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 amy painting a mural

What my clients have to say:

What can I say? The mural is amazing! Amy took our idea of a Paris landscape and some vacation photos and turned it all into a wonderland. It's so much more than I could have imagined but not totally overwhelming in a small space. Thank you so much for turning our nursery into a little slice of Paris!

Gerette, Arlington, VA

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Artist In Residence

Self Employed America, May/June 2004

Tell us about your business
I'm a custom painter. I paint not only murals, which are paintings directly on the wall, but I also do faux-finishing (painted textures or ‘fake' appearances, such as marble or wood) and custom artwork in a variety of mediums—acrylic, oils, pastel, watercolors.

I painted my first mural in 1999. I slowly grew my portfolio by doing jobs for family and friends ... and friends of friends. I found mural painting to be not only fun, but also a great way to make extra money.

In 2001 I switched to part-time status at my job, which gave me more time to work toward my art. In the summer of 2003, I took the plunge and went full time into this business.

Why did you choose this type of business?
Mural painting was something I'd never even considered, but as soon as I painted my first few, I realized how excited people were to find someone that did this sort of work. Almost everyone wanted—or knew someone who wanted—a mural. There seemed to be a big market for it, especially in this day and age when people seem to really be investing a lot in their homes.

It has also been a dream of mine to be my own boss. I definitely march to the beat of a different drummer and knew I'd be better off owning my own business rather than following the rules and timetables of someone else.

What were you most afraid of when you started your business?
No doubt, paying the bills. I purchased my first home six months before leaving my steady-paying job. So I was very nervous. I knew there was work, but constantly worried that once I completed a job, would there be another one?

What unique challenges have you faced being a female business owner?
Actually, I think being female is a big bonus for me. I seem to relate to my customers.

To young mothers wanting nursery murals, I'm just like one of their friends, sharing stories about kids or pets or decorating ideas. To older couples, I'm like their granddaughter who's home from college. Plus, I don't think people are intimidated by having me come to their homes and invade their private space.

What makes you feel successful?
It is the freedom to set my own hours and wake up each morning knowing I am working hard for myself. And when I spend all day sitting at my computer going over the books, at least I have my dog at my feet and the music turned up as loud as I want! No matter how long and exhausting the hours, I always have a good feeling at the end of the day.

What's the most important trait for someone starting a business?
Fearlessness. If you go into something fearing the worst, you will never have the courage to keep going when things get tough. Don't be afraid to ask for a favor or a discount or for someone's business.

Copyright 2017 Amy K. Tubbs |  Murals By Amy  | Serving Northern VA, MD, DC  | 703-587-2610