Bonnie Sainsbury’s Tech Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs

If you have basic computer skills and a little creativity, you can produce unique inexpensive business cards. You do have to pay for shipping, but the design and printing are free, so definitely within the budget of even the most cash-strapped start-up.
 
Just a note of caution: There is the potential to waste a lot of time on this task. Set a budget for your time as well as money. If you’re comfortable being online and you have the business cards you’ve collected at networking events all in one place, set aside a half an hour. Set a timer .. put a clock in front of you and stick to the time.
 
The first time you create a business card using Vista Print, or other service, it will take a bit longer. If it seems that it will take longer than a couple of hours, you should find a printer that you can afford to do it for you.
 
When you read the title of the post, did you think “oh, those awful cards with “Vista Print” on the back?
They look something like this.
 
The reason you see this card all the time is because it’s the card that displays when you click on ‘Free Business Card”.
 
Using my instructions, you can create a great looking card in about a half an hour. I you can save $$ on small jobs like these, you’ll have the budget to hire a graphic designer when you need one (for a logo for example).
 
Let’s get started.
 
If you’re not creative (that would be me) quickly look through your box/drawer of business cards and find some that appeal to you. Don’t spend a lot of time, but find cards that you like and that are appropriate to your business. Got one or two?
 
Next click on “Premium Business Cards” and then “Browse Our Designs” on the Vista Print Site. You can search quickly by “Keyword” or “Industry” or “Style” or you can simply browse.
 
I’ve chosen this style because the information is on the right and there’s a graphic on the left.
 
The Color is wrong and the graphic needs to be replaced.
 
Click on “Select Design” then “Advanced Editing” just below the photo of the business card.
 
Time to change the color palette (bottom left hand corner). Click on “Change Color Scheme” and pick colors that were used in your web site, or other print material.
 
Enter your Information. You don’t have to worry about “coloring in the lines”. The field names are suggestions only and we’ll be making changes.
 
Got more information that there are fields, or want to group two or more lines together? Just hit the Enter key to create a new line in the field box.
 
Don’t worry about Font, Size, or justification at this point.
 
Now let’s replace that graphic. If you have a logo you want to use, you can upload it now. Vista Print often offers free uploads, otherwise there’s a one-time charge. For this exercise, we’re going to use a graphic from Vista Print.
 
Right click on the graphic and select “search our image library” then enter relevant keyword for the search. In this case, I used “woman on telephone”. I moved the fields around, changed the font, size and color and added 4 lines of text in one of the fields.
 
Here’s my finished business card. (it’s a real business card – one of my secondary businesses) I just changed the telephone number for publication)
 
Initial the front side and click on “Next” and then click on “Blank Back Side INCLUDED”, initial and click on “Next”. “Glossy Finish” is the only extra I’ll order. It’s about $5.99.
 
Now you will be bombarded with upsell offers. This is why the business cards are free. Be brave and careful you don’t order anything you don’t really need.
 
Shipping is the next big decision. If you’re not in a hurry, choose 21 days. It rarely takes that long and it’s the cheapest option. If I want the cards in a hurry, I choose the 14 day option. Again,the order rarely takes that long to arrive.
 
Okay, it took you longer to read this article than it would take you to create business cards. When you need to re-order it takes 5 minutes. (it takes time to wade through the upsell screens).
 
Fill in your credit card/PayPal information and you’re good to go. They take one last opportunity to upsell you after you’ve completed the order.
 
It’s my opinion that these business cards are as good quality than the “super special” from your local print shop. The main advantage of Vista Print is their design software. It’s very easy to use and I get exactly what I want.
 
If you have a requirement for a high end, die cut business cards then this service is obviously not for you. For the rest of us, Vista Print and services like it, provide a polished image on a shoestring.
 
So, how easy was that? What’s your excuse for not having great looking business cards?

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