Vanity Projects

Architects only design 10% of buildings.
We want to change that.

Say hello to Vanity Projects, a marketing consultancy for entrepreneurial architects. If you've been searching for an expert that truly understands the architecture profession, you've come to the right place.

 
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You’ve got 11,090 copycats…

11,090. That’s the number of registered architects in Australia. They want the same thing you do: good clients. They look like you, sound like you, and market like you because they believe that great design is all that matters when it comes to winning new work. Sad truth? Prospective clients don’t even recognise great work.


Moral: You need to market, position and communicate differently. You should strive to do better work than other firms, but don’t count on it as a strategy. Doing “more better” work is not a strategy.

If you're a busy architect trying to win more (and better) clients ... we should definitely work together.

Here's one thing we know about you: You believe that your work should speak for itself (after all, we went to architecture school too).

But, positioning your firm so that you stand apart as the only choice for potential clients is easier said than done.

You get energy from creating, and reimagining things. You see opportunity where others see challenges. Your brain is bursting with ideas about how we can all live, work and play in better spaces. But you struggle with the thought of sharing your ideas online, building a reputation as an expert and navigating the confusing platforms, tactics and hacks you need to reach your next client. Let's be totally honest here, you probably write specifications better than you write blog posts.

The good news? I can help you to work out your big picture marketing strategy, your positioning, and what you need to do to get people’s attention (then how to blow them away with your expertise). I will help you to work up a plan of attack, then we’ll go over the nuts and bolts and get it up and running together.

I’ll be with your firm for the long haul: As you grow, finish new projects, and take on bigger challenges, I’ll be there to help you get people excited all over again as your goals change.

Vanity Projects is a small architecture marketing agency owned and operated by myself, Dave Sharp. After working in architecture firms, I started this agency and over the last five years, I've worked with firms like WOWOWA, Breathe, Andrew Burns, NTF, FreadmanWhite, Sisalla, Branch Studio Architects, OLA and a number of small and medium sized firms from all over the World.

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Want to work with me? Let's get things straight.

When you partner with me, my goal isn't to get paid. My goal is to help you develop a holistic digital, social and communication strategy that gets results: then teach you how to run the whole process on your own without marketing turning into your part-time job.

But, before I waste any of your time, I want to be upfront. There are some clients I simply don't click with.

You shouldn't work with me if...

  • You're looking to delegate your social media to someone else because you’ve been told you have to be active on whatever platform, but you don’t really care about it.

  • You aren’t the director of your architecture firm. We need to work with the real decision maker who has the firm’s long-term interests at heart to achieve long-term results.

  • You aren’t willing to be engaged in our process from the very beginning: preparing, listening and asking questions with intense focus then jumping into implementation with gusto.

  • You have any hesitation about our fee against the background of the possible impact on your firm. Our clients know that not hiring us is much more expensive than doing so.

  • You are afraid to learn new things and get your hands dirty with new apps, tools and ideas.

  • You’re incapable of making decisions. We’ll point you in the right direction based on what has been successful for other firms, but change is still dependent on you.

The vast majority of our clients are ideal clients, and we are very grateful for them. They are smart, funny, hard-working, and really care. They have enabled us to build a thought-leading architectural consulting practice, and there is no feeling quite like being part of lasting change on their behalf.

So how much will it cost? I ain't cheap, but you'll get more than you paid for. Check my services.

 
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Dave was an absolute pleasure to work with. Switched on, creative, witty and an impressive ability to explain information and recommendations in simple terms, never to push us into anything without understanding. Dave’s guidance helped us grow a new understanding of how marketing and social media can assist our growth and also provide insight into what our peers and other industry leaders do. I look forward to working with Dave again in the future.

Lola Digby-Diercks, Business Development Lead at Breathe Architecture & Nightingale Housing

 
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 Ready to make a plan for your firm’s future?

Design wise, you’re doing very well. But you’ve realised that most of your clients come through referrals, not via your marketing. You don’t have control over your future, and you’re waiting for the phone to ring. You’ve decided that you need to change this.


Our advisory service is perfect for you if...

You want to manage your own marketing (which you should, authenticity and quality matter) but you need an expert to point you in the right direction and teach you how to run your marketing.

Includes: 

  • Two hours of private consulting with us each month via Zoom. We'll go over the big picture, and the nuts and bolts - leaving you with a clear set of tasks for the following month.

  • Review and restructure of your firm’s positioning, language and sales funnel.

  • Specific, tactical recommendations for every relevant marketing channel and recommendations for areas of improvement.

  • 30/60/90 day marketing plan with a heavy focus on results.

  • Access to our templates, checklists and guidelines that we’ve developed from thousands of hours consulting with architecture firms.

