Every business needs a memorable name. It gives you a unique identity. And when done right, it helps you make a lasting impact online.
But how do you pick the best name for your freelancing business?
This is the dilemma most freelancers face when starting their business.
They’re torn between using a personal name and a business name. You’re probably thinking the same since you ended up here!
With freelancing, you’re promoting your personal brand. So using a personal name naturally comes to mind.
But this may not work with your long-term goals. And you wouldn't want to turn off potential clients.
On the flip side, there’s a branded name. But is this really necessary when you’re a one-man team?
Yes, naming your business is tough. And if you’re still struggling to make a choice, we’ll help you narrow down your decision.
Personal vs. Business name: What’s best for your freelance service?
|The Pros and Cons of Using Your Personal Name ||The Pros and Cons of Using a Business Name |
- It’s client-baiting: Potential clients (especially startups and smaller companies) would assume you offer affordable services since you’re a one man band.
- It’s more inviting: Using your personal name builds rapport with clients because it appears friendly and less intimidating.
- Domain availability: You have higher chances of getting a matching domain.
Tip: If your name is taken, go for your name + your profession/niche.
Example: johndoeconsulting.com, janewriter.com
- It creates a well-established image: A business name is usually tied to a high level of expertise and authority.
- It gives you a professional edge: Gives a more professional impression, attracting bigtime clients.
- Flexible: A business name is ideal if you have plans of growing into a corporate business.
- Domain availability: Unique business names have higher chances of securing a matching domain.
Tip: Add your location or get a local domain extension
Example: artdepotjakarta.com, sitedepot.id
- Less professional: A personal name could make you appear inexperienced.
- Growth challenges: If you grow into a corporation, potential clients will still think you’re a one-man business.
- It creates an expensive assumption: A business name is often tied to expensive pricing. This is not ideal if you’re targeting clients with smaller budgets.
- Time-consuming: It may take time to come up with a perfect business name.
Using your personal name when freelancing
Using your name creates more personal engagements. It’s a good thing because you’ll want to build trust with your clients.
Notable people like Neil Patel, Tony Robbins, and Gary Vaynerchuk applied this to their brands. It helped establish themselves as experts in their niche.
A quick search of these personalities shows off their website and social media channels. Not bad for online visibility, right?
Use your personal name when…
- You want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your freelance niche.
- You don’t have plans of selling your business in the future.
- You plan to remain as a one-man business.
- Your target audience is smaller clients/companies.
- Your name is short, readable and you can easily add a keyword.
Using a business name when freelancing
Want to position yourself as a premium service? Go for a business name.
A business name helps you network to bigger businesses. It’s more credible and inspires future growth.
Even if you're starting out as a one-team, a business name lets you easily build a company that can operate on its own. A lot of design, web, or marketing agencies start this way.
Use a business name when...
- Your personal name is long and hard to pronounce.
- You have plans of growing your team — hire more people, add more products and services.
- You want to be more creative with your business name.
- You're targeting big clients/companies.
Quick reminders for creating a business name
When naming your freelance business, countless ideas may come to mind.
Stay on track by taking note of the following:
1. Stick to your niche
Your business name should tell what kind of services you offer. If you do travel photography, try a name like "Off the Grid Photography". Keep playing around words or search for its synonyms. It’s time to drill into your creative mind.
2. Get inspirations
Check your competitors and get inspiration from their business names. You can also gather suggestions from your social circle.
3. List down as many ideas as you can
Always prepare a notebook and a pen with you. An idea may pop up anytime, anywhere — when you go to bed, while eating outside or while travelling.
4. KISS (Keep it short and sweet)
A short and simple business name is easy to remember. But don’t compromise, and show off your unique personality.
5. Make sure it’s trademark-free
Once you have a final list of business names, search online to check if some businesses are already using them.
6. Check if the .com or .net matching domain is available
Use online domain checkers to check the availability of your desired .com or .net domain. If they’re taken, consider domain extensions in your niche (i.e. .design, .photography, .ink, .graphics).
In the end, you got to trust your gut feeling. Since it’s your business, you know better than anyone else what’s best for it. If a name doesn’t sound right, it might not be the best one — yet. Good luck!
For more freelance tips, visit Learning Lab.