The BS Podcast

Cancer, Empathy Cards & Losing Herself in Business with Emily McDowell (Part 1)

The BS We Feed Ourselves Podcast, Episode #16

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, speaker, teacher, entrepreneur, and founder of Emily McDowell and Friends – a company specializing in greeting cards and other products that speak to the human condition. Their mission is to help people connect when they’re not sure what to say. McDowell, 43, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 24. In this episode, she opens up about what her diagnosis taught her about the human condition. She also shares the trials and triumphs launching her now successful greeting card company and how it continues to affect her health. 


What We Learn: 
00:48 – 24-years-old and learning of stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer diagnosis nightmare

03:04 – She’s 43-years-old now.

04:45 – Most people don’t know what to do, what to say, how to deal when someone close to them gets sick. 

05:52 – “If I was better at having cancer, people would step up and bring me casseroles and take me to chemo.”

06:55 – Why it’s good to be awkward. 

08:23 – What we can do for each other is just bare witness to the pain and be there.

11:48 – “I did what I loved as a kid which was writing and drawing.”  

12:34 – I really had always wanted to make greeting cards because greeting cards, for me, felt like the perfect intersection of everything I like to do, which was writing, illustration and also human psychology.

12:45 – This was 2012 and I put it in my Etsy shop… and I was like, “Ya know what? If 5 people buy this, great. I’ll make $40, but those five people are going to be so psyched than this is just worth it. I’ll take a dive into this because I just really want this to be in the world.”

13:53 – Her first card – viral story

18:23 – Her failed business attempt

26:03 – Burnout discuss

32:48 – Harsh business lesson for growing solopreneuer

41:31 – Transformative trip to Bali

45:36 –  Did Emily run away?

52:35 – “If I don’t get right with myself, I’m going to spend the rest of my life chasing some high that I’ll feel for 3 mins and then it will be just replaced with anxiety about where I get the next one.” 


Links Mentioned 
Emily McDowell and Friends:  Website

Emily McDowell business: Instagram

Emily McDowell personal: Instagram

Shawna’s: Instagram

The BS We Feed Ourselves Podcast: Instagram

The BS We Feed Ourselves: Website 

Coupon Code: Use the Code NOMOREBS anytime before March 1st, 2020… for 20-Percent off any order at


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