Monday, 25 February 2013

The SOLE proprietor, and what it means (Pt.I)

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my practice has been on an bit of an upswing lately...  Great news but, it presents challenges that I hadn't expected...

A current project is a new, residential bungalow for a client and family.  The design was brought to me in a moderately resolved state and (in the eyes of the client) only required some "tuning-up" and refining to prepare for budget pricing.  No problem, it's a nice opportunity!

Working through the design, I became aware that the roof plan was going to be a challenge.  This was not a "typical" bungalow coming in at just under 4000 SF (on the main floor).  Fortunately, the site allows for a generous walk-out basement feature, and boosts the "livable" space to the 7000 SF range.  Again, no problem:  Lots of glass, and bright, sunny spaces with a view...  Again, what an opportunity!  But, that roof...

After struggling with the design, it became clear that I was getting bogged-down, and needed some help.  Here's where I would have turned to a fellow / colleague in an office environment to share ideas and have a "second set of eye's" review the drawings.  As  a sole proprietor, I realized that I've given-up that support network that comes with working in a larger practice.  Naturally, I turned to my supportive wife, for her ideas.  Leave it to her to point me in the right direction...

One of the beliefs one must have, in order to make the switch to a private practice, is that "I am capable of handling it ALL".  It takes wisdom to realize that this confidence can provide a false sense of self.  I had to draw on my network of associates to re-create the advantages that a larger practice can provide.  I reached out to a long-time acquaintance and, coincidentally, a neighbour, to meet and discuss / review the plan...  Within a few minutes, we had a worked through the issues and I was on my way, again.  (Thanks Dan!)

So, a word of advice...  Don't be afraid to reach-out for help, in whatever you do.  More often than not, a colleague, associate or neighbour will be happy to share their knowledge and experience.  For a sole proprietor, the network you build is of tremendous importance. Invest in it, and use it.

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