Episode 4

full
Published on:

23rd Nov 2023

Starting Your Architecture Side Hustle (How & Why I Did It) | 004

In this episode of Architecture Business Club, host Jon discusses starting his own architectural design side hustle in 2010. He takes us through his motivation for starting a side business, shares details about the challenges he faced including dealing with job insecurity due to redundancy and his drive to create a location-independent business. Jon provides insights on how he got off the ground with consultations, grant funding opportunities, and forming a business plan. He also highlights the importance of having a proper presence for the business and a great online presence. In the latter part of the episode, he provides advice for those thinking of pursuing a similar path about avoiding perfectionism, understanding their motivations, and advice on possible conflicts of interest with current employers. The episode concludes with Jon sharing his lessons learned and answering key considerations for anyone thinking about starting an architecture side hustle.

Episode Highlights...

00:00 Introduction and Background

01:08 Understanding Side Hustles

01:32 Why Start a Side Hustle?

03:20 Starting the Side Hustle Journey

07:35 Overcoming Perfectionism and Launching the Business

10:31 Reflections and Lessons Learned

12:37 Tips for Starting a Side Hustle

13:50 Closing Remarks and Future Episodes

Key Takeaways...

👉 Starting a side hustle in architecture can provide additional income and flexibility.

👉 Side hustles are usually extra jobs or small businesses done outside of a regular job.

👉 Starting a side hustle can be motivated by factors like job insecurity, the desire for location independence, and the need for extra money.

👉 To start a side hustle, it is important to have a plan and consider factors like business goals, products/services, competition, and financial forecasts.

👉 Seeking advice from professionals, such as mentors, accountants, and insurance brokers, can be beneficial when starting a side hustle.

👉 Establishing a virtual office, creating a website, and setting up business listings are important steps to establish a presence for the side hustle.

👉 It is important to consider why you are starting a side hustle and whether you want it to remain a small venture or grow into a larger business.

👉 Contingency plans should be considered in case the side hustle grows more quickly than expected or takes up more time.

👉 Finding a niche and being clear about who you want to serve can help differentiate the side hustle and attract the desired types of projects.

👉 Connecting with professionals, peers, and industry organisations can provide valuable advice and support for running a side hustle in architecture.

Free Places To List Your Business Online

Apple Maps

https://businessconnect.apple.com/

Bing Places

https://www.bingplaces.com/

Free Index

https://www.freeindex.co.uk/advertise.htm

Thomson Local

https://www.thomsonlocal.com/product/freelisting

Yell

https://www.yell.com/free-listing/

Yelp

https://business.yelp.com/advertise/free-online-business-advertising/

What To Do Next...

📐Get Jon’s free weekly email newsletter (so you never miss an episode).

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc

📐Leave a positive review to support the show.

https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/architecture-business-club-5485140

📐Connect with Jon on LinkedIn (with a personalized connection request).

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mrjonclayton/

📐Find Jon on other social media platforms by searching for…

@mrjonclayton

📐Subscribe to Jon’s YouTube channel here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZOAac4salmSX0wWRT7JUg

📐Visit Jon’s website here.

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/

In The Next Episode...

Next time, Jon chats with award-winning social media trainer and strategist, Sarah Clay about how architecture practices can leverage LinkedIn to accelerate their business growth.

Transcript
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In 2010, I decided I would start my own business.

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And architectural design side hustle.

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But how did I start it?

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And why would anyone start a side hustle when they already had a full-time

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job in an architecture practice?

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That's exactly what I'm going to cover in this episode of

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architecture business club.

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The weekly podcast for solo and small firm architecture practice owners,

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just like you who want to build a profitable future proof architecture

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business that fits around their life.

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I'm the host, John Clayton.

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And if you want to get notified, when I release a new episode and

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gang access to free resources and exclusive offers, then go to Mr.

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John clayton.co.uk forward slash ABC.

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And sign up to my free weekly email newsletter.

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Now let's discuss side hustle, architecture.

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Hey everyone.

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It's John.

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In today's episode, we're going to talk about side hustle, architecture.

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So.

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A good place to start is what is a side hustle?

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So side hustle.

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If you've not heard that term before.

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Is usually an extra job that you do outside of your usual job.

