Habits

Creative People in Business: Daniel Perez

I was introduced to Daniel at the Grand Opening of Dr. Chow’s Surgical Clinic in San Francisco. He kindly showed me around and explained the architectural details and the challenges involved in this project. I have always been interested in architecture and interior design, so I found the conversations very exciting. Daniel’s open minded and easygoing personality allowed us to become friends. I have visited a few more grand openings of his projects and feel very proud of his hard work. I would like to introduce Daniel to you and share an interview for the Creative People in Business Project.  

©   2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

© 2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

Time you wake up: 6:00 am

Morning routine: My alarm is set to classical music so that I can wake in a peaceful mood. I shower, eat breakfast, and comb NYT, WAPO, Politico, and the Guardian to see what is happening around the world.

Best habit: Swimming and yoga

Worst habit: Drinking a lot of beer at my weekly softball game.

Personal philosophy: Live each day to the fullest and do to others as would have them do to you.

Book you are reading now: We are Pirates by Daniel Handler

Most used apps: NYT, KCRW, NextBus, & Uber

What you do before going to bed: Brush my teeth, floss, pray, and try to count my blessings.
Time you go to sleep: Usually 11:00 pm but sometimes later.

 

 

 

How and why did you decide to pursue an architecture career?

I was one of those kids that knew I wanted to be an architect since I was seven years old. I used to draw house floor plans and elevations for my sister’s girlfriends that I had crushes on. At the age of 10 my family briefly moved to Illinois. I recall going on a tour of the John Deere headquarters designed by Eero Saarinen and being in awe of the building. I didn’t know anything about Saarinen at the time but I recall thinking about how beautiful the building and the landscaping was. On television shows that I watched as a kid Mike Brady of the Brady Bunch and Elyse Keaton in Family Ties were architects.  The architecture storylines on these shows weren’t particularly inspiring but it made me think this is a profession I could really pursue. I took a drafting class in high school and then applied to the architecture program at Arizona State University.

What are the biggest challenges in the architecture profession and how did you overcome them?

The path to becoming an architect is a very long road. There are the educational requirements; I spent five years at Arizona State University earning an undergraduate degree and another two years at Berkeley earning a Master’s degree. Three years of apprenticing under a licensed architect are required before you can begin to take the licensing exams to become a registered architect. At the time I took the exams there were nine exams plus an oral exam here in California. I passed five of the nine exams in my first sitting but it took me a number of years to complete the remaining exams. I have been a registered architect for sixteen years.  Along the way, there have been personal challenges like physics or structures classes I found difficult or taking exams three times to pass. I overcame these challenges by learning from my mistakes and failures. My undergraduate physics classes at ASU had 500 students.  I decided to look for class sections that were smaller in size and where more individual attention was available. I took calculus classes as a summer class at a community college in Idaho with twenty-five students and got straight “A’s”.  For exams that I was having difficulty with I took seminars or looked for tutors to learn the material.  I learned that if at first, you don’t succeed look for ways in which you can succeed.

In your opinion, what does it takes to become a successful architect?

Architecture is called a noble profession but it takes more than passion to succeed. Education is certainly an important aspect of learning to become an architect but schools do not teach everything that is necessary to become a qualified professional. Many architectural programs are heavily design-oriented. Design is important but there are so many other aspects of the profession that are important for preparation to practice. Some schools are more well versed in providing more well-rounded learning.  Learning about building codes, construction law, marketing, contacts, business, and communication are also important, especially for someone considering being a sole-practitioner. Some of these skills can be acquired in the workplace and this is where it becomes important for an individual to determine the best workplace for themselves.  This is certainly where mentorship becomes important. The profession has a long history of apprenticeship and this is where individuals can become successful by finding good mentors.  When I completed my undergraduate degree I moved to New York City. I decided that I would work for three years before continuing with a Master’s degree. I worked for small firms, medium-sized firms, and for a large corporate firm. I decided that for me I liked working for a small and medium-size firm because it allowed me to wear more hats. Ultimately this is what gave me the confidence to start my own business. The work hours are long in the architectural profession so having a personality that enjoys doing what you do is useful. It is also useful to have a personality that can strike a balance in professional and personal life. As with anything in life, a little bit of good luck never hurts. I consider myself lucky for finding a profession I enjoy.

