Personal Marketing: or How I Learned To Stop Worrying About Saying “Here’s My Card”

Recently I started something new. For me, this is a huge jump into deep waters. I joined Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, but that’s not the deep end. The deep end, was after meeting with my Chamber Liaison and going over membership information and materials, she asked did I was to stay for an event – that morning. Here I am in Jeans and a Hoodie at 8:45am, and she wants me to go to a meeting, after a few long nights and early mornings getting client work done. Needless to say, I am not feeling up to it, but she insists that it will be great. I oblige and casually walk into a meeting room with tables and chairs, I sit midway up in the room, not expecting later the room to completely fill up with 100+ people. Over the course of a few minutes, people were coming up to me and almost harassing me with questions like “who are you?” “what are you doing here?” “what company do you represent?” and the weirder question “where’s your name tag?” By the time I really recover from a few of these questions so quick from 3-4 different people beginning to huddle around me, I look behind me to the door and see a room full of people networking away and chatting about business stuff. I was clearly out of my element. I quickly got a sticker with my name on it, and went to sit back down. Eventually, I struck up a conversation with a few people and it seemed somewhat rational, “hey my name is Josh, I own a full service video production company, Paper Rocket Picture Company, and if you need some great content please send me an email.” That’s the easy part.

During this event, a few people got up and gave a few “President Business” style powerpoints on things that don’t really fit into anything that I have going on, but nevertheless, I did my best to pay attention and be present at this event instead of checking out and assuming it didn’t apply to me. Then, the fun part . . . or should I say difficult. Let’s go with difficult. They began to pass a microphone around and let people share about their companies. Eventually the mic was passed to me and I had 90 seconds to give a short elevator pitch on who I am and what I do. I speak to audiences for a living when I am wearing my teacher’s hat, but I talk about abstract concepts and things I am passionate about, things like Cinematography, Nuance of Story Narrative and what the Director is really trying to say when this shot is juxtaposed with this dialogue . . . I hate talking about myself. But I got through it and a few people seemed interested, those same people tracked me down after the meeting and I gave them a business card.

Now, let’s take a few moments to appreciate one thing. They say when you go into business for yourself, you need a voice, a way to stand out, a way to be seen above the rest. That’s great, and I have really tried to do that with the work that Paper Rocket Picture Company makes. But, being a cut above in things like Business Cards or Websites, that’s a little harder. After giving probably 25 people my card just last week alone, I learned a few things. 1.) a 3” square business card with just my company name on one side and all my contact info on the other is apparently really “cool” and “different” and “memorable” I can promise you that none of this was my specific intention when I designed them. 2.) my website cool and well put together. I can see a case for #1, but #2 is surprising to me. I am not sure what is so unique or different that causes people to say wow, but it does. I’ll take what I can get with both of these.

All in all, I am really intrigued at the idea that some people ask for a card and never make contact for one reason or another, and I am also intrigued by people being so quick to give me cards and then not responding to new email about getting to know each other and hopefully working with or for each other in the future. But I’ll say this, I think this new endeavor is going to be a unique journey and I am happy to see where it takes me.

I am still not 100% sure how to handle the implicit “used car salesmen” feel of handing someone my business card and talking about myself . . . but, I am working on authenticity when it comes to new connections with new people.

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