I help architects like you raise their well-being.
Why? Because I have been a broke architect once...
I was always a humanitarian at heart and I always dreamed of making the world a better place.
I studied in London submerged in the world of prestigious Architecture. I was inspired by the glorious career paths of celebrity architects and believed for this to be the only path to success within the industry. I did however question the humanitarian, environmental and socio-economic impact of many of their projects and felt uneasy with what I saw.
I longed to see more meaning and contribution in their work.
I also began to realise how difficult it is for young architects to get the full experience of project delivery and building, and I didn’t want to be a drafter.
I wanted to get my hands dirty, building.
At the age of 23 and I went to a conference at TU Berlin dedicated to architects doing humanitarian aid. They were tanned and had smiley eyes. They looked different to all the pale, overworked architects I have met before. They looked happy, had tones of travel stories and fascinating career paths. They also were building like crazy. Delivering countless projects around the world, building much more than the architects I studied. They were building projects that were needed and quick to implement, and in this, I saw an opportunity of being able to become an architect in the full essence.
"That’s what I want my life as an architect to look like."- I thought.
I went on a search looking around the world to find where I could make an impact like that.
One of the key criteria for me was to find a place that had a high percentage of indigenous communities because, in these places, people used predominantly natural building techniques. I wanted to enhance their culture and preserve their connection to nature with my design.
I moved to Guatemala with $300 in my pocket and no Spanish.
This was just enough to get an apartment and a local job.
I worked for the charity, making $400 per month.
I was building schools and houses. Most of the projects were required to be delivered quickly and as a result, were not intelligently adapted to the lifestyles of the local community.
Most of the indigenous communities were cooking on an open fire, however, the kitchens we built them were closed and so people were making open fires indoors, developing lung cancers and other respiratory complications from fumes. Whenever I tried to suggest alternatives I was shut down by the charities budget projections and their own fixated idea of modular building.
One of the projects I was working on was a new school building. I suggested for them to design a natural school and whilst working on the design, they already started building a concrete school in that place that they didn’t even tell me about. When I found out about it I was super disappointed because I just felt like there is completely no purpose for me there. That's when I realised I need to move on to do my own thing because this was just sucking out my soul. I also realised that I probably will never be more ready for this step than at that very moment.
Finding new projects was really easy, all I did was visit the impoverished villages and with the help of some trusted locals understand which families really needed the help and had completely no chances at a better life. You can localise 30 projects in one afternoon, as the need is huge.
At the time I had an idealistic idea of humanitarian aid. What I didn’t realise completely at the time, is that I found a problem to solve that not many people were willing to pay for.
Here was my problem: On one hand working for another charity didn’t work with my values and on the other hand starting my own business brought on serious financial struggles.
At this point, I realised I just created a charity and I will have to constantly be raising funds.
As I was growing a team it became apparent that no one was coming to work for a charity, they were all coming to work for a business…
I became to realise that I run a business that doesn’t exist because I didn’t really have much business… We volunteered left and right!
I needed to figure out how to make this impactful architectural work into a real business that can attract clients, who can pay me to do good work that is culturally aligned.
I was pushing through all of this getting into debt, running two local restaurants in Guatemala and doing seasonal farm work abroad.
For six years, every six months I would go to different farms, working over 13 hours per day, sleeping in tents, sometimes even in the winter and in the snow.
From this hard-earned money, I was paying salaries and saving to be able to go back to Guatemala for the rest of the year, live there, and keep building projects.
I was so embarrassed by this, this was not my idea of being an architect and certainly not the future I dreamed about at university. I was trapped in the loop, believing that the only solution for me to make money is to exchange my time for money so that I can save my dream of building. I really struggled to see outside of this mindset.
Maybe some smart business person would knock on doors and raise these funds, but instead, I lived in a tent and worked 13 hours in a cold, shipping my money to Guatemala to pay my employees.
I was dealing with blisters on my hands as I worked as a labourer, living in a tent, in a cold, while the ground came up and soaked my bones. Every drop in a degree was like a scornful mocking voice that said to me “you failed”, “you don’t have what it takes”, “you’re not good enough”.
I began to listen to audiobooks, slowly transforming my life, investing in coaches, courses, programs, audiobooks and conferences. I was learning about business, marketing, and working on bettering my entrepreneurial mindset.
Many of these things were helping but, I was still living trapped in the same cycle.