What motivates you and keeps you to stay active running a business?

I love learning and this is my overarching motivation for running a business.  I didn’t know everything I needed to know to run a business when I first started so a dose of naiveté  was also useful. Every year I have learnedand continue to learn about something new.  Whether it is marketing, bookkeeping, invoicing, or employee management there is always something new to learn. I don’t necessarily enjoy every aspect of running a business but this is where you can hire someone that is equipped and enjoys doing those tasks. Being a member of the American Institute of Architects requires that continuing education units are fulfilled on a yearly basis.  This is an opportunity to continue to learn about emerging technologies, best practices, materials, etc.  The profession of architecture continues to evolve so as a business owner I need to continue learning.

What habits do you need to create to be able to deal with high stress?

Architecture is about solving design problems from a multi-faceted approach. I have adopted this idea of problem-solving to life in general.  I analyze what is causing the problem or stress and then determine what are plausible solutions for resolving the problem or mitigating the stress. I have found physical exercise extremely useful in dealing with stress. I find working out at the gym as therapeutic and while it may not directly resolve stress, it helps me to better cope with a stressful situation.

Risk taking to improve your career: any secrets you would like to share on how to deal with fear and insecurities taking risks?

I survived the biggest recession since the great depression as a sole-practitioner and I give myself a pat on the back for that. My office has been in operation for nearly eleven years. When I started my office I had a thought that if I had to go back and work for someone after running my own ship that I would make a better employee.  Being a sole-practitioner has given me better insight in the risks businesses take to stay in business. I find the problem-solving approach I mentioned earlier in dealing with fear and insecurities in taking a risk. In think the best approach in dealing with fear and insecurities is to take them head on.

Talk about your mentor, current or past, and how they affected your life?

My father is one of my first mentors. He began immigrating to this country when he was eighteen years old without knowing a word of English. He taught me through his words and actions that if you put your mind to something you can and will succeed. Throughout my education and in the work place I have had mentors that have guided me along the way. Architecture has a strong history of mentorship in the profession. I have had many mentors and continue to seek mentors in my life and to also be a mentor. I am a committee member for the AIA SF Mentorship program and was co-chair of the committee for two years. This program groups 5-7 professionals at all stages of their careers to meet over the course of a year for dialogue and professional exchange.

How do you balance your personal life and career?

This is a daily challenge and admittedly I have been better at it sometimes and not so good at it at other times. This is where I have to remind myself to live each day to its fullest. It is a work in progress and I have to say this year I am having better success in striking that balance.

Your way to “recharge” after a busy work week?

I go for a swim on Friday evening or Saturday afternoon. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and getting some form of exercise.

What advice would you give for those who want to pursue a career in architecture?

I was recently asked this question by the parents of a young man while I was on vacation on the Galapagos Islands.  His parents were concerned about his ability to support himself financially as an architect. I told him that architecture is not one of the highest paying professions but if he really loved architecture, had a passion for it, and liked working really had then he should pursue it. I also advised him to make good friends with people studying business, law, and computer science. These folks will be his future clients.

Best advice you ever received?

It is an oldie but a goody. If at first you don’t succeed then try, try again.

Contact Information:

Website: http://www.studioperez.com/

E-mail: dperez@studioperez.com

Phone: 415-503-0329

Creative People in Business: Italina Kirknis

My name is Italina, and I’m an Online Presence Expert & Speaker. My team and I specialize in helping the Real Estate Community’s Top Realtors and Lenders upgrade their presence online via Social Media & Email Newsletters. 

