar Small Firm Using a Remote Team [Podcast]

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How to Build a Million Dollar Small Firm Using a Remote Team

The future of architecture for small firms is the remote team. Using technology and online tools to acquire new clients, manage projects, and work with a team of top professionals distributed around the world, the virtual studio along with a remote team will allow you the flexiblity, freedom, prosperity and success that many of us are seeking as small firm architects.

This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, How to Build a Million Dollar Small Firm Using a Remote Team with Winn Wittman of SelfBuiltArchitect.com

Background

Winn Wittman is a contemporary residential architect based in Austin, Texas. His work has been featured in various publications including Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, The Rob Report, Green Building & Design, Hinge, The Discovery Network, and HGTV. He has a BA from Tufts and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas in Austin. He’s received numerous awards, including best green innovation for his Wittman Panel Designs.

He’s also the founder of Self Built Architect, an online community and educational program where Winn shares his knowledge about leveraging technology and using online tools to create personal freedom, prosperity, professional excellence and more.

Origin Story

Winn’s love for architecture started in his mother’s basement where he woodworked as a kid. From that came a love of art and architecture. As a liberal arts major, he bounced around before discovering art history and falling in love with architecture. A professor suggested that he go to Austin, Texas.

Several years later, the recession happened. Winn began to buy homes and fix them up when he discovered an old office building. Him and his ragtag team ran wires, ran equipment, and finished the building. A luxury jet designer then bought the building from him, earning him his first million dollars.

After that, going to work for a firm was unappealing. He began developing and building unusual homes that realtors would tell him he had no chance of selling. Surprisingly, he always found a buyer.

When the next recession hit, Winn had a trendy office and a bunch of employees. He noticed his expenses were eating up all of his profits. By 2010, all of his work had dried up, he had to let people go and get rid of his office.

It was time to do things in a different way.

As he began to realize the tools that had recently become available allowing people to work anywhere with an internet connection, he started to do his research. Slowly but surely, he began to build a virtual firm. He had a reputation for high end residential work and needed to figure out how to maintain the same high touch approach to architecture that he had before. He didn’t want the client experience to suffer at all as a result of his remote work.

How did you start your remote firm?

First, Winn realized he needed a luxury conference room to meet clients in. He rented an apartment in a luxury high rise that a resident could reserve a conference room in. He also sought out other conference rooms he could utilize in a pinch. Now, there are plenty of places that have conference rooms for rent.

Many of his tools were the same, but he found them through different channels. Both the internet and GoToMeeting helped him become a laptop architect. When he wasn’t meeting clients, he could work completely remotely. He prepared his clients to know that he was not only very busy, but that he worked in different states. With the technology today, he still has a robust practice with a high degree of client services.

His day is now freed up to work on whatever he wants instead of managing a business and office.

Have you ever experienced pushback from clients?

Only when Winn hasn’t properly prepared them. One client came with him on the transition, and wasn’t prepared for the new expectations.

Do you think this is a model that someone can come at from scratch without having established a business before?

If anything, there’s less expectation if you’re starting a new business. Young architects and their clients are so receptive to using new technology. The next generation realizes that life is more important than work, and technology is just another part of life.

When you have a potential new client, how do they first interact with you?

First, they get a live human being answering the phone instead of a voicemail. It sounds just the same as calling an architect’s office. The service Winn uses texts him right away so that he can connect with them to set up an appointment. Until you sign up a client, the purpose of every meeting is to have another meeting. Winn doesn’t send proposals and doesn’t charge for an initial visit.

Winn then meets them at their property or a conference room and gathers information. After the initial meeting, he sets a second appointment on the road to figuring out what their dream is and if/how Winn can help them achieve that dream.

How do you qualify leads?

Winn gets between 2-10 inquires per day from new potential clients. Once they get to his website, they see the vision blueprint which allows them to answer key questions so he knows right away where they are in the process and what their dreams are. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit right off the bat, Winn refers them to someone who may be a better fit for them.

Who answers the phone?

Winn uses a company called Ruby Receptionist that screens calls and patches them through to the right person. They know everything about the business and function as an in-person front door for his firm.

How do you manage each project?

Winn starts by sketching on his iPad, snapping a picture, and texting it to a subcontractor for SketchUp. He only works with people who are extremely proficient at SketchUp. They hop on a video call to review.

