As a young architect, you can get confused easily. There are many directions you can take with your career, no matter if you work for a company or want to start your own practice.
We’ve asked some of our architect clients to list some success tips for young professionals. Hindsight is a powerful thing, so here’s a list of 7 things they’ve mentioned the most often.
1. Use the right tools
The software tools you use matter a lot more than you think. Get used to automating, backing up, and optimizing as much as you can – and don’t ever get used to being uncomfortable with your software products.
Mastering project management software is an absolute must for any young architect, no matter if you work for a firm or take clients independently. PlanMan is a project management software for architects that we’ve designed after consulting with top UK architects – and it’s built specifically with your needs in mind.
The architectural software landscape is always changing, so you may need to update yourself on all the productivity-boosting tools that appear monthly out there.
2. Master time management
This is by far one of the main success tips for your architects, because proper time management sets professionals apart from amateurs.
As an architect, you will drift towards becoming the bottleneck of your own operations. That’s a natural process and a challenge you need to face sooner or later.
Many young architects spread themselves too thin doing absolutely everything – which makes a certain sense because their clients are paying for their expertise and not anyone else’s.
However, the sooner you start outsourcing and delegating – the better. We have a guide on hiring architectural assistants – go check it out.
3. Keep learning and upgrading
There is no architect that becomes 100% complete as a professional forever. Design and construction trends change, the demands of your target market progress, – architecture is extremely dynamic.
You have picked a fast-paced and evolving profession, and as a young architect, you need to be ready for a career of constant learning and growth.
The sustainable building design is just one of the most obvious and profitable directions to grow in – so consider completing BREEAM and LEED training and accreditation as early on in your career as possible.
4. Design your offer well
What you offer to your clients matters as much as how well you do it. By tweaking the list of your services you can become niched to certain markets and needs – which is always great if you want to get to bigger money faster.
The services you offer affect your bottom line and determine the clients you work with. We’ve put together a guide on picking the best architectural services to offer, it should give you some ideas.
Rethink your rates too – and do it regularly. Sometimes an hourly rate makes sense, otherwise, billing by the project is a better model to work with.
5. Be selective about your clients …unless you can’t
The rule of thumb is to work with everyone when you are young and hungry.
However, pay attention to how you are building out your reputation because working with cheap, toxic, or ungrateful clients may backfire.
Ideally, you need to work with clients that will have more work for you down the line and bring referrals.
How you get clients makes all the difference in how you scale your business.
6. Don’t scoff at marketing
…like most technical professionals do.
Many young architects think that if they’re just good at designing buildings, clients will be lining up for them.
However, it’s nothing like that. No matter how good you are – you need to come in front of your target audience, or they will pick someone else who does.
There are a lot of marketing strategies, channels, and techniques architects can use – we have given a great outline of them in our post on architecture marketing.
Pick a channel and master it, and make sure you think about creating your personal brand early on.
7. Be ethical
This should go without saying but a lot of young architects are tempted to get tricky and save on materials, contractors, procedures, and look for shortcuts in other ways.
The issue of ethics in architecture is evergreen and definitely, something to be aware of.
Truth is, you won’t be able to get where you want to be by cutting corners.
As an architect, you’re in it for the long run – so nurture all connections and build up your reputation ethically, even if it takes you longer than you wish.
Same way, be upfront, transparent, and ethical with your clients, other architects’ clients, and any other architectural project stakeholders you come across.