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Or a small business that you run outside of your usual job that you're doing.

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Day-to-day.

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Or a way of making extra money on top of your usual salary.

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So why did I start my own architectural design side hustle?

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There's a few different reasons.

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Firstly I'd recently been made redundant.

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And I felt I had less job security.

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I think up to that point, I'd always felt like I had a very secure job

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and every practice I'd worked high, it felt like it was a job for life.

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And that feeling went away.

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I suddenly felt like, geez.

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This is this isn't a job for life.

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You know, I haven't got the same security that I had before.

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What can I do about that?

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The other thing was the IDE.

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I'd always loved to travel.

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I'd previously spent long periods of time backpacking traveling the world.

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Uh, I also had started a family and my wife's family lived on

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the opposite side of the country.

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So we were somewhat divided.

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The, the idea of creating.

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An aligned business, which was my original idea.

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One that was location.

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Independent, really appeal to me.

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And I thought that that would fit in really well, wherever my

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family and I lived in the future.

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That that would still work for us and provide for us.

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And at that point, We needed extra money.

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I'd bought a house.

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Um, recently, uh, first, first home together, we had a mortgage.

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We had an 18 month old daughter who has a lot of bills to pay every month.

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And at the time, it just wasn't possible to progress any further at the practice

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that I was currently working on.

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And to get that pay rise that I really needed.

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I should just add there that after I'd been made redundant, I did

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manage to find a job relatively quickly under the practice.

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And this is, this is the point when this journey of starting

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the side hustle really begun.

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So how did I start my side hustle?

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I should caveat.

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This is not necessarily the way I'd recommend you.

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Start your side.

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Hustle is just sharing my own experience.

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One of the first things I did.

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I had a friend who was a business owner.

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He run his own digital marketing agency.

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So that's a business that creates websites, created company brands

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and helped people with paid advertising, all that sort of stuff.

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So I went to him.

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And I said, I'm thinking of starting this business and I

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know I'm going to need a website.

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Can I kind of get some advice from you?

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And he put me in touch with a regional growth hub.

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That was part of a local council that supported startup businesses.

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I gave them a call.

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I went and met with a mentor, had a free meeting with a mentor that

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was part of that organization.

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And he listened to what I had to say.

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And he gave me some advice.

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And when I went away from that meeting, He'd given me a workbook that I could use.

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And in this workbook, there were resources in this workbook to

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help you write a business plan.

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I'd never written a business plan before I had no idea you even needed

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a business plan to start a business.

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So I took that workbook away.

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And I thought I'm going to work on that.

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And I also discovered the possibility of grunt funding that was available,

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that actually for startups.

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Often there is money that's available.

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You can get grants, you can get free money to help you to start your business.

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Often it's much funded.

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And in this case, they said, if you start this business, Send

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us your viable business plan.

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We'll take a look at it.

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We'll look at the stock costs and you know, if you're going

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to need that new website.

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We'll fund 50% of the costs.

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So this was amazing.

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This was amazing for me.

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So I left really motivated.

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I went home and I started working through this business plan

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workbook that I'd been given.

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To map out what my business goals would be, what my business objectives were.

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Or products and services.

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What I sell.

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What would be my USP.

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Um, I did competitor research too.

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Look at who else was working in the industry that I'd be competing against.

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And considered how I would manage and operate this business.

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And also did some initial financial forecast and considered the potential

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risks of this new business venture.

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My dad was a small business owner and he recommended, I spoke to his accountant.

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They offered a free initial consultation.

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Um, so I went along, I had a chat with them about accounting, which again,

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I knew absolutely nothing about, and I decided that I'd employ them as my

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accountants, when I got started up.

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I also set up a separate business bank account.

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And the bank's business managers strongly recommended are used bookkeeping software.

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To manage my day-to-day finances.

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I decided I start trading as a sole trader as I expected

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turnover to be very low to begin.

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So this made sense to me.

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But I also registered a limited company at the same time.

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Using an easy online company set up service.

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To protect the trading name.

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If I decided to use it in the future.

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I'm tended to, I would leave the company dormant until it was time if ever.

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It became time to switch from being a sole trader.

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To running a limited company.