Then, he sets up meetings in person at least every two weeks and on the alternate weeks, he meets with them online.

Why are your employees’ proficiency so important? 

The world is your oyster when you work remotely, so there’s no reason not to find the most proficient person in the industry when your pool is so big.

What’s your role in the process and how to you structure things?

There’s not a fixed way of doing things, it depends on the task and the project. It’s important to know where your skills lie and to delegate to other areas where it doesn’t to capable, highly compensated people.

Winn doesn’t charge or pay for hours, he charges and pays for outcomes.

What are your favorite tools for remote work?

More than anything, Winn likes to keep it simple. They use cloud based document sharing to keep track of where they are with each project and what the next step is, potential clients, and financials.

Instead of chasing clients for payment, he sets up expectations clearly by making payment due by the next meeting.

Do you have any systems in place that help you with creative collaboration?

In remote working sessions, they often discover serendipitous things because of the process. Collaborative work is a conscious process. Remote work allows this to happen outside of the office; schedule brunch, find a time to connect over a weekend or a trip, etc.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Start going to places where you’ll meet people of influence who may want to build the types of homes that you want to design. There’s only two things that can change your life: meeting a new person and gaining a new piece of information. Be receptive to meeting new people.”  – Winn Wittman

For EntreArchitect listeners exclusively, check it Winn’s free gift at SelfBuiltArchitect.com/Entre.

If you’re interested in exploring the idea of 1:1 coaching, Winn has some packages available on SelfBuiltArchitect.com.

Connect with Winn online at SelfBuiltArchitect.com and WinnWittman.com, or find him on Facebook and YouTube.

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Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time.

Access your free 30 day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

Core by BQE Software is a brand new software designed specifically for architect’s project management!

Get a free 15-day trial at EntreArchitect.com/BQE.

ARCAT has huge libraries of free content, Specs, CAD, BIM and more. No registration required. Want to collaborate with colleagues in real time?

Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for small firm architects. Get an exclusive, limited time detail. Sign up today and get three months free. 

Visit EntreArchitect.com/Gusto and claim your free three months today!

Referenced in this Episode

Download the Profit For Small Firm Architects course for FREE.
Leave a Rating and Review at iTunes

The post EA208: How to Build a Million Dollar Small Firm Using a Remote Team [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Feb 23 2018

1hr 15mins

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Rank #16: EA154: How to Succeed as a Married Couple in Architecture [Podcast]

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How to Succeed as a Married Couple in Architecture

“Being a married couple in architecture may be the most difficult,  the most satisfying and the most successful approach at being small firm architects. It’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty, but I wouldn’t trade my life as an architect with my wife and partner Annmarie for anything. How we’ve established our roles and responsibilities for both our firm and our family is how we’ve become successful.”

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Mark R. LePage speaks with Claire and Cavin Costello from The Ranch Mine to share their story about How to Succeed as a Married Couple in Architecture.

Cavin’s Origin Story

Cavin is originally from Connecticut and attended Northeastern University for his undergraduate and graduate degree while working over two years in firms in Connecticut and Boston. After graduating, he felt a change was necessary and he packed up and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. A friend introduced him to Claire the first day he arrived, and the rest is history.

Listen to episode 138 to hear Cavin’s full origin story and How To Design and Sell Modern Architecture.

Claire’s Origin Story

Claire was born and raised in Phoenix, and grew up studying furniture catalogues. Her grandfather built his own home and farm in Indiana; the pride he had and the stories he told about the building process painted a dialogue about creating a home. Similarly, her uncle in Tucson built a rammed earth house and, during a visit, she learned a lot about that process. Both people played a big part in fostering an interest in Claire about creating a home.

Her degrees are in English and communication, but her personal relationships followed the design world. A mutual friend introduced her to Cavin, who was obviously very rooted in architecture, and the conversations they had about the built environment and what someone could do with design drew her in.

They took a leap to purchase and renovate a foreclosure, and having survived that challenge early on makes other challenges that come their way surmountable.

Would you recommend a foreclosure renovation to other married couples?

The sequence of building their own designs was such a hands-on experience that Claire found a lot of value in the experience, though it did put them through the wringer. Cavin remembers the process being taxing from both a financial and emotional standpoint, and mixing both of those strains is not for the faint of heart. Jumping into the most difficult thing accelerated their growth and made everything down the road possible. For the Costellos, it was easier to take the risk at the beginning.

