Thoughts that made me feel insecure
When I started my own studio, I was full of doubts and fears.
Every day, I was haunted by thoughts that I wasn't doing enough.
Looking at other architects, I felt small and inadequate.
I was terrified of messing up, thinking I had to be perfect in everything.
I was always worried about being invisible and being overlooked.
Despite working non-stop, I ignored my own health and well-being.
This neglect led to sleepless nights, filled with anxiety and endless worries.
I felt alone in my struggles, my mind often clouded with sadness.
I started losing hope, questioning my skills and my future.
It was a dark time, where every day felt harder than the last, and my confidence hit rock bottom.
But then, things started to get better.
I met someone who helped me a lot: a mentor.
He showed me a new way to look at things.
He told me, 'Focus on what you're good at, not what you're bad at.'
I used to always think about my weak points, and it held me back.
After spending a few months with him, I began to see things differently.
I realized that if you have the right attitude and work hard, you can really improve your situation.
I learned that it's not just about skills, but also about how you think and approach your work.
In this article I will talk about the doubts that were holding me back.
I will also tell you how I was able to overcome them.
I hope you find them useful and that you too will overcome them.
Common doubts and how to beat them
As I said before, I used to doubt myself a lot.
And I bet many architects feel the same way.
You should know that these doubts are not formed in you.
They are formed from things that have happened to you.
What society says and how you see things.
Overcoming these doubts is very important.
This is how you grow personally and professionally.
You can go far in your career if you face them head on.
Let me share some of the typical doubts I used to have:
1) I'm not creative enough
I doubted my creative ability. I thought I wasn't imaginative innovative enough to design exceptional buildings or spaces.
Many architects doubt themselves.
They wonder if they are really that creative and worry that they are not doing amazing designs.
This self-doubt, thinking "I'm not creative enough," can be a real obstacle to doing well.
But changing the way you look at things and trying new approaches can help you tap into your creativity and make designs that really stand out.
The first thing to do is to realize that creativity has no limits.
As architects, we have a lot of room to come up with new and cool ideas.
Value your own style and creative spark. Build your own brand.
Because everyone brings something different to the table.
Don't be afraid to try something new.
Go ahead and try different ideas.
Don’t know where to start?
2) I can't handle the business side of things
I was basically focused on my technical knowledge. But lacked the confidence to handle business aspects such as marketing, sales or financial management.
Being an architect, you probably love the design part but might find the business stuff a bit intimidating.
Begin by looking for courses and resources that teach you about marketing, sales, and how to manage your money.
Take your time learning and start using what you learn in your own work.
If you stick with it and keep an open mind, you'll get the hang of the business stuff and set yourself up for a solid career in architecture.
3) Success is only for the well-connected
I believed that success in the industry was reserved for those with influential contacts. I felt at a disadvantage if they lacked those networks.
There's a common misconception in architecture that success is exclusive to those with influential contacts.
This can be disheartening, especially for newcomers who lack such networks.
Success isn't just about who you know.
It's a combination of your skills, dedication, and forming the right connections over time.
Focus on creating meaningful connections within your field by:
- Networking with fellow architects.
- Using platforms like LinkedIn for new introductions.
- Attending industry-related events and workshops.
Collaboration Leads to Opportunities
Working on projects with others can open doors to valuable partnerships.
A strong portfolio and consistent quality work are key to attracting opportunities.
Keep striving for excellence in every project.
Success in architecture is not just for the well-connected.
It’s attainable through skill, hard work, and strategic networking.
4) My designs must be perfect
Perfectionism paralyzed me and made me doubt my work and inhibited my creative process.
Believing that your designs must be flawless can lead to self-doubt and hinder your creative process.
It's a common barrier to progress.
Understand that perfection is a myth.
No design, article, or business is ever perfect.
Aiming for absolute perfection, especially initially, is unrealistic.
Embrace minor flaws; they add character to your work.
Focus on Core Goals:
Prioritize the main aims of your projects.
Avoid getting lost in trivial details.
Trust your judgment on the key elements of your designs.
Seek advice from peers, clients, or mentors.
Their constructive feedback is essential for improvement and helps you enhance your work without fixating on being perfect.
Celebrate Every Step:
Appreciate your achievements, flaws and all.
Each project is a stepping stone in your architectural journey.
