Lee Calisti had a great post on his blog think | architect about the negatives of being a sole practitioner. You can read his post here- 10 challenges to working solo. He asked for others thoughts on the matter and I
needed a post topic accepted. If you read my post the other day I also listed my +10 for being a sole practitioner- Solo Architecture Practice +10
With all the positives, much like everything in life, there are also negatives to being a sole practitioner- not the least of which is having someone else write my blog! However, the majority of negatives can be resolved relatively easily. For example, you need to become well versed in delivering bad news to a client, you can read PMt No. 2- Who’s Bad! for some tips. Another must is to align yourself with good GC’s, you can read my thoughts about that- GOODgc BADgc. Well before I link to every post I’ve ever written **spoiler alert, numerous links below** here are my -10 for being a sole practitioner:
–1. When I have a lunch and learn I have to buy lunch and be the teacher.
–2. No big firm resources- books, software, supplies, etc.
–3. No one to bounce ideas off of or offer constructive criticism (Facebook and Instagram comments don’t count).
–4. I’m the architect, receptionist, business development guy, PR department, admin department, good cop, contract writer, AR/P department, educator, bad cop, night cleaning crew, IT guy, intern, model maker, lackey, CAD/BIM manager, CA guy, marketing department, general whipping boy, spec writer, etc.
–5. I have to buy trace, scales, and sharpies.
–6. No intern to
pass grunt work off to mentor.
–7. No Friday morning **insert favorite breakfast here** paid for by others.
–8. Nobody to foot the bill for the annual holiday party.
–9. Firm retreats are extremely lonely.
And the final, and reason I don’t like being a sole practitioner…
–10. No room for advancement within the firm unless I take a pay cut and demote myself first.
There are solutions to each of these… well maybe not #5 or #8 unless you’re open to committing petty crimes. Like anything, as long as the +/- tend to weigh slightly more to the +, it’s most likely worth doing. I’ll admit, it’s tough working on your own and its not for everyone. There are days I question it. However, if you do go this route it will be extremely rewarding!
Are you a sole practitioner, if so, what do you miss out on from being such?
** One other negative is that I always know what my end of year bonus is… it’s another year of doing this, wait… that’s a positive!