7 Steps Toward Creating your Personal “Brand”

It’s not your Child’s Calling Card

old calling card

“Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”

 –Judy Garland

In a recent post I jabbered on about scoring 4 touchdowns just outside my comfort zone. I ended the post leaving you hanging as to whether my revised resume` got me a job. I am so thrilled to say YES IT DID!!

In the crevices of this resume` experience I took a deeper look at the world of business cards or as it used to be known, calling cards.

Since starting my new job and being thrown into the world at large this little piece of paper has become an outward, silent representation of who I want the public to know. There are no ad boards hanging from my body only the carefully chosen words and colors and designs that give a hint to who I am and who we want to be known as to the people in my world.

During the meeting I had with my guru resume` “righter” we excitedly exchanged business cards. In our exchange I was also given the business card of someone in my line of work which is life coaching. She thought I should meet up with this person because she thought the connection could really be a boost for my business. I realized in that moment that had I not gotten out of my comfort zone, had I not pushed myself to stop hibernating I would never have had the opportunity to get this new job or the opportunity to feel proud of my baby steps toward my career and would never have had the opportunity to make this new connection.

As I was leaving her office I thought about how we were once a society that used business or calling cards on a regular, social basis and now it is mostly used for business only. Today, when you hear the words “calling card” people automatically go to the idea of a phone card that has minutes on it. I’m talking about calling cards that were used to let people know your social standing in the community, your romantic interests in someone, or your personal announcement to the house at large that you have come to pay a visit to them.

I thought of all the people in this world who don’t use business cards or calling cards because they think their lives don’t require the use of them. To me, a business card says what we are shy or too busy to say in a conversation but it also says where our integrity can be found and calling cards relay the message that we think highly enough of ourselves that we want to leave everyone we meet with a lasting impression of our personal “design” or in today’s lingo, our brand.

He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from the book Love in the Time of Cholera

There are so many ways in which we can be our own live calling card or business card even if we are not in business for ourselves or anyone in particular. For instance, how we dress, how we speak, how we smile or not smile, how we walk, how we groom ourselves, or how we smell; all of these little ways in which we represent who we are and the impression we leave in our wake.

Taking the business card of a fellow coach from her hand I realized the networking power of these little bits of paper that advertise who and how we want to be known. Why don’t we use calling cards anymore? They can be designed to just the right style and fit of our personality, they can come in a wide variety of fonts and colors and designs and they leave a calculated and purposeful impression with whomever we deem worthy of handing a card to.

According to the website, The Art of Manliness, http://http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/09/07/the-gentlemans-guide-to-the-calling-card/, calling cards were “central to visiting etiquette. Every gentleman kept a ready supply of cards with him to distribute upon each visit.” Not only the fact that visits required the use of these little gems but there was significance to how the card was received. For instance, “If a calling card was left from someone that visited a home in person as opposed to having a servant stop by with the calling card, the right hand upper corner of the card was turned down. If the visit was just a congratulatory visit the left hand upper corner was turned down. If it was a condolence visit the left hand lower corner was turned down.”  There were also calling cards given to a lady that a gentleman felt romantic toward and usually these calling cards had special poems on them to let the lady know your intentions for the visit.

These days there is a great difference between a calling card and a business card. Aside from the obvious business information on a business card, the card is usually designed to be stiff and to the point; a no frills representation of the professional you are trying to present. The calling card is so much more than your phone number in someone’s cell phone directory. The tangible representation of the calling card allows people to know who you are and helps people remember and make the mental connection more clearly and significantly. Humans tend to learn best through imagery so the design and colors of your calling card will help people remember you in a unique way.

The resume` woman I met with that day had some really great things to say about my business card but when she started describing how she felt just looking at it and holding it, the card suddenly became a calling card and left her feeling warm and safe and welcome. Who knew words and images on card stock could do all of that. I felt validated, important, acknowledged and it left her with such a feeling that just might make her want to look at the card more often and think of our time together more significantly and pass my name to someone she thinks could benefit from what I do as a coach.

There is a great advantage to a business cards even in the digital world we live in today. Think about the feelings I just described. A phone number in your cell phone can’t give you that feeling. According to ezinearticles.com “a business card helps expand the business with hand held information of the business type, ethics, and principles.” Imagine what a personalized calling card can do for you in play groups, committee meetings, parent/teacher conferences, craft fairs, etc.

“Just as we leave the effects of our work behind in results, we leave the effects of our interactions with people in their hearts, minds, and souls.” –Henry Cloud, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality

apples

Personal calling cards are making a comeback.

In the modern arena of “personal branding” a calling card sets you apart from the competition. It helps facilitate introductions and preserves your identity when faced with a job loss. A job that provided you with a business card and then losing the job and the business card can be devaluing. Having the calling card allows you to tout your skills and personal brand all on your own and in a stylish and sophisticated fashion. It’s so much better than jotting your phone number and address on a scrap piece of paper that will probably get lost.

All of this brings me back around to the fact that if you have been thinking about taking a leap of faith and getting yourself out into the world but have been a little hesitant to make a move, consider creating a calling card. The networking potential is huge. So what are the “should do’s” of a personal calling card?

 

calling card1             calling card2

 

According to yahoo.com:

1)      The calling card should make a personal statement of who you are and how to get in contact with you.

2)      The calling card should be clean, meaning minimal design and wording but unique.

3)      The font of the calling card should be easy on the eyes, easy to read yet have a personality and character that reflects who you are.

4)      The card stock of the calling card should be warm and inviting to hold. The weight of the paper should convey importance. The heavier the paper the better. The weight will let the card last longer. The size of the card should fit into a wallet.

5)      The color of the paper should be light but the printing color of the ink should be more dark and rich like dark blue, maroon, forest green, etc.

6)      If you can afford to, have the cards professionally printed. Home printers tend to make the printing look cheap. I like using Vistaprint.com.

7)      Don’t forget to carry your calling cards in their own carrying case. The cases can be personalized as well.

This is so fun; to bring back a long ago concept and give it new meaning and new life. Will you do it?

CALL TO ACTION:

* Design your own personal calling card and hand them out.

*What personal details will you include?

*What font and colors will you choose?

*What  will the design convey about who you want the world to know?

Share your design with me by leaving a picture in my mailbox at lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit www.journeyoncoaching.com. or contact Lisa at lisa@journeyoncoaching.com. Coaching is a great vehicle to help navigate through those sticky, tough, tumultuous times of parenting, career and life itself. All it takes is a spoonful of sugar and a desire to move forward passionately. Are you ready to develop your personal brand? If so, call me and let’s partner together to get yourself out there.  Your personal discovery awaits….

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