Every architect has an X factor: How to find yours in 5 minutes
Follow the exact process I’ve used to help over 150 architects all over the world define their X factor.
INCLUDES 18 PROMPTS TO INSPIRE YOUR OWN X FACTOR.
If you don’t have an X factor, you shouldn’t run your own architecture practice.
We both know you’re brilliant at what you do. But a clearly communicated X factor is the difference between drowning in a sea of architectural sameness and swimming in a pool of ridiculously good projects.
But, wait… what is an X factor?
+ YOUR X FACTOR IS THE THING THAT SETS YOU APART.
It’s the value you bring to projects and the architecture industry.
+ IT’S THE REASON WHY CLIENTS CHOOSE YOU OVER ALL OTHER OPTIONS.
(Including hiring a draftsperson, builder, building designer, or Aunty Karen’s best friend’s son who is “handy.”)
+ YOUR X FACTOR IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR.
It highlights the kind of work you want to be doing. And it makes it easy for others to refer you. (Oh, you need a cheese room designed? You should talk to Jane Bishop—she’s an expert in designing cheese rooms!)
+ AN X FACTOR MAKES YOU UNFORGETTABLE.
The design sales cycle is long, complex, with lots of moving parts. Most clients take time to make a decision. Some clients want to hire you now, while others have 57 tabs open and are doing their “research.”
An X factor means you’ll stay on your ideal client’s radar. So when a project does arise, they think of you first (not your archi-nemesis!).
You already have an X factor. Every architect does. Most likely, you haven’t discovered it yet.
By now you’re probably thinking: “All this sounds great Nikita, but how do I find my X factor?”
ArchiteXfactor is the exact process I’ve used to help over 150 architects all over the world define their X factor.
AND NOW, I’M GOING TO BREAK DOWN WHAT IT IS AND HOW YOU CAN USE IT TO IDENTIFY YOUR OWN X FACTOR.
(Oh wait, before we get stuck into the ArchiteXfactor… are you on my email list? You should be. Because you’ll get access to more free copywriting tips, tricks, and templates.
How to find your ArchiteXfactor
Step 01 .
Identify what you love doing
Passion keeps you going. It motivates you to show up at your desk, on-site, and do your bloody best for your clients. You see the world through a different lens and can shape it into something amazing. And that’s something worth sharing.
- Why I start my own practice? (What change do you want to create in the industry?)
- What projects do I love doing? (It sometimes helps to list the types of projects you want to stop doing first.)
- What work do I find meaningful? (This doesn’t have to be a specific type of project. Perhaps it’s one part of the process or dealing with specific types of people.)
Step 02 .
Identify where there is demand
Sad, but true: There’s no point in identifying your X factor if no one wants it, if you can’t earn money from it or if it’s unrealistic.
For example, if your X factor is designing homes in a remote and inaccessible location like Cocos Keeling Islands with few development possibilities and inhabitants, your pipeline most likely won’t be pumping. Or if you only work with recycled beer bottles or any other unconventional material, you’re likely limiting your project prospects.
And if your X factor is only serving exclusive A-list celebrities but your current experience and access to such clientele is limited, then you’ll need to rethink this narrow niche.
It’s not to say the above examples aren’t possible (please, prove me wrong!), but you need sufficient demand for what you offer to make it viable.
In short, there needs to be demand for what you offer.
- Is there a demand for my X factor? (Do people want it? Value it? Hint: if you’re unsure, you’ll need to do some market research.)
- Is there profit potential?
- What frustrates my ideal clients? (Hint: maybe your X factor can focus on alleviating frustration.)
Step 03 .
Identify what you’re good at
It’s also important to think about which areas you have special skills or experience in.
- What special skills or knowledge have I developed through my work? (Get specific. Like really specific.)
- What do people regularly tell me I’m good at?
- What’s my training or education in?
- What is the one thing I could talk about for hours without a lot of prep? (For me, it’s how architects can use words to get more projects!)
(Hot tip: If you find the above questions difficult to answer, ask your colleagues and past clients. They can offer an objective perspective.)
Step 04 .
*Drum Roll* It’s time to… Unlock your X factor.
Where does your passion, demand, and proficiency intersect?
BOOM! …That’s your X factor.
Here are some X factor ideas to get your analcrea* juices flowing.
(*Analcrea = analytical creative. Yes, I made it up. And yes, it sounds grosser than it probably should. I’m trademarking it.)
Your X factor could be:
- Your design philosophy/values.
- Your design process (or one step of your process.)
- Your design style.
- Serving a specific type of client.
- A particular stage of a project.
- A type of building.
- Attention to detail.
- Your personal network/connections with contractors.
- Customer service.
- Commercial awareness (deep understanding of commercial realities, respect for budgets, etc.).
- Construction knowledge.
- Your mission.
- Adopting a technology.
- Working with a specific material.
- Location (deep understanding of local context).
- Your career path (a violinist in a past life? Use it. Tie music and architecture together.)
- Something specific like specialists in bushfire resilience or local council.
- Something else?
Have you found your shiny new X factor?
Yes? Great. Write it on a sticky. Or tattoo it on your lower back.
Seriously, write it down. I’ll wait here…
(*cue elevator music*)
You now have an X factor
which not only means you stand out from your competition, but you can attract a steady stream of the right types of clients and projects.
In short, you are now miles ahead of all other architects out there.
And this is where the fun really begins…
To get a steady stream of ridiculously good clients, you need to clearly communicate your X factor on:
– Your website homepage
– Capability statement
– Project descriptions
– Client testimonials
– Social media channels
– Award submissions
– Your body (a lower back tatt? I think it’d suit you.)
The Slack group and Ask Me Anything calls were the most valuable part for me!
Once you’d had the chance to work through the toolkit, you could ask questions directly and hear other people’s take on the section. It seemed like a lot of the things people had issues with were the same throughout the group too, and everyone was really open to sharing, which was great.
Director, Organic Architects
Site Smart was a game-changer. I connected with other like-minded architects who were experiencing the same website frustrations and it boosted my confidence.
Before Site Smart, I struggled to write my website content on my own without the ability to discuss and share challenges with others (I’m a sole trader). I second-guessed myself; I didn’t know if my content aligned with my goals and approach to my business. And not having a deadline to complete content for my website meant I kept putting it off.
DIRECTOR, THY TRAN ARCHITECTURE
Nikita really understands architect’s and has an ability to see things from an architects point of view.
I am SO glad I came across Nikita. She took the time to listen to my ideas and develop my message (without the usual ‘archi-talk’).
Founder, Seed Architects
We tried other copywriters however they either came with preconceived ideas or just rewrote what we had written, both of which had terrible outcomes.
We felt that we knew what we wanted to say, however, we didn’t know how to say it concisely—but we worked with Nikita and nailed it.
I PLAN TO KEEP REFINING AND TESTING THIS X FACTOR FRAMEWORK, AND I’LL BE SHARING MY FINDINGS WITH MY EMAIL LIST OVER THE COMING MONTHS.
Join my email list for tips, tactics, and examples of architecture firms that are nailing their marketing and copywriting.
I guarantee it will be the most entertaining and valuable email copywriting experience you ever have!
IF YOU NEED HELP BRAINSTORMING OR REFINING YOUR X FACTOR, I CAN HELP YOU. GET IN TOUCH TO SCHEDULE A 90-MINUTE STRATEGY SESSION.