1- Hello Brian, can you please tell us a bit about you?
Sure! My name is Brian Setencich, I was born in Florida before moving to Chicago where I’ve spent most of my adult life. First and foremost, I’m an architect, and I enjoy purchasing properties to fix up, much like the popular shows like Fixer Upper. In my free time, I do quite a bit of traveling and I enjoy water sports like rafting and surfing.
2- What are your focus areas and why?
I try to focus on large-scale projects whenever possible. I’ve found that I most enjoy the process when I can take a top-down approach and focus on the big picture. It’s strangely therapeutic to see all the moving parts fall into place as a result of careful planning and attention to detail.
3- How do you describe your journey in a few words?
Unorthodox. From my experience, most of the people I speak within the professional world had a much more straight-forward journey than mine. I’ve made quite a few detours and try to always balance my work with my hobbies to keep me focused.
4- Where do you think your work is making an impact?
I think I’m making a real difference in some of the Chicago area communities my work has been involved with. It’s an aspect of fixing up properties that I think is frequently overlooked. Sure I’m doing it with the hopes of making a profit, but I’m also helping to restore existing properties which is environmentally responsible as well as helping to boost the property values of entire neighborhoods at a time.
5- How did you build up a creative spirit, do you believe you were born with it or you developed it?
I think a creative spirit is something you need to be born with, but it’s also something that you can learn to better utilize. There’s no faking creativity, but I think there are many individuals who have a mental block preventing them from harnessing that creative energy. Plus, many people never take the time to hone a skill that can serve as a creative outlet. Personally, I think surfing has been a great avenue for developing my own creative energies. Being out on the water provides a thrilling sense of freedom that serves as a great reminder and perspective when returning to my professional endeavors.
6- Tell us about your style?
I think I bring a little bit of myself into every property I help renovate. I like to focus more on the flow of the floorplan and the overall feel of a house rather than spending a great deal of time and money on smaller details and fixtures. The small details help bring everything together, so they can’t be overlooked, but the overall feeling of a house is what I think makes it feel like a home.
7- Do you think your mindset has anything to do with success?
Oh absolutely. Being in the right mindset is crucial if you’re going to survive in this business. Too often I see someone get into flipping properties and not realizing that on some properties it’s inevitable that you will lose money. You should obviously do your best to minimize the losses, but no matter how much work you do, you will eventually purchase a property with foundation issues and termites that you didn’t know about ahead of time. In those cases it’s important to keep your cool, do the same quality of work, and maintain your reputation while taking that loss. It comes with the territory.
8- If you could turn back time, what would you love to change?
I think I could have been a little more proactive with some of the areas I’ve worked in. There are plenty of underserved areas here in Chicago that could use the boost of someone with my resources and skillset. The problem, of course, is that these areas are often much harder to create a profit, but with large enough operations I can now eat some of those costs for the sake of improving my community.
9- What are you most excited about at the moment?
There are some cool new technologies that are gaining mainstream attention and look to be really promising. Things like 3D modeling of properties so I can see how things will look when I take out a wall before I commit.
10- The last word or final thoughts?
I would encourage new entrepreneurs to devote some time to think about an exit strategy before getting started. This may sound defeatist, but it’s important to have a long-term goal and realize that for better or worse, you won’t be in the same job forever. Those just starting out should be honest with themselves about their goals.