business name

should you create a business name or use your own?

It always feels weird when someone asks me the name of my company.

“I don’t have one…”

“Oh okay…Well, what do you do again?”

That’s usually the point when I start to feel like an Idiot.

And I think this is why a lot of people come up with company names, even when they are the only employee. They want to avoid this fairly awkward conversation. They want to sound more official.

It starts with insecurities…

It feels like it’s some peoples attempt to give a false impression of who you are or how big your company is.

You may feel you could never win large clients if there is not the impression you don’t have this 50 person, ballin out company.

The problem with this is you’re now trying to be something you’re not. You’re trying to pretend you’re like the large companies, maybe companies who have been around for years, in order to compete.

It’s kind of like “dress for the job you want”, but on a grand scale.

Living, pretending to be something you’re not is a miserable route to go. It’s a lifelong journey of living up to expectations you put on yourself that you simply can’t live up to.

Think about using your own name

People want to work with people they like. And if you’re afraid you’ll lose customers because they don’t like you, then they never should have been your customer in the first place.

The more people know about you, can learn about you, the more they will trust you. And if you feel people knowing more about who you are is a bad thing, then you really shouldn’t have any sort of business.

My gut tells me you’ll win much more clients/business by people buying into you and your story, rather than a company name you try to hide behind.

Holds you accountable

When you have a company, you can easily hide behind the name. Maybe people don’t know you’re the owner, don’t even know who the owner is. If you get a bad rap, you can just start a different company, nobody knows the difference.

When it’s just your name on everything, it puts an unusual amount of responsibility on the line. It’s your reputation, your legacy, with every client.

With great risk comes great reward

While using your name for your business creates an amount of risk, the reward can be fantastic. It’s easy for people to start recommending a person, about how great you are to work with. They see you on LinkedIn, your website, Facebook. There’s no longer this separation of who you are and who your company(s) are.

You always have the luxury of not trying to connect your business success with your personal success. You don’t need to promote that you started this great company to validate future work.

In summary

Now I understand this doesn’t apply to all cases. You can’t start widget manufacturing company and call it Joe Brown. But if you have a business where you think it’s fine being the personal brand, do it. You can still hire employees, you can still grow. You can always change the name later.

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