Freelancer interview: Tommy Minchin, Architectural Technologist

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This week’s interview is with Tommy Minchin, an Architectural Technologist I met recently at Minor Oak co-working space in Nottingham.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Tommy Minchin, a qualified Architectural Technologist and Director of MNCN Architecture Ltd (est. Jan 2019). At MNCN Architecture Ltd we provide a variety architectural design based services that take a project from it’s inception to completion. These include those associated with achieving planning and building regulations approval as well as miscellaneous products such as marketing images. The developments we are currently working on primarily fall within the residential and commercial sectors from small house extensions to large office buildings.

What led you to start freelancing?

I have always been attracted to the sense of autonomy that comes with being a freelancer/self-employed and throughout my early career, had the sense that this is something I would end up exploring. Therefore, when a relative of mine who is also in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) industry discussed the vibrancy of the market in September 2018, I decided there was no time like the present and decided to leave my job in Birmingham to become self-employed.

What issues have you had since starting up?

  • Loneliness from only working from home (this may seem minor but can lead to major effects on well-being if not supplemented with more social working environments).
  • Misunderstandings with Clients who are less familiar with the life cycle of a construction project.

What things do you wish you’d known before starting out?

  • To incorporate more social working environments in to my weekly routine.
  • To thoroughly explain to all clients the step-by-step process of a building project and the approval that is required to be obtained prior to starting on site.

What’s the best thing about freelancing?

The sense of autonomy and flexibility that comes with managing your own time. The incentive of seeing a direct correlation between work quality/effort and earnings. The ability to form a business/life on your core beliefs and principles.

How would you like to develop your freelance career in the future?

I aim to continue to grow as an individual with particular emphasis on becoming a better manager and designer within the ‘MNCN Architecture Ltd’ bubble. For MNCN in particular, the aim is to constantly progress towards ‘creating spaces and places which enhance our daily lives’ while evolving to suit the changing needs of ourselves and our environment. In addition to this, I certainly aim to diversify my portfolio of businesses/services in the future but they will more than likely still relate to those carried out at MNCN.

Anything else you’d like to tell anyone thinking of or currently freelancing?

While many may believe freelancing is a good idea and could suit them, it’s very easy to fall in to the trap of finding a reason to be content with the comfortable and structured version of life provided by a typical 9-to-5. While there are legitimate advantages to this, it is important to remind ourselves that we live in a time of such a wealth of options and opportunities that we should be empowered to give ‘Plan A’ a go with the knowledge that the comfortable ‘Plan B’ will always be there if needed. With that being said, I’d also like to add the practical note of how important it was for me to have a secondary income while building the business in the early stages. This is something I’d strongly advise aspiring freelances to consider, whether it be reducing the hours at their current job or finding a part-time solution.