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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