We had a warm day after a week of freezing cold and my youngest wanted a JambaJMBA -1.08% Juice, so I took him to get his Jamba and hit the phone store on the same trip. The young man taking care of us at the phone store was a dynamo.
He got us what we needed and switched our family plan so that we’ll save money on our phone bill. I asked the young man about himself. “Oh no,” said my twelve-year-old, rolling his eyes. “This is my mom. Now she’s going to ask you about your career plans!”
The young man didn’t mind talking about his plans. His name is Yaz.
Yaz had already given me his phone-company business card when I walked into the store. When I asked him about his career plans, he pulled two more business cards out of his pocket and gave them to me. “This is my dj business,” he said about the first card. “I dj for weddings and other events.”
“This other card is my entrepreneurial business,” he said. “I design websites now and do social media marketing for small businesses. I’m looking for someone to help me launch an iPhone app.”
“How old are you, Yaz?” I asked.
“Twenty-three,” he said. Yaz has the right idea. Maybe you have a job already, but you still need your own business cards! You may have business cards that your employer gave you, or you may not. It doesn’t matter. Your full-time job working for your employer is only one side of you. You have lots of facets to you!
Yaz knows that we all need to have more than one oar in the water. Now I have all three of Yaz’s business cards. I would definitely call him if I knew somebody who needed a website, social media help or a dj for their wedding.
It’s a new day. We are all entrepreneurs now. When you meet someone on a plane or at a networking event, you can give them the business card your employer gave you, but why? That business card has your contact information from your employer on it. If you should leave your current job, the person you met wouldn’t be able to find you.
Most of us work for companies that don’t let us put our LinkedInLNKD -1.05% profile urls on our business cards. They have standards about exactly what sort of information can go on the company business card: name, title, the company logo and your email address and phone number, for instance.
You need your own business cards! They are very inexpensive to buy. You can buy business cards today and get new ones in a month if you decide you want a different design or a different descriptor for your extra oar in the water. That’s okay! Your business cards, like your LinkedIn profile and your life itself, are constantly-changing things.
You can get your personal business cards online at vistaprint or by walking into any office supply superstore. It will take a week or two for your business cards to arrive. You’ll pick a design and decide which words you want to appear on your business cards. Here is a simple business card design:
You can see that Cindy Smith, who works for her local university in the Alumni Relations office, has kept the information on her personal business card to a minimum. You don’t need to have a website of your own. You can use your gmail address on your personal business card. Don’t use your workplace email address or phone number, of course!
Cindy is keeping her branding very general on her business card. She meets a lot of people, and she’s open to doing a lot of different things in her consulting work. Cindy doesn’t keep her own supply of personal business cards just to drum up consulting work, however. She wants to know a lot of people and get more involved in the business community in her city. Working in Alumni Relations, Cindy is tied to her desk for most of the day.
At night and on the weekends, Cindy wants to get out, meet new people, cultivate her network and grow her flame!
You don’t have to use a tagline like “Marketing Communications Consulting” on your personal business cards. You might not know what to say about yourself — and that’s fine!
My friend Jody had her name on her business cards and then this invitation:
Available for Lunch
Jody ended up having a lot of lunches! She’s a great person to ask if you aren’t sure where to go eat lunch.
We are all growing our entrepreneurial muscles now. We are putting new oars in the water. Your job is your job. Your career is yours to manage, so why not start right now?