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Passively marketing yourself in the field at a low cost

I’m on a budget.

A Realtor friend of mine asked the other day how he can market himself better. We went over blogging, social networking, which events to make it to, business card design and more. He was enthusiastic about revamping some of his current efforts and was inspired to get to his laptop.

We were wrapping up our conversation when he declined another coffee, “I’m here all the time, I don’t even work at the office anymore, I work here, in the Starbucks.”

Interestingly, it was the very Starbucks we were sitting in last year when an older gentleman overheard us talking about brokerage models and said, “I couldn’t help but overhear you, are you a Realtor?” While we’re not, our buddy sitting with us was. They had a talk about investments and how the older man had bought a house up the street sight unseen through a broker he never met and he had a great experience and wanted to invest more in Austin. Our friend had a client.

But what if we hadn’t been chuckling and talking openly and not whispering about real estate? That opportunity would never have happened. But what if you’re alone and can’t chuckle and talk openly?

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Visible branding = opening doors

If you’re a coffee shop worker-ista, there are a few ways we can suggest vamping up your visible marketing to passively market yourself and not break the bank! When we shared these with our friend, you would have thought he just discovered the internet- he was so pumped. So without further ado:

  1. Get to know StickerMule which offers custom skins for your smartphones, tablets or laptop, or you can simply order die cut stickers. Get your branding seen by putting it on your phone, your laptop, your folders and heck, since you’re in a coffee shop, instead of your business card, tack up a few stickers on the corkboard. Be sure to have your url as your branding, so instead of just remax. While you’re at it, hand them out as business cards from time to time, at tech and social events.
  2. Get a couple of polo tops or t-shirts with your logo and url printed on them- be a walking billboard. We never got around to it but wanted to have “Realtor on duty” shirts designed. Super clever, no? Very approachable. For quick orders, check out or for custom screen printing that is higher quality, try Rural Rooster in Austin.
  3. Car magnets or car wraps if not cheesy can be low key yet high impact. Don’t put your phone number on the car because I’ll just call you to cuss you out when you cut me off, simply put your url. “” is all you need for a sticker or magnet. There are a lot of options, but you can order a cheap (but not necessarily high quality) work from VistaPrint or higher quality from BuildASign.
  4. Get some pens with your URL printed up just about anywhere and when you leave a table for the day, leave a pen, leave one at the grocery store for check writers and the like. So long as they’re not ugly, they’ll circulate (although this is a very low impact method).

A combination of one or some of these can help not only with your branding but by opening the door and allowing people come to you. Some people choose to wear their name tags which works too, but if that doesn’t feel right to you, laptop stickers are another great way to go.

Readers, tell us in comments how YOU passively market yourself in public. The opportunities are endless.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Ben Fisher

    May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    All great ideas here. I'm also a big fan getting work done in Sbucks.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      Ben, us too. We don't often get a chance to, but it's a great weekend work spot sometimes!

  2. Teresa boardman

    May 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I call it working in public.

  3. ken brand

    May 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Oh my, real world, supremely logical, unsexy/unshiny object, Collide With Opportunity strategies that will work if we do. Thanks. Why oh why wouldn't we do every one of these.

    As for the "I don't feel comfortable doing _________." on your list, I guess each person has to weigh it out.

    Which is more uncomfortable; no money, no listing, no buyers, no respect and no prospects.


    I feel kinda funny wearing a name badge (or doing anything else on the list), but I'll do it because I want money, listings, buyers, respect and a future.

    We choose every day, don't we?

    My rant for the evening. Thanks for a great share. Cheers everyone, this is going to be a GREAT year for the workers. Yea!

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Great year for workers indeed!

      Where I was going with my personal level of comfort is that I am not a sales person, never have been, never will be (it's not my bag), and even a nametag seems aggressive to me whereas a sticker on my laptop is more passive and more my pace… make sense? If I were in a position to sell, however, I'd have my frickin' nametag tattooed on my forehead 😉

  4. Randy Pereira

    May 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Great post, and Thanks for the tips!

    • Lani Rosales

      May 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Glad to have you here, Randy! Let us know if any of the tips work for you. 🙂

  5. Jordan Gilbreath

    May 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Getting out in the crowd. Nose to Nose. That's what it takes. Picked up a client today in a coffee shop myself…she overheard us talking.

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