If you ask my mother, she will tell you that I have always been a businessman. That may be true, but I remember clearly the day my passion was ignited.
When I was in my third year of architecture school, I picked up an issue of Entrepreneur magazine at the local supermarket. Skimming the pages, I previewed story upon story about another successful entrepreneur. I purchased the magazine and that night read it cover to cover. The stories were so inspirational, so motivational. The freedom to create. The risks. The rewards. The ability to improve the world around us. It was all so exciting! From that night forward, I have had a unquenchable passion for business success.
In 1999, my wife (also an architect) and I launched our residential architecture firm, Fivecat Studio, in Westchester County, New York. Annmarie and I are a great team. She is an exceptional designer, and with my love of business, together we make the perfect architect.
In order to grow and learn, I stay active in many organizations. I am very involved with the American Institute of Architects, a professional organization for registered architects. For several years, I held the office of Director of Communications for the Westchester / Mid-Hudson (NY) chapter. During my tenure, I developed and launched the chapter’s website, AIA Architect Network. I recently joined a new professional practice committee chaired by Mt. Kisco architect, Ira Grandberg, AIA. The intent of the committee is to explore and share information about business and the practice of architecture among its members.
I am also a member of the Business Council of Westchester. Through the Council, I had the opportunity to recently complete a 15-week business course called the Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence. Each of the fifteen weeks is dedicated to another business issue; leadership, sales, marketing, legal, etc. As most architects will tell you, architecture school does not adequately prepare one for the realities of business. The Academy was an invaluable experience. It took my many years of self-taught business knowledge and focused it down to the few most essential elements of business success. I continue to meet with the members of the Academy on a monthly basis with the intention of allowing the momentum of growth to continue on into the future.
With both architecture and business, I continue to educate myself by reading books, blogs, websites and magazines, as well as attending networking groups, events, seminars and conventions. One of the greatest tools for learning is to teach others. With that principle as my guide, I do my best to spread knowledge to others in the profession of architecture as well as entrepreneurs throughout the business world.
Living Well in Westchester is a blog I write that is dedicated to residential architecture and design. I decided to launch Entrepreneur Architect to serve the growing need and desire by architects to learn more about business. I will include posts on management, sales, marketing and every other necessary ingredient required for a successful architectural practice (also known as a small business).
If you like what you read, or even more so if you don’t, please click the “comments” link above each post and share your thoughts and ideas. Share your knowledge and we will learn, grow and succeed together.
Have you ever considered selling your projects online?
Written by Mark R. LePage