Frequently Asked Questions

How would you describe the ideal Vanity Projects client?

The ideal client…

  • Runs a small (1-30 person), privately held architecture or interior design firm that sells expertise.
  • Works directly with us as the decision maker and not through another staff member.
  • Is willing to be engaged from the very beginning, listening and reading with intense focus, and then jumping into implementation with gusto. We're here to help, but we don’t do “needy” or “helpless” very well.
  • Has no hesitation about our fee against the background of the possible impact on their firm. They do so because they know, subconsciously or otherwise, that not hiring us will be much more expensive than doing so.
  • Is open to a different perspective, though likely testing each piece of advice rather than accepting it blindly.

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.

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.

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 phone or email to give you a comfort level with how we’ll approach working for you. This site and our blog also contains lots of valuable (and free) material that will provide insight into how we think.

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

Our approach is to meet with you at a repeating fortnightly or monthly interval. 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.

The consulting relationship is framed in two ways. First, there is a period of time during which we will be finding out more about your business, your goals and your marketing priorities. From there, we will outline a strategy and recommendations. Secondly, we will begin to focus on implementation and dedicate future sessions to significant components of your strategy.

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, which helps us to share screens and record calls for future reference.

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. These include social media management, copywriting/ghostwriting, and paid ads. More bespoke services are available on request. We don't talk about this side of business much on our website, because clients who feel that they 'need' a specific service will often find that after working together on their marketing strategy, that channel becomes less essential than initially thought.

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.

If you decide that we are not a fit, we're still glad for you to benefit as much as possible from the information here.

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.

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 harboring 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.

I’m not ready to hire you yet. How can I stay in touch and keep up with what you are doing and offering?

The best way is to read our blog, listen to our podcast or sign up for our free newsletter.

A waitlist of like-minded clients, the single most powerful goal for a growing architecture firm.

What would it mean for your firm if you built a thriving community of fans and a consistent flow of inbound project leads?


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