My New Freelance Writer Business Card

by John Soares on August 6, 2012

Every freelance writer should have a business card.

It doesn’t matter what you write about, or what you specialize in, there will be times when you talk to someone interested in your freelance writing services, or who knows someone who could be interested in your freelance writing services, and you need to hand them a business card.

My issue: I have three different business cards for three different types of writing. There’s my higher education freelancer business, my outdoors writer business, and then there’s this site — Productive Writers. And I’ve also taken on website copy projects lately, so I actually work in four different areas.

So I had three different cards in my wallet taking up a lot of space. I decided I wanted one basic card I could use all the time and for any type of situation.

So, without further ado, my new…

Freelance Writer Business Card!

Freelance writer business card

Note What’s On the Card

I lead with my LinkedIn profile. That’s where someone can find out all about me (and note it’s featured prominently in the sidebar of this blog).  No matter how my writing career changes, LinkedIn will always sell me best.

I put my Higher Education Writer site and ProductiveWriters.com down at the bottom.

I also include my main business e-mail address.

And note that I put “Freelance Writer and Consultant.” This positions me for a broader set of work opportunities that extend beyond just writing.

(I left off my hiking website because it’s not relevant to my main freelance writing business; I use it primarily for fun and also to sell my hiking guidebooks.)

Note What’s NOT on the Card

I left off my phone number.

All my clients have initiated contact through e-mail, either my main e-mail address or through LinkedIn after finding me through a search.

Once I’m in e-mail contact with a potential client, I give ‘em my phone number.

There’s no physical address.

Same as above. I give out my physical address when someone actually needs to send me something.

What Legitimately Could Have Been on the Card

Some writers may want to put a phone number on their business card. Depends on the specifics of your writing niches and perhaps also your personality.

You could put an address, if you really think it could be useful. If you do so, try to use a PO box or a private service that will operate a box for you rather than a physical address that could change.

A slogan or a saying. This can be a catchy tagline or something funny to get attention. I didn’t do it with my new card because I’m going for broad appeal across many types of writing.

You can see the different tack I took when creating the card for my San Francisco Bay Area house-sitting gig (gets me and Stephanie to warm places in the winter):

Our business card for house-sitting in northern California, with a focus on San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and the greater Bay Area.

Our business card for house-sitting in northern California, with a focus on San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and the greater Bay Area.

What Others Think

See fellow freelancer Anne Wayman’s take here and what Urban Muse Writer Susan Johnston says here.

Where I Get My Cards

I’ve used Vistaprint and I’ve been very happy with them. They’re inexpensive, they have a wide selection of customizable templates, and they deliver quickly, usually substantially faster than the quoted time.

Tips for Using Your Business Cards

#1. Always have business cards with you.

My wallet is actually a business card holder, so I have cards in there along with my driver’s license and a couple of credit cards.

#2. Hand ‘em out!

Don’t be shy about giving your business card to someone you meet.

You don’t have to do a big sales pitch with it, or do your elevator speech (although you can), but get it in people’s hands.

#3. Follow up…

In many situations, you’ll want to follow up on the contact you just made, so get the other person’s card or contact info. Send a quick e-mail, or a LinkedIn connection request (personalized, of course).

Your Take

What do you think of my strategy? What’s on your business card? What’s NOT on your business card?

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    { 44 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Cathy Miller August 6, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    Twitter: @millercathy

    Hi John: I like it. I’m not sure the LinkedIn connection would work for everyone, but it’s an interesting approach. Although I love LinkedIn, I’m always concerned about directing people to an outside entity vs. my own site where I have more control. I look forward to hearing how it works for you.

    My card has my site logo and tagline, my name & title, phone #, email & site address. I took off my physical address as well as it added nothing. Most of my clients are out of state. I also have (on the bottom) 30+ Years of Business and Health Care Specialty.

