Belief: 25 Reasons for Architects to Believe In What They're Selling

April 30, 2023

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

If you’ve followed me long enough, then you know that I’m endlessly encouraging you to increase fees. I subconsciously mention it on LinkedIn weekly and tend to touch on architectural fees in every podcast interview.

After having this conversation so many times, I’m well-aware of the natural reactions. Things like:

  • the market won’t allow it

  • we won’t get as many projects

  • someone will always be willing to undercut

  • AIA and/or RIBA need to better educate the general public

The list goes on. And while those feel like real concerns, I don’t believe any of them should stop you from increasing your fees and continuing to attract high-quality clients.

Admittedly, what I haven’t focused on enough is belief. You have to believe in what you’re selling. You have to believe in your core that you’re delivering a high-quality experience and end result that will surely and measurably improve lives.

If you don’t believe that, neither will your clients. And the first time you receive pushback for increasing your fees, you’ll fall into one of the above camps - instead of believing in your own value you’ll believe that other things, outside of your control, are actually preventing you from increasing your fees.

Know the unique value that you bring to the table. Because it is unique and you are incredibly valuable.

Let me just write it one more time so that you don’t scan over it:

You are unique and incredibly valuable. And your fees need to reflect that.

Here’s 4 ways to start and continue believing in your value:

01 // Surround yourself with value driven people

The people you surround yourself with can have a significant impact on your mindset and beliefs. If you're constantly around individuals who undervalue their work and undercharge for their services, it can be challenging to maintain a belief in your own worth.

We all need a little positive reinforcement every now and then, and that's especially true when it comes to believing in our own value.

Seek out communities of like-minded professionals who understand the value of their work and charge accordingly. Join professional organizations, attend industry events and conferences, and connect with other professionals on social media who share your values. (Know that I’m always your partner in value and I believe this amazing community is too!)

02 // Gather the goods

One way to overcome self-doubt is by gathering evidence of your past successes and the value you've provided to clients. Take some time to gather and organize client testimonials, case studies, and before-and-after photos of completed projects.

Stick them in a folder that’s easy to access - I even have a folder like this in my email for Tyler Tactics!

When you're feeling unsure or facing pushback, review these materials to remind yourself of the value you've provided in the past. By having these "goods" at your fingertips, you'll be better equipped to confidently charge what you're worth.

03 // Remind yourself regularly

Believing in your own value is an ongoing process, and it requires regular reinforcement.

  • Write down your value proposition and review it regularly. What makes you unique and valuable as an architect? What sets you apart from your competition? Need some help? Make a transformation statement.

  • Practice positive affirmations. Write down positive statements about your value and read them aloud to yourself every day. For example, "I am a skilled and experienced architect who provides exceptional value to my clients." It might feel silly at first, but I’ve personally found this to be incredibly effective.

  • Celebrate your successes. When you complete a project, take some time to reflect on the value you provided and the impact you made. Give yourself the space to appreciate and value your worth.

04 // Bonus list

I feel like a fitting end to this pep-talk attempt is by including a list of some ways that architects add value to clients and society. Here you go:

  1. Increased property value.

  2. Improved functionality.

  3. Enhanced user experience.

  4. Reduced maintenance costs.

  5. Compliance with regulations.

  6. Mitigated risks.

  7. Increased building efficiency.

  8. Sustainable design.

  9. Improved health and wellness.

  10. Increased brand recognition through design.

  11. Material & Cost savings.

  12. Reduced liability.

  13. Improved safety.

  14. Reduced environmental impact.

  15. Increased community engagement.

  16. Preserving historical integrity.

  17. Reduced project timelines.

  18. Improved accessibility.

  19. Tangible aesthetics.

  20. Streamlined stakeholder management.

  21. Improved energy performance.

  22. Reduced waste and materials use.

  23. Unique design and technical innovation.

  24. Greater connection to context and environment.



You are amazing. You are unique. You are incredibly valuable.

And your fees need to reflect that.

  1. Surround yourself with value-driven people

  2. Gather the goods

  3. Remind yourself regularly

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