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  • #984762
    SashaV
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    Dear community,

    I risk to upset a lot of people by suggesting that a lot of things that traditionally is outsourced can be done in-house, but I’m a strong adept of “Don’t pay money you don’t have for something you can do yourself”.

    So I put together my own business cards on a shoestring. They’re not the “your kids scrapbooking project” type although you can totally borrow some fun stuff from them.

    I was wondering who else is an adept of DIY in their microbusinesses – not necessarily printed materials, but other things too – loved the Streetwise Media ideas posted here 2 weeks ago (see the forum thread if you missed it).

    Sasha

    #1149482
    Anonymous
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    Hi SashaV,

    That’s certainly an option that’s worth considering, especially if you’re creatively talented enough to come up with something professional enough to cut the mustard.

    I’ll confess to having made my own cards myself when I was just starting out – I came across some in a drawer the other day and was completely mortified to think that I’d ever given them to anyone. They were atrocious! 😮

    Good luck with yours though!
    Jayne

    #1149483
    Divert To Mobile
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    Hi Jayne,

    Same boat as you, Ive done some in the past and now look at it and cringe.

    I believe the main factor is time. How will you spend it, generating or saving. Which figure is greater? I think thats the true driver of outsourcing.

    Steve

    #1149484
    bridiej
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    I think it would depend on the business. If it’s some sort of craft-related biz then yes, a handmade card would probably work well. Personally though I’m of the same opinion as Jayne and Steve, that DIY cards usually give a poor impression which is not great if you’re trying to market a professional business. And yes, I still have cards from way-back-when which are absolutely appalling and I can’t believe I ever thought of using them!

    Also, although you’re not spending money on the actual cards, you are spending your time making them which is worth money. So actually outsourcing can be a smart budget move…

    JMHO 😮

    #1149485
    Tiggerito
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    I still do my own, with perforated edges.

    More now due to the fact I can quickly print of a few more when I run out. One day I’ll get round to getting some real ones.

    #1149486
    Osmond Mcleod
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    I do a lot myself. Logo, cards, website, videos anything i can really. Its not the smartest approach but its necessary. I have built my business very very slowly and i have never had the capital to pay for these things, i have been able to make a little time though.

    I have a bit of graphic design experience and some web experience so it helps.

    the argument that the time you spend is time you could be earning income is valid for an established business, but when you start out, unless your lucky enough to have extra cash behind you, the cash flow is usually not there.

    I am looking forward to the day i can hand things off to specialists and have the money to get what i want, especially with marketing, SEO and my web page, but right now that’s not an option. I understand you can get a lot of services cheap, but when i am paying for it i want to be able to get it right.

    Cheers

    Glenn

    #1149487
    Sign Here Graphix
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    For the creatively inclined you can certainly save huge amounts by taking care of the design side of things yourself.

    However for a truly professional first impression, professionally made stationery is a must.

    The big difference is that you can only get so close to an edge with your desktop printer, whereas people like me can effectively print past these edges (we call it bleed) and then trim back, so your documents (whether they be business cards, flyers, brochures, or letter heads) do not end up with a white border around them because of your desk top printers limitations.

    You will also find that aqueous ink jets (Most desk top printers) simply leave the ink sitting on top of the substrate and on gloss papers are very susceptible to rubbing off easily.

    As always…horses or courses, but is the time and money you percieve yourself to be saving actually costing you when you can get 1000 business cards done for under $150 including GST?

    #1149488
    Osmond Mcleod
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    I get my stuff printed professionally, but i take care of the design work.

    #1149489
    1226
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    I’m not sure this counts but I’ve started cleaning the toilets in the warehouse to save money….

    Steve

    #1149490
    SashaV
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    Thank you very much everyone for the input, and certainly there are pros and cons in doing anything that is not your core business (you are not “professionally” good at) by yourself, like design and printing. However my original post contained the following words: “Don’t pay money you don’t have for something you can do yourself”. Glenn, thanks a lot for your comment, I completely agree: for the start-up you usually have more spare time on your hands than spare money.