    My biggest problem is not using them enough. I tend to forget about them so thanks for a good reminder, John.
    Cathy Miller recently posted…Social Media Takers and How to Spot Them

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    2 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    Cathy, I definitely agree that featuring one’s LinkedIn profile is not the best way for many writers. It works for me because I have a fully developed profile and, as of this writing, 16 recommendations, so my profile can really sell me and my writing, plus let a prospect know as much about me as they’d like to know.
    John Soares recently posted…How This One Simple Technique Boosts My Morning Productivity

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    3 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    And I like the idea of a tagline. Since this is a broad-based card, I didn’t include one, although I should give some thought to something that helps sell me but isn’t too specific.
    John Soares recently posted…The Four Key Benefits of Writing Well

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    4 Susan M. Baganz August 6, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    Twitter: @susanbaganz

    I made my own business cards when I went to my first writer’s conference as a networking tool – and what I got the most affirmation on was the fact that I had a professional photo on the card. When I got home with my stack of cards – to be honest it was hard to remember who was who because all I had were names! People who got my cards didn’t have that problem because they remembered my face. I found that my facebook link was important for those contacts (that and twitter) but I also had my linkedin address as well. I actually had some of those extras (blog) on the back side -and the key stuff on the front. I was able to make them at home on my laser printer and they turned out beautifully.

    Reply

    5 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    Susan, great idea about the photo, and it would definitely help people remember you. I’ve noticed that most realtors have head shots on their business cards.

    And the back of the card can be used to great effect. I would only put nonessential information there because many people will not think to turn the card over.
    John Soares recently posted…How to Eat Your Way to Freelance Success

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    6 Susan Johnston August 6, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Twitter: @UrbanMuseWriter

    John, thanks for the shout out! It’s nice to see other writers who don’t include a physical address, because I’ve had people give me such a hard time about that and in this day and age of remote freelancing, I think it’s crazy to insist on a physical address. I do include my phone number for people who want it, though it rarely gets used.

    How do you feel about including a QR code? I’ve seen a few writers include that on a business card and I’m not sure if it’s too much of a fad or if it’s savvy.
    Susan Johnston recently posted…Guest Post: How I Began My Freelance Writing Career Online

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    7 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Susan, I totally agree that people who work remotely and don’t have a bricks and mortar business office don’t need to include a physical address. It’s essentially a waste of space and a distraction from the main points of the business card.

    I’m personally not interested in using QR codes, although I can see how some people would want to. I’ll wait and see what’s happening in a couple of years before I make the change.
    John Soares recently posted…Are Freelance Writers Introverts?

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    8 Cathy Miller August 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Twitter: @millercathy

    Susan-my most popular posts are on how QR Codes work, but from my very unscientific review, it doesn’t seem like here in the U.S. they’ve been embraced as much as they have across the pond.

    If you have the writer’s card anyway (presumably with their site address), what is the point of scanning the card to presumably go to their site? :-)

    Just my 2 cents.
    Cathy Miller recently posted…Social Media Takers and How to Spot Them

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    9 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    I’m with you Cathy. My potential prospect can just type in the website address. The website address has to be on the card anyway because not everyone has the ability (or desire) to scan a QR code.
    John Soares recently posted…What You Must Know to Find What You Need With Google

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    10 Anne Wayman August 6, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    Twitter: @annewayman

    Thanks for the link, John. I do include my phone number, but no physical address. Of course, my phone is all over my web pages too. I also use the back of my card, but as I’ve begun to restructure my business it’s probably time to do a new card…
    Anne Wayman recently posted…7 Ways Freelance Writers Can Write More Efficiently

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    11 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I’ve seen business cards that make very good use of the back and it’s something I’ll consider for future revisions.

    The nice thing about Vistaprint (and probably other online business-card companies) is that they save your electronic file. You can make minor changes any time you want and have new cards sent to you.
    John Soares recently posted…What Freelance Writers Must Know About Inbound Marketing

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    12 Juli Monroe August 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Twitter: @1to1Discovery

    John, I really like the design of the cards, and I completely agree with you adding the LinkedIn profile.