By diving straight in, do you feel you were able to get some systems in place?

It was eye-opening to see the architectural components of moving walls and doing additions, and then you have the interiors of cabinets, tiles, and other finished items. Some things don’t have to be decided at the design part, which they learned along the way. Now, there’s two sets of documents the clients receive including the architectural construction documents and the interior specifications book, which is easily changed if needed. It’s more manageable for clients to have all of the information in front of them with a timeline of the decisions and priorities.

How is The Ranch Mine business structured?

The Ranch Mine includes Cavin as the Registered Architect and Claire as the Chief Executive. Cavin is the lead on design, but the Costellos collaborate a lot by visiting projects for initial visits, working to wrap both of their heads around existing conditions, and joining together for different design elements. They work with independent contractors on certain projects from time to time.

If there are hard choices to be made, if it’s a business decision Claire has the final say and if it’s an architecture decision then Cavin has the final say. Cavin usually starts from the big picture and Claire starts from the details and the perspective of the homeowner, and then the work to meet in the middle. The flexibility comes from the thought that each project is geared more towards their clients’ needs than what Claire or Cavin might personally prefer in the end. Differences of opinion often give their clients two different viewpoints to choose from and push both of them to challenge each other along the process.

If you didn’t meet, do you think you would have succeeded as quickly?

If Cavin and Claire didn’t meet, Cavin doubts he would have been able to make the business end of it work as well. The success in how fast they’ve grown wouldn’t have been the same, because the speed, efficiency and growth is a direct result of their relationship. The mixing of alternating strengths has been a huge benefit.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

At the beginning of their partnership, the business took over and it was hard to create boundaries. After a few years, they started getting more firm about boundaries and began to create time for themselves on evenings and weekends. During working hours, Cavin and Claire work in their own spaces to complete their own work. They’ve also found that it helps to find activities that they both enjoy outside of work to disengage.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Be grounded in the right projects for you and what those criterion would be. Be empowered to turn down projects that aren’t the right fit. Identify your ideal projects and what those terms are. Then, find a network, including a landscape architect or an interior designer, so that when you say no to a project for whatever reason, you can still be a resource because you have a network of people you feel comfortable referring to.” – Claire Costello

Connect with the Cavin & Claire online at TheRanchMine.com or find them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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Episode 138: How to Design and Sell Modern Architecture with Cavin Costello

The post EA154: How to Succeed as a Married Couple in Architecture [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Jan 27 2017

Play

Rank #17: EA149: Copyright Protection for Architects [Podcast]

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Copyright Protection for Architects

A question often raised is, “How do we protect our designs?” How can we deter a client from overextending their license to our ideas and using our designs beyond their initially intended or contractually bound uses? As creatives, how do we protect our creativity?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Copyright Protection for Architects with Abe Cohn of Howard M. Cohn & Associates.

Abe’s Origin Story

Abe has always been interested in entrepreneurship, and finds it fascinating to deal with so many people in so many different areas who have such different and novel ideas. He started a tech company a few years ago and after dealing with a ton of intellectual property law there, it made sense for him to move over to the legal sides of things.

What’s the difference between copyright, trademarks and patents?

Intellectual property is a broad category that includes the intangibles involved in a new creation. Depending on what that is, you can turn to a specific piece of that property.

If you were to walk into a shoe store and saw a swoosh; you would immediately recognize that product as a part of the Nike corporation. In that case, the swoosh is a trademark: a mark that serves as an identifier for a good. There’s also a servicemark, which is attached to a service being provided. Legally, the process is exactly the same.

Next, you walk into a car shop and saw a gorgeous engine inside a Lamborghini. That engine is a creation that someone has invested a lot of time, money and talents into making. How do we protect that person’s rights? Patents protect novel processes, things that people are building and the ideas behind them.

In any Harry Potter book, JK Rowling turned to copyrights to protect her creative manifestations. Copyrights protects her literary work and ensures that others can’t steal, use or copy her brilliant ideas.

How are architects protected by copyright law?

Architects have claims to different copyrights, like the drawings and designs of the building. About 25 years ago, Congress passed the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act to expand the scope of what it is that architects can actually copy, which states,

“An original design of a building created in any tangible medium of expression, including a constructed building or architectural plans, models, or drawings…Protection extends to the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design but does not include individual standard features.”

