Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Architectural Interns: Read This Now!

Bob Borson from Life of an Architect blog published a great post today about Architectural Interns. It includes tips, suggestions and requirements from some of Bob’s friends, including me.

If you know an architectural intern or a recent grad looking for work, this is a must read.

Life of an Architect Blog Reaches 3 Million Readers

As a follow up to yesterday’s post… if you aren’t already a fan of Entrepreneur Architect Bob Borson and his Life of an Architect blog, meander on over and take a read. His hard work and dedication online has resulted in much earned success. He posts almost everyday with interesting and thought provoking ideas. He made his blog his job. He shows up every day and does what it takes to succeed.

Last night, Life of an Architect passed 3 million readers. Yes, thats million with an M.

Congratulations Bob on your much earned success. We look forward to the years ahead.

My Time Online: Presenting Portfolio, Creating Context and a Top Google Rank

This week, we’ve been exchanging website URLs over at the Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group. It is very interesting to learn some background on the people we’re interacting with on that forum.

I shared our website URL (which is in the midst of an upgrade from our original site to a new one). Then, I posted links to all my other work online. Here is my original post:

In addition to our website at http://www.fivecat.com, below are the other places I spend my time online (and with my spare time, I’m a very involved Dad to 3 and I run an architecture firm).

Entrepreneur Architect Blog: http://www.EntrepreneurArchitect.com
Entrepreneur Architect on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EntrepreneurArchitect
Entrepreneur Architect on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EntrepreneurRA

Fivecat Blog: http://www.LivingWellinWestchester.com
Fivecat on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FivecatStudio
Fivecat on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FivecatStudio
Fivecat Squidoo Lens: http://www.squidoo.com/Fivecat

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markrlepage

I am very active on all of the above sites. It has absolutely benefited the firm and me professionally. I have a Pinterest account, a Google+ account and a Tumblr account as well, but I don’t spend much time with these (yet).

How about you? Other than actively participating here (thank you very much) and our new sub-groups, Architect Led DesignBuild http://goo.gl/U2heu and Architect Developer http://goo.gl/DJZTr, do you spend time online elsewhere?

Where? Why? and How much time?

A few group members asked if all this online presence was worth the effort. Do I really benefit from spending so much time online?

First, I enjoy writing and interacting with people all over the world. I have met so many people and have learned so much from my work online.

As for the business, we literally built our firm using our website. When we launched the firm in 1999 almost all of our work came directly from our website. Today, it’s about 50%. The other half comes from referrals from happy clients. We have a form that prospective clients complete when we meet for an interview. One of the questions we ask is where they found us, so we know exactly from where our leads are originating.

The blog, twitter and facebook do not typically lead directly to work, but they allow prospective clients to learn more about Fivecat Studio and more about me. They create context. When I meet with prospective clients, many tell me that they feel they already know me and that most certainly gives me an advantage when presenting a proposal.

All the work online also leads to very high rankings on Google, which is the point if you want your website to lead to sales. If you’re not found on the first page of a Google search, you are invisible to your prospective clients. Search “Westchester Architects” on Google and you will find us within the top 3 results on the first page (the results vary day to day).

I have never quantified my time online. I probably don’t want to know. I don’t recommend that everyone invest as much effort online as I have, but for us, it has been very, very successful.

Dream Big: Develop Your Business Plan Using a Narrative

ArchDaily.com picked up my friend and Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group member Bob Borson’s blog post today. If you haven’t read Bob’s writings, I recommend that you visit him at LifeofanArchitect.com. Leave him a comment and tell him we said “hi”.

Bob describes how he uses a narrative during the programming phase to learn what his clients want, both functionally as well as emotionally. At Fivecat Studio, we use a similar process using a questionnaire and other fun programming exercises to help guide our clients through the mine field of ideas in their heads. As Bob states in his post, this is “the most important step”.

Bob’s post also reminded me of how I finally developed and finished my business plan for Fivecat Studio. For years I had started and stopped and started and stopped as I attempted to craft a business plan worthy of the organization I had assembled in my head. In fact, I had no less than six separate incomplete documents in the “Business Plan” folder on my PC (I’ve switched over to Macs since then).

So, how did I break the pattern?

