Solo and Loving Every Minute

Solo and Loving Every Minute


Marketing The Goods...and The Expertise


Now that you’ve got the idea, the legal undercarriage, and the name, how do you go about letting the world know you exist? Do you just stand in front of every trade show and hand out business cards until your hand drops off? And what about business cards, anyway? In this era of social networks and email, isn’t the lowly business card a thing of the past? Actually, they’re still relevant despite better ways of sharing contact information, because it only takes two seconds to take one and jam it into your pocket. Business cards are a good first step toward showing people you mean business.


Now, to make them. Sure, you can make your own business cards with an inkjet and some card stock, if you’re in a big hurry. Professionally printed cards, though, are still the best way to go, and they don’t have to be expensive. You can save money by doing your own design, using just one or two colors, and sticking with the standard size of 3.5 by 2 inches. Just about any quick-print shop like Kinko’s or AlphaGraphics can turn cards around in a day or two if you bring them a file. If you know your way around a word processor or a page-layout program, creating your own card design is easy.


You can get clever with size and design, but keep in mind what’s appropriate for your line of work. As long as it conveys a sense of professionalism, any business card is better than no business card. Even if design isn’t your thing, there are services and software that can help you get that professional edge you want without having to pay someone else to design your cards. For example:


Business Card Composer ($34.95, takes the guesswork out of making cards by helping you with details you might not even be aware of—like card stock and bleed. Get a quick start using built-in templates and clip art, or tap into your iPhoto library directly. is a straightforward way to print any quantity of color or black-and-white business cards for a reasonable price. Just plug in a couple numbers and you can get an immediate price quote. From there, you simply upload your business card file in a file format such as PDF or JPG, and have your cards delivered. is definitely for those looking for a way to stick out. For $19.99 you can print 100 unique 1.1-by-2.76-inch minicards. Each card can be based on individual photos or designs and include up to six lines of text.

Letting The World Know


No matter what field you’re in, there’s probably a professional organization that represents it. Since a rising tide lifts all boats, these groups work to promote a specific industry so you can spend your time promoting yourself. Industries from graphic design (AIGA, to engineering (NPSE, and even dog groomers (NDGAA, have professional associations dedicated to promoting and supporting their respective industries. Consider joining professional organizations that complement or support your industry. Some may require a membership fee, but it’s usually worth it, as it often includes resources such as a listing on their directory and access to job boards.


Word of mouth is also good. In fact, word of mouth is a business now. WOMMA (, a trade organization that promotes the art of word-of-mouth marketing, provides tips and resources on spreading your own good word around. This is genius, because there’s no better form of marketing and advertising than a good reputation. Being recommended by someone else can carry more weight than regular marketing tactics. Most small businesses will tell you that it’s the best, most effective form of promotion, and since it’s free, you can’t beat the price. As you build a great reputation for your product or service, word of mouth will generate even more positive buzz.


Keeping An Eye on The Time. And The Assets. And The Money.


Most small-business owners and freelancers have to wear many hats, but you can quickly spread yourself too thin if you make decisions that are penny-wise and pound-foolish. Fortunately, many Mac solutions out there can make both the general and specific aspects of running a business a lot easier.


First, you’ll need to keep track of where your time and money are going—hours and dollars slipping away here and there can add up to a decent chunk of change. A chunk of change you’ll have to pass along to a very possibly aggrieved client. Here are some ways to get things under control and keep them that way.




+ Add a Comment


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Great list of resources there I have enjoyed your blog a lot, I also came across a very informative article listing the best online printing places which should save people a lot of time also.



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Our company is small but growing fast, and outgrew our Excel timesheets. We are now using Pacific Timesheet On-Demand ( for the last few months and it has really streamlined time tracking, time report and billing. We added payroll integration last month to integrate with our Lawson system, and have seen near 100% adoption across the company.

I hope this helps!

Pacific Timesheet - Web Time Tracking Software


CK Low

Thanks for the great article on managing a home business. You really nailed it by covering the topics no one tells you about - the back room stuff which supports any business endeavour & pitfalls to avoid. I wish I had known some of this stuff when I started my freelance business a few years ago.


Joel Mueller

LLC stands for Limited Liability Company (not corporation).


Scott B in DC

It is a very good article, but is there any way to print it in one shot and not multiple times? There should be a print option that would give us the ability to print the entire article!



I'm starting my own small business and this article is seriously invaluable to me...thanks, guys!



I love the opening photo -- my congrats to both the thinker-upper (Robin?) and the shooter (Mark?).

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