new year new race new start

2015-04-13 15.53.20-1

We measure time by minutes, weeks, months, and fortunately measure them by years. As the earth completes its rotation around the sun we see this as cause to celebrate. I know it seems arbitrary, but let’s go with it.

Many of us in this architecture blogging family own or partially own our own businesses. When in that position, we measure ourselves by the calendar year – thanks in part to our friends at the IRS. Each year gives seemingly objective data to how well we did during that year.

2015-11-20 07.22.50

Architecture is about the work to me and the money or business side is only a necessary evil. Also, I did not marry rich. Regardless, I am not one that is particularly interested in economics or money or finance, but I understand in order to maintain a firm with some measure of success, money and economics play into it. I do like to eat…every day.

Over the years I’ve set goals and targets for each month and especially for the year. It is not to achieve a specific salary or financial goal as a mark of success. Perhaps it’s more of a validation that my decision to operate my own firm demonstrates I am capable of doing this. I’ve never been interested in taking on something that I couldn’t do well. As I compare my income to the averages I wouldn’t have much to boast about, but I have been fortunate to take on very interesting projects and I start this year with a full load of work. Plus, I don’t think I could go back to work for someone else.

Screenshot 2016-01-10 20.16.18

The year in business is much like a marathon. It is a long and steady pace that requires discipline and it requires checking the splits in terms of time or in our case finances. 2015 met a few financial goals, but a few still remain. I know the targets. Now I have to work on the steps to hit them.

  • Hopefully as architects, we are using measuring rods beyond dollar signs. We measure the quality of the work we are able to produce.
  • Hopefully we are measuring the impact we are having in our communities.
  • Hopefully we are measuring how we are developing as individuals and as firms.
  • Hopefully we have adopted new technologies or new knowledge and are growing in ways far more important than size or salaries.
  • Hopefully we are thinking about our decisions, thinking about architecture, and just thinking.

It’s a new year; regardless of how the previous one went, we all agree to start over.

Before you go, read the other posts from my friends (scroll below) in this #architalks series…and…

The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty.

“Matthew Long was born May 29th, 2013, happy, and seemingly healthy. Less than two days later his mother and I found ourselves in an neonatal intensive care unit waiting room, listening to a rushed intensive care doctor explain how our son needed immediate dialysis to save his life. The disease, he briefly explained, was one of a group of disorders called Urea Cycle Disorders, which impact the way the body breaks down protein. We later discovered that Matthew’s particular variant is called OTC Deficiency, a particularly severe form of it in fact, which results in a rapid rise of ammonia in the blood, called hyperammonemia, resulting in devastating neurological damage. This form of OTC is so severe, Matthew has virtually no peers who have survived it. Once the immediate crisis was arrested, we came to find out more about the disease and the impact of this initial event.

The disease is inherited, and the damage is permanent. Treatment consists of a combination of medications, low protein medical diet, and ultimately a liver transplant. Matthew was fortunate to experience no additional hyperammonemic events in the following fifteen months of life, and had a liver transplant on August 24th, 2014. The cure for the disease, a transplant, isn’t so much a cure as trading one condition for another. While we will never risk the chance of another ammonia spike, Matthew is on a half a dozen or more medications at any given time to avoid rejection. Despite these challenges, intensive daily therapy for cerebral palsy (a result of the initial damage), limited motor function, and various other challenges along the way, our son is remarkably happy and has changed all our lives for the better. He’s taught us to be stronger than we ever thought possible, to have faith beyond human understanding, and the immeasurable value of life.”The #ArchiTalks community is hoping to raise $5,500 to help Architect Rusty Long and his family reach their financial goal on If each reader of this post contributes a small amount, our impact will be massive and we can make a difference for Matthew’s family.

Click here now and donate $2.00. Please. He’s our friend and so is Matthew. 

 Screenshot 2016-01-11 08.24.52
Please read these posts on “new _____” from my friends.

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
New Year, New CAD

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Nicholas Renard – dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year, New Gear

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
New Year, New Era

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“new year, new _____”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New·ly Adult Architect

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Little Premature

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
new year, new [engagement]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
New Year, New Appreciation

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
New Year, New Office Space

new year new race new start

6 thoughts on “new year new race new start

  1. michele grace hottel says:

    when i was a teenager, when i used to say that i wanted something, my parents used to say, “marry rich” (though they also told me that i had to go to college and get a degree in something so that when my husband left me i would have something to rely on, lol!) it was all in fun and my stock answer was, “rich who?” happy new year, lee!

    1. Happy New Year Michele. Being rich isn’t all it appears. Look at anyone in entertainment, sports or politics. No one there is truly happy. If less money makes us happy, architects ought to be downright giddy.

  2. Happy New Year Lee! Marrying rich is subjective 🙂 How much is enough.. maybe nothing will ever be enough. Anyway, there begins another IRS year, and there begins another year of account book balancing! Good luck 🙂

    1. I am a rich man to be honest. I have a wonderful wife and son and a solid faith in Jesus. What else could I really want – oh I get to be an architect. I’m so grateful.

  3. I with you on the financial / business side of running my own firm. Though i am coming to embrace it more and see it less as an evil and more as another territory to conquer. This is in large part due to Mark LePage’s work at Entrepreneur Architect. Anyways i have learned to live on a little, and we are more comfortable financially than we were when i was working for someone else. So while i am not fully aware of the numbers and metrics for my own firm, i am getting there. And i can anecdotally say i feel like i am a better off than when i was working for someone else.

    1. Yes, I’m with you. I just want to focus on doing good work, not make a lot of money. Getting paid and getting paid well is nice, but I’m not here to lay up treasure on this earth.

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