Seeing the faces of the people I worked with in Guatemala, crowding my mind, making me feel responsible and guilty for not being there full time and having to leave every six months to work to survive.
I felt like giving up.
I was desperate and honestly, just losing hope.
Because even after working for so long, I was still standing in the field, making my money from labour work.
One day, after a tough working season, instead of coming back to Guatemala, I took my dog, packed the few belongings I had and drove into the Mexican desert.
I was empty. I felt lost, and I just couldn’t continue.
In the desert, I met a group of Mexican shamans. We sat in the circle, around a fire, with the full moon shining above us.
The shaman said:
“You can ask the fire whatever you truly desire. Speak the wish into a stick, and burn it.”
What was really the one thing I could ask for if I only had the one wish?
One thing that could bring me peace, happiness, fulfilment?
A moment of clarity came upon me.
My heart shook and with tears in my eyes I whispered:
“To become my full potential”
At that very moment in time, I realised that I can do everything my heart desires, everything.
And the only thing that can ever stand on my way to fulfilment is myself.
I realised that if I overcome my own fears, insecurities, and limitations, I will be able to be the change I the world.
Growing into my full potential meant for me to become that crystal clear being that can do everything.
At this moment in time, I didn’t know how, but I knew that I want to leave behind behaviours that didn’t serve me. Stop working hard to make a dollar and accept other sources of income that came easy, and were fun.
I went back to the US to attend two big business conferences.
At one of the conferences that I went to, someone was talking about how a charity blew up their sponsorships going online with video.
The only thing that resonated with me was the fact that my business was a charity too.
I looked at the video part and I thought “That will never work for us.” I simply thought of it as being stupid. "After everything, I have been through, how can the solution lay in going online with video?"
The thought that: all it takes is to show up on video made me angry.
Some time passed, and this talk stuck with me.
So when I went back to Guatemala, I thought: what have I got to lose?
I edited out some instruction videos we were filming with the building workshops that I run with my charity and uploaded it online.
The video course began to sell. To start with, the process was slow because I wasn’t promoting it much. But some of the people who did the online course with me began to look for ways they can work with the charity.
One day, I got a call from a Mexican architecture practice, looking for a bamboo expert to help them build a natural building gallery in Mexico City.
They specifically asked for a “master.”
To start with I thought: I am not a master.
But they persisted for me to get involved in the project.
So I decided to give it a go, even though I haven’t considered myself a “master.”
That was the turning point.
When working on this project I realised a simple thing.
Maybe I wasn’t a master, but they knew nothing about building with bamboo.
My knowledge was much greater than theirs, and even though I didn’t see myself as “an expert” I was able to add tremendous value to their project.
Since then, I just couldn’t get over the opportunity I was given, and the experience I had.
I thought about Charlie Randall, an architect who helped me build my projects in Guatemala and mentored me in growing my practice. He is such an amazing architect. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is a master of bamboo building.
I always looked at him as the real expert. But Charlie is so dedicated to his work that he never had the time to build a compelling website or market himself through social media. As a result, not many people know about him.
I thought to myself… If I use my newly acquired knowledge to help people like Charlie, I can have a greater impact on the world through empowering change makers. I knew that this in return will also affect communities, building projects and other people.
I made it my mission in life to help architects raise their value and present their expertise in a way that profits them and the planet.
Breaking free from a 9-5 and unhappy working conditions and creating a life of your dreams, on your own terms.
I help three types of architects:
1. Architects in employment who want to break free.
If you are working for a practice, exchanging long hours for disproportionate pay and are asking yourself how to afford the life of your dreams, I can help you start your own business. You can take what you already know and are good at and turn it into profit, sharing value and really making a change in the world.
2. Architects who own their own businesses looking for a steady flow of high-quality clients.
If you are already a business owner but the number one question on your mind is how to get more clients and better projects I help you fill your pipeline with leads. Working with me will help you book 50 more calls per month, out of which you can choose only the best to work with!
3. Architects in Academia who want to leave a legacy.
Dedicated your life to academia? Researching, writing, leading lab experiments and finding endless solutions to ever-pressing design issues, but you are tired of not having your name be known, and feel like your hard work ends up on dusty library shelves over and over again; I can help you raise up and become a visible, seen, and read expert that you already are! Turn your expertise into profit, share it with others, leave a legacy behind!
Working with me means that you will learn to sell yourself and your business filling your pipeline with high quality leads, constantly!