What exactly do each of us see in ourselves that suggests, "I could do that!" I've read several posts recently that offered circumstances, personality traits, financial situations, training, or education that might lead someone to take on the risk and stress of self employment.
I think most will say that it is all of the above - at least back in the day. In today's world of start-ups and GoFundMe accounts, angel investors, and shared liability, some of those entrepreneurial traits seems to have evaporated. It was precisely the anxiety of circumstance or lack of funding that kept some from even testing the waters. On the other hand a strong wining personality coupled with a little money in the pocket or a helpful client were all others needed to give it a go.
Regardless of what you particular path might have been, fairly quickly the strengths and weaknesses of your situation will begin to manifest themselves. Unless the patron saint of endless projects comes to roost on your doorstep, marketing will be one of those issues. Another might be the Project Management side of the profession. Our college education generally brings out our design talent so well that other than having too much to design at one time, it is usually well understood. The most common shortfall seems to Practice Management in that most Architectural degrees fail to include business practices - and it is not on the Intern Development Program agenda.
The brightest among us will find the missing talent and support their on-board skills for a well rounded approach. Some, like my own naïve approach will struggle and study and given a mentor or two, may get it all together against the odds. One of the most obvious omissions I see in young practices is a lack of a business plan or strategic plan of where they intend to take their enterprise. Will it be a diverse practice, or aspecialty boutique practice, local only or geographically spread, venture into design-build or a blend of architecture and engineering?
Regardless of how you started, where you are in the process, or what level of success you are experiencing, you might benefit from visiting with me to perhaps discover some new ideas and important options. If you feel that way, give me a call. I'd enjoy a visit over lunch or after work to hear your story.
William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff. Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years. Bill writes articles sharing his experience in four keystone practice areas: Marketing, Design, Project Management and Practice Management. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com