Me, the brand
I just got a shipment today of beautiful thick cardstock business cards from Moo! They’re beautiful and have such a satisfying tangibility to them.
I discovered partway through my career just how simple it is to get your own business cards, even if you don’t run your own business or have nothing to advertise. I think I’ve only ever had two times where I thought having cards was super handy: one was when I gave my now-fiancé my business card because I just didn’t think he was going to figure out anytime soon how to ask me out; the other was at a massive conference where I needed to make a lot of vendor connections.
I hate to think that it’s generally not very environmentally friendly to hand out cards, especially at large conferences/events where there’s a TON of paper used at those sorts of things where they immediately become non-recycled waste. I tried to look for alternatives, but apps in general were kind of terrible.
However, there was a pretty cool contact info exchange app that existed a number of years ago called Bump that was incredibly convenient — you would switch it on, and with smartphone in hand, fist bump someone else who has the app to exchange information. It eventually got shut down, and while it seemed like a great idea at the time, I realized nothing was quite as simple and straightforward as handing someone your card.
I got these because Moo was having a sale (yes, I admit I *only* ever sign up for discount newsletters to wait for the best deal for everything), and I was stuck trying to figure out the design.
After some consideration, I figured the cleanest and simplest format works best. Why would anyone even need my phone number? I barely talk to people I am closest with on the phone, let alone new acquaintances. I have so many different social apps that there’s no need for a phone number to reach me anymore. The most I ever talk on the phone tends to be with complete strangers for things like making restaurant reservations or some such.
A business card is like the physical manifestation of your ego. You want to display it proudly, and wield it to get attention from others.
And if that’s true, my ego appears to be smaller than average and artificially simple. What a humble little thing. I hope these things don’t get lost in too many pockets in due time.
I’m struggling to figure out my personal brand. It’s never been entirely strange to me to want to have a public self, but I think it’s now become a way to truly distinguish yourself as the lone custard bun among the other plain steamed buns of the world.
What you do is who you are; and what I’ve been doing in the past few years is experimenting on getting to becoming the person I want to be by doing what I want to do.
To list a few:
- I joined a startup a few years ago, not fully understanding at the time what it all meant nor realize it was in my radar until I somehow fell into it and then fell in love with all the chaos of it all.
- I tried my hand briefly at the whole “start a startup” thing, went to a female founders bootcamp, talked to hundreds of people, and then failed before I truly began. I’m going to try again sometime, but not right now.
- I founded the meetup group Bridge Builders where we would run monthly workshops on different diversity, inclusion and representation topics. I was frustrated with being in male-dominant industries my whole life, and seeing how in the tech industry the lack of diversity was commonly amplified multiple-fold.
- I don’t remember how I got my first few public speaking gigs, but they somehow happened and after one event, others came to me to have me speak at other events. Panels are my favorite — super low pressure, easy to be charming, and I learn things from fellow panelists.
- When I first moved to Toronto I barely knew a soul, and I networked my butt off. I jumped off the deep end by going to the largest tech event I could find, and then started from there. You might think you can’t walk into a 300 person event alone and try to talk to everyone… or you can just try, get really sweaty and anxious in the process, but then make it out alive. I kept trying again at all the other events, until I got pretty good at it.
Now as I reflect back on the things I’ve done, I’m looking forward to all the things I hope to do this year:
- Keep creating, keep building. I’ve missed having consistent creative outlets, and last year a lot of that was honing some miscellaneous art skills like watercolor. This year I aim to get back into blogging/vlogging. I started with one Youtube video and then found I honestly don’t have the bandwidth right now to get into editing. Blogging it is!
- More family time. It’s a guarantee this will be happening as many pieces are finally falling into place geographically speaking, meaning many of my loved ones will be close to me. I’m also getting married this year, so there’s that!
- Be an active, healthy, happy person. I mean, that last part is always true, but not so much the first two adjectives. I don’t have a plan to do it right now because I have too many important life and work projects all happening at the same time (pfft excuses! but.. actually… really.) but the end point of that is going to be in a couple months, so that’s when the real work will begin.
If you search on LinkedIn for “Andrea Chan”, there are 548 results.
If you google “Andrea Chan”, there are a bunch on the first few pages that are accomplished and probably each make individually multiple times over what I make in a year.
A number of years ago, when I google searched “Andrea Chan” and went to the images, there would be pages of profile photos of women I didn’t know but had my name.
Today, when I googled myself and looked in the images, I found my dorky mug staring at me from two different time periods in my life, on the second and third row. One is of me speaking at a tech event, and the other of my current role on Crunchbase.
I’m the only AndreaChan.com out there. So… hello. This is me.