Making Something From Nothing: Chris Pchelintsev Of Architecturalist On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Be ready to spend money–all of it: Building up your working capital is a challenge, but spending this money in time and high expenses is inevitable. Certain processes require a large investment so you shouldn’t be afraid or held back by that.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Pchelintsev.
Chris is a Ukrainian-American entrepreneur who co-founded the online real estate company Architecturalist, LLC. and serves as the company’s CEO. After starting and handling multiple successful businesses, he started exploring his passion for architectural real estate. Architecturalist was initially an online publication exploring architecturally significant real estate in the United States, after working in this niche for several years the project grew into an online platform that helps agents who work with architectural homes get a better prices and terms for their clients by selling them to architectural enthusiasts using the online auction platform.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Thank you so much for inviting me, it’s a pleasure to contribute! I’ve always been passionate about business because it is a lot of creativity in building a company. I was born in Ukraine which was a brand new country created right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine had to build everything from scratch. I think that boosted my love of business as I saw thousands of new businesses created every day. I was in University when I started my first successful business. It was a Digital Marketing company. I saw an opportunity in a relatively new area of business and took it. This is how I started.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love this quote by George Bernard Shaw: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I always feel a strong positive energy when I think about these words as they make us reflect on what we want in life and how to get there. For me, for example, it means cold calling and constantly reaching out to potential leads, helping them understand why our solution can fit their needs. At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to do some tasks that you don’t necessarily want to do, to reach your goal and start doing the things that you love.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
One man comes to mind. It is Richard Feynman, probably the most curious and open-minded man who comes to mind. He was an American theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate. But in my opinion, it is not his scientific achievements that are interesting, but rather his willingness to keep trying new things, to challenge the unknown, and at the same time to keep an open mind. He did safecracking, studied different languages, worked in fields unrelated to his profession or interests (such as biology or philosophy), and tried his hand at art and samba music.
I highly recommend his autobiography, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” to anyone who wants to know how important and yet how easy it is to discover new things, how it can change our vision and discover new meanings in the profession and beyond.
After all, not many of us define our life’s purpose is changing the world, but that is what we do, questioning the current state of things and offering new answers to existing questions.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
Jobs, Kawasaki, and Edison, all said the same thing: “a good execution is more important than a good idea” or “vision without execution is hallucination”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m sure some brilliant ideas weren’t able to succeed because of the poor execution. That’s why it’s pertinent to have patience and double down on planning and strategizing. When you have an idea, stick to a plan, and don’t give up. Lots of ideas don’t transition into a real business because often, the team gives up when reaching the first challenge.
Many of my ideas had to be greatly adjusted to make way for a clear execution. Ensuring that the outcome is understandable, user-friendly, and intuitive is an indicator of success.
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
Whether or not someone had a similar idea shouldn’t be a reason to discourage them from following through with it. We are in a rapidly changing and evolving world, where you never know whether a similar idea is going to be executed and turned into a successful business. I’d say go for it even if you think someone else is working on the same idea. Healthy competition is always a plus, look at Uber and Lyft.
Remember that when it comes to executing ideas, it is not a race. It’s about making sure customers are aware of the importance of different solutions and why they need them.
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
Architecturalist is a service business catering to B2B and B2C needs. However, it is always good practice and highly recommended to seek an expert and ask as many questions as you may have before diving into any legal processes. You can never have enough research on your hands in a fast-paced environment.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
- Don’t be afraid to delegate: Building and running your own business is never an easy task. For this, you are forced to wear multiple hats. From knowing how things should work in your business to actually executing these tasks, sometimes you find yourself without enough time, and here is when it’s time to start delegating. We all know the fear of having other people not complete the task as well as you would, but you must realize that even if it’s 70% similar to how you would execute a task, it’ll save you time and you can focus on other strategic elements to help grow your business.
- People come and go: It’s tough to find and attract the right talent for your team. And when you’re lucky enough to work with a strong team, you must realize that they might not always stay working with you and there won’t be much you can do to retain them. For this, it’s important to analyze and restructure your model, there will always be hidden talent when given a new role and someone new will always come along.
- Be ready to spend money–all of it: Building up your working capital is a challenge, but spending this money in time and high expenses is inevitable. Certain processes require a large investment so you shouldn’t be afraid or held back by that.
- There are no days off: In a way, it’s a good thing that no one told me this because it may sound discouraging at first glance. However, this is true for any goal you may have in your personal and professional life. Substantial and strong rewards come with hard work around the clock. When building your business, your working hours will go beyond just 9–5, and often, there are no end-of-the-shift hours. Success takes a while to grow and even when you have a team to help you build it, they will depend on you. Just remember, hard work always pays off.
- Seek investments, credits, or loans: To know what you’re doing and what’s going on with your business, you need your working capital to grow. This way you can have the right tools and talent to leverage your business.
At some point there’s only so much you can do on your own bucks, so looking for capital is not a bad idea, despite many people fearing it. Businesses are built on credit and you must realize that seeking help is not synonymous with selling your soul to investors.
Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
- You should always start with research and due diligence on the market itself to understand competitors and overall sales trends. It’s never a bad idea to study and analyze competitors as customers to cater your solution to your target audience and add value to your company.
- Large corporations and small businesses alike agree that customer service and satisfaction are of utmost importance, they bring you money and improve your business so it’s critical to keep them in the center of your strategies.
- Working on a new idea may be tough at first, so leverage your research. It can be much easier to improve processes you learn from competitors than to start penetrating a market and tapping into new customers.
- Growing a business takes considerable time and attracting your audience should be done cautiously. Invest in your processes, run a quick trial and error and once you know your idea works, invest in marketing and keep attracting customers.
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
Consultants are never a bad idea. In any area of work, it’s highly recommended to ask people around you what they need. Many times leaders tend to go by their gut and assume they have the best solution. But why not be sure of it and learn something new while you’re at it? You need to ask questions and know what you’ll be solving.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
As soon as you can get your business up and running, you should look for greater investments– that’s always a good idea.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
We try to make our solutions accessible to everyone and especially put them in the hands of those that I believe would use them properly.
One of the main differences in building a business in the US instead of Ukraine is the larger investments that can bring our solution to larger networks. These connections can consequently reach and help more people out there in the industry.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
A selfless and kind deed will always be to help others. And what better way to do this than through access to education.
Education may not always give you what you need and for what you do. For example, learning about how mortgages work, buying houses, and other daily activities alike can help you navigate real life better. Proper education should be guided into facilitating and understanding how the system works–teaching kids how to take out a loan, or how a credit score works for instance.
Currently, these processes are overwhelming and incomprehensible. So we must work towards an educated society where everyone has greater knowledge of what they’re doing. We should have free schools to teach these matters.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to spend some time with one of the biggest architect names still here with us such as Ed Niles. His architectural style blew up in the 90s and is still widely used especially in California. I’d love to learn about what inspired him, where ideas take him, and how he works with so many big names.
I’ve always thought that if you can build a home in Malibu that will carry out your vision, it’d be interesting to talk to the architect that made this possible and what he thinks about it, how he started and saw it, up to how he completed this project.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Making Something From Nothing: Chris Pchelintsev Of Architecturalist On How To Go From Idea To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.