Sunshine Island Hero of the Month: Jennifer Kretschmer

Architect Jennifer Kretschmer

Welcome to Part 10 of the Sunshine Island Hero of the Month series, which highlights the marketing of architect Jennifer Kretschmer. We celebrate the way she takes action to build out her marketing system and gets results — ideal clients and dream projects now land on her doorstep! 

Sunshine Island is based on AMI marketing coach Richard Petrie's story about the mythical city of Archville … where architects and designers can live in the Old Quarter, the Artists Quarter, the New Quarter, or Sunshine Island. Architects work hard to reach Sunshine Island where they find financial freedom by consistently securing the best projects and fees.

When “living” anywhere else, we find that architects continuously struggle to find clients, are afraid to ask for the fees they deserve and spend a lot of time doing work for free. 

Basking in the sun on Sunshine Island is wonderful! Jennifer Kretschmer, owner of J. Kretschmer Architecture and Art definitely knows, as she works diligently from her accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in Los Gatos, California.  

From an early conversation with Richard Petrie regarding raising her fees, Jennifer just did it. Her fees were low and she was doing a wide range of projects—residential, commercial, industrial, and on and on as well as single family homes.  

Jennifer says in the video below, “By raising my fees I got fewer tire kickers and more people who value my services.  In just a year—my gross income went up 2.5 times. I raised my fees 50% and got more projects.”

“California law allowed me to convert my garage, my ADU, into my sanctuary studio, my workspace." This is a great opportunity for everyone in the state to take advantage of.

Jennifer Kretschmer, owner of J. Kretschmer Architecture and Art definitely knows, as she works diligently from her accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in Los Gatos, California.  Image by J Kretschmer.

But this wasn’t enough for Jennifer. To find more motivation for marketing, she joined the SIX program. Richard comments in their recorded interview below, “Marketing works, but you have to do it. It’s like fitness, there’s a proven step by step model. If you do it you will get fit, you will lose weight, you will build muscle.  Marketing will work the way we show you, you just have to do it.”

The other bit of advice Jennifer got from Richard in the SIX program was that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The SIX program has the templates, make them work, and move through the program. No need to design and redesign. Good is good enough when it comes to marketing.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s great for design, but not for marketing.

Jennifer’s tip is to use Google analytics, try something, see what happens and if it doesn’t work, just change it.

With a new lead source and new niche, Jennifer is enjoying her life on Sunshine Island. Her niches are Net Zero Energy green and sustainable homes and Accessory Dwelling Units. She has implemented pre-approved designs in San Jose and is the first architect to get on the website as a vendor. Jennifer says, “I have new projects based on this, but we customize for clients that are interested. I can sell them the secret weapon of an LCC and then the design.”  

Prior to the SIX program, Jennifer would have done the LCC for free. Lots of clients find value in the LCC document, it’s basically what architects call pre-design work. “It's research without any sketches,” she shares. “You become the client's trusted advisor.”

For anyone who says it won’t work in my area because other architects do it for free, Jennifer insists, “You don’t know unless you try it. There’s always something you can sell at a baby step to get people interested in your services and know what it’s like to work with you.”  

Letting us in on a little secret, Jennifer admits, “I’m even using it to investigate new project types. It’s a way for me to enter new markets.”

This success is all because Jennifer now realizes she has TWO jobs:

  1. Marketer of design services
  2. Architect

Jennifer Kretschmer is this month's Sunshine Island Hero.

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