Tips for Small Businesses


Hi guys! My name is Kendra and I blog at Key Lime Digital Designs. I am a graphic designer. I blog about creative things, my design work, share free printables and graphics!

I am so excited to be here with you guys today! Besides my blog I also run an etsy shop and today I want to share some things I have learned about shipping for small businesses. I hope this might be able to to help you!

Late last year I decided to take my “digital” business (blog design & graphics) on a new journey.  I REALLY wanted to sell physical shipped products.  I knew it was going to be the only way I could grow my business and it was something that I really wanted to do.

But honestly, I was pretty scared to jump on that boat. There is a lot more risk involved in developing a product, purchasing inventory, and then putting it up for sale.

Once I convinced myself to try it I spent a lot of time researching.  I knew I could handle the designing and I had found the perfect printer to make my art prints but shipping intimidated me. I literally spent hours of research to find shipping products that were cost effective. At the time I lived in Hawaii which made this a crazy hard task.

When 125 mailers and backing boards arrived at my door I was committed to at least selling 125 prints. No matter how long it took me 🙂 I re-opened my etsy shop (previously it had been used to sell graphics). The first art print I listed was the Custom State Print and was I so shocked at the response. I sold way more than I anticipated. (yay!)

There was definitely a learning curve to selling physical products and some of those things I experienced the hard way. But now after shipping something like 2000 prints I have learned lots about how to effectively ship products. Here are my tips for small business owners::

Shipping Software // I used Endicia as my shipping label software. I tried out several others and Endicia just worked the best for me. The format and the interface. It just worked. It is $15 a month and so worth it to me. I can batch print multiple shipping labels, check statuses, and export tracking numbers.

Shipping Mailers // I know that there a lot of places to buy shipping supplies online. Amazon is a great one! You can buy a large bulk order and normally get very reasonable shipping (if not free). However, I had a hard time finding a seller on Amazon who would ship me anything because I live in Hawaii. Luckily I stumbled across The Shipping Guru on Etsy. Joe sells shipping products for awesome prices and my orders have almost always shipping the same day. And awesome customer service!

Shipping Labels // The first few hundred orders I sold I printed the shipping label out on paper, cut it, and then tapped in on. BIG mistake. That took a crazy amount of time. Luckily someone invented the shipping label sticker 😉 The Shipping Guru also has awesome shipping labels. In my opinion they are a business must have!  I will never go back!

Use USPS Pick Up // Whenever possible I use USPS pick up service. Just go to and schedule a pick up and your mail carrier will come to your door and pick up your package/s as long as it has postage. No reason to use your gas to drive to the post office when they will take it for you!

Shipping System //  And maybe more important than the shipping supplies themselves is having a system for processing orders. It took me a little bit but as I worked through shipping orders I discovered small things that really sped up the process.

If I am doing a large bulk order (like if I have run a deal on then I will typically have anywhere from 100-200 prints to package and ship at a time.  I work carefully through my system to make sure things will go smoothly.

For me this includes things like making sure the people at the Printer actually print my files in the alphabetical order. And then making sure that when I print off my spreadsheet of orders it is also in alphabetical order. Boom! Much quicker packaging process!

Then once I have all my prints ready to package I set up an assembly line. I arrange my work area so that it is effective and natural. That means having a garbage can close by to easily throw away the trash, having tons of wash tape pre-ripped off and half stuck to the table, and having the mailers facing me so they are easy to open as I grab them.

Some of these tips are very specific to selling art prints but I think my overall message is to figure out what works for you. If things aren’t going smoothly or quickly when you are shipping orders try rearranging your work table or doing things in a different order. Eventually you will find something that works even better and you will be a shipping pro in no time!

Thanks for reading! And feel free to stop by my blog and say hello!


25 thoughts on “Tips for Small Businesses

  1. I came across this post on Pinterest and I’m glad I did. I had no idea about Joe on Etsy. Thank you. I too have a shop on etsy, FizzyParty and am always looking for ways to make the process easier and quicker for my customers. With Joe’s packaging I could now send my poms in pretty packaging at a great price too! Thank you

  2. Hi! Just thought I would let you know that the link to this page on Pinterest shows the address of the person your shipping to on the label:/ I know you’ve blocked it out here, but it shows completely on the Pnterest pic. Just thought I’d mention it in case you don’t know. Love your site!

  3. I was reading your blog about shipping labels and such. Here is a tip, UPS gives you free shipping labels for free if you you their services, The post office has free packaging with bubble wrap and envelopes you can have for free too. I learned all this by studying eccommerce just in the last few days.

  4. I myself own a small business on Etsy and this post really helped me out! I have been printing my shipping labels and taping them to my poly mailers which is a bit of a process and wastes so much tape! I just ordered the blank labels. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Thank you <3

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