Eric Reinholdt used to work for a small six-person firm. While going through the financial crisis, the firm forced him to take a pay cut. At that time, he realized the importance of entrepreneurship and that working under someone does not assure job security. He founded his design practice, 30X40 Design Workshop, where he started experimenting with alternative business ideas. He also wrote a book based on his experiences to bring evolution to the construction industry entitled Architect + Entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship has primarily been taken as “an act of seeking investment and production opportunities, developing and managing a business venture, so as to undertake production functions, arranging inputs like land, labor, material, and capital, introducing new techniques and, identifying new sources for the enterprise.” whereas, architecture is said to be “the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or other structures.” Can there be a crossover of the two in current times? Why not?
A freshly graduated architect has a lot of options to go forward with like research, a job, or a master’s. Some of the young architects aspire to have their firm and for the sake of “experience” and “practical knowledge” compromise and get financially exploited. Initiating a start-up may seem quite intimidating for anyone with or without experience. For a start-up to be successful one must identify the target customer’s pain point and learn skills to run an enterprise with profits. Sadly, most of the architectural colleges are still teaching outdated syllabus ignoring the technological shifts happening in the industry. Greg Henderson wanted to develop technology to make buildings more resistant to natural disasters. He did extensive research and further explored the opportunities in the magnetic field architecture. Henderson and his team worked on a product to create the world’s first hoverboard. Stickyworld, a pre-planning consultation website, and mobile-based software by Michael Kohn allow participants to share projects and multimedia and is made interactive with the provision of commenting and posting virtual sticky notes. These architects figured out a problem and subsequently considered how design could offer a solution to it.
“Today’s developer is a poor substitute for the committed entrepreneur of the last century for whom the work of architecture represented a chance to celebrate the worth of his enterprise.” Arthur Erickson
Innovation and new technologies are emerging but still, compared to other industries, the construction industry is still working with outdated methodology. With the current ongoing competitive global economy, the existing model is highly susceptible to change due to its limited growth opportunities. The scope of opportunities for architects and designers has increased tremendously. Not relying only on client fees for running the firm and generating alternative sources of income can be taken as the initial steps for creating a self-sustaining model. Organizing online mentorship, courses, self-publishing, designing software, creating apps, outsourcing plan sets, generating an online library of BIM components can be some of the alternative ways. Diversification in income streams will not only provide architects freedom to choose projects but also, help them survive during the dull business. In current times architects no longer need to restrict themselves to just building design.
Out of sight, Out of mind.
In today’s world, personal branding and social media play a significant role. Nowadays, people soon forget things that are no longer visible or present. For constant growth, one has to constantly update themselves according to the needs and requirements of society. Nikhil Tricam is an architect, illustrator, and entrepreneur based in South Africa. His illustrations have been exhibited at numerous galleries. At his practice, NT Design Studio various services are available, from visual art commission, architectural rendering, to leather accessory design and production. Initially, he started the leather accessory design and production as a hobby along with his friend to fulfill his needs for the kind of designs and material he liked. After posting it on social media he received a lot of appreciation and clients from everywhere across the globe. Nowadays, the first impression can be made with their online presence on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
The main goal is to have a “sustainable, well-structured and profitable business as the foundation for success.” This goal can only be attained by having basic skills in business management. To become a successful entrepreneur one must learn to sell. The product can be anything but, it must create a positive impact on the client. Networking also plays a key role. More connections, more clients, and hence more opportunities. As the joker rightly said, “If you are good at something, Never do it for Free”. In the ocean of opportunities, we must learn to value ourselves. It is high time professionals need to learn to become more entrepreneurial in their approach. There are many unexplored opportunities within the industry which when tapped on can give rise to a new revolution.
- Lidija Grozdanic.2016.Turning Ideas into Products: 5 Architects who Successfully Sell their Designs.(Last updated 15 Dec 2016).[online]. Available at:Turning Ideas into Products: 5 Architects who Successfully Sell their Designs | Archipreneur.[Accessed 17 Aug 2021].
- Archipreneur.2015.Branching Out: 9 Architects Who Created Innovative Products.(Last updated 28 Aug 2015).[online]. Available at: Branching Out: 9 Architects Who Created Innovative Products | Archipreneur.[Accessed 17 Aug 2021].
- Lidija Grozdanic.Architecture Career Guide: 4 Modern Business Moves for Architects [online]. Available at:Architecture Career Guide: 4 Modern Business Moves for Architects – Architizer Journal.[Accessed 18 Aug 2021].
- Nathan Richardson.Architecture Is Entrepreneurship and (Why) It Matters.[online]. Available at:ACSA.FALL.11.41.pdf (acsa-arch.org).[Accessed 18 Aug 2021].
- Mela on SABC.2018.Nikhil Tricam : Architect, Artist & Entrepreneur.(Published on 8 Jul 2018).[online]. Available at: (1) Nikhil Tricam : Architect, Artist & Entrepreneur – YouTube.[Accessed 20 Aug 2021].
- Archipreneur.2019.Business Knowledge for Architects: What They Don’t Teach You in School.[online].(Last updated 18 Nov 2019).Available at: Business Knowledge for Architects and Designers | Archipreneur.[Accessed 20 Aug 2021].
- Arthur Erickson quotation.[online]. Available at:Arthur Erickson – Today’s developer is a poor substitute… (brainyquote.com).[Accessed 21 Aug 2021].