These are five reasons you should avoid your personal name and instead create a brand new name.
My friend and ex-colleague quit her job to become a freelance brand consultant. She planned to build a website that showcased her work and detailed her abilities, just like any freelancer looking for new business opportunities. She had to first answer a crucial question: Should she create a brand name for her business or use her name? She asked me for advice as I manage a brand consultancy agency with only one employee. This question will be asked no matter what type of freelance work you do - whether you are a brand consultant or a bookkeeper. Your personal name is a way to present yourself as an individual contributor, and keep the attention on you. A brand name will, however, require careful naming and will allow for some "daylight" between the business and you. Both paths can be successful, but deciding which path is best for you will depend on many factors. Below are five reasons to choose the first option: creating a brand new name for your freelancing business.
The scale is identified by its brand name
Many companies have taken on the names of their founders in the past. Think Lipton, Ford, or Charles Schwab. These companies are more likely than their modern-day counterparts to create unique brand names such as Starbucks, Tesla, and Robinhood. (For the record: Starbuck is a fictional character from Moby Dick. Nikola Tesla died 60+ years before founding Tesla Motors. It's also unlikely that Robin Hood was even a real person. This shift means that a unique brand name can give the impression of a larger organization.
You might be thinking "But I don’t want anyone to believe I’m more than one person", but don’t underestimate the disadvantages solo freelancers face in competitive situations. People who have never met you, whether they are procurement personnel or decision-makers, may make judgments solely based on your name. Imagine being asked to choose from one of these brand consultancies: Lexicon, Catchword, or Sally Flakowitz. You're better off not using your personal name.
Your brand name is your opportunity to grow
Another benefit of a brand is its ability to grow with your business. Although you may not have plans to build a team of 15, plans can change. A brand name can help you grow your business if it grows beyond a single-person operation.
This logic is applicable to all projects. You may have to subcontract work or hire freelancers to help you with a large project. It is not a good idea to introduce yourself as independent freelancers and work together when you arrive at a client's office. This creates a temporary, non-committal feeling. It is much simpler and more professional to say "Hello, Rob. This is Sally." We are from [BrandName].
A brand name gives you the opportunity to communicate your ideas
What thoughts and emotions does your name evoke in those who hear it Your name is likely to be associated with positive adjectives among your friends and family. Perhaps your name is smart, creative, and hardworking. For those who have never met you? Have you ever heard of your name? It's just your name. Your name does not convey any meaning unless you go by the nickname "Sting" and "The Rock". It doesn't convey to potential clients that you are creative or smart. It is not a name that you choose.
However, a brand name can be used to communicate something. Some brand names are simple and descriptive (e.g. Best Buy), while others simply suggest an idea (e.g. Zipcar). Some brands go beyond the obvious. They don't have any specific meaning, but they can convey a sense of personality. You can use your brand name to tell people about you and what you do.
It may be simpler to spell or pronounce a brand name.
Although some names are more difficult to pronounce than others (e.g., your last and first names), the brand name you create is likely to be shorter than your personal name. For example, a brand name may only contain one word. You'll also have the opportunity to make it easy to use since you are creating the name from scratch. There are exceptions to this rule, but most brand names are short and sweet. Names that are based on one or more English words are more likely than others to be easily understood, pronounced, and correctly spelled.
You may have additional problems if your personal name is used to do business abroad. Names that are familiar in one culture or language may be difficult to pronounce in another. People may assume that your name is a common one in a certain country or region. This assumption can be inaccurate or true. English has been the global business language of choice. Many business people do not speak English but can understand and pronounce a few English words.
A brand name might be more distinct
However, the flip side to this is that sometimes personal names don't stand out because they are so common. It's not easy to get people to correctly spell or pronounce your name if it is "Niamh Moulney". However, if your name is one of the more than 11,000 Ann Millers on LinkedIn it may be difficult for potential customers to remember you or distinguish you from other freelancers.
It is important to review the names of competitors before you start naming your brand. You have the option to choose a different style of naming your brand, one that is shorter or longer than those of competitors, or one that is unique to the category.
This decision will ultimately depend on your surname and given name. What are their communities? Do they require difficulty to spell? Do they associate you with one particular language, country, or region? Names of people are almost too good to be used for brand names. Smart & Final was named after J.S. Smart and H.D. Final) or Fox Racing (named after founder Geoff Fox). They are short and simple, easy to remember, have imagery or meaning, and are simple to remember. If you don't have a unique, memorable name, it might be worth creating a brand for your freelancing business.