Sit down, please. Step away from the keyboard. If you’re still using Publisher, just stop (for all that’s holy). Take the ink jet business cards out of the manual feed on your $29 printer. If there is a stress ball anywhere in your place of business with your company logo on it, put it in the blender and film it for “Will it Blend?”
What the HELL are you doing?
You position yourself as a professional with words. You tell people what you do and that you’re gosh darn good at it, frankly. Yet you keep doing shit that makes you look like a side show act in a two-penny circus.
Business Card Magnets and Stress Balls – They’re ugly, stupid and a waste of money. Do you really think that when I need a real estate professional I’m going to wander over to the front of my fridge for some divine wisdom? No, I’m not. I’m going to call the realtor who’s a friend. Or a friend of a friend. Or who came on referral somehow. Instead of spending $500 a year on dumb ass magnets that have you staring at me every time I go to grab the spinach from the crisper, why don’t you align yourself with a local charity and make a donation commitment for the next 5 years…ask to be considered for the board. Invest your time where it will do some good and change lives while building the relationships you need to sustain and grow your business. The same goes for stress balls. My dog shreds them in 5 minutes flat and craps blue foam for a week. They are useless and generally end up causing me MORE stress. They’re not cheap, either. Quit wasting money. While my dog loves you at first, he hates you in the end (and with his hind end).
Free Business Cards from VistaPrint or Homemade Cards – G.H.E.T.T.O. That’s all I have to say. Why would I do business with anyone who won’t invest a few dollars in themselves to put forth a professional printed appearance? It’s no different than “free hosting” services that populate your site with ads (and that’s bullshit, too). If you can’t afford $21.99 for some kickass, easy-to-make business cards from a place like Moo, you probably need to go work for someone who’s going to give you business cards. And yeah, I know – who even USES business cards anymore, right? Lots of people and more than you’d think. Pull your head out of your ass and (1) pay to have them designed, and/or (2) go to a site that makes it easy for you to do it yourself. Just STOP doing it yourself and promoting someone else in the process.
Stock Logos: OMFG – Yeah, I need to address this. When designing your own business cards, stop it with the stock logos. Are you a stock company? No, you’re not. If you’re going to own a business, you need your own corporate identity. There are people who do that for a living and it doesn’t have to be expensive (for crying out loud – just ASK ME! I know FAB people!). Your brand is an investment. It says who you are, why you’re different and what people can expect from you. If it doesn’t, it sucks (and you either paid too much or didn’t know what a brand was supposed to do before you paid someone to develop one).
Are there more bullshit business practices I’ve missed? Share with me, monkeys…share. The Redhead wants to know. The bottom line is your business is worth the investment. Stop taking the low road and thinking you can do it all yourself. Go ask Richard Branson if he designed the Virgin logo. I’m bettin’ he says no. Treat yourself like a firm worthy of a professional presence and if you’re a graphic designer, great – but stop trying to be a writer and a web designer. If you’re a web designer, stop trying to be a writer. If you’re a plumber, just get my damn toilet working. Do what YOU do. Leverage others to make you look good getting it done.