    Sign Here Graphics, well, you can get 1000 cards for $150, no problem.
    1. First question: what would you do as a developing start-up with 1000 cards? Even when I was consulting, I couldn’t go through a 250 pack in 1.5 years, because, well, I was consulting, not just marketing. And phones, addresses, websites, logos etc for start-ups change frequently so you end up with 900 of those 1000 cards tossed away. Which leaves 100 cards for $150. Not really a deal of the year.
    2. I would like to see a company that would make me something like these for $150. These cost much, MUCH more than that to design and print. Boring traditional business cards don’t really work for non-boring, non-traditional start-ups. They have their own market, I’m sure, but I’m not part of it, and many microbusinesses working in very specific niches are not either. But all these cool die-cut strange fabulous cards on heavy colorful cardstock can be done in-house thanks to the scrapbooking industry with their cutters, embossers, embossing powder, cutting templates, cardstock, paper, punches and million other thing I’ve never heard of before I started researching the topic.

    So I guess if your business is a
    * start-up, or
    * has a wow-factor in its core, or
    * creative (and not necessarily related to DIY or handmade)
    you either pay a lot for business cards or do them yourself. Otherwise traditional cards highlight inconsistency between your image and your message: if your business is innovative and fun, why are your business cards so boring?

    #1149491
    MatthewKeath
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    SashaV, post: 171861 wrote:
    Sign Here Graphics, well, you can get 1000 cards for $150, no problem.
    1. First question: what would you do as a developing start-up with 1000 cards? Even when I was consulting, I couldn’t go through a 250 pack in 1.5 years, because, well, I was consulting, not just marketing. And phones, addresses, websites, logos etc for start-ups change frequently so you end up with 900 of those 1000 cards tossed away. Which leaves 100 cards for $150. Not really a deal of the year.We gave away 1000 card in about 2 months at networking, seminars, and the like. We just reordered…

    SashaV, post: 171861 wrote:
    2. I would like to see a company that would make me something like these for $150. These cost much, MUCH more than that to design and print. Boring traditional business cards don’t really work for non-boring, non-traditional start-ups. They have their own market, I’m sure, but I’m not part of it, and many microbusinesses working in very specific niches are not either. But all these cool die-cut strange fabulous cards on heavy colorful cardstock can be done in-house thanks to the scrapbooking industry with their cutters, embossers, embossing powder, cutting templates, cardstock, paper, punches and million other thing I’ve never heard of before I started researching the topic.
    Not sure where you are going here. Boring cards? Our cards are not boring, and they don’t cost $5 each.

    Yes, it is awesome to have some fantastic cards to show off, but for just giving them to clients and people you meet so they can contact you, it’s slightly over the top giving out crazy creative and crazy expensive cards.

    SashaV, post: 171861 wrote:
    So I guess if your business is a
    * start-up, or
    * has a wow-factor in its core, or
    * creative (and not necessarily related to DIY or handmade)

    People seem to not understand what a start up is. It’s a new business. A new business could be an accountant, bookkeeper, house cleaning, etc etc. They people just need a nice professional card they can give to people.

    SashaV, post: 171861 wrote:
    you either pay a lot for business cards or do them yourself. Otherwise traditional cards highlight inconsistency between your image and your message: if your business is innovative and fun, why are your business cards so boring?Our card are not boring, and they are not $5 each. We give them out like lollies, and they allow people to contact us. It comes down to your branding and message.

    In our case, it looks much more professional, and much more cost effective to get our graphic designed business card printing at $140 per 1000, than making 10 at a time.

    Branding and half decent stock is the most important thing.

    #1149492
    bluepenguin
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    SashaV, post: 171861 wrote:
    2. I would like to see a company that would make me something like these for $150.

    I have a supplier that can…

    #1149493
    SashaV
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    We gave away 1000 card in about 2 months at networking, seminars, and the like. We just reordered…

    Matthew, are you a one person start-up?

    Not sure where you are going here. Boring cards? Our cards are not boring, and they don’t cost $5 each.

    Hmmm, my post from the very beginning asked who else here was an adept of DIY in their microbusinesses – not necessarily printed materials, but other things too. What I got in most of replies so far is “go and order your business cards in big quantities from professionals”. Maybe I have a kick of doing things myself – the question wasn’t about cost-effectiveness, the question was “who else?..”.

    Yes, it is awesome to have some fantastic cards to show off, but for just giving them to clients and people you meet so they can contact you, it’s slightly over the top giving out crazy creative and crazy expensive cards. People seem to not understand what a start up is. It’s a new business. A new business could be an accountant, bookkeeper, house cleaning, etc etc. They people just need a nice professional card they can give to people.

