Like a boss

Being your own boss has a lot of advantages. You can set your own hours and take a break or "vacation day" whenever you want. You own your achievements and have full control over your earnings and business decisions. In short, everything depends on you.

But as any small business owner will tell you, you log many more hours than you should (especially when you work from home). The weight of work is always there and you lack the security of a steady paycheck. You're accountable for your mistakes and the only person you can delegate to is yourself. In short, everything depends on you. 

So, when my well-laid plans for a 2020 full of pop-up shops, art fairs, street markets and other events fell apart, the only person I could look to for answers was myself. At first, I thought I could ride it out (remember when we thought we'd be back to "normal" by May???). But when it became obvious that this was our new reality, I had to make some tough decisions.

I had always planned on a three-pronged approach to my business: retail, wholesale & custom. My goal was to focus on retail (direct-to-consumer & wedding) for at least a year before adding custom design services and eventually wholesale. But when retail opportunities all but disappeared, I realized I needed to revisit my timeline.

For the last two months, I've been building my portfolio of custom work. So far this week, I finished a beer label for a craft brewery and a personalized print for an assistant principal, commissioned by a thoughtful group of teachers. I designed a series of thank you cards for a photography studio and crafted a logo for a budding business. I plan on launching a website for these services come 2021, but if you have any custom projects in mind before then, just drop me a line.

I've also been planning my debut into wholesale. I won't bore you with the details, but it's surprising just how different the wholesale market is from retail. I'm hard at work on my catalog now in hopes of launching in time for the industry's January release. 

And I haven't forgotten my retail customers! Holiday cards are coming your way soon, so stay tuned. 

Back to those tough decisions, though. One of the harder ones I've had to make is to raise my prices. I wish I didn't have to, but my costs are increasing and my already small margins just can't absorb them. As of October 1st, all individual greeting cards will be $5, art prints will be $20 and stickers will be $3. If you have your eye on anything, stock up now!

My goal these last few months has been to: Wake up. Kick Ass like a Boss. Repeat. I kick more ass on some days than others, but that's just how it goes. On those days when I'm not kicking much of anything, I focus on giving myself grace. Grace over guilt. Always. I'm doing my best. Just like you're doing your best. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

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  • Cathy McLaurin on

    You go Karen! I admire your progress and your business. So glad to be part of the EEM coterie with you.

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