    One note about the email. I’d recommend switching to a domain address or gmail. Lots of people tell me they think someone is less professional if they have a Yahoo mail address on their card. (And Hotmail and AOL are looked on as even lower-class.)
    Juli Monroe recently posted…Social Media In Regulated Industries, Redux

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    13 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I agree about the e-mail address. However, I’ve used that Yahoo address for business since 1999 and it’s what hundreds of business contacts already have for me, so I’m sticking with it. Unfortunately, Gmail wasn’t around back in 1999.
    John Soares recently posted…Simplicity and the Successful Freelancer

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    14 Juli Monroe August 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Twitter: @1to1Discovery

    You can set up a Gmail account and have your Yahoo mail forwarded to it. That’s what I do. I used a Yahoo Mail address for my first two years in business (and everyone bi***ed at me for it). I have a domain address now, but everything goes to Gmail, so it doesn’t matter what people use. It all comes to the same place, and I can use the new(er) address on my cards.
    Juli Monroe recently posted…Social Media In Regulated Industries, Redux

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    15 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Juli, I’ve actually seriously considered that and may do it in the future.

    There’s another issue though: I actually prefer using Yahoo mail over Gmail!
    John Soares recently posted…How to Eat Your Way to Freelance Success

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    16 Juli Monroe August 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Twitter: @1to1Discovery

    Well, that would argue for sticking with Yahoo. ;) Sorry. I hated Yahoo Mail so much that switching to Gmail was fantastic.

    Ignore me and do what works best for you!
    Juli Monroe recently posted…Ironic How Time Changes Our Tech Needs

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    17 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    You actually make a very good point. I am a bit concerned that Yahoo doesn’t have the same cache as Gmail.

    And I used to be quite unhappy with Yahoo mail. However, they introduced a total revamp about a year ago and I find I prefer it to Gmail. (I also have a Gmail account that I use for activities not directly related to my freelance writing business.)
    John Soares recently posted…How This One Simple Technique Boosts My Morning Productivity

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    18 Southy August 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Great article and nice business card all around, although very unprofessional looking email address.

    Reply

    19 John Soares August 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I don’t agree with the “very unprofessional” part. I think it’s a good idea for people to have a main address at one of the big free sites like Gmail or Yahoo. Yes, Gmail is perceived as better than Yahoo, but most people understand that Yahoo was around first and is still used my many millions of people.
    John Soares recently posted…What You Must Know to Find What You Need With Google

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    20 Elena Anne August 7, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Twitter: @Elena__Anne

    I prefer gmail for its chat service and also the way it deals with spam, far better than hotmail for example. Good idea for the card, certainly a preofessional step.

    Reply

    21 sergio August 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    good advice about keeping the business cards inyour wallet, (we always have our purse/wallet with us. I’ma newbie sostill have a lot to learn but personally when people give me their business card I seem to loose or misplace it very quickly, I’m wondering if others do the same

    Reply

    22 Sophie Lizard August 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Twitter: @sophielizard

    John, this post is incredibly useful and so are the comments people have already left! If you don’t mind, I’ll send people here as a starting-point when they ask me what their freelance blogger business card should or could include.

    Reply

    23 John Soares August 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Send ‘em along Sophie — I’d appreciate it!
    John Soares recently posted…What Freelance Writers Must Know About Inbound Marketing

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    24 Rebecca August 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Twitter: @rebeccly

    Good advice here John. I particularly like the idea of withholding my phone number until email contact is made, because I am not as comfortable on the phone, especially with people I don’t know. It never really occurred to me that I could choose to leave it out!

    By the way, I too have a Yahoo email address that I’ve had for over a decade. I don’t use it for business, but there’s no way I’m giving it up unless Yahoo goes under.
    Rebecca recently posted…Work Rituals to Make Freelancing Easier

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    25 John Soares August 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I like business calls to take place at a time that’s good for me, and when I’ve had a chance to prepare for it. With no number on the card, a potential client will need to e-mail me. And that’s actually how most people prefer it, in my experience.
    John Soares recently posted…The Four Key Benefits of Writing Well

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    26 Reese August 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Great looking card. On my card I have my name, title, email, skype ID, and sites. I do not like putting my phone number and address on there. Since I work online I prefer to conduct all my businesses via online like through skype and email.
    Reese recently posted…How the Bond Market Could Make Your Credit Card More Expensive

