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.
Just got a comment on "Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" by a reader. He asked one of the hardest questions about becoming successful - what happens when you're improving when your friends aren't?
I found this blog because I'm looking for advice. I've realized four years ago that I was unhappy with myself. I lived a poor, and dead end life. So I decided to look closely at my lifestyle and eliminate some bad habits and replace them with good ones. I also got a second job to make more money, and lived in relative poverty by choice. And it worked! I'm healthy financially and I've gotten a chance to learn anything I've wanted to know. I'm strong and smarter than I used to be. I think I know what God is, and everyday I work to be better than the day before. But, I can't connect with my old friends because they do all the things I dont want to be a part of any more, because they dont care to do well for themselves as much. In a way, to put it bluntly, they're not usefull to me. I'd rather make friends with people I truely admire and respect. I dont feel like I can tell them that I basically think they're bad people. They've done nothing to harm me personally, but I want nothing to do with them. What do you think?
Indeed, that's one of the hardest parts about becoming successful.
Most people don't like to change after they get established. If you improve quickly, it can upset and turn off old friends and cause breaks in friendship.
Perhaps the worst time is when you're still on a shaky ground with your old improvement. I remember one time, I was going through a super healthy kick. Lots of gym, weights, very clean and healthy diet. But with one of my buddies, we always ate junk food together when we got together. Pizza, chicken wings, burgers and fries, stuff like that.
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.