We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Braswell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work-life balance is such a timely topic for me – I recently did a little self-audit of my own work-life balance…and I didn’t like what I saw. I realized I was working just to, well, work. I was burying myself in it…because that’s what I thought I *had* to do. In the small business world, there’s this feeling that you have to either be working on something as a side hobby….or you have to immediately grow to 6 figures. There’s a whole lot of in-between that people don’t talk about – and that creates this feeling of failure amongst everyone caught in that middle area. And so I felt like I had to Work (with a capital W) until I had ‘made it’…. and then I realized that I already had. Because I’m starting to think ‘making it’ IS when you find that perfect work-life balance. Perfect for YOU. Which might be 40+ hours of work…. or it might be 4. Obviously, we all have to pay our bills and that’s a huge factor in the work portion of work-life balance, but it’s not ALL of it. There’s that ‘life’ part to figure out too – and a lot of us are parents, spouses, volunteers, gardeners, Netflix bingers, whatever. And while none of that pays the bills, it still matters. 2020 was a disruptive year – I think we can all agree on that – but it definitely helped me to pause, reflect on my goals, and realize that work-life balance can be fluid, it can be different for everyone, For me, it went from around 90/10 to pretty much 50/50. I call that a win.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a digital artist and I create wanderlust-inspired art to help people celebrate their daring adventure of life – to paraphrase my favorite quote by Helen Keller. I want to inspire travel, adventure, and that feeling of wanting to discover the world, I’m inspired by my own love of travel, and the desire to be able to work from wherever…and whenever. My husband works for himself as well, and we wanted to be able to up and take a trip with little to no notice. I knew I wanted to design my own art and open up an Etsy shop, but when I decided to focus on travel-related designs – it just felt like an “Aha moment”! There have definitely been challenges along the way. Running a small business is HARD. Wearing all the hats is HARD. Realizing how much you don’t know is HARD. But I’ve learned things – probably the most important being to just slow down. I realized that I can’t learn everything all at once, that it’s okay to NOT learn everything and hire help, and to just be transparent when I don’t know something – customers appreciate the honesty and the feeling of talking to a real person behind the brand. So I think that transparency actually helped me to grow. I’ve always been an open book to my family and friends, so I guess it just makes sense for me to be that way with my customers – and they appreciate it. And that kind of ties in to what iI want my brand to inspire in people – that YOUR life is a daring adventure, no matter how big or how small. You don’t have to be a world traveler (or a million dollar business) to have adventures. You can head out into your own backyard and find shapes in the clouds, like you did when you were a kid. You can try a new restaurant that you’ve always just walked by – or even try a new dish at your favorite restaurant. Talk to a stranger. Take the long way to work. Go to the park and just jump up and down. Yep, people might look at you, but you’re shaking it up. And that is a daring adventure.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in The Sunshine City – St Pete, Florida – so the first place I suggest is easy…. the beach! I mean, it’s the entire reason my family and I moved from Atlanta – just because we wanted to live by the beach. And my favorite local beaches are either Pass-a-Grille, for that quiet, local experience, or St Pete Beach – for the nightlife and beachfront bar hopping. And St Pete has such a wonderful downtown area! I’d definitely recommend visiting our famous Dali Museum – there are always amazing exhibits going on there. And the Museum of Fine Arts is nearby as well. Our brand new Pier is pretty impressive – if nothing else than to just stand at the end and ‘drink the wild air’, as Emerson once said. There’s a fun tiki bar on the top floor that’s worth the stairs for the view alone. And the Sweet Empanadas are delicious. For a little taste of “old Florida”, head over to the Vinoy and order a Hemingway cocktail. Then sit on the front porch rocking chairs and watch the bustling waterfront park and marina – it’s fantastic people-watching, too. And then, if you time it right (both seasonally and not during a pandemic year, sob!), you can catch the outdoor movie in the park. Whenever you visit St Pete, though, bring your sunscreen! We are a city of outdoor restaurants, venues, and activities – and they call us The Sunshine City for a reason. So stay safe! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely want to shoutout my husband, Mike. He has always been my biggest fan and a huge encourager of whatever goals I set – large or small. He encouraged me to start my own business and has continued to cheer me on daily. And he’s also my voice of reason when I get too workaholic-ish. He (and my son) are the driving force behind my recent work-life balance ‘Eureka moment, where I realized there wasn’t enough ‘life’ in there. And he makes sure that we “walk the walk” and that life is a daring adventure indeed.

Website: http://paperfinch.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/paperfinchdesign
Twitter: http://twitter.com/paperfinchamy
Facebook: http://facebook.com/paperfinchdesign

Image Credits
Headshot by Caroline Thomas Photography

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