Our Online Branding & Marketing Firm helps such business owners by relieving them of the time consuming task of managing their social media accounts and email newsletters. www.ItalinaImage.com

©   2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

© 2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

What time you get up: I applaud people who get up at 4 and 5 in the morning. I’m just not one of those people…yet. I’m a young woman, I play tennis competitively and work out on a regular basis. Plus I enjoy my social life. So I maintain a regular sleeping schedule of 10:30pm - 6am. 

All my life, I described myself as not being a morning person. Today, I am a morning person. When my eyes open with the realization that it’s morning, I’m excited at what the day has instore for me. 

 Morning Routine: I immediately hop out of bed excited to get started. My 1st stop is the kitchen where I drink a full glass of water with apple cider vinegar. Then I’m off to enjoy an outdoor run. 

My morning ritual also includes affirmations, meditation, visualization, reading, and journaling. In getting these things done before I hit the shower and start my work day, I already feel accomplished, empowered, centered and grounded. I basically feel like Super Woman, lol.

Best Habit: Mastering My Calendar is my best habit. I schedule things in my calendar, and I live by that schedule. I do not let seemingly pressing things interfere with that schedule. For example, every Monday and Wednesday morning, 1 or 2 hours is blocked out for making prospecting calls. Nothing interferes with that, and I schedule everything else around that blocked out time. Mastering my calendar is my best habit because this prevents me from having a hectic schedule, it prevents me from being stressed (which affects every other area of my life), and it prevents me from needing to cancel or accidentally forget meetings with others. 

Worst Habit: My worst habit is eating and drinking a little heavy at night, lol. I have a fun social life.  

 

Philosophy: My philosophy is to create your own rich life. I also believe that in order to do that, we must affect others. Affect others and create your own rich life. But what do I know, lol?

Your story, why did you leave corporate world?

Like a lot of people, I started off on the corporate path. I thought I wanted to be an Attorney, but you don’t really know what something is like until you actually try it. 

During law school I had great internships working with Attorneys and Judges. But the truth is, I didn’t love it. I thought I should just push through, give it a fair shot, in hopes it would grow on me. 

Then I got sick, literally. One day I was in the office by myself, I put my hand on the edge of the desk, and I bent over in excruciating pain. I clutched my stomach, the source of the pain. I had an ulcer that continued to flare up with each week I tried to give this job a fair shot.  

That day in the office all by myself, I decided I’d pursue another path. Not wanting to be stuck with debt and no degree, I stayed in school, completed my degree, and then taught law long enough to pay off my law school loan. 

Being a law professor, teaching classes, captivating students (I had no disciplinary issues in my classroom) groomed me for being a public speaker now. 

I also worked in a tax firm in their Marketing Department. That’s where I got a lot of hands on experience creating compelling marketing campaigns. When it became clear to me that online marketing was an essential addition to other forms of marketing, I decided to go out on my own focusing on Online Branding & Marketing.

Now with my law degree, Juris Doctorate (J.D.), and marketing experience, I get to work with fun people, helping them create and promote their brand online, providing them more visibility on sites like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Yelp.  

And I haven’t been sick since. 

Your everyday passion?

My passion is creating brands from scratch. The journey of helping an individual discover and hone in on their brand has been a delightfully creative and inspiring process with the individuals I’ve had the fortune of working with.  

Once it’s time to promote their brand online, I’m just ecstatic. I love Branding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Marketing your brand.

What is special about your company? 

When I first started this company, I thought I would just be making a living and living my life under the radar. Then I started getting calls, emails, and facebook messages from people saying how I’ve inspired them to leave a job they hated but felt they needed to keep for all kinds of reasons- this is what my family expects of me, this is what I went to school for, I need to finish what I started etc. 

That’s when I realized this business isn’t about me. I was inspired to create a Mission Statement- To Inspire others to become aware of and act on their ability to accomplish.

The work I do with Realtors, Lenders and other Business Owners inspires other professionals to take a step beyond what they thought they were capable of. I’m showing audiences that they really can create the life they truly want for themselves.  

Create your life by design, not by default. As a Public Speaker giving over 40 talks per year, I blend this message in with the ‘Leverage LinkedIn for Leads’ and ‘Facebook for Business’ talks I give. Through my business and the way I live my life, I convey this message. 