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But my perfectionism had really started to creep in and nine months had passed by and

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I'd still not finished my business plan.

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Let alone started my side hustle.

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And if I didn't finish my business plan, I wouldn't be able to

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apply for the 50% match funding to cover my website, bill costs.

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So I was starting to worry.

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I was starting to think.

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Is this business ever going to get started?

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Am I ever going to finish this business plan?

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What can I do to just get over my perfectionism?

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And get this thing started.

Jon Clayton:

Remember, don't forget to subscribe to my

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free weekly email newsletter.

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You can do that at mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc.

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And if you are enjoying this episode then please visit podchaser.com,

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search for Architecture Business Club and leave a five star review.

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Now, back to the show.

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And then something happened.

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I, I spoke to my friends.

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Uh, from the digital marketing agency and he said, John, You're

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a good friend of mine and look.

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If this is holding you back, like we can do you a deal.

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We can do you a great deal.

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It's going to bring your website cost down to a quarter.

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Of what we'd normally charge our clients.

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So he said, look, just, don't worry about applying for this grant.

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This is going to be much quicker and cheaper for you

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and your business plan is good.

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Enough is good enough to get started.

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So that's sat me on my way.

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The next thing I thought of was, well, I feel a little bit uncomfortable

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about this idea of having a side hustle while I work at this practice.

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So I actually went to work and I spoke to my employer.

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Which actually many people don't do when they start a side hustle.

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But I did, I went to speak to one of the directors of the practice.

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Unexplained exactly what I had in mind, uh, why I was thinking of doing it.

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And surprisingly, they said.

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John, as long as there's no conflict of interests and it doesn't

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affect your work at the practice.

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What you do in your own time is up to you.

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We, we don't mind if you want to go and start this side hustle business.

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So I felt much more comfortable starting my side hustle, knowing

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that I had that blessing.

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So instructed the digital agency to build my websites.

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I contacted an insurance broker to get a quote for

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professional indemnity insurance.

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I also contacted a local business center.

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I discovered the offered a low cost virtual office service.

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So virtual office service, this offered things like.

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Uh, fit well, a mailing address.

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So it's like a virtual address for your business so that you can, you know,

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use that address in your marketing.

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You can put it in business listings, that sort of thing.

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So it anchors your business geographically somewhere.

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They also set me up with a phone number, with call answering.

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It was a local number.

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So if people made inquiries, they could phone that number and a receptionist

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would answer the call for me on my behalf.

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So this was absolutely perfect.

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It meant that while I was working at the practice.

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Somebody else, who's going to answer my calls for me and the

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even offered mail forwarding.

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So when letters came in, I could either choose to go into that business center

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and pick the letters up, or I can ask them just to forward them to my home address.

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So this was just a really quick and easy way, and it was

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relatively inexpensive as well.

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To be able to just start off and have, um, a proper kind

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of presence for this business.

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As soon as the website went live, I set up listings on free online

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business directories, like yell.

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Thomson local free index and also in what was Google my business,

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which is now just Google maps.

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So I set up all of those business listings.

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And then I went back to my day job.

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And I waited for the inquiries to start coming in.

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So, is there anything else that I'd have done differently?

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Absolutely.

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There is loads of stuff that I would have done differently.

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I think one of the key things is I would have actually stuck more

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to my original business plan.

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And focused on building a team to grow my business.

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If I done that, I'd be in a much better position today.

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Instead.

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I fell into the trap that most startups do of trying to do everything myself.

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So few things to consider.

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If you're thinking about starting your own architecture side hustle.

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I would ask yourself a few questions I would consider, why are you doing it?

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What is your motivation?

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What are the reasons.

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And are they right?

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Are they the right reasons for starting an architecture side hustle?

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Do you always want it to be a site or soul?

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What do you want to grow it into a bigger business?

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Because this might affect how you decide to design it.

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And there could also be a conflict of interest with your current employer.

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So think about how you could design your side hustle in

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such a way to mitigate that.

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Could your side hustle even compliment or help your current architectural practice?

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For example?

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By sending the inquiries that you can't handle to them, perhaps if

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you've got an inquiry from somebody.

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Uh, that was looking to do a big projects that was outside of your.