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    27 Suzanne August 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Hi John, I like your card. It has all the necessary information. I agree that these days you don’t need to include your physical address and in some cases your phone number. The world has changed and what was standard on a business card years ago is no longer valid. One thing I might encourage is to add a tagline to your card. I find that a tagline “finishes” off the brand in a polished sort of way. Here’s a resource for creating a tagline: http://prosperitycoaching.biz/newsite_070707/articles_taglinesthatsizzle.html * Suzanne
    Suzanne recently posted…Advisors, 4 Surprising Things Prospects Want to Learn When They Visit your Website

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    28 linda@adventuresinexpatland.com August 19, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Twitter: @in_expatland

    Good post John, I like the card and think it’s professional, streamlined and (equally important) still reflective of you. I like your point about getting people to think about which social media venue from which they get the most business contacts (e.g., LinkedIn front and center). When I had my card done, I went for a small rectangle (think half a card) and put the photo banner from my website on the back. I’ve received tons of feedback that people really liked the banner (I use it on social media as well as part of my branding) AND the mini size. At the time I wasn’t on LinkedIn so included my website, email and Twitter handle. I used Moo and had great results, although I’m hearing only good things about Vistaprint.
    linda@adventuresinexpatland.com recently posted…World Humanitarian Day: I Was Here

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    29 John Soares August 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Linda, I’m intrigued by your decision to have a half-sized card. It would certainly distinguish it from all the rest and would be much more memorable.

    Not everyone needs to feature their LinkedIn profile. I happen to have a major presence there, so it’s important for me. Other writers can feature their own websites, or a tag line.
    John Soares recently posted…How This One Simple Technique Boosts My Morning Productivity

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    30 Marissa September 14, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Interesting! I’m actually going in the opposite direction–creating a niche biz card after using a broader one for the past year. I definitely see the merits in both and will always keep my broad card on me for in-person networking so as not to exclude any prospective clients.

    I’m also intrigued with your idea of not putting a phone number on there. Do you do much in-person networking? I find most of the prospects I connect with in person prefer calling me over emailing. Have you had the opposite experience?

    Featuring your LinkedIn profile, now there’s a smart idea. I’ll have to incorporate that into my website, at the very least. If you don’t mind me asking, which widget did you use for your LinkedIn button?

    Reply

    31 John Soares September 14, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Marissa, what should be on the card will vary each business person. If I focused on writing primarily for local clients I might put my phone number on my business card.
    John Soares recently posted…The Freelance Writing Project Hiding in Your Spam Folder

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    32 John Soares September 14, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    And it is a good idea to have multiple cards. I have a card for my outdoors writing and another for my winter house-sitting service. All three are in my wallet.
    John Soares recently posted…How the Web Changes Your Brain and Hurts Your Life

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    33 Tiffany October 16, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    So glad to see I am not the only one who does not include a phone number on their business card. I’m a visual artist and interior designer, and I want to use my card to direct people to my website so they can see more pictures of my work. Like some of the other commenters mentioned, I’d rather give out my phone number once I’ve gotten in contact with people via e-mail. I have a day job and don’t have time to answer the phone while I am at work, but I can always access e-mail. And perhaps because I am on the phone with random strangers all day (I’m a receptionist) I am not interested in fielding a bunch of phone calls when I get off from work. While it’s true that there are still many people who are not very tech savvy, most people have e-mail nowadays, even if they aren’t on social media.
    Tiffany recently posted…The Fabulous Fine Arts Building

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    34 John Soares October 21, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    Tiffany, I also find that projects typically begin with e-mail. I’ve actually landed and completed a majority of my projects entirely through e-mail, without the need for a phone call.
    John Soares recently posted…How to Be a Healthy Freelancer

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    35 Thachna M. Balakrishnan November 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Twitter: @tmb61

    This article really helped me with coming up with my first business card as a freelance writer. Currently I am a student taking a hiatus off university pursuing a Major in Professional Media Studies. The change to this major was a recent change, previously I was a marketing business major.I have not got any articles published in print or any websites, but have been updating my blog with articles that I have been inspired to write, I also write movie reviews based on factual findings and not just based on my own opinion or take on the movies. There is also a section on opinion pieces which I have written. In this case I am really clueless on what I should put my job title/ title as in the name card. What would be your suggestions in this case John?
    Thachna M. Balakrishnan recently posted…Singapore’s Last Race Riot

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    36 John Soares November 2, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    You could just put “Writer” or “Freelance Writer” on the card. You can always change it later when you feel the need to be more specific.
    John Soares recently posted…How the Web Changes Your Brain and Hurts Your Life

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    37 Lianne @ The Wise Living November 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Twitter: @MsLianneLaroya

    Thanks for this tip, John!