Both the process and your growth are as vital as the end result.
5) I can't charge higher fees
I used to undervalue my services. I used to think that clients would not pay higher fees, which led to financial hardship.
Too many architects charge too little, thinking clients won’t pay more.
This hurts your income and sells your skills short.
Know Your Value:
Be aware of what you offer.
Your skills, experience, and unique designs justify higher rates.
Clients do pay for quality.
Be The Expert:
Stand out. Show why your work is different and better.
Make clients see the benefits of choosing you.
Tell clients clearly why your services are valuable.
Stress on the benefits of investing in quality design.
Check what others charge.
Set your fees based on your quality but be mindful of the market.
Stay firm on your prices. Don’t cut rates just to get a job.
Choose Your Clients Wisely:
Aim for clients who understand and value your expertise.
They’re key to a profitable, long-term business.
Sustainable Business Model:
Charging right isn’t about greed. It’s about growing your business.
Attract clients who appreciate quality.
This is how you build a successful architecture practice.
My tip: Learn about Pricing to increase your fees
🎓 Anxious about setting your rates too high or too low? Find the sweet spot with the Sales – Pricing Challenge. Learn how to price your services in a way that's fair to you and attractive to clients. Stop leaving money on the table and start getting paid what you're worth.
6) I don't have time for self-care
Long work days and high-pressure projects lead me to neglect my well-being. I used to think I couldn't afford time for self-care. Until I suffered extreme burnout. I had to hit rock bottom.
Neglecting self-care is a common error in our field.
It harms your health, work efficiency, and happiness.
Self-Care is Mandatory:
Treat self-care like a critical part of your schedule.
Simple actions like regular breaks for stretching or walking make a big difference.
They sharpen focus and increase output.
Balance is Key:
Don’t let work consume your life.
A balanced approach is crucial for lasting success.
Overworking leads to burnout and reduced effectiveness.
Make time for activities you enjoy and for being with people who matter.
Relaxation and mindfulness recharge your creative energy.
Good sleep equals better decision-making.
If you're overwhelmed, talk about it with someone you trust.
It lightens the burden and offers fresh solutions.
A balanced mind is clearer, more creative, and stronger.
Good self-care not only benefits you personally but also boosts your architectural career.
If you're feeling run-down, take action.
7) I'm too young / old to learn new skills
I sometimes resisted adopting new technologies or learning business skills. I used to think it was too early or too late to improve my knowledge.
Thinking you're too old to learn new stuff is just a mindset that can hold you back.
Architecture is changing fast: think AI, automation, what's hot in the market.
To stay in the game, you gotta keep up.
Still using AutoCAD? Time for an upgrade, buddy.
Here are 6 simple tips to get you going:
1 Age is just a number.
You've got experience and know-how that can be a strong base for learning new stuff.
2 Be open and ready to grow.
You can always learn and adapt, no matter what's changing in architecture.
3 Spend time getting to know new tech and trends.
Go to workshops, join online classes, and learn what's new out there.
4 Team up with younger folks or tech-savvy peers.
They can show you the ropes and help you get the hang of new skills and tools.
5 Keep it simple.
Break learning down into small, doable steps. Keep at it and you'll get there, age aside.
6 Pat yourself on the back.
Each new thing you learn makes you a better architect and opens new doors.
Celebrate every win, big or small.
Don't let age slow you down.
You're never too old to:
- get better in your career,
- boost your creativity,
- and have a bright future in our fast-changing field.
Still think you're too old to learn?
Time to rethink that.
8) My ideas aren't as good as others
I had a feeling of inadequacy when comparing my work with that of other architects. Which led me to doubt myself and lose my self-confidence.
Thinking your ideas are less good than others can really mess with your creative mojo and slow you down in architecture.
Every architect sees the world in their own way.
Comparing yourself to others?
That's a creativity killer right there.
What can you do about it?
First, get it in your head that creativity is a personal thing.
There's no one-size-fits-all for what makes an idea great.
What you bring to the table is special, and that makes your work awesome in its own right.
Stop the compare game and focus on getting better.
Don’t stress about how your ideas stack up against others.
Just keep sharpening your skills and thinking outside the box.
Get feedback but make it work for you.
Don't see it as a thumbs down but as a way to make your work even better.
Take what people say and use it to fine-tune your ideas.
Architecture is a team sport.
