When do you need to get business cards?
Even before your first Open Mic
or other public performance of your comedy act or business keynote speech.
If that night you can give the professional MC
and all the other open micers your business card
and fellow newbie open micers do not even have their business cards yet,
•who will be most likely to get a phone call and/or email
tipping folks off to the latest
open mic, showcase, one-nighter, new full-time comedy club, etc?
Size, layout, computer programs, background color, and why DIY many times:
3.5" x 2" which is more like 3 3/8" x 1 7/8"; i.e., less 1/8" inch all around.
•You can fit 12 cards on an 8.5" x 11" sheet layout
and still have room for margins (top, bottom, left, right)
and gutters (space between the cards in the layout).
Applications (a.k.a.: programs) to use:
MS Word, Adobe: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.
Run it off on white cardstock for a more professional look
at FedEx office or a similar print shop that will let you use a paper cutter in their shop.
Do it yourself (DIY):
By "controlling the means of production,"
•you can play around with the design
•while keeping the cost of each card low enough to freely give them away.
Once you get good at it, consider using color printing:
•photos look better
•and you can vary the font color.
What you do stated in at least one word, like:
"Comic, Stand-Up Comic, Keynote Speaker, Magician, Juggler, Ventriloquist, etc."
Name & address:
PO Box number
City, State, Zip code
(never use your actual street address)
Photo that really looks like you so it seamlessly:
1) reminds whoever you gave this business card
•that it came from YOU and
2) sells your character
Best 1-3 comedy credits:
Keep this updated, toss outdated business cards.
Yet another reason to DIY:
•No waiting to update your publicity = same day turnaround!
If you change phone companies, make sure your original phone number travels with you.
Best: use just your name tied to your permanent web address,
and ends in .com, as in:
You can use capital letters or not between the "@" and ".com" as nothing is case-sensitive until after ".com":
jim@JimRichardson.com is valid:
•Test to verify by sending yourself a test email.
Your permanent web site address:
1) Your best video clip closes the sale:
On the Home page of your permanent web address,
•have your best video or a direct link to that video.
•Never rely on freebie web sites, not even youtube.com.
2) Get your email sent to your permanent web address:
•never to anything like email@example.com
as these companies get bought up,
•and change their email addresses.
•Your permanent web address can travel with you forever,
even if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) goes belly up.
Annual fee: about $10/year.
ISP fees vary: $10-20/month to keep getting access to your email.
Be professional by not using your social media or other freebie email addresses for business purposes.
•On your social media and other freebie web sites,
post your professional email address and professional phone number
so folks wanting to hire you
can easily find you
in a timely manner.
Phone numbers that don't reach you must by default go to your voice mail
with an out going message (OGM) clearly reassuring the caller that:
•it is you
•you are a stand-up comic, etc.
This, so bookers do not need to remember to call you again.
Hint: they won't remember!
•If it is too hard to find you,
bookers will just go to the next performer on their list,
and he will get your gig.
Updated May 11, 2014: in the first quarter of 2014, Facebook without any warning changed the default settings on everyone's About page.
99 out of 100 users seem unaware of this vital change.
•Your "Contact Information" is now hidden.
•Even if you click "See All," your professional email, web site addresses, etc., remain hidden to both your Facebook Friends and the Public.
This is a great privacy protection.
But terrible for folks like comics and speakers who want their professional information publicly available so they can easily get hired.
Solution: change your default settings back to reveal your contact information.
If someone cannot easily contact you directly via Facebook,
•the only way they can reach you is through Facebook Messages.
This requires the comedy or speech booker to go through extra steps, assuming they will.
Rule-of-thumb: just like having easy access to your best video from your Home page (9 out of 10 comedians do not),
never require the user to take extra steps to find your professional phone number, etc.
It is much easier for the booker to hire someone who has their contact information immediately available
•at the top level of Facebook
•and on the Home page of their web site.
I am not an expert on Facebook settings and I am not a Facebook developer, nor do I have any special information on Facebook updates.
My information above re.: the default setting change in the first quarter of 2014 is just a conclusion I have reached from casual observation.
Tips on making Privacy setting changes:
Read Facebook's help instructions on "How do I control who can see my contact info on my Timeline?"
