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:
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.
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.
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.