The problem today is most professionals are on LinkedIn, but don’t know how to use it for Business. Business owners should be using LinkedIn to Promote and Market their services, versus merely accepting Connection Requests and Endorsements from people you don’t even know.

Here is a quick VIDEO giving you 3 Powerful Tips for networking with professionals who have the Power and the Connections to help you come in contact with the opportunities you're looking for.

See VIDEO here!

Naturally, there are people who’d rather just have their Online Presence managed for them, rather than having to post or market on social media themselves. This is why we offer 3 Done For You Services:

  1. Profiles - Most people just slapped a profile onto LinkedIn. We’ll recreate your profile so it clearly conveys the services you offer, what set’s you apart from your competitors, and ensure it’s Search Engine Optimized (SEO) so you show up higher on Google.
  2. Posts - For those who don’t have the time, desire, or know how, my team and I create customized posts/content just for you that no other person will have and post for you each week on your social media sites.
  3. Email Newsletters - my team and I create customized content for your email newsletter and send it out for you either monthly or quarterly. If you don’t have an email newsletter set up, we’ll set you up and even help you organize your database.
  4. Coaching - If you enjoy doing these things yourself or if you have an assistant that you want to have trained in best practices in these 3 areas, Profiles, Posts, or Email Newsletters, you can take advantage of Coaching Calls with me directly to better your Online Presence and increase your social media skills. 

Creative People in Business: Valentina Sadiul

Welcome to my new series, “Creative People in Business.” This project is inspired by people I have met on my career journey whose talent, dedication and work is often hidden away from spotlight. We all want be successful, but usually we don’t want to see what’s underneath the glamorous facade that we celebrate. This series will concentrate on the hard work, habits, goals, sacrifices and failures that each of these talented people faced to reach the top of their “mountains.”

I am a professional portrait photographer who specializes in headshot photography. My career choice was motivated by the opportunity to meet people, build friendships, and have flexible working hours. My goal was to be present with my family and friends when they needed me. Is it easy to build a career in headshot photography? No, but I love it every aspect of it on a creative, social and business level. My work gives me joy every day and I am feel rewarded each time my photography brings my clients the success and respect they deserve.

©   2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

© 2016 Valentina Sadiul Photography

 

Time I wake up: 7 A.M.
Morning routine: My morning starts with small meditation on gratitude. Then, I shower, make coffee, and prepare my breakfast. I make sure to take both my vitamins and supplements. While I drink coffee, I write some ideas and thoughts in my journal. Once I check my daily agenda, my work begins.
Best habit: I run two to three times a week.
Worst habit: Very often, I catch myself multitasking instead of limiting myself to a single assignment.
Philosophy: Don’t compare yourself and your life to others; be thankful for who you are and what you have.

Book I am reading now: I tend to read two or four books at the same time . Currently, I am completely occupied with Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

Most used apps: Skype, Blinkist and Productive
What I do before going to bed: Read a book.
What time I go to sleep: Around 11 P.M.

 

 

I’ve been attracted to the study of success, confidence and positive habits since I was 16 years old. I did not have positive role models in my home environment, so I started to look outside my comfort zone. I was in search of a “different life” that did not resemble my family’s patterns. I decided that success meant constantly improving the quality of my life regardless of my financial, social, or relationship status. Life really feels empowering when you stop comparing yourself, your skills, and your status to other people.

As a portrait photographer and creative individual, it took me time to develop my own brand, style, and professional values. I now believe every day is an investment in your health, happiness, and friendships. A dedication to your goals and habits brings rewards to your career.

We are humans, and all aspects of our life are interconnected: my headshot photography business is not exception to that rule. I have noticed how my personal challenges affects my state of mind and distracts me. I am aware that overbooking photoshoots will impact my friendships. There will be always sacrifices, but self-compassion and smart prioritization allows you to return to balance and move forward.

I am very excited to introduce my project, “Creative People in Business,”  and share interviews of successful professionals and their journeys. Please enjoy!