From your profile Timeline page, click the "Update Info" button:
This will bring up your About page in Editing mode.
You will then need to change each item for your Contact Information.
Click the "Edit" button for each section for Phone, Address, Website, Email.
In the screenshot below, you can only see the Edit button for Phones.
To see the Edit button for Address, just move your cursor down to the Address line.
The Edit button for Phones will disappear, and the Edit button for Address will magically appear, etc.:
Example: when you click the "Edit" button for Phones,
this dialog box appears where you can make changes, then click "Save Changes":
The dropdown menu for making those Privacy Setting changes looks like this for "Work" phone:
Note that I have selected "Friends" rather than "Public" for who can see my Work phone number.
This mean that only my Facebook Friends can see that particular phone number in my Contact Information.
You can select different Privacy settings for each of your Phones, Addresses, Websites, Email addresses, etc.
So, think before you leap!
Trust but verify that your "Contact Information" is now revealed on your About page as expected.
Then, to make doubly sure, check out your updated About page on a friend's computer from your friend's Facebook account.
If you also check out how your Contact Information is appearing on a computer at work, public library computer, etc.,
always try to get someone to access your About page using their (not your) Facebook account.
Then, look to see what is on their computer or mobile device screen.
Reason: you want to see your About page from the perspective of both:
•your Facebook Friends
•and folks who are not yet your Facebook Friends.
3) Mobile first web site design:
As over 50% of social media sites are now accessed by smart phones and other hand-held mobile devices,
yesterday's desktop and laptop computers are no longer the target audience.
•Design your web site for "mobile first!"
Such a site can still be viewed on Mac and Windows computers but:
•Has a layout designed for the smaller screens on smart phones, etc.
•Provides alternatives to Flash content which is prohibited on Apple iOS iPhones, iPodTouchs and iPads.
Designed for computer first: http://www.jimrichardson.com/ria/v/sm_loadMovie_content.html
Designed for mobile first: http://www.stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/workshopPreviews/index.html
Notice that all videos on this newer web site are in both Flash and iOS-friendly video formats.
•98% of all computers can play Flash video
•but the percentage of computers that can play iOS video formats is much lower.
Therefore, to include all users, whether on computer or mobile devices . . . you get the idea.
Well, some "smart" phones can't even . . ..
A short phrase that sells your persona.
•This can be your photo but must appear consistently on all your promotional material--
Business cards, stationery, web site Home Page and all other pages on your site, etc.
It takes longer than you might think to get a business card out of your wallet, purse, briefcase, etc.
Better to have at least 5 business cards in your jacket or shirt pocket.
•Practice your quick draw!
Yet another hint:
Anyone who asks for a business card might be thinking of hiring you for a private party.
•So, be more than willing to give anyone your business card.
Well, within reason: not to drunks and other jerks.
•Private parties pay 2-3 times what comedy clubs pay per performance
and can often schedule you earlier in the evening than your club work that night.
You still get your club pay for that night!
•Corporations pay "funny money":
10 times or greater than your club pay.
If someone asks for your business card before they see you perform,
that might well be the first step in negotiating your pay
to perform at their party, convention, etc.
Therefore, have on your card something like:
•"Available for private parties, roasts, conventions," etc.
Nothing like the power of suggestion!
Personalize your business card right then and there:
•Write something on the back of the card before you hand it out
that will later remind them when & where they met you.
Recently, a guy I gave my card to 10 years ago emailed me,
and hired me on the spot.
Months down the road, business cards end up at the bottom of shoe boxes,
and a simple note can remind them:
who you were
and what you chatted about.
Try to get their business card.
Then, write them:
•a personal email
•and snail mail them another note before a day goes buy.
Such consideration can prompt an immediate hiring.
If they write down their information and hand it to you on a piece of paper
or on the back of one of your business cards,
•read it before you put it in your wallet.
If you can't make out a word or number,
•this is probably your only chance to ask them for clarification!
Again, be patient:
The card you hand out tonight may not earn you a dime tomorrow,
but in a few years it may still earn you . . . $10,000!
•Get in touch:
Comedy Coach & Co-Writer
PO Box 992
Mill Valley, California 94942-0992