Interview with Brian Setencich for ErikaWithAK

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Interview with Brian Setencich for ErikaWithAK

Hello Brian, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure, my name is Brian Setencich and I’m currently living in Chicago after spending most of my childhood in coastal Florida. I’m an architect and a travel junky. I take a lot of pride in my work flipping properties and the improvements I’ve seen my work make on local communities here in Chicago. It’s easy for some people to see this as a profit making endeavor, but I like to also keep a focus on the people rather than just the properties.

What are your focus areas and why?

I focus a lot on underserved areas. These are areas where there may have been a natural disaster, decades of low investment, or some other extenuating factors. These are the areas where I can have the most impact on the property owners and the surrounding neighborhoods while also turning a hefty profit if I do my job properly.

What is your personal philosophy as an architect and real estate developer?

My philosophy is to focus on the big picture and approach individual tasks as a means to an end. It’s easy to lose sight of the goal when focusing on updating one small detail at a time, but when you focus on the end result it becomes much easier to allocate time and funding in a way that keeps true to budget.

Where do you think you are making an impact?

I think I’m making an impact in the communities I serve. Many of the properties I work with are buildings that have been around for decades and haven’t received much love and attention. These are the types of buildings that have the most to offer however, as they usually have good bones and just need to be given some creative attention.

What were some of the biggest challenges you have encountered in your professional career?

Oddly enough I sometimes run into resistance from the neighbors when dealing with certain properties. They occasionally feel that my efforts to improve one property are overlooking the problems of neighboring buildings. While I understand their desire to benefit from my work, I only have so much time and so many resources that I can bring to bear.

On top of being an architect, you are also a blogger and a father of two, what are your rules for maintaining a balanced life?

I make sure my weekends are spent completely away from work and I often set aside a week or two a year for a work-free family vacation. I think work-life balance is crucial for maintaining a basic level of efficiency in my work, and I don’t ever want to be the dad that misses out on important moments because I couldn’t step away from a job.

You are also a surfer, photographer and chef, what has been your greatest adventure?

I recently returned from my second trip to Australia and it’s been extremely impactful for me. Something about Australia just speaks to me, and it’s also a great location for many of the watersports I enjoy in my free time. Particularly the surfing scene in Australia really stands out to me.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs, travelers and adventurers?

Branch out and try new things. With many things in life, you can’t know until you try something, so get out of your comfort zone and experience all that life has to offer. It will pay dividends in the long run.

Any tips for visitors to Chicago?

Try to visit some of the major tourist attractions, but once you’ve seen what you set out to see, make sure you get the perspective of some of the locals. Chicago is such a massive city with abounding culture, so learning from the local is necessary if you want to get the real Chicago experience.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Whatever you decide to do with your life, be persistent and don’t be afraid of failure. That’s the entrepreneur’s motto and it definitely applies to any and every person who wants to strike out and do something with their life.