Why I Never Put A Title On My Business Card

MJ Business card

This is my business card. All two lines… If you ever watched American Psycho you would know that Christian Bale would not be impressed… But that’s kind of my point. There are many reasons why I choose not to put my title on my business card. Here are six of them…

Ego, Ego, Ego

I used to be an egotistical pr?k. I have outgrown it. Mostly because I have learned that I dislike egotistical pr?cks… That being said, I think I have been given more cards that say CEO then there are companies in the world.

I would say 9 out of every 10 people who give me cards with those titles have no real business to speak of, probably because they are spending all of their time talking the CEO talk and zero time walking the CEO walk. I am sure there are people who have titles without the accompanying egos, however from my experience that is the exception rather than the rule. I find most people like to constantly remind themselves how important they are. I have also found that egos can be destructive to your business as it can cloud your judgment quite easily without you even knowing it.

I Am Not The CEO

I realized early in my first business I was not the CEO. I was whatever the company needed me to be at any given time. I was the salesman, the warehouse manager, the accounts receivable department, the production manager, the stylist for the photo-shoots, and many a time I was the man responsible for cleaning the warehouse toilets. So no, CEO would not encapsulate my job description.

I Don’t Want People To Know Who I Am All The Time

If you have ever seen the show Undercover Boss and you like the show, you probably like it because it reveals the authenticity of a company’s employees (another word I hate) because they do not know they are dealing with a man or woman a bit higher on the totem pole. My companies were never large enough that employees would not recognize me but when I went on sales calls not every store knew me because they were dealing with my salesforce mostly. I enjoyed flying under the radar to get an authentic perspective of who they really were and how attentive they really were to the needs of my company.

I Do More Than 1 Thing In Life

I like to have my hand in different cookie jars and just using my name allows me to be me without restricting me to any one company. Sometimes I represented one of my brands, other times my sales agency, my homeless foundation, or sometimes I just want to give out my contact on a personal level without the person getting into my business.

It Is Both Simple And Impossible To Get In Contact With Me

I have my cell # on my card. If I don’t want to answer I don’t answer and if I do, then I pick up. Emails can be time consuming if used inappropriately in my opinion as it takes me a while to check emails, then type in the appropriate answer. On a phone, I can say, “Not interested” or, “Interested. Will call you back.”

Happy In My Unconventional Ways

Basically, it keeps things easy for me and allows me flexibility I would otherwise not have if I chose to follow the conventional path… and those who know me, know I stray a bit from the conventional.

A few questions for you:

1-    Do you put your title on your card? If you do, do you do it for the right reasons in your opinion?

2-    Have you ever thought you were talking to a hotshot CEO only to find out the person was not as hot as you thought him or her to be?

Have a great Day!

MJ

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15 thoughts on “Why I Never Put A Title On My Business Card

  1. Brilliant! I have struggled with figuring out which title I should use and always felt a little funny calling myself a CEO when I am the only one in the company. I have never even considered just forgoing a title… Can’t believe I didn’t think of it. Great post!

    1. Thanks Angie. Yeah, I just think it puts you in a box and for many, is a way to prove to themselves that they are important. lol… You seem humble enough that whatever you do will have good intentions so I ain’t worried about YOU! It’s some others that would much rather talk the walk as opposed to the other way around. Have a great day. Best-MJ

      1. I agree. It’s not about who I am or me being important. It’s about the value I can add to whomever I’m involved with. New business card design: name phone number and email. Qr code on the back 😉 love it.

  2. I really like this idea because it protects you in the event of career change. I also think it’s great because in the digital society of today, simplicity is both functional and chic. I’m going to keep this in mind for my next batch of business cards – but I’ll have to add my (because I’m a freelancer) and a website where people can see what I’ve been up to if they’d like to see examples of my work. Good post.

    1. Thanks Kat, Great points. I agree that having a website is a great platform for people to find you and I agree with you. These days, blogs are our homebase so I think it adds great value… as long as you refrain from claiming yourself as CEO the website! My opinion only, of course… :-)

  3. MJ – In my 25 years in business I have never had a title on my card, either. You make so many valid points.

    I think the two most important reasons are that I do not want to be perceived as egotistical and I don’t want to be prejudged based on what someone thinks a particular title means.

    I also find it helpful when people look at my card and ask “so what do you do?”

    Doesn’t get better than that!

    Cheers,
    Marc

    1. Thank Marc for the comment. Yes, it kind of “opens up the conversation” when you leave the title off your card. That’s a great point. It also allows you not to be prejudged like you referred to. 25 years in business and no business card helps me prove my point so thank you! lol. Have a great one. Best-MJ

  4. Love your thoughts on this. I can definitely see your point, particularly in an entrepreneurial venture. I also always feel my job changes depending on the need. In most situations, I don’t claim a title but opt for “manage a business” or “I’m in sales” (we all are). That said, a contrary view: if you run a large company, the title can be beneficial. Not as a driver of ego, but also to open doors and move things along. I’ve been in meetings where their CEO would only attend if I was there.

    1. Great points Skip. I agree completely in a large corporate structure as the culture is quite different. I have always enjoyed certain ways other countries have dealt with titles. For instance, the top management of two very large overseas companies that financed my order book (one Korean the other Chinese) had “manager” on their cards. I later found out that meant they “managed” the United States division, which was quite a substantial division. I love that humility… But yes, with the absence of ego, a title can be very useful. Unfortunately, I have found (in my opinion) that many people have the tendency to abuse titles and it can actually get in the way of their own success.

      Gary Vaynerchuk recently posted a video that was in full support of your statement as it relates to sales. Basically he said at the end of the day, “I’m just a sales guy.” It’s important that people hear that from people like you two who have quite a bit of experience behind you. Thanks so much for the comments as always! Best-MJ

  5. All great points. Although title mean nothing to me, they seem to mean a whole lot to others. For that reason, I list my title. I will never forget where I came from nor will I ever need anyone to fill my ego. I will however take this to blog to heart and modify my pitch to others.

    To answer your second question, unfortunately it happens too much! There’s nothing more annoying that someone that constantly refers themselves as the President/CEO. I find myself the opposite, I feel weird even mentioning it!

    I recently wrote quick blog about cell phone numbers on business cards as opposed to office numbers. I’d love to hear your thoughts! http://www.arcphor.com/even-business-cards-have-a-strategy/ It’s not a shameless plug, simply conversation to add.

    1. Thanks Tim, yeah I believe it is all about INTENTIONS. I would like to put a new rule in place that will allow someone to use such a title ONLY IF they actually have some sales on the books. That may weed things out a bit however I still hate titles none-the-less. That, however is the beauty of OPINIONS… and this is just mine. No right or wrong, just one man’s perspective. Have a good one my man… p.s. I don’t make it a habit to allow links but I read the post and found it interesting so I let it slide! :-)

  6. I agree MJ – I don’t want to be know by my title, I want to be known via my value to others. I want to be know for the reason they trust, respect & care for me. My title is not that. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Teddy, I appreciate the comment. I agree with your thinking! Your title is not a reflection of you. Trust and respect are very important! Have a great one – MJ

  7. At my job we started out exactly the same way. But the companies we were dealing with just wouldn’t deal with anyone who had a “humble” title. They felt nottaken seriously if the deals weren’t set up by the right C-level or VP-level person. So eventually we printed the corresponding cards just to be able to get the business.

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