Phase 1: A weekly 1 hr meeting for 4-5 weeks.
Phase 2: A monthly meeting of 2 hours.
Your investment: $1000 + GST in the first month, and $500/mo until we are both satisfied that you are ready to go solo.

What makes the Vanity Projects experience different:
We only work with architects: which means that while don’t understand your business better than you do, we certainly know more about it than any other consultancy. With the typical agency, you pay thousands upfront for hundreds of pages of recommendations, then they leave you on your own to figure it all out. We don’t believe in that. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! We’ll guide you through the process one bite at time, at a comfortable pace for your firm.

Only one spot available. Taking new clients for March/April 2019. Book an initial strategy session to talk to us about your firm, and what you need help with.

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A little bit more about the way we work, what you can expect, and what the process looks like.

How much will you charge us?

After your first meeting, if we both agree to work together, our current rate is $250 per hour + GST. Without speaking and fully understand your firm’s needs, we can’t suggest what your total monthly investment will look like: however our clients range from $250-$1500 per month.

What size are the firms that you work with?

We have performed most paid services for firms with 1-30 people. Our entire consulting practice is built on knowing the differences between firms of different sizes. If you have only two employees, we can help you at the current stage and tell you what is coming next. If you have 30 people, we know your unique issues too.

Speaking of expectations, can you explain further what mine should be?

Our work is not a panacea. What clients appreciate the most, though, is an outside perspective on how they are really doing (without pulling any punches), or how to accomplish something without reinventing the wheel. They realise that change is still dependent on them, but they want to be pointed in the right direction based on what has been successful for other firms. We will never know as much about your firm as you do, but we will likely know more about your firm than any other consultant that you work with.

Sometimes we picture this as you standing in a thick fog, not even knowing all the options, much less which one might make the most sense. Because this is familiar ground, we’ll walk towards you, grab your hand, and safely lead you out into a place where you can see.

In a consulting relationship, will we have a regularly scheduled call?

Initially, we will recommend that we meet with you weekly while we develop your marketing strategy and familiarise ourselves with your goals and expertise. This stage typically takes 4-5 weeks. Once we have completed this phase, we will meet with you once per month. Each session will deal with either an assessment of your situation, a particular issue or recommendation, a review of changes you have implemented or answers to questions around marketing or implementation.

If I sign up as a client and decide that I want more assistance with execution beyond your consultation service, how do we continue to work together?

We offer paid services to help our clients fills the gaps in their skillset or to save time, once we have decided on a strategic direction together. These include social media management, copywriting/ghostwriting, and paid ads/PPC.

What are the typical deliverables in a working relationship?

Our main deliverable is insightful analysis and transformative advice. The focus is not on long reports or even reports at all, and in fact our recommendations are short, concise, and only in outline form. We can then expand and discuss nuts and bolts where that would be helpful.

Can we get together and meet first? This is a big decision and I’d like to get a feel for how we’d work together.

We won’t work hard to make this happen because it requires time that we could’ve been spending in our work for clients (instead of prospecting). We will be glad to spend time answering questions by email or live chat (button bottom right) to give you a comfort level with how we’ll approach working for you.

How can you help me from Melbourne?

Melbourne is our home base, but we have figured out how to work with firms all over the world. Our clients hire us because they think we know what we're doing and not because we're nearby. We conduct all engagements via Zoom and Google Docs, which helps us to share screens and record calls for future reference.

Can you cross out any confidential portions and then show me sample recommendations?

No.

If this is important, you may be too skeptical to benefit from a client relationship. We’d recommend that you read everything that interests you here and on our blog to get a feel for how we think and work with clients, and then just go with your gut.

What are typical payment terms?

All services are fully prepaid and non-refundable, for any reason. We bill our clients automatically each month via Stripe.

The reason is not cash flow. Rather, it gives us the freedom to be completely transparent with you, not harbouring any fear that you’ll be upset and withhold payment.

This policy is applied uniformly with every client - even large firms with atypical invoicing procedures.

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Who is this guy anyway?

Vanity Projects was founded by Dave Sharp, who has a Masters degree in Architecture, worked in practices in Australia and Japan, and has been hanging around the architecture industry like a bad smell for 9 years.

He writes about the business of architecture at the Vanity Projects Blog, hosts a podcast called Architecture Firm Marketing, speaks at industry events and regularly uploads video insights to LinkedIn.

Dave is a fan of the outdoors: bushwalking, camping, fishing, photography and compound target archery.

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So what’s next?

The first phase is an initial call which will be 60 minutes long. This is where we really begin working to figure out exactly what the problem is and if there’s anything we can do to help. At that point if you and I both see the value in working together, great. We’ll talk and see if we're able to take you on as an ongoing client.