As an architect you probably want to design. So having your own firm would only seem to increase the opportunities to create architecture. But the minute you become the boss, you take on extra responsibilities. You actually have to wear three hats:  architect, business person/marketer, and client expert.

Presumably, the architecture part is welcome. But being a business person/marketer and client facilities expert? Perhaps not so much.

Are you a natural?

Some architects are natural business people and marketing experts. They are comfortable running a firm and all that it entails. And they’re at ease when it comes to developing client relationships and understanding and meeting their needs.

But others focus on design and put the other tasks to one side, and that’s where the problem arises. Perhaps the reason is because you are busy with projects, or you are simply uncomfortable with those elements in running a firm.

One problem with that is it often results in a feast or famine cycle. Without a good network of professionals and client relationships, it’s often difficult to find out about jobs your firm might be suited for. And prospective clients may not know about you.

Expand your comfort zone

The task is to gradually step into those roles you’re uncomfortable with. (And be conscious of the excuses you use to avoid them.) The challenge may be learning to think from the client’s perspective, understanding your clients’ businesses the way they do, or becoming at ease with networking. The solution is recognizing the resistance and then taking slow movements forward work through it.

Be patient with the time it takes to produce results. And give yourself credit for your wins, whether it’s a new networking friend or a potential client who provides insight into their business. You’re on your way to wearing the three hats successfully.

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