4 Steps to Start Your Business TODAY
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
So... you want to start a business?
One of the most common questions I receive almost daily, is what can I do today to start my own design firm? Below is a direct message I received in my inbox:
Hi Bryn, I’m pretty sure I’ve asked you this before, but do you have any advice for how I can start my own design firm? Ideally, I’d like to start it as a side gig, and build it into something full time. I’m still studying/testing for the ARE, but I was talking with one of my friends, and she said if that’s my lifelong dream, I need to go for it... take the leap, and get it started. So I’d like to make that my goal.
I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look into my answer and a few quick tips to get you started today.
First off, starting your own business is a great goal! I highly encourage everyone to pursue entrepreneurship if that is the path they see themselves on. This is precisely why I have focused my energy on helping emerging professionals get started and grow their businesses.
I have pages and pages of notes to answer this question, but for today I will be succinct and give you the first few items you can start working on.
1. Develop your brand
A great firm has a great brand, right? This is easy to start on right away and is probably something you've already been dreaming of. What is your company name? What is the overall esthetic? What colors, fonts, and textures do you want to associate with your brand? Branding can continually evolve but start with a basis. I'll tell you a little secret - I designed the logo I still use today in 2012 during portfolio class in college. I never imagined I would still be using it almost 10 years later!
2. Determine your ideal client/project
Start creating a portfolio (website/Instagram) with the types of projects you classify as your ideal project. For Instagram, it can be inspirational photos at first while you build your portfolio (always give credit if it’s not your work). You can also start creating concept sketches and renders for your ideal project to post. This will attract the clients you want. Listen to Episode 4 of my podcast or read here for more info on this.
3. tell anyone and everyone what you’re doing
Get it out there! You never know whose aunt’s cousin’s neighbor is looking to start a remodel. That’s how you get your foot in the door. It can feel a little intimidating at first, but if you don't put it out into the universe, it won't manifest.
4. Don't forget legal logistics
There are legal logistics like business licenses, DBA (if your company isn’t your own name), and professional liability insurance that you must consider. Once you have your company name, get your business license. Even if you don't have your first job, get your license. You will always be able to say your company's official start date was when you purchased your license.
Once you have a project, you should get liability insurance. The saying goes, "it's not IF an architect will get sued. It's WHEN." Stay ahead of this and protect yourself with Liability Insurance, AKA Errors & Omissions (E&O). If you have employees, other insurances may be required in your area, so double-check with your local jurisdiction.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t forget, ALWAYS have a contract in place even if the project is for a family member. Contracts are so important. Don't start the work until you receive that signed contract back. It protects you. When I started, I had no idea where to start with a contract. I spent countless hours researching how I should organize my contracts. I read through multiple AIA contracts and knew I wanted to develop something more digestible for my clients. I worked for a company at one point that had many clients NOT SIGN an AIA contract because it was so dense and overwhelming. If you want a quick signature without a headache, you have to have an agreement that is easy to understand but still protects you.
A Special Offer for you!
I am excited to announce that I am officially providing exclusive access to the exact contract I use today! The best news is I have TWO contracts for you! The first is a design contract specially designed to make your client feel secure about your services, and the second is a contract for an independent contractor.
If you're planning to work as an independent contractor, this contract will help protect you as a contractor and provide you with a professional start to your working relationship. If you are an architect or designer and want to hire an independent contractor, this contract is also for you.
I am also providing an option that brings you inside an almost 2-hour team meeting where we dissect the AIA B101 contract between the Owner and Architect AND BYoung Design's actual contract. So you'll have confidence and know what everything in the agreement means and why it's essential.
Tested and Reviewed
My design contract has been reviewed by a contractor lawyer and is what it is today based on years of experience. These contracts will save you hours (even days!) of your time.
Here is what people are saying:
I may have seen contract templates before and I have gone over them a bit in school but I think it would probably take me at least a week, if not longer, to research and come up with a contract without a template. Even with this template, I’ll probably spend at least 4/5 more hours making sure I fully understand it and redesigning a bit to make it more in line with my branding. That may be a high estimate but I think a lot of us in architecture are kind of perfectionists and pay very close attention to detail.
BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!
No, but really, there is more. I've also decided to create an almost 2-hour video where I dive deep into our contract and the AIA B101! I bring you inside our firm and give you an in-depth look at contracts, what's important, and what items you HAVE to include in yours.
Get your copy today and start signing contracts with clients and getting paid as soon as tomorrow! We stand behind our resources so much that we offer a FULL 100% money-back guarantee if you're unsatisfied.