Marshall Haas Interview: 20-Year-Old Architect Outsourcer
Marshall Haas got his start selling Pokémon cards on the street corner with his friends. But by the time he was 17, Marshall had moved on to architecture. He got a job working for a high-end architect in the Dallas area and began taking classes at a local community college.
Marshall noticed that many architecture firms weren’t offering images, or renderings, to their clients. He decided to fill the void by starting his own company, AllRendered, LLC. Marshall recruited a team of 20 artists in the Philippines to create architectural images from floor plans and he began attracting as many as eight clients a month.
Today, Marshall is 20 years old and still working to build AllRendered into a premier rendering service, while pursuing a degree in computer science. He is also in the process of developing a mobile web application called Podums, which will use game mechanics to encourage people to be productive. Whenever he finds the time, Marshall gets his thrills by riding his motorcycles.
The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).
Q: What challenges have you faced specifically because of your age? How has your age helped you to succeed?
A: I’ll be straight up: it is harder when people see that you’re younger. I have to remember to tell clients, “I’m not a one man shop. I’ve got a designer and a developer and they’re not just my buddies. They’re the best at what they do.” It’s about communicating that I’m not some kid: this is the real deal and we’re just as good as the next guy.
There are definitely advantages [to being young]. A computer has been in our lives the entire time we’ve been alive. That is a big advantage in my industry. I talked [to a client] about social media stuff and he perked up. All of a sudden, it was an advantage that I was young. Now, that company might hire me as a consultant for social media.
Q: You have an outsourced team of 20 designers in the Philippines. How did you get started with outsourcing and how do you continue to manage such a large team?
One of Marshall’s renderings on a billboard! He randomly found this last week.
A: It started with Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek. That’s how I was introduced to the whole concept of hiring people overseas. At the same time, I had this architecture job and the main architect had an amazing skill with rendering. I really thought that more firms should offer a visual experience like that for their clients.
So, I asked a homebuilder for a kitchen floor plan for one of their models. I told them that I wanted to do a rendering for them for free and see how they liked it. I took that floor plan and put up a job on Elance.com and I paid three different companies to do a rendering of it. I ended up going with one of those teams, a group of artists in the Philippines who do watercolors and 3D stills. Then, I just started looking around and contacting architects, saying, “This is what we do.”
I’ve got one point of contact with the team and he manages all of the other guys for me. He’s also an architect and one of the artists. I’m the one point of contact for the architects and he’s the one point of contact for the renderings. So, I don’t have to manage 20 people. It’s really easy.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Whoever reads this, I would love to talk about your ideas. I love bouncing ideas around with people who are also interested in business.
This is an abridged version from Marshall’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to meet Marshall earlier this year and, true to his word, he’s an interesting person with a remarkable story. I’m sure you’ve noticed, Marshall’s interview is chock-full of practical advice for young entrepreneurs. We had to hold back a few nuggets for the book.
Marshall Haas’s Top Quote
“I would like to be the messed-up child of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Tim Ferriss – morphed into super-genius entrepreneur.”