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Um, area of expertise or was just too big for you to handle as a side hustle.

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Could you send that.

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To your current practice and help them out too.

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I'd also ask yourself, do you have enough time and energy to run a side hustle?

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It's a lot of extra work you're already working, you know?

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37 40 hours plus a week.

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Have you honestly got enough time and energy?

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To put in the extra hours that are required, not just to start this

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business, but keep it running.

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And what would you do if your side hustle grows more quickly than you expected?

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Or takes up more of your time.

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Dan you thoughts?

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So what would be your contingency plans?

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So it's one or two suggestions.

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If you're thinking about starting a side hustle, I think be clear

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about who you want to serve and how you're going to help them.

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Find a niche.

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You can still take on a variety of projects, but it can help you

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to stand out amongst the crowd.

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And allows you to get more of the types of inquiries that you really want.

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Also do you write a business plan?

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You don't need to take nearly a year to write it.

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Like I did.

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But something simple is better than nothing at all.

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And there's lots of templates and guides available online.

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I recommend you do your due diligence.

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You might just want to design stuff.

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But you need to make sure that the foundations are in place too.

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So contact your bank about a business bank account.

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Talk to an accountant, talk to an insurance broker.

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If you're a member of a professional organization, like

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our IBA or CIAT, talk to them too, because they are there to help.

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And also don't forget your peers.

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If you've got friends who work in the industry, perhaps run their own

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practice, ask them for advice too.

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It may be absolutely invaluable.

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I'll talk more about running my side hustle and what happened

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to me in a future episode.

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Next time, I'll be talking to an award-winning social media

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trainer and strategist, Sarah Clay.

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About how architecture practices can leverage LinkedIn to

Jon Clayton:

accelerate business growth.

Jon Clayton:

Thanks so much for listening to this episode

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of Architecture Business Club.

Jon Clayton:

If you liked this episode, think other people might enjoy it.

Jon Clayton:

Or just want to show your support, then please visit podchaser.com.

Jon Clayton:

Search for Architecture Business Club and leave a glowing five-star review.

Jon Clayton:

It would mean so much to me and makes it easier for new

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listeners to discover the show.

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If you just want to connect with me, you can do that on most social media

Jon Clayton:

platforms, just search for @mrjonclayton.

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The best place to connect with me online though is on LinkedIn.

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You can find a link to my profile in the show notes.

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Remember running your architecture business doesn't have to be hard.

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And you don't need to do it alone.

Jon Clayton:

This is Architecture Business Club.

Show artwork for Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers

About the Podcast

Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers
Helping busy architecture professionals build a better business with actionable tips and tactics.
Architecture Business Club is the weekly podcast to help solo and small firm architecture business owners build a profitable, future-proof architecture practice that both you and your clients love! It’s an inclusive place (for ALL architecture business owners). So whether you’re an Architect, Architectural Technologist, or Architectural Designer…If you sell architectural services and want to improve the way you do things…This is THE podcast for you.

I’m Jon Clayton, your show host, and a Chartered Architectural Technologist based in the UK. I’ve been in architecture for over two decades and running my own (solo) practice for 10 years+.

Each week you’ll hear from inspiring people from the world of architecture and business who share actionable tips to help you improve how you work, save time, or make more money. I’ll also share my own experiences running an architecture business in occasional solo episodes. We cover everything from mindset, money, business strategy, sales & marketing, productivity, systems & workflows, client experience, outsourcing, software, technology, and much more.

Episodes are kept as short as possible by cutting out the fluff and getting straight to the point. So expect interview episodes of around 30 minutes or less, and solo episodes of 5 to 15 minutes.

New episodes are released every Thursday at 6am GMT / 2am EST.

Welcome to the Club!

About your host

Profile picture for Jon Clayton

Jon Clayton

I’m Jon. A Chartered Architectural Technologist and the founder of Architecture Business Club. I've been working in architecture for over two decades and running my own architectural design business for over ten of those years. My mission is to help you build a better architecture business on your terms. So if you're a sole practitioner (or small practice) architect, architectural technologist, or architectural designer, I want to help YOU. I'm a Northerner but now live with my family in Norfolk, UK. Outside of work, I'm a guitar tottin', kayaking, movie trivia buff.