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Highs & lows of running a greeting card business

Rollercoaster - the highs and lows of running a greeting card business

I love running a greeting card business! There are so many different aspects to it, from drawing and creating the card designs to learning about SEO and marketing, and from managing a website and other selling platforms to getting the orders from each printed, packed and posted off as quickly as possible.

It’s not all fun and games though, so I thought I’d share a bit about the highs and lows of running a greeting card business, particularly a one man band business like mine.

The good, the bad and the ugly of running a greeting card business

The Good

It’s terrific to be able to do something creative and have other people like my creations enough to buy them. Coming up with new ideas, drawing the illustrations and then making them into card designs really is fun. I get to draw whatever I like, come up with silly puns to match and then see my cards in physical form when they’re printed.

And every single time I get an order I still feel that little buzz of excitement. Also, (insider info alert) both the WooCommerce and Etsy apps make a little cha-ching sound every time an order comes in – how fun is that?! It’s great when I’m sitting at the pub, out for a run or watching telly (not even working) and I hear that sound 😁

Another good thing is all the stationery, gadgets and tools I can justify buying for my business 🤣. Lovely card stock and sticker paper to drool over, my iPad and Apple pencil and my shipping label printer are just a few of the things I’ve been able to buy. They all make my business better and/or more efficient so I don’t have to feel guilty for splurging on them!

I also love it when I get great feedback from customers, whether it’s for existing cards or for custom cartoon designs. I often get to hear the back story when I’m creating cartoon portraits – who the card is for and why. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that that so many people out there love each other enough to go to the trouble of ordering such a personal card or gift 🥰

And one of the best things about my greeting card business is the lovely people I’ve met through it. I have some very lovely loyal customers who come back again and again (you guys are the best!) And I’m also part of a group of greeting card businesses owners. We cheer each other on, celebrate each other’s successes and help each other through the tougher times. I’ve never met any of them face to face but now think of some of them as very real friends. After all, friendship is knowing that you’ll be there for each other through both good times and bad…

The Bad

Although most of it is fun, there are still some aspects to running my greeting card business that aren’t. There are some very monotonous tasks involved in getting my products listed on my website, Etsy or wholesale platforms.

Bored Over It GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

Trying to come up with an original description for each product (which has to be different on different platforms too), creating mockups of the card designs and uploading those, and filling in all the info for each card – ugh! These would be the first tasks I’d outsource if my business grew too big for me to manage on my own. But though these aren’t my favourite tasks, they’re a small price to pay for loving what I do overall!

It’s also hard not to take it personally when I go through a quiet patch. Greeting card sales can be quite seasonal and it’s easy to get paranoid when sales slow down during the summer. I sometimes think that it’s all falling apart 😆. But then Christmas comes along. And then Valentine’s Day. And I remember that as the business is growing overall there’s no point agonising over individual months being quieter. So I try to use these times to get ahead on stuff I won’t have time for when it gets busy.

And the Ugly…

There’s only one truly awful part of running a small business. It’s when you do everything you can to make a customer happy and they still assume you’re out to scam them… This week I had a bad review from someone in the US. They didn’t realise I was shipping from the UK and thought I was a scammer when the card didn’t arrive within a few days. And I’ve had a bad review from someone who was disappointed in the size of the card. This was despite the dimensions being listed in the item description and in the photos. There was also being a video of me holding the card (though perhaps they thought I had enormous hands 🤣).

I do sometimes make mistakes. But whether it’s my fault or not I’ll always do everything I can to sort things out and make my customer happy. So it is hard when people leave a bad review without getting in touch first to see if I’ll make things right. Especially when it was something out of my control or a mistake on their part! But I’m learning to just have a good cry and move on…

Sad Ice Cream GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Luckily these customers are very few and far between. The overwhelming majority of my customers are really wonderful and their lovely feedback makes everything worthwhile 😇.

Running a greeting card business is 99.99% wonderful

So although there are a few lows to what I do, the highs are very much in the majority. I love running a greeting card business and feel very lucky to be able to do it. I’m so grateful to both my terrific customers and my ‘Cardies’ group for helping me get to where I am. I can’t wait to see where we’re headed in the future. Love you all!!!

[Roller Coaster Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash]