Week 8: Business Cards – An Artist’s Must Have

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Say goodbye to suits and ties, Power Point presentations and glossy black portfolios—your new business opportunity and networking mixer might be the line at your local coffee shop, or in the next department store elevator. Everywhere people share your interests is an opportunity to promote yourself, so don’t just wait to do it at the next show or performance.

The spice purveyor of yore and today’s best salesmen hook you by showing their wares and talking up a storm. What nails the sale is finding that sweet spot intersecting the product and the pitch, and the secret to finding it is simple: have a conversation.

Christopher Locke, popular blogger and author of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices says simply “Markets are conversations.” And my door-to-door salesman grandpa would heartily agree. You sell a vacuum to a housewife by sitting down at her coffee table and talking about her day. She already knows you sell vacuums. Eventually your product and her day will intersect, improving each other, and that’s a sale.

So order some business cards and go attend some real life happenings.

Business and Calling Cards

Calling cards are more personal, often simpler with just a name and contact info, whereas business cards proclaim what you do more than who you are. It’s up to you which you prefer, or if there are moments where one would serve over another. You might have more than one card if you have more than one creative outlet. I have a slick general purpose card that has my name and title as “Creative Type” and is otherwise blank with lines on the back for filling out contact information. Also, you might find it handy to slip a note on there about what you do that interests them (designer, writer, goddess) and add a little reminder about where you met them. Anything to jog their memory of who you are for when they look at the card later.

When I go out and sell crafts at tradeshows, I have a cutesy card with flowers on it, my business name and my online Etsy store info. I also have a card for my nom de plume, which has my email address. I carry all three on my person AT ALL TIMES, ready for anything. They are as precious to me as my cell phone and always at hand. ALWAYS. You don’t need three different cards, but you do need a stack ready to go in your back pocket the moment you leave the house.

Check out VistaPrint.com or Moo.com for free sample options, and to play around with some eye-catching, personalized and artistic templates! Moo.com even has a really great Facebook cards feature that will pull your info and images from your Facebook account and design the card for you. Easy and awesome!

Another great way to get a quick and easy business card is to contact your local printer. You can work directly with someone to completely design and print all of you business cards – start to finish! Our favorite LA-based local printer is Copymat on Sunset! They are full service printers with a full design department and great customer service AND they are a friend of Artists Underground, offering AU members special discounted rates. Check it out here! Ask for Bob. Tell him Artists Underground sent you!

Don’t forget when passing out your cards like candy, get cards from others! If they don’t have a card, get them to scribble their info on one of yours. This is how you’ll fill your little black book with future fans. If they have an email address, ask them if you can send them updates. A little paper rectangle is NOT blanket permission to flood the airwaves, so make sure you both agree on why you’re swapping.

Homework:

1. Design and order cards online.

2. Once the cards have come in, take a picture of it and post it on the event page.

3. Pass out 5-10 business cards, stat!

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C.R. Cohen’s love affair with words and the arts has lead her on a lifelong journey as a poet and writer and an art activist, founding Artists Underground, to bring networking, resources and advice to artists, and joining forces with Soapbox Nation to provide creative career consultations and artist services to help artists get further faster.

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About C.R. Cohen
C.R. Cohen’s love affair with words and the arts has lead her on a lifelong journey as a poet and writer and an art activist, founding Artists Underground, to bring networking, resources and advice to artists, and joining forces with Soapbox Nation to provide creative career consultations and artist services to help artists get further faster.

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