Monday, May 6, 2013

Challenge #5: Take Yourself Seriously

Okay people -- we've had our playtime, we've exchanged encouragement, now it's time to buckle down and take yourself seriously. Not just as an artist, but as a business person. You'd like to get paid for your work, right?

If that's the case, you're probably going to need business cards.

Here's a handy-dandy .PSD template to get you started. If you don't have access to Photoshop or would rather create your own template to work from, the standard dimensions for business cards are 3.5" x 2".

Now, I know how easy it is to say, "Oh yeah, I'll do that one day, right now I just need to focus on my actual work. Marketing can come later." Here are five reasons you might want to rethink that.

5) Business cards make it a lot less awkward to give people a way to get in touch with you.
  • Think about it: you're chatting, you mention what you do, they mention that they're looking for someone who does just that, and then --- you awkwardly attempt to give them your contact information on the back of a grocery receipt. Soooooo classy.
4) Business cards give you a lot of bang for your buck.
  • There are some great sites out there for printing affordable business cards -- we particularly love and -- but you can also print your own as you need them. Once you have your card design, get some cardstock and ink, and go crazy -- or, if you're like me, go print them over at a copy shop where they have the giant paper cutter (it saves SO MUCH time). VoilĂ  -- not only do you now look super professional, you also have a tiny paper army of mini advertisements working to get your name out there.
3) Business cards give you superpowers.
  • Remember that tiny paper army I was talking about? You might not be able to be everywhere at once, but they can. All you have to do is carry them along in your pocket and leave a few at businesses and public spaces where you feel your future customers might frequent. Be sure to ask permission before you set them down -- most places will have a spot where they display related businesses' materials. And be sure to keep up a relationship with the places you've left your cards - the cards might be able to talk for you, but it's the people working at these establishments that are going to be referencing your cards when customers ask.
2) Business cards are another chance for you to make art.
1) Business cards not only help others take you seriously, they help you take yourself seriously.
  • Since quitting my 9 to 5 and going full time freelancer, I've dealt with my share of friends making jokes about my "job" and "working" from home. While these statements may have been intended purely as jokes, they still brought up a deeply-rooted fear I have about freelancing; that I'm just spinning my wheels, not actually growing a business. Taking direct business-related action, like creating and distributing business cards, not only helps me develop my company, but it gives me tangible things to point to anytime I or other people question my progress. No, it's not the cure-all, but it is a productive way to combat those fears.

Convinced? You should be. Even if you're not, how about you make some business cards and pass them around this week anyway? There worst thing that happens is a couple more people hear about about what you do. That can't be too bad, can it?

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