I’m noticing more freelance writers are struggling with what to name their freelance writing businesses. Indeed, I’ve had the “I don’t know what to call my business” chat with at least three writers this week. As a freelance writer, I never created a business name and it worked fine for me. However, I understand most freelancers and clients see a business name as being more professional. One of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to create a name for my business is that I do more than write. I offer a variety of services and don’t want to limit myself.
I’ve been discussing the “should I name my business” dilemma with a small business coach and he recommends these tips:
Use a Name that Doesn’t Hold You to a Particular Niche or Topic
As we discussed yesterday in the post Twitter Branding: Are You Confusing Your Followers, specializing in a particular topic is a good thing as long as you’re not limiting yourself. If you’re offering only one particular service, say financial writing, there’s nothing wrong with a business name that reflects this. However, if you’re like me and offer a variety of services, the name should be all encompassing. For example, “Deborah Ng Media.” Your business name doesn’t have to be your name, however. I use mine because I feel it’s more personal. So if you wanted to use the name of your town or a buzzword you feel best represents what you do, that works as well. Again, if you write about a variety of topics or handle a variety of tasks it’s best to choose a name that doesn’t limit you to one particular area.
Choose a Professional Name
Cutesy names tend to turn off more than they turn on. “HoneyBun Writing” doesn’t necessarily give the right impression, while “On Target Media” offers up the end result right there in the name. Years ago, I used to work for a company called “Pink Coyote.” It didn’t indicate at all what we did and inevitably the first question potential clients asked was “why Pink Coyote?” The name was a distraction and most people looking for a graphic designer passed us over in favor of a name that was more straight forward. Eventually the proprietor added “Design” to the end of the name and business picked up a bit, but everyone still asked about that darn coyote, it’s not exactly something New York City is known for.
An acquaintance of mine likes to tell the story of a friend of his with a carpentry shop called “Woodsong.” Every now and then someone will call up and say, “hey, can you sing me up a chair?” Perhaps the first time the joke is funny, after the 25th time, I’m thinking the proprietor wishes he thought of a different name.
Who Do We Trust More?
It takes a long time for a brand named to gain trust. There’s a question right now as to whether people trust people or brands more to do work for them. Most people prefer a personal touch over something corporate and stuffy. They like to know they’re dealing with human beings.
When choosing a business name consider the trust factor. If you had a choose a freelancer based on name alone, would you choose “Acme Writing Services” or “John Smith.” If you had to choose a freelancer would you choose a brand or an individual? Even if you’d rather use a business name over your own name, choose something that’s warm and personal over clinical and stuffy. Too many of us mistake “impersonal” as professional.
Let’s talk about you now…
What name do you use for your business? Are you more likely to trust a business or a person?