Planning to get your first business cards? (Part I)

You’re creating your first business cards. CONGRATULATIONS! This is an important step for the development of your career and start networking ;-). Before you proceed, I would love to provide you with some essential tips for you. Many of them are based on my first mistakes, as well as aspects that I’ve observed in other business cards.

So, are you ready? Check it out:

  • Include your full name
  • Professional title (ex. Translator & Interpreter –  English Spanish French)
  • Make sure you include a professional email address. If you don’t own a domain yet, choose Gmail, it’s the most ‘professional’ one for now.
  • Make sure your email address’ username contains your name and not a nickname or a whole bunch of none-sense codes.

Yes: John.Don@yourdomain.com, Jorge.Lopez@yourdomain.com, Marie.DeLaTour@yourdomain.com, etc.

No: YourTrueAngel@yourdomain.com, LaArañaFumigada@yourdomain.com, ElVatoLoco@yourdomain.com, TonMecFavori@yourdomain.com, etc.

  • Include your phone number. Preferably, make sure you include the area and country codes. Yes, we never know, what about if you’re planning to give out your business cards abroad (for example, if you’re networking in a conference in London) or you live on the border? 😉
  • Please, don’t forget to specify your current residence! Alright, I know many of you wouldn’t like to disclose your current address, but at least don’t forget to specify if you’re a translator located at… [for example] San Antonio, TX or Barcelona, Spain.
  • A PO Box would definitely be good option if you got a temporal address, live in an apartment, or are afraid of disclosing your current address.
  • If you are not interested on specifying your current residence address, at least have a website included.
  • Yes, getting back to the previous point: preferably, include a webpage with more detail information about the services you offer, so that your prospect client has a more clear idea of your profile, services, and professionalism.
  • If you don’t own one yet, it’s ok, but be specific with your current town and phone number with a specific area code.
  • Choose colors that describe you and your business. Don’t make a rainbow nor  everything white and null.  Colors are a great key, and knowing how to combine them will definitely be a plus.
  • Watch the font: make it readable.
  • You got your own personal logo? Great! However, if you got no time for that and you’d rather find another logo, make sure you don’t infringe with their copyrights.
  • Wanna create your own logo? Take your time to create ideas in your mind, drawings, etc. If you got Photoshop or any graphic design software, you’re lucky, but it’s better if you hire an expert.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have your own logo or not even a logo at all, there are cards with amazing templates that would totally cover that up.
  • Oh, by the way: don’t forget to include your working languages. I know this is so common sense, but I’ve seen some business cards with the title, but without any specific language at all.
  • Remember: keep it classy and professional.

Looking for a company online? Here I got a few suggestions:

MOO . Many of my colleagues have used them and are pretty happy with this service. Haven’t tried them personally, but I’ll eventually test them once I run out of the ones I currently have.

VistaPrint. This Dutch company has been one of my top ones. Headquartered in Venlo, Netherlands, this company is specialized on supplying promotional and marketing material exactly for freelancers and micro businesses. Love their templates and you can even custom-make your own. Unless you’re planning to upload your own logo, this company has their own logos; you can change their colors and locations. However, it’d be a bit embarrassing to run into a freelancer or agency with the same logo as yours (yes, it happened to me, but I can’t throw them away yet).

Staples. If you have one nearby, much better! They give you the alternative of creating your business cards online and picking them up within a few hours… but if you’re patient enough, they can ship them to your home. They have great deals, packages, and event coupons for your purchase (or discount codes for the next one).

Overnight Prints. I tried them out once long time ago. Their templates are great and it’d be a good alternative for your first business cards. However, they are steeper than Vista Print.

If you’d like to hire a graphic designer, perfect, but make sure you specify exactly what you need, in order to avoid misunderstandings and disasters. Oh, by the way, many of my American colleagues have recommended Ms. Rachel Bonness from UK. Wow! Her designs are unique and pretty neat, a great investment for your marketing material. So, just click to access her website.

Have you seen the “Free Business Cards” one? Don’t! It’ll be quite embarrassing and unprofessional to have them as it’d give a bad image to your professionalism. A professional translator will invest on business cards, remember: invest on marketing material and you’ll see the results of your hard work. Make a great effort and be creative, but do that investment for your small business.

I know many of our colleagues and newbies would love to print out their own business cards in their own printer or scanner in order to save up a few bucks, but that’s not a great idea. Be strategic when investing on a very essential departing point to promote your business. It is quite understandable that economy is not being friendly at all, but be wise and spend in professional business cards instead of making your own. However, if you insist on printing them out at home, then be careful with the paper and material (i.e. ink, printer, etc..) you use: optimum quality! And, as Marta Stelmaszak advices on Lesson 43: Give me your business carddon’t use scissors – buy a guillotine. I don’t like crooked business cards and, since I’m neither patient nor great with cropping out material quite straight, I decided to invest in custom-made business cards.

So, my dear future colleagues: I am so glad that you made the decision of investing in business cards. Remember: this is the beginning of everything. Be yourself! You can do it!

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the upcoming second part of this post! There will definitely be more, including real examples 😉 and pitfalls to avoid.

Wishing you success and the best of the best!

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7 thoughts on “Planning to get your first business cards? (Part I)

  1. Pingback: Planning to get your first business cards? (Part II) | Tradubeledi

  2. Pingback: Planning to get your first business cards? (Part III) | Tradubeledi

  3. I just had a thought…I wanted to add that with all the translation scammers out there, if you use a free email address, you are more likely to have your marketing emails deleted, because people may think the email message is fake and from a scammer. I get a ton of scammer emails every day. It is a lot of work to check out every single one, so sometimes I just delete any and all that use a free return email address. (Since that is what the scammers use too). For more on the scammers, see this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Translator-Scammers-Directory/206931766132623 and also http://www.translator-scammers.com/. Thanks again for a great set of articles on business cards!

    • Hello, Eve 🙂

      Thank you so much for your comment! Yeah, you definitely got a pretty important point. However, the problem is that some T&I students and newbie translators don’t have enough funds to invest on a domain. So, in those cases, Gmail would be the “most appropiate” free, temporary email service for the first business cards. Eventually you would create new business cards with your own domain and just sync your Gmail with your custom-made domain and email, so that you can still get quotes from prospect customers that have your old business cards. Naturally, you have to continue using your new one.

      Again, thank you so much for your great insights and points of view! Anytime you’d like to collaborate with something in my blog, please feel free to do so, this is your second home ;-).

  4. Pingback: Weekly favorites (Mar 21-27) | Lingua Greca Translations

  5. Pingback: Episode 014 - Market research tips and marketing systems for translators - interview with Eve Bodeux | Marketing tips for translators

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