    I have a need for advice, though. I have a personal website called The Wise Living. It’s mostly about personal finance, self development and lifestyle which means I post thought-provoking content (Top 5 Money Mistakes) but I also post personal ones (Family Trip to Boracay) because I also want it to be a documentary of my family life.

    Then, recently, I decided to pursue my passion in writing so I decided to become a freelance writer. I want to make a separate website which will be about my upcoming freelance writing business. My niche will be business, medical and self development writing.

    The question is this, will I need to produce 2 cards? Or just one card but using both sides? I used to think that I should just make TWL my professional site since I’ve had past clients tell me they hired me because they liked majority of my posts on The Wise Living. On the other hand, I’ve read an advice that including personal posts (Trip to Boracay, etc.) to your professional site is bad practice and I agree with that as well, so I decided to make a separate website instead.
    Lianne @ The Wise Living recently posted…Wise Living Habit #4: Don’t Keep People Waiting

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    38 John Soares November 13, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    In this case I would have two separate cards.

    I wrote above about creating one card for all my freelance writing, but I also have separate cards for my hiking website and my house-sitting website.
    John Soares recently posted…Why You Are So Slow Finishing That Freelance Writing Project

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    39 Lianne @ The Wise Living November 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Twitter: @MsLianneLaroya

    Hi, John.

    Thanks for the advice. It is appreciated!
    Lianne @ The Wise Living recently posted…Wise Living Habit #4: Don’t Keep People Waiting

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    40 Jesse January 5, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Twitter: @cajuncopy

    Hi John,

    Glad a read through the previous posts to get to this one. I love the simplicity. Less chance for someone to get confused and do nothing. I’m going to give a simpler look a try.

    I’ve avoided from calling myself a “consultant,” even though that’s what I do every day. Thanks for making me rethink that. A lot to chew on here. :)
    Jesse recently posted…Don’t Know What to Say? Try These 4 Words

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    41 Susan B. Bentley February 12, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    Twitter: @susebb

    Many thanks for the straightforward advice, John. I’d been deliberating about changing my business card for ages! People always commented on the design of my logo (created by a graphic designer friend) and the round corners of the card seem to get everyone excited (thanks moo.com!) but the reverse side with my details on had the potential to get very busy, especially with the advent of Google plus as yet another link to add!

    I’ve cut things down considerably now: changed my title from Copywriter and Communications Strategist to Freelance Writer and Editor (hopefully keeping it simple but encompassing everything I do), kept my phone number, website and email, and just kept the two social media channels I’m always on – LinkedIn and Twitter. On Carol Tice’s blog, Ruth Ekblom had commented about adding an ‘I met Ruth at…on…’ which I think is a great suggestion but decided to go with a side photo of me instead (professional headshot) as it’s easier then for someone to look at it and think ‘oh yes, the girl with 60s glasses and red hair’!
    Susan B. Bentley recently posted…Seven ways to screw up a press release

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    42 Kevin Davis @ Alphagraphics June 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    I actually like that you left off the phone and the address. Some cards get a little too cluttered but this still allows a way to contact you without making it too busy.

    Reply

    43 Susan Kay Daniels June 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Twitter: @_susandaniels

    The layout of your card and the explanation for it is valuable information for me. I haven’t used a business card for some time so appreciate the encouragement.
    Susan Kay Daniels recently posted…Video | Mari Smith – 7 Ways to Curate Social Media Content

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    44 John Soares June 17, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    It’s usually a good idea to have a business card, even if it’s a general one. It definitely makes you look more professional!
    John Soares recently posted…Four Reasons Why Freelance Writers Should Specialize

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