Hip Hip Hooray for 2017 (and a look back on 2016).
Welcome old friends! TALLstudio may have fallen off of the bloggin' wagon a bit, and we are goaling to jump back on in this new year, starting with this very blog post. We always enjoy reading other businesses' end of year recap, and surely you have been on the edge of your seat waiting to hear all about our 2016. "Yes", you say? Well buckle up, and hold on tight. It's going to be a wild ride!
What we learned in 2016:
Just when we are getting the hang of running our own business, we find out that we still have so much to learn. This is both exhilarating (we love learning) and terrifying. Each year the importance of relationships, and maintaining our relationships becomes more apparent. You never know when that person you met at a random networking event is going to pop up again, or even refer you to one of their associates. This means that we are always trying to meet new people, figure out how we can help each other, and discover common interests.
We learned last year to let go of business obligations that are no longer benefiting you, but find an alternative, and find it fast.
We learned the importance of giving back to the community by way of getting involved, joining boards, and having an opinion on the important matters that affect you and your neighbors.
We learned visibility is key, and if you have to do some hard work to obtain it, do it. It pays off. For us, this came in the way of moving our office. We loved where we were on Porter Avenue in Ocean Springs, however, we were set back from the street, and no one could see what we were scheming and dreaming. In June of 2016 we moved to the much more visible Government Street, and situated ourselves in what is essentially a fish bowl. While this may not be great for everyone, we are thriving in this environment, and we love when people stop by the window to peek at our models (or perhaps gawk at our dancing).
We learned (and are constantly learning) to step out of our comfort zone. We've read over and over again, "do one thing that scares you every day". This is perhaps the hardest thing to learn, and is an ongoing lesson. This may mean calling a developer, signing on for a competition (when you know it's going to be a lot of late nights and very little sleep to complete), or walking into a room full of people where you know no one (it always helps that we have each other).
We learned that our business plan will morph and evolve as we grow, but we shouldn't be scared of this, and instead we should embrace the change. For example, we originally set out to have a multi-disciplinary design firm that encompassed architecture, graphic design, and art. We came to realize this year that architecture is where our passions lie, and we were sacrificing our designs in order to take on other graphic design and art projects. We decided to focus our practice on architecture and refer some of these other projects to our friends and colleagues. We believe that in the end this will create a stronger network, and will allow us to focus on what we love doing- designing buildings.
We learned the power of building a network. This network includes other architects, designers, engineers, financial planners, bankers, lawyers, etc. We are constantly adding to our network, and we feel empowered knowing that when we have a question, or need a bit of guidance, we have a whole host of people to call. This makes the unknown seem a bit less scary, and a bit more manageable.
Where we went in 2016:
When we set our goals for 2016 we were determined to plan a trip overseas, and guess what? We did it. We saved, did countless hours of research, price checked (100 times), flip flopped back and forth about the cities we wanted to visit, and finally, we booked our tickets. We decided on 15 days in Europe, specifically Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Dublin, and London. We journeyed with a super fun couple (ahem, Erin and Brian), and we stayed in unique places along the way- an old church, a houseboat on the Amstel River, and even an architect's house (guess who picked that one). Overall the trip was unforgettable, and we came back renewed, refreshed, inspired, and already itching to start the planning process again.
We believe travel to be crucial to both our peace of mind and creativity, so we attempt to take at least two "major" trips a year. The other trip we took was to the Florida Keys, and we can't wait to go back. We went in January, the perfect time according to Mark, and we had a blast. Visiting the Keys was like being transported to another world filled with 6-toed kitties, pina coladas, iguanas in all the trees, and spiny lobsters as far as the eye can see. We ate, we drank, we drew in our travel journal, we visited Miami, saw friends along the way, and drove over 40 hours. Needless to say, it was worth it. If you want to read more about that trip click here, and get ready for an iguana filled paradise.
What are our goals for 2017:
Goal setting always seemed like such a silly thing to do, given the fact that as the year moves along you accomplish things, you move onto new things, and you mentally keep track of your to-dos, however there is something so motivating about putting pen to paper. 2016 was the first year we each sat down, listed our personal and professional goals, and outlined how to achieve said goals. We set goals to travel (done), land a commercial project (check), for Madison to get licensed (double check), and to focus on our extra-curricular agendas. With last year's goals well underway, we were excited to sit down this year and set a few new milestones.
In 2017 we hope to move our business outside of the Mississippi market, and into a more regional market. We want to target specific cities, and we goal to set up a marketing strategy that allows us to do this. We also are passionate about completing at least two competitions a year. These architecture competitions allow us to explore creatively with limited constraints, and honestly, we just find them FUN. As far as personal goals, we are on the hunt for a house (looking at you downtown Ocean Springs), and we each want to learn to play an instrument- Mark's working on the piano already, and Madison might just pick up the violin (ha!). Bet you can't wait for this two person band to come to a bar near you!
In all seriousness, 2016 was pretty exceptional, and we can't wait to tackle 2017. Keep in touch, stop by for a coffee (sometimes we even have TatoNut), and let us know what your are planning for 2017. Check out a few of our favorite moments below, and remember, Auld Lang Syne dear friends.