Many who started to delineate their fresh Architecture business, came across with the same question, millions of people asked for themselves. “Will I need an Office, or better to start at home?”
Well, I don’t have a cohesive answer to that, I suspect it all depends about your overall situation, financially, emotional, time and the status of your local market. Meanwhile, I think there’s an exercise everyone should do, before moving any further on this question.
1. What kind of Market you want to access?
2. What type of Architecture you’re inclined to practice?
3. What Architectural language does reflect you?
4. The area where you’ll start does already have the type of clients you’re looking for?
5. Starting with a couple of friends or alone?
6. Do you want to scale over time, or stay “small”?
7. Are you financially prepared to support monthly money loss by renting an office?
First it was a Cowork for Creative industries, so in my mind I thought; “Cool…plenty of creative people to exchange impressions, talks etc” LOL, just forget it…
For me, I guess it’s very important to formulate these questions, before moving forward, since you’ll be surprised on some ready answers and perplex by doubts that have been brought up to light, when you were so secure. Here’s the thing, initially I’ve been in a Cowork space, I had an idea about it and very quickly it vanished. First it was a Cowork for Creative industries, so in my mind I thought; “Cool…plenty of creative people to exchange impressions, talks etc” LOL, just forget it… Some because they were there since the beginning, thought they were kings of the jungle, others started to look at you as competitors, others were dived into their stuff, which I understand, didn’t get the time to know better. The administration was always creating events, it was very cool, but somehow or I just simply didn’t felt the right vibe and click with some of my neighbors or, I was outside on a meeting to get a client.
Pretty much on these spaces you’ll find, very different business scenarios, freelancers, small business owners, people who freshly scaled their business to something bigger, medium company which is falling apart, another one that got the lucky to sign a nice contract with a big client and on the next door or desk, someone who’s starting anew. So, for me this wasn’t affecting since I’ve worked in so many companies with their bumps and downs, that I saw it as a routine… Plus, when you’re in a cowork space, no matter if you’re paying a desk, room or a tiny cabin, which I nicknamed as shoe box, but many places give a fancy name as, Box, you’re far more interested in getting clients and produce work to pay your monthly bills.
So, does your business, currently started to attract clients, prospect meetings, pitch presentation or even landed the first contract? Do you feel, secure to the point to secure a physical space that you’re going to call, office, studio, lab, whatever…? Is the market giving you signs, that a next client is guaranteed every month? Will the workflow of your current project, guarantees you a nice income, no matter what happens?
Another important question, must be made: “How vital is for your business to have a physical space?”
Currently for me I do have a Home-Office! For
some may work, for others don’t! I believe many can’t have that option, because
of their home’s layout, those who got a chance for it, why not?
The Cowork was starting to become a stressful situation, that agony to pay the rent and the same time, to acquire new clients and more importantly, to convert it into a contract that would translates into money. It’s a lot to going through when you’re just starting. A meeting it’s not synonym of project, sometimes there’s a self-centered exercise, clients do, before deciding to go with you. There will be situations that would delay their financial availability, so in that sense I found many factors that could turn into volatile situations.
In the end, the Cowork offer is so vast, that you can rent a meeting room nowadays and return to your Home-Office to accomplish your work. Now, if you’re a person that gets easily bored at home, you’ll have to find for yourself what suits you better. I might say, normally I wake up earlier, go to the gym for my workout, I collaborate for a company part-time, so most times, I spend my mornings there, some days I return home after my workout… Afternoon and nights, is for my business… in my opinion is a question of self-organization. If you didn’t develop that skill, I advise you to do so! That’s what helped me along the way to focus on important tasks.
So, Cowork or Home-Office? For me the last one is working very nice, sure I miss a space outside home to work on my stuff and elaborate all kind of creative experiments, but if you keep your home-office well organized, clean, away from clutter and unnecessary papers, there’s a different mood there. The fact you don’t need to worry about money rent, it’s another benefit. Clients are very familiar with Skype, if there’s a doubt. I collaborate with others colleagues many times through Skype, the need for an office is redundant on those days. For an initially stage, in my opinion start small, according to your market needs and by the time you’re acquiring more and more projects, then evaluate again if it makes sense to have at least a room that fits three people inside. Global economy is very instable, I’ve seen so many scenarios, one day you start as freelancer, after you scale for a small company, time and expertise can lead you to a medium size one, with more than 10 or 15 employees and all of a sudden, boom crashes everything.
Creative industries are those who get more affected, every time a financial instability comes across, no matter if you’re an Architect, Interior Designer, Graphic Designer, Designer, Creative, Illustrator, you name it.
Time showed me that projects, they come by your effort, how you engage with your market, people, friends, how you expose your work outside, professional relations. If you work inside house, use your social events, activities time, to get to know people better, to relax and enjoy your time. Do not fall into the error to see these events as an opportunity to sell your business like crazy. That’s how Architecture projects comes, most of times by stablished relations!