    Depends on the business. If you are in creative industry it’s a must. If you are a designer it’s a must. And for all other business it’s a “good to” for one simple reason: how many other consultants gave this person their cards at those events? Have you calculated many calls per card do you get?
    I guess there are two ways to see business cards: one is a piece of paper with your contact details so people can contact you if they want to, and another is a part of your image that MAKES people want to contact you. Even if you are in cleaning business.

    Our card are not boring, and they are not $5 each. We give them out like lollies, and they allow people to contact us. It comes down to your branding and message. In our case, it looks much more professional, and much more cost effective to get our graphic designed business card printing at $140 per 1000, than making 10 at a time. Branding and half decent stock is the most important thing.

    Well, I’d argue that product core value is the most important thing, and all “visible”, “image” things like website and business cards don’t cost a thing if the product is not right (in general and for the audience).
    If it works for you – that’s great. But it won’t work for everyone, especially if the market is saturated, this is what i’m saying.

    Bluepenguin, please tell me more :)

    #1149494
    SashaV
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    I just realised why the conversation went completely off the topic I was interested in discussing. My original post contained the link to my blog and was edited by the Forum Concierge (which was right and should have been done). But as a result a crucial thing was edited out: my reasons why I personally opted for DIY this time:
    Options were:
    1) ordering printed cards from a traditional printing company
    * ordering handmade cards from an artisan on Etsy
    * downloading customizable design again from Etsy and printing it
    * making my own cards myself from whatever I had around the house.
    The reason why I didn’t go with the first three:
    1) most of their products were either ugly, boring and expensive FOR ME, or nice and very expensive.
    2) I found some very nice and reasonably priced cards but I needed them quickly and most of artisans were from US.
    3) I have only monochrome laser printer at home (alas!).
    I made 14 cards for $2 and because of how I made them they worked for me. Next time I need the cards I’ll change the cardstock for even better suited, and also change the QR code on the card from my LinkedIn profile to my website.

    Start-ups often experiment in the beginning. They don’t need 1000 cards, they need much smaller amount with much higher ROI because they can’t afford wasting cards, and not because of wasting the paper itself, but because they waste opportunities to get to people they hand their cards to – they are just lost in the noise of hundreds of others trying to reach the same people. The whole market might be 100 people, it might be a tiny niche (if, for example, speaking of cleaning services provided by one person, you are geographically restricted), and if your card ROI is 1%, well, you will get 1 call. Does printing 1000 cards make sense in this case?

    #1149495
    MatthewKeath
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    SashaV, post: 171872 wrote:
    Matthew, are you a one person start-up?

    Hmmm, my post from the very beginning asked who else here was an adept of DIY in their microbusinesses – not necessarily printed materials, but other things too. What I got in most of replies so far is “go and order your business cards in big quantities from professionals”. Maybe I have a kick of doing things myself – the question wasn’t about cost-effectiveness, the question was “who else?..”.

    Depends on the business. If you are in creative industry it’s a must. If you are a designer it’s a must. And for all other business it’s a “good to” for one simple reason: how many other consultants gave this person their cards at those events? Have you calculated many calls per card do you get?
    I guess there are two ways to see business cards: one is a piece of paper with your contact details so people can contact you if they want to, and another is a part of your image that MAKES people want to contact you. Even if you are in cleaning business.

    Well, I’d argue that product core value is the most important thing, and all “visible”, “image” things like website and business cards don’t cost a thing if the product is not right (in general and for the audience).
    If it works for you – that’s great. But it won’t work for everyone, especially if the market is saturated, this is what i’m saying.

    Bluepenguin, please tell me more :)

    My point is that good business card are important, but your branding is what’s makes them.

    I am in a creative industry and have been a business owner for 5 years and have always had good branding and my cards reflected it. I have given away about 10,000 cards in that time.

    Your card message and your branding is so much more important than some extremely creative handmade or expensive professionally made card. I got to networking events where I give out 50 cards, I am not going to use handmade or $5 per cards for that :)

    No I am not a one man show, but I was once.

    PS As a creative person, I love those really creative cards, I just don’t think they are nessasary for business. There are much more important things for starts to spend money and time on.

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