Day 366: First Year of Owning a Business
One year ago today, our doors officially opened! Like most brave people [and by brave, I mean naive] who start their own business, we thought we had a full proof plan for success. [click here for our ambitious day 1 declaration] We want to do creative, good for the planet work and yeah, make enough money to support our household while we are doing what we love. This was and is still our goal; but now we have the benefit of 365 days of lessons learned. Here are a few lessons learned in the first year of owning a business:
We are grateful at the opportunity to design …a Western Play Town in an Eastern Ohio Town. The goal is for the end user to have fun; how can we not have fun while designing it?
We’re a company that loves spreadsheets. We started working on spreadsheets long before we actually started the business. But we continue to use them to track leads, referrals, estimated income, budgeted expenses. It helps us set tangible goals and chart our progress. Plus-filling in the colors of cells is so satisfying!
It feels good to get a paycheck! I can’t speak for other start-ups but for us; we had assumed it would be a while before we could receive a regular paycheck. We also wanted to establish a habit of paying ourselves on a regular basis for overall morale. This was an excellent tip given to us by our trusty Accountants at Accounting Professionals. Although it is not a framed one hundred-dollar bill; this day held the same spirit [and perhaps a similar currency value].
We are reminded to be grateful that walking to work is possible. Being forced to walk to work because there is no parking pass for downtown is a blessing in disguise. It’s forced exercise, but also a great way to warm up for the day. Likewise, it’s nice to have 20 minutes to wrap up the business of the day [in one’s head].
Sometimes you get projects you never expected! We were hired to renovate the Earth Fare Store at Westgate in Asheville. Had we been asked on day 1 if this was in our near future, we would have most definitely been wrong. Proof that there is a time when it’s great to be wrong.
Not all projects pan out. Yes we knew this from our previous work experience, but it’s different when you own the business. Thank goodness for days like 142!
The workplace can be a hostile environment. It is best to let off steam with target-brand nerf guns and libations.
Our first official project, the Western Play Town, is complete.
There is no IT guy. We are the IT guys. On this day, we were having serious server/mac/pc issues with working files becoming corrupt.
We are the IT Guys! After lots of troubleshooting-our online office is fully functioning and more redundant than ever.
We get the kind of project that we daydreamed about before September 3, 2012! We were hired by Buncombe County Schools to design wayfinding signage that does more than just tell building users where to go. It reinforces the entire mission behind this special school by using good design. There are lots of architects working on this project and we’re grateful to be one of them. Check back for more later!
We continue to understand the reason this profession uses the term architectural “practice”–we are constantly learning, training, honing our skills. We are practicing architecture.