My Small Business Journey in 2019

My Small Business Journey in 2019

Susie Hollitt

This is my personal journey in 2019 as a small business owner when I started my Etsy shop making handmade greeting cards. This blog will go through my challenges and accomplishments this year and will include inspirational resources, self-help books and spiritual guidance. Although this is my personal journey, I hope you can gain some guidance where every you are in your small business journey.

My name is Susie, I am a wife and a mother of three beautiful children which I hope to bring up well-mannered and with good morals by leading by example and teaching them life skills. I hope to become a successful business owner by working on my business every day. I want to add value to the lives of others by helping people and bringing them joy. Each morning I enjoy the solitude of journalling, it gives me peace and clears my head so I am ready for whatever the day might have in store for me. This blog has been designed around my personal journals that I have kept throughout the years.

It is now 2019 and I want to wish everyone reading this a Happy New Year, January is always a busy time as I like to spend as much time as possible with my family over the holidays. So I didn't really start my journal until February. 


By February My Etsy shop was going well and I decided to branch out and build my email list using a free service called Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp is a great business tool with a free plan available for small businesses that allow you to start building your Email list.  This free plan allows you to create email campaigns and grow your Email list to a maximum of 500 contacts before you will need to upgrade, it comes with pre-built email templates and easy designs to help you create your emails and target them to your desired audience. 

I began by setting up a landing page where new customers could sign up to my email list and receive a discount that they could use on their first purchase in my Etsy Shop.  I then built an automated series of welcome emails with the plan to gain more customers. In the first month I planned to send out four emails:

  1. Welcome, thank you and discount code – This would be sent to the customer immediately after joining my email list.
  2. A little bit about me – This would be an introduction email letting the customer know more about me and why I started my business.
  3. Where you can contact me – This would show the customer all the Social media avenues that they can contact me on.
  4. A Freebie email – The last email was a 30 day social media inspiration calendar that would give the customer some ideas on what to post on their social media accounts.

I would then begin fortnightly emails to keep the customer interested.  During the month I was still trying to set up my Instagram profile and learn how to market on social media, I seemed to be having trouble deciding what to post each day. So I began to put together a 30 day Instagram post plan to help myself out, this was accomplished by using the internet for inspiration.  This plan later became part of my automated welcoming email series.

30 Day Social Media Content


By June my social media marketing must have been gaining traction as an Instagram influencer offered to promote my unicorn card for a small fee, which I gladly accepted. Unfortunately, no sales occurred due to this, but hey at least I tried.  I also began regular business meetings with my sister Anne to come up with a plan for my business. This put me in a good headspace, and I was excited to move into the next few months. I am so incredibly grateful that Anne helps me out with my business. I would be lost without her.

My job as a childcare educator was ending and I thought that this could be the best opportunity to stop working for a while and focus more on spending time with my family and growing my small business.

On the 27th of June I resigned from my job as a childcare educator and felt great about it. I think it was time for a little me time and to be able to look after my kids instead of everyone else’s children. I had no idea what the future will hold but for the first time I didn't care. It allowed me to focus more on my family and building my small business.


In July I joined a loop on Instagram where I started with 155 followers and grew to 273 followers. I also received an inquiry about my cards through Instagram.  I also worked out the budget to ensure my family can survive on only my husband’s income, and if I really did make the right decision to leave my job. I worked out it will be tight, but we can manage.

My Instagram following continued to increase with 292 followers. But I soon realised that I needed to get better at prioritising my business by making more cards, finishing collections, and posting on social media. I also came up with some new ideas to branch out from just card making, including:

  • Mini Cards and Envelopes
  • Activity Boxes
  • Quotes
  • Tags
  • Card Packs
  • Confetti
  • Large Get Well Soon cards
  • Large Goodbye Cards
  • Large Happy Birthday cards
  • Die Cuts
  • Invitations
  • Baby Milestone Cards
  • Pet Sympathy cards

The 4th July was my last day at work YAY, so happy! I had an inquiry on my baby cards through Instagram today with someone wanting 100 of my baby cards for their business, not sure if it will go through but still very exciting. I am excited to focus on my small business and make it work.

The 5th July felt like the first day of the rest of my life and I am going to take it in both hands and run with it. I am going to do what I love to do every day, and I am going to make money from it. This is my promise.

I plan to set up my own Pinterest board soon once I learn how to do this. Throughout July I worked on my Etsy shop by changing all the titles and revising the descriptions. But I still needed to complete the following:

  • Finish the descriptions
  • Add more cards to my collections
  • Add more product collections
  • Make sure all my photos are high quality which will involve making new cards and retaking the photos
  • Make some mini cards

I also bought my second Meredith Gaston Book today “The Art of Kindness”. This book encourages us all to cultivate the joy of kindness in daily life. The first book I bought was “The Art of Wellbeing”. This book inspires readers to cultivate greater inspiration, health, and happiness in daily life.  I absolutely love these two books, they are so inspirational and I think everyone should read them as it helps people improve themself and I think more kindness in the world is never a bad thing.

Meredith Gaston Books
I also received an order from my Etsy shop on Saturday night and then another order on Sunday morning. I am so happy.

