THE NEXT YEAR AT BLUETIME – GENERAL THOUGHTS AND GOALS
– My hope is to take on few but interesting and financially rewarding projects. a. I need to look at contracts and communications. Emphasis needs to be placed on clarifying the process and expectations at the beginning of any project. b. Break even is estimated at $xx/hour (2/3 billable) c. Keep better track of ALL hours including washing dishes and walking dogs d. Hardware and software upgrades and investments - need to spend some $ this year e. Build construction meetings and check-ins into contracts and specs f. Complete website – including print ready projects pages, press, Bluetime Collaborative g. SEO is fading – how can I improve?
I tend to get burned out on the intensity of working as a sole practitioner trying to be an expert in everything. (and keep track of everything) I am pushing the collaborative aspect of projects in order to do fewer projects at a higher level of service by both distributing the task load and adding in aspects of service that I have not in the past as well as get support in the organization of my services. This costs more in design fees so I expect to do fewer projects overall. I really need to avoid doing two high performance homes (for example) at the same time. I will continue to offer basic services with limited involvement as I have often done successfully in the past. There is a market and need for that plus I enjoy it. The resulting projects are not the best portfolio fodder and generally not brilliantly cohesive and resolved. Plus I think they are often actually more expensive than if I were more involved with design and detailing. But it is good clean work and I enjoy being helpful.
The following are other interests that I have been wanting to pursue but have been too swamped to think about. By incorporating these into my business plan, I hope to be able to do less and better architecture for a carefully selected clientele. And these additional projects will strengthen the core of my business, help even the flow of work and allow me to...be better at what I do.
2. Furniture– line of tables (2+ models?)version one is sitting in my kitchen right now. a. Build 2 models (requires $$) b. Photography c. Simple website w/ecommerce – Etsy? d. Cost analysis including shipping e. Who can provide metal and wood and what time frame? f. Is there a way to start low key? Etsy? My own blog? Can I get in with a local furniture store?
3. Photography – Invest in photography equipment and knowledge in order to be able to photograph my own projects and make extra income photographing other’s projects. a. Equipment costs - minimal at first b. Greenfield is a good place to practice c. Practice and education d. I already have decent photoshop skills - most of my portfolio is manipulated raw images through photoshop (And it's pretty good if I do say so myself) e. This sets me up for publishable work, boosting the architecture business. f. architecture specific photography for local builders, realtors. Not super-pro and not for pro-level fees but I see a need for this sort of thing in the area.
4. Stock Plan Market a. Need to add 5+/- additional stock plans to the stock plan portfolio on houseplans.com b. Initial time investment = residual income
5. Sketchup modeling a. Would other firms pay me to do sketchup modeling for them? (I'm pretty good) b. Need to spend time upping my skill level c. Additional plug ins such as rendering? Or should I ignore rendering for now?
The future of my career is nebulous. (thus, in part, the diversification listed above). I periodically consider going to work for someone else but suspect that wouldn’t last long. Or maybe it would be really refreshing? I am in danger of becoming a dinosaur with regards to what I see going on regionally as well as nationally. There will always be a need for the little guy who can address residential needs but new homes will be increasingly built by larger organizations. Pre-fab, factory built, modular etc are the future of residential and there may be a way for me to work within those parameters. At this point in my career I don’t expect to do any projects other than residential.
I also continue to design and redesign additions and renovations to my own home. I want a real kitchen (with a dishwasher) so I can log more hours there.
And I have to build a chicken coop and a greenhouse in the next few months.