Working with others can lead to some mind-blowing ideas and new ways of looking at things.
And hey, it's not just about other architects.
Get inspired by different fields like tech, movies, the web, sports, or travel.
Mixing it up can lead to some pretty epic stuff.
9) The market is too competitive
I believed the industry was oversaturated, making it difficult to stand out or find opportunities.
Thinking the architecture game is too crowded can really bum you out and stop you from chasing your dreams.
Listen, being a standout in any field is all about rocking what makes you unique and knowing where you fit in.
Still figuring out what makes you special?
Flip the script.
Stop seeing other architects as the competition and start seeing them as potential teammates.
Working together can give you all kinds of cool stuff to add to your portfolio.
Find your sweet spot in architecture.
What gets you pumped?
What are you really good at?
Once you've got that down, shape your services to hit the needs of the people you most want to work with.
So, instead of getting stuck in a "too many architects, too little work" mindset, go find your special sauce and team up with others to make something amazing.
My tip: Stand out from your competitors.
🎓 If you need help finding your Uniqueness, we can work on it with the Audience – Blue Ocean Strategy challenge, in order to find your differentiation on the market.
You've got this whole digital world at your fingertips, so use it to make some noise!
Get your portfolio online and keep your social media popping.
Show off what you've got to a crowd that stretches way beyond your zip code.
But hey, don't just rest on your laurels. Always be learning, man.
The industry's always coming up with new stuff, so stay in the loop.
Invest in yourself, sharpen those skills, and bring something fresh to the table.
And don't forget to mingle.
Networking isn't just schmoozing at boring events.
Hit up those workshops, conferences, and whatever else where you can meet people who get what you're all about.
Make those connections count.
Quit thinking the pie is too small.
There's enough success to go around, trust me.
Instead of looking at the market like it's some zero-sum game, see it as a playground with endless opportunities.
Wondering what makes you special?
Look, the thing that's gonna make you stand out is, well, YOU.
Your vibe, your passion, your all-nighters working on that insane design.
That's your secret sauce. So own it.
You do you and let that unique flair shine.
Trust me, people will notice.
Be different. Be unique.
10) I can't balance work and personal life
I worked long hours, and I had difficulty finding a balance between my professional and personal life, which led to burnout.
Let's face it, growing an architecture business is hard.
But that doesn't mean you can't find a work/life balance.
Believe it or not, you can have both success and sanity.
You just have to be smart with your time.
I've been there myself.
I know what it means to get lost in distraction.
You can read how I dealt with it and how I solved it.
It was basically tracking my progress and seeking accountability.
Try to work remotely.
You already know that we advocate the most flexible ways of working.
We love working remotely and moving from place to place.
You might be working from your regular office, or maybe with a bit more luck, from home.
I still recommend you to go work from a Coworking from time to time. Or from a coffee shop.
This will keep your brain from getting used to the same place, and you will be able to focus entirely on your tasks.
One last recommendation.
A mentor can give you killer advice, help you steer clear of pitfalls, and offer a lot of support as you get to know the ins and outs of the business.
In my experience, having a business mentor from the get-go really helped.
Balancing work and life is a never-ending process.
It takes real effort and a promise to take care of yourself.
And yes, you can do it.
Architects can take care of themselves, do better at work, and have a good life in and out of the office.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
Trust me, a recharged you is a more creative, problem-solving beast.
So give yourself permission to unplug and recharge.
You'll thank me later.
What did I learn?
Here are my top 3 tips for architects who want to overcome their beliefs:
1) You can learn business stuff
Don't be scared of the business part of being an architect.
Spend time learning about Marketing, Sales, and Sales.
Then, show off what you can do to get good clients.
My tip: learn new business skills
🎓 Start building your architecture business with the Business Challenges. It will help you understand the basic business principles to start small and grow fast.
2) It's okay to change and get better
Nobody's perfect. Don't aim for perfection, just aim to get better.
See your mistakes and tough times as chances to grow.
And listen to what others say to make your work better.
3) Keep learning and take care of yourself
You're never too old to learn new stuff.
Stay curious and open to what's new out there.
Also, make time for yourself so you can stay happy, creative, and successful in the long run.
If you've read all this, I hope you're feeling a bit more confident about yourself.
Wish you all the best.
I hope to see you win.
Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you with:
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See you around ✌️