Saturday, 11 February 2012

DIY: Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Own Business

PART  l – How to Advertise your Business Cheaply but with Panache!

These days there are a lot of self-employed people out there. Every month, when they announce the latest unemployment figures and mention the number of jobs created, have you ever noticed they always downplay them by saying: but many of those jobs were self-employment –as if those jobs don’t really count!

I’m self-employed and thoroughly enjoy the freedom and autonomy of being my own boss. I do work harder and longer than many – that part of the 'own your own business' mythology is quite true. Especially in the early years of starting and building your reputation and business.

I have always had a ‘self-employment’ aspect in my wage-earning life -- since I was in my teens, in fact – and, as a result, I have established a number of ‘cheap’ ways to create buzz. These days, with so many people heading towards retirement at a young age, with lots of energy to work or do part-time contracts/consulting, it makes sense to consider starting your own business -- something you can either grow or keep small depending on your longterm goals/needs.

In this 3-part series, I'm going to show you how to get down and dirty with inexpensive ways -- although they can be time-consuming -- to promote and build your home-based or other self-employment business endeavor.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites to get you started:

Vistaprint – for all your advertising collateral and literature: using easy to use templates you can create your own attractive, professional looking business cards, brochures, postcards, car-lawn and banner signage, swag (pens, hats, t-shirts).   

Lawn Signs that Match my Business Cards
Trick for getting the best deals: subscribe to the e-mail and watch it religiously.  There are often great short term promos that you can parlay into even better pricing if you have your products ready to print when the deals pop up.  And, if you wait, you can often get free shipping, as well (because Vistaprint tries to ‘get you’ with the shipping fees).  Once you spot the trends on Vistaprint’s changeable specials, you’ll be amazed at how cheap you can get all your advertising.  

Brochure using some of my photos and some provided within Vistaprint

Bonus: I even make calendars each year and, because I wait and order them a few at a time over the 2-3 months before Christmas, as the deals pop up in the regular email, I can usually get fantastic homemade photo collage presents for about $5 each.  My friends just love them!  It just takes a little time and patience to get the hang of it. 

Calendar page using Collage I made previously - get the heavier glossy option.  It looks very professional!
Stay tuned for Part ll - Networking and Growing your Business through Blogs, Websites and Social Media!

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