I run an online business, so I don’t use business cards that much. But now the little Lindops are getting older I’m finding a few more networking events are coming my way. My current set of business cards have my old green-and-orange logo on them, so it’s time for a new set. Maybe even a nice printed lanyard, too!
I was cheerfully putting my new logo on my business card template at VistaPrint when I realised that I had no idea what my job title is!
I own a blog, so I’m a blogger. But I publish articles, so I’m a publisher. Hang on though, I’ve written a book – and I’m soon to be a regular contributor to a family magazine – so that makes me a writer. And I’m about to launch an e-course based on my e-book Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur. That means I’m still a trainer, too.
Job titles for self employed people are not as straightforward as they first appear. So what should you put on your business card? Here are some options:
Be the boss
If you’re a one-woman business (and most of us are), you could give yourself any job title you want including ‘Director’. While that would be technically true, I think most people will quickly sniff out the fact that you’re director of a company of one. There’s nothing wrong with the fake it ’til you make it approach. Up to a point, anyway. You can make your website look every bit as professional as a large company, even if you’re just one person. But pretending to be a ‘we’ when you’re actually an ‘I’ is generally going a step to far.
I’ve seen ‘proprietor’ too. To me, that felt a little old-fashioned, but I guess it depends on your business.
Describe the job
You could keep it simple and call yourself a ‘web designer’, ‘tutor’ or ‘accountant’. For some professions, that could be absolutely fine and expected. In fact, for some it could be against their professional code of conduct to do anything else.
But if you’ve created yourself a job, why not create yourself a job title too? The aim of your business card is to get you business, so if creative works for you then why not try it?
Say nothing (and do something different)
Do you need a job title at all? Most of us have a business name/strap line, logo and URL that describes what we do.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income (a great blog if you’re into making money online, by the way) wanted to get a set of business cards printed for a big blogging conference. He wanted to stand out, so chose an unusual card size and picked an eye-catching graphic design. On the front he put his photo, name, Twitter ID and his blog’s URL, on the back he put a link to a welcome video and podcast he’d put together for the conference. You can see photos of the cards in his post How to be a business card ninja.
Of course, this approach wouldn’t work for everyone or every business. But that’s exactly the point – now that you can print business cards cheaply in small batches, it really is possible to print a set that will only be useful for a week. A business card is a part of your marketing literature so why not make it both stand out from the others and tailor it to your audience. The only reason traditional business cards look the way they do is because you had to get thousands printed at a time. The design had to last as you’d be stuck with them for a few years.
The photo at the top shows the design I finally chose. Is it the best one? I don’t know, but I only ordered the minimum number (250) so it won’t be a big deal if I’ve got it wrong.
*Update 21 August 2013*
The original photo of my business card in this post disappeared when I updated the WordPress framework here at Business Plus Baby. Since I’ve had at least three different business cards since I wrote this post, here is a photo of my most recent one…
Thanks for prompting me in the comments, Natalie!
What’s on your business card? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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12 Replies to “What’s on your business card?”
Good point: I have a business card but I don’t really see it as that, more of an information-about-me card. I’m a partner in the farm business and my occupation is a farmer.
CJ, the more I hear about the different types of business (and clients), the more I can see that business cards don’t have to be like the traditional ones (unless that’s what works for you). Thanks for stopping by!
I’m Founder. I like Founder. It feels like the right word for what I do…
Liz, I forgot to mention founder. I like it, it’s got a nice, solid feel to it!
you have made some very good points my business cards have my name at the top then party plan,direct sale’s,fundraiser followed by independent distributor for Company
Ha! I had that dilemma when I retired (three weeks ago). I wanted to change my occupation at LinkedIn. I was legal director of a charity but on retiring from that I aim to develop a small crafting related business. So I was particularly keen to tell all my legal contacts about the change (I imagined their faces!) and not just put retired! LinkedIn don’t give many choices from their drop down menu for crafters. In the end I found independent craft consultant. A bit grand I thought, but in the last few weeks things seem to have taken off! So perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophesy – on my cards I have name, e mail and blog address, the photograph gives a huge clue about what I do
Do we not get to see a picture of your business card then Helen?
Aha yes, I did have a picture of my business card but I think it must have been lost when updated the WordPress framework this blog runs on (from Thesis to Genesis if anyone is interested!) I’ll add it back in to the post.
Which child theme are you using, Helen?
It’s the Genesis framework with the Generate Child Theme
Hi ya Helen – very useful once again. Maybe it’s just me but titles can make me feel uneasy. If I’m talking to the “director” for some silly reason I have to watch my p’s and q’s – daft eh! Maybe it goes back to men in suits when they all lined up sitting there interviewing me and asking where do I see myself in 5 years time – and me not having a clue!! Anyway – sorry to ramble but just wondered your thoughts on having your photo on a business card? People can pick up 100s and chuck them in a drawer and forget who was who – but if they see your face maybe more inclined to remember?