One Year

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It has been one year since hubs quit his job, and we took the leap to work together full-time on my little sign-making business. It is crazy that it has been one year already. The weeks just fly by. It is been challenging, exhausting, full of learning opportunities, and completely worth it.

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I have the best customers, and I’m really not just saying that. It has been such a delight to “meet” folks from all over the US and the world who appreciate the value of artwork that is hand-crafted and hand-painted. Our signs have been shipped to Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Switzerland, and Canada, as well as all 50 states. It blows me away. I couldn’t have dreamed this up if I tried. God has been opening doors for us through these signs, and we are SO GRATEFUL.

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Things I’ve learned this past year:

1. No one will care as much about your business as you do. It is your baby and you need to put your energy, talent, and time into it for it to flourish. It is your responsibility. No one else will do the work for you.

2. Setting goals and making lists has become my lifeline. Between our business responsibilities, taking care of our home, and other things I’m involved with, I have a lot on my plate and writing things down helps me to stay focused on what I need to do each day.

3. I’ve been soaking in wisdom from others, mostly through listening to podcasts that focus on business. I’ll do a post on my favorites sometime.

4. My studio will never be big enough or clean. There is always paint splattered on the walls/floor, wood dust on all the surfaces, and kids’ toys scattered around the room. And that’s ok. I’m so thankful to have a studio that is attached to the house, and I can be working while the kids play. It’s perfect for our life with young kids.

5. The desire and pull to grow the business sometimes isn’t realistic for where our lives are at right now, and it is HARD to pull back and slow down and just be happy with where we are at, right now.Aimee Weaver_32

6. Running a business takes a lot of different strengths, some of which I’m not good at, and it’s important to get advice and help from others to compensate for my weaknesses. I’m not good at numbers or anything related to taxes and accounting (just writing those words down makes me a little bit depressed), so hubs takes care of most of those things. He is the realistic one and keeps my feet on the ground. Getting advice from other people who have started businesses similar to ours has been so valuable.

7. I cannot do it all. If I’m spending a lot of time working on business things, then my house typically looks like a wreck and dinner consists of something that was put together in 15 minutes. If I spend a lot of time on a house project or cleaning or on getting meals planned, then there are business emails that haven’t been returned, and I am behind on getting signs made. I have made my peace with this (most of the time). There just isn’t enough time in the day to do EVERYTHING well, so I try to stay organized and set priorities each day. This is really hard for a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl like me, but I am learning the importance of planning.

8. You need to love what you do or you will have serious burn out. I can honestly say that I am loving what I’m doing now even more than when I was painting as a hobby. The business inspires me in a way that has completely surprised me. I’ve always loved a challenge, and running a business keeps me on my toes and forces me to be creative even when I might not feel like it.

9. Be original. Always. Even if you see something really cool on Pinterest or in Anthropologie or in a magazine. Don’t copy other people’s work. I’ve felt the sting of seeing my artwork copied by others (sometimes even using my own photos to sell their work), and it is incredibly frustrating to work so hard on a design only to see it replicated again and again by someone else. Look outside of your industry for inspiration. If I’m feeling dry creatively and want some inspiration, I won’t look at what other sign makers are doing. I’ll check out fashion catalogs or photographers’ websites or I’ll roam the aisles of an art store. And I typically find inspiration in the oddest of places. Like the cover of my dad’s boat magazine, or the design on my nephew’s t-shirt, or the colors and design on my check-book holder.

10. Never stop learning. Don’t get bogged down with the every-day tasks that need to get done (this happens to me all the time), but find time to learn. Take online classes. I’ve taken classes on and have done online classes taught by Jeanne Oliver. It’s so hard to find time to do this, but it is always worth it.

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It’s been a year of growth and opportunities and hard work, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We LOVE what we are doing and are thankful that we get to do it every day! Thank you for your support!

Photos taken by Michelle of Italian Lane Photography.

25 thoughts on “One Year

  1. Congratulations on one year! I enjoyed this post so much… My business is much smaller, but I so enjoy learning from other creative, who are original and not just copiers. I love that about your work! Here’s cheers to another successful year!

  2. Love your work! No one could copy the love and the spirit you put into each one of your signs. Love the blog and cannot wait to see what the next year brings for your business and your family. You are doing great! Can’t wait to “meet” your little boy! We should all be so lucky to find something we truly love to do everyday. God Bless you!

  3. I am a huge fan of your work. Seeing your quotes and bible verses inspire me everyday! I have bought 2 signs from you and they are 2 of my most favorite artworks! Thank you for sharing your stories and thank you for helping our home be a little bit more beautiful!

  4. Aimee,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight. You painted the sign for my market stand, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I receive many compliments! I am looking forward to attending An Inspired Evening, and hope to see you there!

  5. Oh, friend…you guys always fill my heart with pride. So beautiful, inside and out. 🙂 And I love seeing how God continues to bless…can’t wait to see what the coming months hold!

    (On another note – knowing that others out there are replicating your work/photos for profit makes me mad…I want to go after them and do something about it. Ok, now I feel better.) 😉

  6. This post was inspiring to me. I started my own clothing store a little over 2 years ago just down the road from you (I think=), and love hearing from other mommys that have done the same thing and continue to plug away at it! Running a household and a business definitely has its challenges but I thoroughly enjoy it. Was just so good to hear another mama’s perspective on it!

  7. You do such wonderful work. I too love to create, but not on your level. When you make your signs you do everything freehand, how do you make the duplicate signs all look the same? What is your secret if I may ask? Thank you for sharing your story. God Bless you and your family.

  8. thank you for sharing your first year.  i can relate to everything you said and i am just starting out but feeling overwhelmed with other responsibilities that get in the way of growing a business but are necessary to balance out life.  God certainly helps keep me focused.

    bless you.  you have been a great inspiration ! dodie   Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.   Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. – Martin Luther King, Jr  


  9. Amiee- I love love love your signs and your blog! Your work is beautiful and I love the positive messages of your signs. I haven’t purchased anything yet, (because I’m a procrastinator to a “T”) but I’m hoping to get my act together for the holidays this year. My husband’s father is a pastor and I know that one of these signs would really touch his heart. Keep up the great work!

  10. Beautiful work and an even more beautiful person! I’ve loved following the blog over the years, and you are truly inspiring. I, too, have felt that sting when someone else steals your original art (it was actually a close friend believe it or not) and it’s taking a while for me to get over. Your heart is in every piece and I know you will be blessed for it!

    • Aimee I’ve been following you (on your original blog) and now this one since you first started your sign business and am so excited to see how you’ve grown! I too have procrastinated on buying a sign but i’m in a new house so hopefully I’ll get to it soon! I would love to know the color of the teal you chose for that sign for a bathroom in my house!

  11. Pingback: My Favorite Podcasts | My Pink Life

  12. I have loved following your work! You’ve definitely inspired me to find my own “voice” in the art industry. I think it is a huge compliment that others try to mimic your creations. It means you are setting the bar for excellence! But I also like your encouragement to other artists to look around and find their personal inspiration. Keep up the awesome work! And keep walking this road with that great measure of grace toward others. You are a blessing!

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