Anybody who thinks that naming a baby is stressful has obviously never tried to name a business.
Alright, perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic. But the point remains the same: When you’re trying to find the perfect moniker for your business — something that you’ve invested a hefty amount of blood, sweat, tears, and passion into — there’s bound to be a little bit of nail-biting and anxiety.
It comes as little surprise, then, that many business owners choose to go the simple route and use their own name for their beloved business.
But is that really the best way to go? Should you brand your business with your own name? Here are a few pros and cons you’ll want to consider before making your decision.
It’s simple and straightforward.
Perhaps one of the most obvious perks of relying on your own name is that it’s about as straightforward as things can get. There’s no need for tearing your hair out while flipping through the thesaurus and scrolling through those often-fruitless random word generators.
Using your name can also make things simpler for your clients or customers as well — there’s little room for confusion about who they’re working with (or who they should be submitting payment to!).
You’re at the center of your business.
Personally, I went the route of coming up with a totally separate name for my business. But I’ll be the first to admit that it sort of backfired.
I’m a writer, which means every piece of content I write is published under my personal name — and not my business name. Because of that, I felt like I was always working to maintain two brands — my LLC name which nobody actually knew about, and my personal brand that people were far more familiar with.
This is a huge benefit of naming your business after yourself. It puts you at the center of your business and ensures that you’re immediately recognizable for your work.
Let’s face it — finding a name that suitably captures the entire essence, brand, vibe, and message of your business is tough (seriously, if only you could see the scratched-out notepad I had by my side as I was going through the process!).
This is another upside to this approach — nothing is more authentic to you (and, likely as an extension, your business!) as your own given name.
It increases a sense of connection.
If you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur, naming your business after yourself feels a little more personable and familial. It’s a reminder that you aren’t just a money-making machine — you’re also a real person who cares about doing good work.
Using your own name for your business means that your clients and customers know exactly who they’ll be working with — and they’ll also have an easier time doing some research into your background and qualifications.
You’re at the center of your business.
Wait a minute—wasn’t this exact same thing included in the list of positives? Yes, and for good reason.
But, this is an important consideration to make: Do you always want to be tied to your business? When you’re out for cocktails with friends on a Saturday night or you’re tempted to post something a little snarky on your Twitter page — do you always want that to be a direct reflection of your business brand?
For some people, it’s important for them to maintain an identity outside that of business owner — which means using their own name isn’t the best route for them.
Your name might not be unique.
You want to differentiate your business — you want to stand out from the crowd and separate yourself from the sea of competition that’s out there.
However, that’s going to be pretty tough to do if you have an incredibly common name. If you’re just one of four different “Sarah Jones”s that you know, using that moniker for your business might not be the best strategy to give your business an identifiable brand.
Your name could change.
Here’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t name my business after myself: I was in a serious relationship. We weren’t engaged yet, but we had talked about that next step — so I knew it was coming. I also knew that I planned to change my name when we got married (which, we are now!).
So naming my business after myself felt really temporary — since my last name would be shifting in the next few years anyway. But using my would-be married name would be incredibly presumptuous (not to mention misleading!).
As permanent as your name might feel, it’s important to remember that personal names do indeed change. Marriage, divorce, family issues — needing to legally switch the name of your business adds a whole new complicated layer to the already headache-worthy process of changing your name personally.
It could limit your growth.
The personal connection that comes along with naming your business after yourself is a great thing. However, it also sends the message that you’re more of a one-person show — clients and customers will expect to interact directly with you.
Do you always want it to be that way? Even if you’re a solopreneur now, do you have plans to add team members or move into more of a supervisory role? If so, naming your business after yourself could be considered somewhat deceptive.
Remember, your future plans and goals are important to consider before landing on a suitable name for your business.
Over to You
So, which way should you go? Should you use your own name or not?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong approach. Some people love having their businesses named after themselves and experience wild success in doing so (oh hey there, Harley Davidson and Walt Disney!), while others reaped the benefits of using a different moniker (ahem, here’s looking at you, Apple and Google!).
It all comes down to what feels right for you and your business — and that’s really something that only you can know.