I wrote a narrative. I described, in detail, what my business would look like 10 years into the future. I basically described the vision I held in my head for so many years. I had a blast! For one, it’s lots of fun to dream big… with no limits. It was inspiring and helped me focus on what I really wanted to do and where I really wanted to go. It also helped with the development of the rest of my plan. Knowing where I ultimately wanted to end up, helped me develop my plan to get there.

Give it a try. Grab your laptop or a blank piece of paper and start… now! Imagine yourself 10 years from now. What are you doing? Where are you doing it? For whom? Let yourself go. Let your pencil flow. Set no limits and dream big. Your finished business plan is waiting.

My 5 Rules

I am sharing my latest post over at the Living Well in Westchester blog, My 5 Rules to a Successful Architecture Project.

What are your rules to a successful project?

http://fivecat.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/5-rules-to-a-successful-architecture-project/

The Entrepreneurial X-Factor

What is it that separates us entrepreneurs from other business people?

From e-myth.com:

“MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.”

According to legend, this is the ad placed in a London newspaper in August 1914 by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

While it’s not exactly the kind of ad we suggest you use to recruit employees (see our article Recruiting Ads That Work), it certainly makes clear the kind of person Shackleton was looking for. Adventurers, visionaries, risk takers, people willing to work hard only for the promise of possible recognition…

Sound like anyone you know?

In a lot of ways, you could use this very same ad for an entrepreneur.

What are Entrepreneurs Made of?

Entrepreneurs posses that indefinable quality or characteristic that drives them forward, that enables them to persevere, struggle, and overcome obstacles in order to succeed at building a thriving and successful business. You can call it the “Entrepreneurial X-Factor” — and regardless of what many believe that “X-Factor” might be (attitude, passion, obsession, or simply abundant self confidence) — most entrepreneurs believe there is something that sets them apart. Although it can be argued that it is not necessarily an intrinsic quality, there is a certain something that sets the successful entrepreneur apart from the rest.

Read more.

BUILD LLC

I been following the BUILD blog for about a year. BUILD LLC is a small design/build firm located in Seattle, specializing in modern residential and small commercial projects. They maintain a very nice website and post to their blog on a regular basis.

Their most recent post, Thank You Sir May I Have Another, is a nice reminder of the things we should all be focusing on as we wallow through this mess of an economy. The subtitle of the post reads, A ten-point plan for keeping a smile on your face as the economy kicks the crap out of you.

I was also pleased and excited for the BUILD crew to read a nice little article about BUILD LLC in the current issue of Custom Home magazine (congrats guys).

Survival: How’d YOU do it?

The year 2009 was a very tough time for business. As we move our way past first quarter 2010, we’re starting to see a bit of improvement; a few rays of sunshine among the clouds. We are not yet seeing 2007 numbers, but things are certainly moving in the right direction.

I have discussed how WE made it through the storm over at our LinkedIn Group. Today, I’m wondering how YOU did it. Did you make any specific changes to your firm? Any innovative solutions for survival?

The guys over at BUILD LLC shared their “secrets” last month. Take a peek… then come back here and let us know what you think.

The year 2010 is all about recovery and setting your sights on full blown success in 2011. What did you do in 2009 to survive? What are you doing in 2010 to recover?

Clients…by Michael Bierut of Pentagram

A blogging friend, Katie Hutchison, sent me a link to a recent talk by Michael Bierut, a partner at Pentagram. Part of the CreativeMornings lecture series organized by Tina Roth Eisenberg a.k.a @swissmiss, Michael discusses his take on clients; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Just under an hour long, it’s well worth a watch.

Thanks again Katie.

Are You Remarkable?

Becky Shankle (@ecomod) is thinking out of the box… the IKEA box to be more specific.

Becky is the founder and lead designer at eco-modernism. In addition to designing and installing custom kitchens and baths in the Raleigh, NC region, she has launched an innovative IKEA kitchen services. By promoting her firm as IKEA specialists, she differentiates eco-mod from the dozens of other kitchen designers in her region. She’s a Purple Cow. She’s remarkable. She has found a way to inspire people to “remark” about her firm (here I am writing about her… so it worked).

How can you transform your firm to be more remarkable?

Learn more about Becky and eco-modernism at her website, her blog or follow her on Twitter.

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