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For example, when I first started out freelancing a year ago, my business card had my name, email and website - and up top a list of the technologies I'm comfortable with. In retrospect I don't feel this was a wise decision.

Why would a potential client know what Python or Ruby is? How could he know what .NET was?

I still have a couple of the old batch left, but I'm going to send out for some new cards.

What do you recommend we developers have to show on our business cards? Am I correct in thinking listing technologies is meaningless to potential clients?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I don't agree with putting a list of skills on a business card. That's what a resume is for. Also, it makes it too easy for the card to go out of date -- much easier to update a separate resume, either online or otherwise. I usually have business cards printed in batches of 500, which last quite a while.

On my card, I have my own company name, my domain (where there is a button labeled My Resume), name, physical address, email, cell phone and fax number. Underneath my company name, it simply says, "Contract programming and consulting".

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I think printing cards in batches of 50 is better. It is really easy to order more and it makes it easy to update your card info. I think printing 500 is a waste unless your a pimp and are pushing cards. –  djangofan Apr 1 '13 at 22:54
    
The service I use has a minimum of 250 cards, and the price for 500 is not that much more. Yes, 500 lasts me quite a while. I've been operating under the same business name since 1978. My email address and domain name have been the same for 15 years. –  tcrosley Apr 2 '13 at 0:17

Your name
Your email address
Your web address

What you do.

Your phone number
Address of business operation


Some things that could be "what you do"

  • Websites (or be specific, like corporate websites)
  • Web applications
  • Software consulting (list major technologies here, if applicable - .NET, Java. Clients who have existing software will be helped by this.)
  • Software project rescue
  • Database consulting (again, major names here for clients who already already have established projects)
  • Interface programming
  • Networked applications

The important part is good keywords. People are only going to quickly scan your card. You want the list to be general enough that a client who doesn't quite know what they are looking for thinks you can help, but also specific enough that those who do know a bit also see that you do it.

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Skype: your_account

It implies that you'll always be available and respond promptly. Basic psychology.

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I never even thought of that. Seems like a good idea, I'll let it marinate for a bit and see if I can't think of any negatives. Doesn't it give bit of a 'this is my hotmail account!11' vibe or is it just me? +1 either way. –  Sergio Feb 26 '11 at 23:12
    
And I forgot to add: nothing else. Have a beautifully designed, heavy paper business card that says nothing else, just "Skype: your_account". You'll be good to go. Remember the MIB business card? restrainingbolt.com/otherprops/pics/misc/mibcards.jpg –  András Szepesházi Feb 26 '11 at 23:16
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That has hipster written all over it. :D –  Sergio Feb 26 '11 at 23:20

What you do, use words that generalize the specific technology that you do, for example django would become "web application development", or if you do .NET things, you would write "software development" (same if Java - programming language doesnt matter it is development that you do).

Data warehousing, business intelligence, is that what you do? Software requirement elicitation, is that what you do? Software design analasis and implementation, is that what you do? Maintaining critical systems, is that what you do? etc

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I think it comes down to what kind of business card are you putting together. The way I see it, there are two kinds of business cards:

  • Typical Business Card: You meet somone, either at a formal meeting (a pitch), someone happens to come by your desk, someone at a party asks you if you have a card when they hear what you do, etc. This card should (IMHO) contain your personal information - name, phone number, email, address (if your giving that out), website, and perhaps a title (again depending on your role). It's what yo expect to get from a person at a corporation. I don't think Steve JOb's card says: iPod, Macs, World Domination nor Randall Stephensons says: landline (fiber, copper), wireless, tv

  • Promotional: This card is the one that you leave at the local pastry shop on the table with 45 other companies/individuals. The one handed out at seminars for local businesses, work shops, etc. This is a card that promotes what you do. While programming languages is a bit technical (though you'll find it on nearly all freelance designer's/programmer's websites) other things you do would be completly appropriate.

All in all, I think it's just what the situation calls for. I think it looks more professional w simple, typical business card for those one-on-one, formal events/meetings and a more more promotional card when you're selling yourself (like a flyer, almost).

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1  
Steve Jobs has a luxury 98% of us don't. He's instantly recognized. –  Sergio Feb 26 '11 at 23:10
    
@Sergio, the same applies to most individuals that have a "regular" business card. It's usually used as a way to be contacted with, not promote yourself. I used Steve because it would make more sense than a generic name; Randall Stephenson is the CEO & Chairman of AT&T. –  Tony Basallo Feb 26 '11 at 23:18
    
(damn enter button). My point is, that IMO, business cards that try to cram everything you can do with acronymns and terms few clients will understand, doesn't look...positive. I think you're feeling the same, hence this question :) –  Tony Basallo Feb 26 '11 at 23:20