Do Freelance Writers Need Business Cards?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2009/08/do-freelance-writers-need-business-cards/

debng_biz card

I just splurged on some new business cards. My friend Randa Clay designed them and I paid for quality printing. I didn’t use one of those free except for shipping places as I had in the past, because I wanted a unique design.

When I first began freelancing I didn’t really think much of business cards. My work was mostly web based and I had a website and some blogs, so why did I need a business card? Once I began face to face networking, I realized the importance of sending folks home with my number and email address.

Let me throw out a few scenarios:

Scenario #1

You’re in a restaurant. The menu is filled with misspellings and grammatical errors. You would like to help. You approach the manager and he’s interested. You reach into your purse, pull out a matchbook and eyeliner and give him your number.

Not too professional, right? You may have blown it. The restaurant manager may see you write on a matchbook or even using a pen on a scrap of paper and wonder if you have much experience with this sort of thing. However, handing him a business card shows him you’re a true professional. Plus, there’s less chance of it being thrown out by accident.

Scenario #2

You’re at a conference. You’re taking to the people around you while waiting for a speakers to take the podim. One of the people sitting at your table hires writers for various projects. You rummage through your bag for something to write with but the session begins. Not wanting to make noise, you decide to wait until the session is over. The potential client leaves before it ends, without your details and you never see her again. If you had a business card you could have handed her one right away, which she could then tuck  in her pocket for future reference.

Scenario #3

You’re at a networking session for local businesses.  You mix and mingle and you’re rocking the house. An executive from a reputable, big budget firm asks for your card. You don’t have one but hunt up a paper and pen. By the time you’re done the executive is gone, unimpressed with your lack of professionalism.

Ok. Granted. You probably wouldn’t attend any kind of networking event without business cards. Even so, I think you get the point. You never know when a situation will present itself. You never know when the school principal or local car dealership will need to hire a writer. You may even encounter some people who are planning to hire writers but haven’t yet taken the steps to do so. By giving them your card, you may have effectively eliminated the competition.

I splurged for custom desgined business cards, but if that’s out of your budget, you have plenty of options. You can try a service such as Vista Print that will print up a couple of hundred business cards and you only pay shipping (less than $15), or you can buy a program and the card stock and print up your own. There was a time when I didn’t think business cards were necessary, but I was wrong. In fact, having business cards took my career to a whole other level. Something about business cards tells people you’re a professional and you can get the job done.

Leave those matchbooks and scraps of paper in the bottom of your briefcase where they belong. Instead, stick some business cards in your pocket. You’ll find the effort is well worth it.

Comments

  1. Deb,

    Nice article. Yes, I agree. I think it’s very important to have business cards. I’m in the process of designing my business cards at this time too! I also designed my husband’s and had to train him to give them out at various times. He just never thought about it before but now that he’s doing lots of small jobs (he’s a carpenter who worked exclusively on new construction before recession), he really needs to get his name & contact info. in people’s hands. I don’t have to remind him too much anymore. I also told him to give out three cards at a time: one card for the person’s wallet he’s completed a job for, one for their fridge and one to give out for a referral.

    Oh, they’re also great to send to clients or potential clients inside thank-you notes, birthday cards, holiday cards, and how-can-I-help cards too! I only send one business card in these types of mailings unless the person has requested you send more. And…don’t forget to mail them out to friends and family! Give them a three to five cards to have on hand to distribute. :)

  2. Good article. You’ve convinced me. I’m not sure which route I will take – Vista Print (which has been good in the past) or printing my own. I probably will make my own because I still have some of the business card template paper.

    All three scenarios really could happen – and you are right, without a business card you may miss an opportunity or not look professional.

  3. Deb, your new card design is phenomenal. My husband has been after me to get professionally designed cards, instead of Vista Print. I have been playing around with a new design and I intend to follow through on getting a set done at the printer. Great design.

  4. I thought I needed business cards. I still have about 490 of the 500 cards that I ordered a few years ago. The ten or so that I handed out were to people I needed to give my number to — but not for work-related calls.

    My contact with all of my clients is 95% e-mail and 5% phone, and it has been for years. If you do not focus on a local business (and you do not do the conference circuit), then you probably don’t need them. For me, a professional e-mail signature is more useful than a business card.

  5. Edward Jenkins says:

    Business cards are very important. I was in the automotive industry for 6 years before giving it up to write full time.

    I bought the best business cards available. They stood out.

  6. I’m planning to get or print business cards soon, but I have a question. What do you all think is the best/most professional email address to use? I’ve been using my “regular” email address all this time, but I’m realizing that it would be more professional to name my name in the address instead. Now I’m uncertain whether I should create a [email protected] or a gmail address. What do you all think?

  7. I have business cards ready to go. I think it adds a professional touch. PrintPlace online does a great job with these…and their cheap:

    Full Color business cards starting at $15.50 at http://www.PrintPlace.com

  8. Thanks dude, I never knew this, thankyou.

  9. Excellent article – even in this modern technological world nothing makes quite the same first impression as an excellent business card.

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