Thursday, October 18, 2007

Create Your Own Personal Business Card

If you are networking (and you know you should be), I recommend you create your own personal business card, different from the card you have for your work. And you should carry them with you at all times.

I know it seems strange, but I'm noticing more and more people have two business cards, one for their day job and one for their after-hours networking. Depending on where and how you meet them, that's the card you will get.

The advantage of having your own business card is that you control the message. You have no control over your company's business card (unless it is your own company), but your personal business card can reflect your own personal style.

Your card says a lot about you. Here's an easy example: if you are talking to someone about a career change you want to make, and you hand them a card that is tied back to your soon-to-be old-career with your soon-to-be-old job title, have you helped or hurt your positioning in the mind of this new contact? What does this card say about your commitment to the career change?

How often has someone started to hand you a business card, only to say, "Wait, let me give you a different e-mail address" and scribbled an address that is nearly illegible? I had another person give me a card and tell me, "Nothing on the card is right except for the name and the e-mail address."

Your business cards should be crisp, professional, and tailored to present exactly the right message about you. By professional, I don't mean boring, but they should convey that you are good at what you do. A modern dancer is going to have a different card than a banker.

My own personal business cards are fairly simple: my name, my home address, my home office phone number, my e-mail address, and (a recent addition) the URL to I carry them with me ALL the time now (which I never used to do), and it is amazing the number times they come in handy. Even for entirely personal conversations, it is good to have a card that has my correct contact information on it. No more writing phone numbers on napkins. I get lots of compliments on the design, but it's really just a Microsoft Publisher template (it came bundled with a printer we bought).

I print the cards at home on my InkJet printer with Avery 8869 Clean Edge business cards. They feed through the printer and then break apart cleanly when you fold them just right. Here's the reason I love this method: I can print as few as 8 business cards at a time. And if something changes, I can fix it on the card and print up new ones without worrying about wasting hundreds of business cards. No more scribbled e-mail addresses on
my cards.

There are a lot of options for getting business cards printed. Vistaprint offers free business cards, or you can get 250 premium business cards for $19.95. They print "Business Cards are FREE at" on the back, which is great for them but not so good for you, but, hey, it's free. There are dozens of other on-line sources for business cards.

If you are looking for local printing to create your own personal business cards, Kinko's does business cards, and they can also do matching stationery if you are looking for a consistent look in all your business documents.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Oliver! There are times when I'll see a "day job" business card which only expresses a small fraction of the person. Then she'll hand me her personal "this-is-what I'm-really-passionate-about" card, and it opens up a whole new world of conversation.

It's then that I realize how we could really help each other.

ninnore said...

this is better.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Heve you seen this website?
and the photos album?

Better business cards on the web!