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Is it hard to own your own architecture firm? And what are tips and things you have to do to do it?

One of my biggest dreams, though kind of daunting, is to have my own architecture business. It seems like a hard task to accomplish, and I would like to know any helpful tips that could help. #architecture #architect #architectural-design #sustainable-design

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Kathryn’s Answer

One of my biggest suggestions is to make sure you prepare yourself for running a business. Architecture school and working at architecture firms will teach out how to be an architect but don't prepare you to run a businesses. There is a lot to running your own firm that isn't architecture. Take accounting classes and any management classes you find. You may still hire someone to take care of your taxes and payroll etc but you still need to be knowledgeable since they are handling your money. Contract and legal issues are another area you should think about. Those aren't the fun parts about being an architect but they are important to running your own firm. And once you are out of school, work for the kind of firm you want to be (or try a couple different firms.) I suggest working for different size firms (small 10 or less), medium (10-30) and a large firm because you learn different things at each type of firm that will help you. And ask questions. Lots of questions. Until the day you retire you will be learning new things so don't think you ever reach a point where you know everything.

And finally, build as many bridges as you can along the way. Try to leave all jobs on a good note (even if you hate the job, put a smile on and leave on good note.) Make friends with your professors. Make friends with the contractors and sub contractors you work with. You never know who might refer work to you down the road. Many times firms get request for work that they may not have the capacity for, isn't their type of work, or for whatever reason can't take it and will suggest other architects they know (hopefully you!). When you are starting out you will likely need to take any work you can get and all referrals are golden. I worked for a year just on work I got as referrals without having to do any marketing or advertising.

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