So why am I doing this? What do I want to offer to a market that’s filled with talented architects, engineers, students, contractors, and real estate professionals? Why do I want to spend my free time from my full time job writing blog posts, teaching and tutoring, managing client and consultant schedules, and wearing the numerous hats that comes with owning a small business? I could think of well over 100 reasons of why I want to help those in their pursuit of education or professional growth, but I’ll only list my top 7 as I know you, like me, are incredibly busy.
The simplest reason is that I want to share what I’ve learned from my own experience and show there is a better way of studying and practicing architecture. I’ve gone through the trials and tribulations of a dragged out architectural education, saw how talent can be misaligned and underutilized in a professional setting, and always wondered how studying while practicing could eliminate the disconnection in transitioning between the world of academia and becoming a professional. I want to help those in a similar situation bridge the gap as I can bring my own personal struggles to the table that relate to real world situations. I’ve studied it, lived it, and now want to share it with you.
Down with Generic, In With Specific
Classes should not be a one size fits all, generic course that dabbles in a few topics but end up not deep diving into specifics. They should rather focus on individual student needs that SMART provides with its one on one tutoring sessions. The analogy I like to use is the difference between taking a cruise and seeing 5 to 6 cities for a few hours a piece through the lens of a tour bus and guided tour verse planning your own trip and visiting a city in which its duration is measured in days instead of minutes. You get to know the people, the culture, the history, and truly feel like you’re more educated on a certain topic. We only use professionals in their given field who have extensive knowledge of the topic to be helped in. They know the workarounds and quirky aspects of certain softwares, how to work in multiple design packages for the best product in the end, and come from a place of traditional academic conceptual topics as well as real world experiences.
Why does an architect feel like he/she must be a jack of all trades but a master of none? Instead, talent should be aligned to focus on the aspects of a project they’re good at and hire others to focus on what they’re experts in. From my own example and the website, I produced most of the graphics that went into it as I have an extensive knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as a conceptual understanding of how I want to present the site. However, I have zero experience in translating this information onto a website so I hired my web designer Robert from www.translationandmarketingservices.com to lend his expertise in a field I would have mightily struggled in if I decided to go the DIY route. Steve Jobs had a fantastic quote that said “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” We have the experts to focus on your specific project needs as we know that no two problems are ever the same.
Timing and Location are Everything
The time of day and typical “office hours” have historically limited how quickly a project can progress and ultimately be finished. Instead, why not work with multiple people in numerous time zones all striving towards the same goal? If talent is available halfway around the word, why be geographically limited to a small local area? SMART helps you tap into unexplored talent pools through online collaboration and the ever growing cloud storage community. Because of the difference in time zones, work can be done 24/7/365 with very little down time. We breakdown borders and bring the best talent of the world to your doorstep.
I’ve Always Been Teaching
I realized from a very early age that I enjoyed and was good at teaching others. My earliest moments of instruction may have been to my brother in our driveway playing basketball or showing my younger cousins how to properly cast a fishing pole. My first exposure to software instruction came in high school when I would often help freshmen and sophomores with their CAD assignments. I loved when you could see they had that “ah ha” moment, a concept they grasped that seemed so elusive. After graduating college, I made a quick u-turn and began teaching a Rhino class at my alma mater. The combination of helping someone pursue their design ideas why simultaneously being involved in their project concepts was too much for me to give up, and this began my full-fledged dive into tutoring and providing professional design services. No project is ever conceived, designed, and realized by a single person, and it is my hope that I can play a role in every project possible, no matter the size, location, typology, or timeline.
Let’s Be Honest, I Have a Selfish Reason or Two
I became a father a little less than 4 months ago to a happy as a clam, charming, and heartwarming baby girl. I’ve been happily married to my wife for almost 2 years of many more to come. Being the most important people in my life, I hope to provide a life for the three of us that grants financial and time independence that we so crave. A location independent lifestyle and being able to work anywhere there’s a WiFi connection has long appealed to me for a variety of reasons but mostly to feed our traveling habit and show the world to our daughter.
Traveling and living in different locations will allow the business to grow and uncover more talent through meeting up with existing connections that lead to referrals or discovering new talent through researched areas to visit. Traveling is the great educator, and I hope educational experiences will enrichen SMART and our clients’ interactions.
Finally, I hope to provide for my daughter in every way possible and financially leave her freed from student debt that I have acquired. This is in no way a swan song and I’m not looking for pity from anyone nor do I expect it. I signed on the dotted line at the time and fully knew the consequences of what I was consenting to. That being said, I hope she never has to experience the stress that I’ve gone through, as I believe it’s every parent’s goal to ensure their children have a better life than they did.
I Enjoy Design and Original Ideas
Even though I have left working at an architecture firm full time, I still keep up to date with the latest projects, technologies, and concepts in the design world. While I now work full time for a fantastic Owner’s Project Manager company which focuses mostly on the business side of building, my job still allows me to get into the bones of a project and make educated design decisions through my experience.
When a student contacts us looking for help on a project, I generally start the conversation with 3 questions, the latter two concerning time/cost and technical aspects of the project. The first question however is the most important, “What are your goals and what are you hoping to gain from this?” This answer tends to vary dramatically from client to client. This starts the conversation in which I can assess from a creativity capacity what their vision is and how we can ensure they get there.
Working with professionals helps me stay connected to the design world, even in different parts of the country or areas of business that aren’t directly correlated to architecture and construction. My question to professionals is similar to students, but I usually like to assess what the most important aspects of their inquiry are, be it time, price, or quality. In any design project, a pull on one of these three aspects affects the other two one way or the other. Regardless, we always strive to deliver projects that wow our customers, under budget, and before a given timeline. The overall quality of the product in the end is what truly matters, an aspect that has my full attention from first conception to final product.
Fast and Busy is the Only Speed I Know
Simply put, my work ethic is by far and away my best character trait, something I inherited specifically from my father but also my family as a whole. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, there’s always a way to figure out how to attain it. There’s no roadmap for building a non-traditional architectural service and training business because to my knowledge, one does not exist. Through intensive long nights and working weekends that includes design, research, lessons, projects, and an overall happy clientele base, I’ve had the privilege of building something I’m incredibly proud of and want to show to the world.
So how does this translate to my potential clients? I put the same work ethic I have with my own personal goals into each project to ensure those we collaborate with have a fantastic experience, sing our praises to others, helping grow our business. Each project is personally vetted and review by me before ever getting into the hands of our skilled freelancers. When complete, I double and triple check to make sure every deliverable has been met with the quality we put our reputation on and the client expects. Bottom line, nothing leaves the door without my stamp of approval to ensure everyone’s happy and the relationship flourishes.
So that’s the truth and as you can see, I like to have as transparent a business and process as possible. I have nothing to hide as I firmly believe having the client as involved in the process from beginning to end is the best path to success. So ask away, comment, question, and recommend to your heart’s content. The more opinions and points of view, the better for all parties involved. This is SMART and we look forward to collaborating with you.