One of the best things about being involved with Rounded is meeting and getting to know our customers. Daily we talk to some of the most hard-working, inspiring, and creative freelancers in the country. Earlier this week we caught up with Aimie Whiting - personal trainer and metal artist.
Tell us a bit about your background
I am from country New Zealand, a couple of hours north of Auckland. I grew riding horses and motorbikes. Dad is a mechanic so we were always in the workshop fixing cars and making things.
How did you start working for yourself?
From a young age Mum and Dad taught us if you want anything you need to work for it. Living on a pine tree farm my brother and I used to collect and sell pine cones.
Once we got a bit older we became Dad’s apprentices. That’s where I first started seeing scrap metal all over the place so I began getting it out of the bins and creating random handmade sculptures.
This eventually lead to me taking sculpture as an art project at high school and taking a year off before university to make steel art which I sold to local galleries.
Have you ever had a “normal” job?
I did a little casual waitressing when I was younger and first moved to Melbourne, but I hated it, so no not really…not sure when I will grow up and get a real job!
When you were a child, what did you want to be?
I evented horses and always loved animals (except cats and rats!) so naturally wanted to be a vet until 5th form when I realised I’d have to study 3 sciences, English and maths!
So I took the art route instead!
What are some of the challenges you’ve found along the way? How have you worked through them?
I continually have to be self motivated. No one is going to organise or sort anything out for me and that can be pretty tiring. I work extremely long days, often getting up at 4.00am to take PT classes. It can be draining and overwhelming at times.
Even harder is making sure I make time in my busy days to have a training hour or a climbing session booked. That keeps me sane and allows me to keep going with all the other stuff. “Me” time is what gives me the physical and mental strength to keep pushing through the work challenges.
We know you mainly as a PT but you do so much more. Tell us about all the other things you do?
This year I’ve finally been able to split my time between being a PT/coach and metal artist.
Back in NZ I did all my metalwork out of Dad’s workshop and it’s has been hard finding a space to work out of here in Melbourne. Thankfully I found Spacetank Studio in Coburg where I now work teaching welding and also spend time creating new sculptures and pieces.
I also do a bit of painting and hand make yoga bolsters, chalk bags and rope bags for climbing accessories. I try to make unique pieces, different to the standard stuff that’s available. It’s a hobby more than anything else but a great creative outlet for me.
I’m also trying to be awesome at rock climbing.
If you could give someone advice on progressing their business and finding new opportunities for work, what would it be?
Take more risks! It’s scary but it’s the only way you learn and grow. So be ok with the discomfort and fear and give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?!
Is there someone that inspires you?
I’m not overly influenced by others. I just do my own thing and absorb what is going on around me.
For example, I was in a scrap yard and saw an old hot water cylinder. I immediately thought it looked like an animal’s chest so I grabbed it and built a 3 metre giraffe from that vision.
How do you market yourself and your business?
I really struggle with this side of things and haven’t done a great job of it.
I just want to be in the shed making my sculptures. I don’t tend to think much about what happens after and often just hope they get sold… not the best strategy.
I’m using instagram to share the stuff I’m creating and I also have a website. Overall marketing is something I am working on and hope to improve. I’d love to be able to sell my sculptures and art online.
What are the most important tools you use to help run your business?
I don’t need too much to run my business but Rounded has been great! It has given me some serious financial organisation and massively reduced the time it takes to do my business admin.
I’m also way less stressed about what I need to do and don’t put things off as much as I used to. It’s just made everything easier.
If you could go back to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself?
Follow your passion! I wish I had got back into my primary passion (metal work) sooner than the 6 year break I had moving over to Melbourne. I would be a better position now.
Has much changed about the way you run your business since you started?
I only got serious about being a business in the last year, as I just did metal work on the side of Personal Training. So now I’m trying to run 2 separate businesses!
I’m still predominantly driven by the creative process though and the demands of running 2 businesses is definitely increasing in both time and complexity. I need to be smarter and more organised about how I run my business so I can spend more time doing what I love which is making things.
To see more of Aimie’s work or to chat about her pieces go to:
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