Now not only are the plans and drawings covered, but the building itself can be copyrighted. You can’t get a copyright on the door itself, but as it relates to some other features because your creative work is novel in that each composite features interacts with the adjacent features.

What if you’re designing something that isn’t novel, like a standard Colonial house?

Works that are copyrightable have to be in concrete form and have to be substantially unique enough. Part of the design could be copyrightable, while others are not because they aren’t unique.

Why do you need a copyright?

The moment you put your unique enterprise down, there’s a preliminary set of rights. You can’t stop someone from using it until you register with the copyright office. The legal distinction of registering your copyright is having it on paper is a notice from the government to prove that you own it so you can stop someone from stealing it. You can submit the forms via the mail or online at Copyright.gov.

What if I’ve done one design for one home, and then someone wants to build twenty more with the same design?

From the client’s point of view, the intuition is that since they’ve just payed the architect to do something, they own that thing that’s been done for them. The truth is that the client has payed for the end result, and doesn’t necessarily own the copyright on the whole thing he’s bought. Think of a wedding photographer: the couple hired the photographer for pictures, but what are they getting? They’re getting the physical copies of the pictures, but they don’t own the rights to the photos.

If you’re an architect who wants to be sure you’re getting paid for specifically for one home or for twenty renditions, you want to make sure you negotiate those rights into that contract in advance and in tandem with a competent attorney.

What do you do if someone does infringe on your rights?

Hire an attorney and have them send a letter or email to cease and desist. The sticky point can come when the architect might not have the resources to go after a huge developer. If you’re confident enough in your case and you have the resources to take them to court, then you do. The most important thing is to set yourself up in the beginning so you’re protected.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Don’t neglect being on the web: get an amazing website, YouTube channel, etc. Start speaking about what you’re passionate about and how people in your particular industry can benefit from your services. Be involved and get excited.” – Abe Cohn

Connect with Abe directly at avraham@cohnpatents.com, online at CohnPatents.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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The post EA149: Copyright Protection for Architects [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Dec 16 2016

47mins

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Rank #18: EA302: How to Start an Architecture Firm That Will Survive the Next Recession

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How to Start an Architecture Firm That Will Survive the Next Recession with Erik Peterson of PHX Architecture

As small firm architects, we’re all too aware of the effects that a recession can have on our industry. Right now, work may be flowing in and everything is great. How can you prepare your small architecture firm to both go into and come out of a recession successfully?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, How to Start an Architecture Firm That Will Survive the Next Recession.

Connect with Erik online by visiting PHX Architecture online, or by connecting on LinkedInFacebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Freshbooks is the easy way to send invoices, manage expenses, and track your time. Access your free 30-day trial at EntreArchitect.com/FreshBooks(Enter EntreArchitect)

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The post EA302: How to Start an Architecture Firm That Will Survive the Next Recession appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Dec 20 2019

51mins

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Rank #19: EA286: Starting from Scratch as an Architect Developer

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Starting from Scratch as an Architect Developer

As architects, there’s often an excuse we can fall back on that it isn’t the right time to take the next leap. Fear can easily take over when it comes to our big ideas! Have you had to start from scratch as a small firm architect?

This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Starting from Scratch as an Architect Developer with Stella Osborn.

Email Stella here or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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EA247: Parental Leave in the Architecture Profession Roundtable [Podcast]

The post EA286: Starting from Scratch as an Architect Developer appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Aug 30 2019

48mins

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Rank #20: EA245: How Everyday Habits Lead to Success [Podcast]

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The Power of the Niche

As small firm architects, our field is lacking in personal development and self improvement. But the more we can zone in on our goals each and every day, the greater chance we have for taking that daily small step toward a successful, profitable business. This week on EntreArchitect podcast, How Everyday Habits Lead to Success with Chad Harris, creator of “The Every Day Architect Journal”.

To hear more about creating success through your everyday habits, listen to the podcast.

Connect with Chad online at StudioLaconic.com and EveryDayArchitectJournal.com! Follow him on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Purchase The Every Day Architect Journal on Amazon today!

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Visit EntreArchitect.com/ARCAT and click Charrette for more information.

Revit Rocketship. Learn Revit fast and easy.

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The post EA245: How Everyday Habits Lead to Success [Podcast] appeared first on EntreArchitect.

Nov 16 2018

Play