Just got a question about getting good looking business cards and a website before opening a consulting business.
It just so happens I recently made some biz cards. There's two general schools of thought on good biz cards:
1. Do something traditional, but make it excellent quality.
2. Do something weird.
The latter is actually good when done right - something like giving away a guitar pick instead of a card, or something made of hard plastic, or metal, or something weird. I thought of just making a card that says "Sebastian Marshall - Strategist" on it, and nothing else. (I'd have to be really vigilant with my Google results if I did that!) But anyway, the weird approach is very case by case, and probably not what you're looking for.
The #1 case is much easier. You write down all your contact info you want on the card, you put your logo on a zip drive if you have a logo, and then you go to a high end print shop and tell them to make your card on the nicest paper, and let their designers do it for you. It'll cost you between $20 and $100 depending on if there's design fees or not. That's probably the fastest way to get nice cards made - just go to a good printshop and let them have at it.
For a website... well, that's such a huge topic. Jeez, I don't even know where to start... umm, okay, I know where to start. What's the function of your website and how's it fit into your business process? There's a big difference between having a website that's a placeholder and relying on face to face sales, and a website that converts and sells for you. If the former, you could just install Wordpress and use it as a basic CMS along with a clean, minimal theme. That'd be good enough to get started, and the fastest cheapest way. If the latter, then that's lots of spec decisions and workflows and things like that. I've done that a number of times and could offer insights, but first you'd have to define how your site's going to get used. If it's the former, I'd say Wordpress as CMS is the fastest way to get something clean and usable up.
Again, websites and biz cards don't make money. Hustling makes money. Get the minimum up you can and start hustling, I've definitely delayed things far too long by trying to get something pretty up. Fuck pretty, just do the bare minimum to get started.
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Good enough! There's 10,000 things I could do to make it better, but instead of delaying, I just launched the newsletter with a minimum viable site that I put together in Dreamweaver in like an hour or two. I haven't done any split testing, optimizing, nothing like that. I should, and I will later, but starting is the most important thing. Right now, I've got an ugly spartan unoptimized site, and 200-some subscribers to my newsletter. That's much better than being halfway to building a beautiful site and 0 subscribers.
Minimum viable! Then get started! At least, that's what I reckon. Get cards and a basic site ASAP, and then get in front of customers. Don't spend too long building out these things in order to delay the tough part of getting in front of customers. People do that to procrastinate from the hard, stressful work that is selling and pitching. Anyways, I'm a hypocrite here and totally guilty of spending too long doing stuff like cards and websites instead of launching projects. So with that said, I'm going to get back to work now!
Good stuff. I don't actually sell anything on my site, but I've considered getting business cards before. I've spoke to people about my blog before and asked them if they'd visit it. I'm sure having something pretty with the URL would at least refresh their memory and make them check it out more often. On the other hand, $100 doesn't sound very nice.
Algis Tamosaitis is the author of "Rock Your Travel" and has graciously joined up for a GiveGetWin deal -- where you'll get a copy of his book, time to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts, and then he'll show you the ropes during an intimate session of helping you and a small group plan travel itineraries, make sure you're earning mileage, and answer all your questions so you're traveling in style.
"Why And How I Started Travel Hacking (And Why You Should, Too)" by Algis Tamosaitis, as told to Sebastian Marshall
I was exploring and experiencing the world from the very beginning.
And somehow we're done with 2011 already. Last year I made one goal (getting this site to the top 50k in Alexa), and I didn't make any effort whatsoever to reach it, so at this point I'm giving up on yearly goals. But I will say this-- if SETT isn't rocking and rolling by this time next year, I'd better be a famous rapper.
I may be blind towards the future but hindsight is 20/20, so I'm going to a quick summary of the year.