OPTION 1: USE YOUR OWN NAME AS A BUSINESS NAME
Establishing your business under your own name can be a power move, particularly if your business is you. Maybe you’re a coach, a blogger, a novelist, a copywriter, an artist, a graphic designer. When people hire your business, they’re hiring you, and just you (because you don’t have employees), so it can make sense to use your name.
Especially if you have a name that’s not too common and not too hard to spell.
THE CURSE OF THE COMPLICATED NAME
In Detroit, we have a lot of people with Polish backgrounds, which means I’ve been witness to a lot of meetings where someone has to ask a colleague with a Polish name to spell it out for them so they can get it right. (And then they still spell it wrong.)
If your name is Anna Wilezxynski, establishing your business under your name may pose a fair share of problems. Like people not knowing how to type your URL into a browser window, for one. And when people struggle, they give up fast. They’ll just move on to the next business that looks like it can help them, rather than dig deep and figure out what they’re getting wrong. In this case, you could try shortening to an alternate version of your name, like Anna Wilez, if you’re comfortable with that. You could also go by your first name + middle name, like Anna Madeline, for example.
THE CURSE OF THE POPULAR NAME
Another problem people can have is that their name is really common. If you’re a Jessica Miller or a Grace Kim or a Lakshmi Gupta and you name your business after yourself, when people type your name into Google, they’re going to wade through dozens of listings, just because the name is so common.
It can be just as much of a hurdle as having a complex name.
Factoid time: I was listening to a podcast once where the guest was a guy who helps people disappear for a living. People escaping abusive relationships or families, etc. And for the people he helps, one of the ways he covers their tracks on the internet is to create a bunch of fake websites under the same name. Grace Kim, rodeo clown. Grace Kim, podiatrist. Grace Kim, professional hand model. You can’t always remove things from the internet, but you can obscure them by making the results so hard to find that most people give up.
Think about that if you’re considering using a common name for your business name. Will your site be obscured under thousands of entries about people who share your name? How will you set yourself apart?
WHO THIS APPROACH WORKS FOR
Using your name works best if it’s sort of distinctive but easily read. If you’re a Rochelle Pickford, say, you can probably own the crap out of the search listings for your name. And it’s still easy enough to spell that people can find you directly, without being so ubiquitous that other Rochelle Pickfords will pop up.
What if you have a common or complex name but want to brand your business after yourself anyway? You could always adapt your business name a little. Use a shortened version of your last name, or a more phonetic spelling. As I mentioned above, you could use your middle name, or a mother’s maiden name. You might use any other family name, too. I have a friend who does business under the names of her first two kids – something along the lines of Mackenzie Rose.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR BUSINESS NAME
When I formed my LLC back in 2019, I went with my initials – LRG – and Creative, because that’s what my career has been, as an advertising creative. So adding a descriptor word or using your initials is totally viable as well.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Coach Ashley J.
- M. L. Dashwood
- Jane Doe the Stylist
- Suzanne Writes
- AFK Marketing
- Photography by Winona P.
- Margery Carol Johnson
- Hazel S. Accounting