When you work for someone else, your employer often provides you with a computer, a phone, an email address and/or business cards. The company has a logo, a website and procedures established for how to get the work done.
When you work for yourself, you start with none of that. It’s up to you to provide these things for yourself. And even though many professionals have come from a corporate past, they don’t bring many of these things into their own businesses.
Let’s think about that for a minute
Many small business owners assume that because they are small, they’re under the radar and they can get by without pulling together all the essential components of their business. But, whether you’re just starting out or already established and sitting pretty, here are five things that let the world know that you’re a professional and that you mean business!
Get a professional business card
Don’t get a free card from Vista Print. And don’t have them printed by yourself on your home printer! Have one designed by a professional, with up-to-date information and nice card stock. Your card makes an impression every time you hand it to someone – a small investment in a professional-looking card will make a good one.
Get a real email address
If you have a registered domain (www.YourCompany.com), it’s just a few more steps to use it for email (email@example.com). It’s worth the little bit of extra effort to demonstrate that you’re serious. Please leave firstname.lastname@example.org behind!
Get a professional headshot
This should be renewed every couple of years and used on your website, your LinkedIn profile, your bio, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be done by a pro in a professional setting.
Create a consistent look
Presentations, brochures, online materials, etc., anything you show to clients and others should feel consistent. Don’t try to reflect a new expression in creativity in each piece. Use consistent fonts and colours, as well as consistent wording in the way you describe who you are and what you do.
Don’t skimp on your tools
Make sure you have what you need to run your business well. This includes a good computer, a reliable printer, and a dedicated place to work from. Invest in the software you need to do your work and maintain your business on the back end.
All of these things are easy to set up or implement, and relatively inexpensive. By doing them, not only will you give the world a better impression, you’ll feel like a million bucks!
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