I also bought some Angel Spirit Cards called The Spirit Messages Daily Guidance Oracle Deck by John Holland from the Earth Shop in Woodside today which is used to assist me in getting support, comfort and divine guidance from Spirit, loved ones, family, ancestors, friends, guides and helpers in the Spirit World. These cards are supposed to help bring insight and clarity around some of the major decision points in my life or to reaffirm that I am making the right decisions.


Spirit Cards
On July 20th I opened my very own Pinterest account under my business name: Susie’s Simplistic Cards. Pinterest is a visual search engine for ideas such as recipes, home and design inspiration, basically the digital version of a visualisation board. By showcasing my products on Pinterest I was aiming to increase my interaction and in turn increase my traffic to my Etsy Shop.  But once I set my free account up I then had to focus on the following:

  • Adding all my products as pins
  • Adding different boards
  • Adding loads of other people’s pins
  • Asking to join some group boards where I can share my pins

I also wrote another blog all about starting up your own Pinterest account where I give out 10 tips to help promote your business on Pinterest


In August I received a lovely review from one of my customers who then became a repeat customer. 

Jules on 01 Aug, 2019 5 out of 5 starsBeautiful cards, will purchase again ☺️☺️

The same lady then ordered four more cards from my Etsy store and Jess my friend ordered a Father’s Day card from me. Five orders in one day!!!

One of My Spirit cards was “New Beginnings” which really speaks to me as my life right now is all about new beginnings, learning how to be a stay-at-home mum again and manage my time for my business and focus on eating healthier and exercising. I am loving it and feeling so alive and awake more than I ever have before. I believe this is my calling and I am going to make my business huge. You heard it here first!!!

August was a great month of making cards, adding them to my Etsty Shop and receiving orders. On one Wednesday I received a message on my Etsy shop from a lady called Louise asking if she could sell my cards in her shop at Semaphore called Pottering Around. She wanted 24 cards so this could be a huge opportunity for me. She said that she will send me an Email with the details. 


Solitude was one of the spirit card I received this month. Maybe I need to get back to my self-care list. I feel like my to-do list for the business just keeps getting longer and longer: note to self must add:

  • Make a spreadsheet
  • Deliver flyers

If you would like to know what was on my self-care list, checkout My Small Business Journey in 2018.


I finished my orders and now I am ready for another one. I have decided it is time to expand the business further so I can make more money. I am thinking of scrapbooking kits for $10.00 but I really want to be selling things for $20.00 or more to make it profitable. I would love to design or make planners, but I have no idea on how to do this. I have thought about making them as printable planners.

Planner Ideas:

  • Calendar
  • Fitness Tracker
  • Water Tracker
  • To Do List (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
  • Budget Tracker
  • Cleaning Routine
  • Quotes
  • Goals (Monthly / Yearly)
  • Period Tracker
  • Meal Plan (Shopping List)
  • Today I am Grateful

My sister Anne is coming down soon from QLD to help brainstorm some ideas for my business. At the end of the month I decided to do my Spirit cards for the past, present, and future:

  • Past = “Be Proud” It was telling me to be proud of what I have achieved in life. Which I am.
  • Present = “Cleanse” Which was interesting as I had just spoken with my Husband about reducing the amount of alcohol that we purchase so we can save more for Christmas.
  • Future = “Embrace the Moment” and “Stay Connected” I think they have to do with when my business takes off and to remember to enjoy the little things and when stress gets too much to stop and seek out that inner place of silence, calmness and peace.
  • Today's card = “Take a Moment” Telling me not to rush into the decision I am about to make, it’s telling me to pause and quiet my mind and ask my soul for guidance before I act or move forward.


I am grateful for so many inquiries from Facebook on my Christmas Advent Box. I just wish they were actual orders on my Etsy shop. What a day, since the 3rd of November I have received two orders for my Christmas Advent Box and one of them was for three children. YAY I received an order for another Christmas Advent Box for two children this time. 😊

 Christmas Advent Box


My business has slowed down now, and another order would be appreciated. I have a thank you card to complete for my friend Jess and probably another toilet card and I still have to put the Toilet Card up on my Etsy Shop along with the thank you card and the mermaid card. I am also helping out with my families Etsy Shop “DSS Handmade” so I have a lot to get done. I am working on new ideas to expand my business so I can make my business more of a business rather than a hobby.

Toilet card

10th December 2019

It is my first child’s 16th Birthday today, where has the time gone? It feels so strange to think that he is the same age as I was when I found out I was pregnant with him! I am so very proud of who he has become and can't wait to watch him grow and mature even more within the coming years! 

Zach's 16th Birthday

I still want to branch out with my business, but I think I need another name to incorporate all the different types of products that I will be selling.

Reflecting back on the year I feel I continued to learn to grow my small business by learning a great deal of new skills. My Etsy shop began gaining traction and I received 74 orders with 110 products sold. I am very happy with my results so far and I am looking forward to 2020.

Key Learning's for 2019

  • Building my Etsy shop and my social media to look cohesive
  • Built a signature collection and many more card collections
  • I learnt how to do Instagram stories
  • I learnt how to do emails and a landing page
  • I learned how to put videos on social media
  • I did my first market
  • I wrote and posted my first and second blog post
  • My Etsy shop turned one! 🥳

I hope reading my small business journey will give you the confidence to start your own small business journey. Stay tuned for my small business journey in 2020.

Susie x

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