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Secrets of Succes running a 100% remote architecture practice with Jennifer Kretschmer

Since 2020 many more workers have had to consider remote work and have had the remote work debate. Some businesses opted out of that alternative, and others have embraced the idea with open arms. Maybe you are considering remote work, or you have decided to take the leap. If you need help with making the change, or just want to read more of a discussion with Alex Osenenko (host, Head of Growth, ArchIT), Boris Rapoport (cohost, CEO, ArchIT), and Jennifer Kretschmer (interviewee, remote since 2008) about remote work then, stay tuned.  

In 2008, Jennifer decided to move her business J.Kretschmer Architect from her office to her garage due to the recession, and not wanting to be in the office any longer. It was just her, her husband, and one staffer at the time. “I saw the writings on the wall and knew where we were going,” Kretschmer said when talking about the financial decision she made because of the Great Recession in the late 2000s. She went on to talk about how she has shaped her business and made it a better fit for her so that she could work remotely comfortably.  

So how do you make sure your remote business runs smoothly? 

Step 1-perfect workplace 

Make sure your space looks nice and represents you. 

You want to design your space to fit the vision of what your business represents, and the energy you want to give off. Why make the place you spend so much time in, be the place you are not comfortable in? A prospective client should get a good understanding of who you are, and the company you have based on the atmosphere and decor. If you want your business to be serious, make your space serious. Add colors you like, and just design the space you would want to spend time in! That way, you stay focused, and your clients can get a better feel for who you are. 

Step 2- Set up Rules

Make sure the people you live with know when they can be in certain areas. 

A big issue people have come across while making the change from office to home is definitely having kids and partners interrupting their business time. In the interview with Jennifer, she pointed out that she created and communicated the rules to her family. She told them when they could interrupt her and when they were to be in a different part of the house. Yes, most workplaces have interruptions, but a simple set of rules can help make everything go smoothly.   

Step 3 – Systemize and Grow

Flexibility, and accountability. 

Be accountable for your time. If you have staff, you’ll need systems in place to help them stay productive and on top of their schedule.  

Growing your 100% remote business. 

Your website needs to provide an excellent first impression. The goal is to educate and inform your prospective clients. In most cases, your prospective clients, even referrals, will visit your website first, prior to speaking with you. If we can only give you one piece of advice for your website, it would be precisely this: “Make your website speak to your ideal client and make it about them”. Take a look at Jennifer’s website, she’s done a great job with this: https://www.jkretschmer.com/ 

When it comes to client/prospect meetings, meet people where they are comfortable.  Kretschmer said that some people may feel intimidated by meetings in professional offices, so she would go to their homes. It all just depends on the person. Provide your client’s options. Jennifer also rents a conference room in a professional building and we think it’s important for your 100% remote business to provide people with an option to meet in a more professional setting.  

How to Stay on Top of Everything  

“Communication is key,” Kretschmer said. Use apps and sites to keep everything organized 

Put everything people need to know in one place, with tabs telling them when things are done, in progress, or have an issue. Make sure everyone is involved in this and can see the projects. Be transparent.  

 Jennifer’s Remote Toolset: Zoom, Sharefile, Podio, Right Signature, Square and Zelle, Quickbooks to keep money organized, and Monograph.  

Making the leap into a full remote office will come with its own set of challenges, but it is not impossible and can be the right move for you.  

If you have any questions or need help moving your company towards fully remote or hybrid operations, please reach out to us here at ArchIT. Our goal is to solve your IT, so you and your team can focus on doing their best work.