New freelancers are often confused whether they should create
a name for their business, or simply use their own name.
The answer is simple: if you want to become known as an expert
at something, then use your own name. However, if you plan to
grow a business that has employees, or that you'd like to sell
down the line, then it's best to create a business name.
If you want to be known as an expert copywriter, for instance,
then it pays to "brand" yourself by getting your name known
in certain circles. Think of the famous copywriters you know
of...people like John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, and Gary Halbert.
You know them by their name.
In fact, virtually every notable copywriter is known by his or
her name. I have a list of 27 well-known copywriters and every
one was recalled by name, although many undoubtedly have
brick-and-mortar or Internet businesses in the background.
Master marketer Jay Abraham is one. Having written copy for Jay
(whom I doubt writes a lot of copy these days), I can report
that he has a beautiful office in Palos Verdes, California from
which he conducts his product-oriented marketing campaigns.
If you do decide to create a company name, be sure to look to
the future. Many ad agencies use founder names in their company
name, as did my former employer, Rosen/Brown Direct.
After some number of years Bill Brown retired, making that
portion of the company name without lasting value or relevance.
Some time later, Richard Rosen, the CEO, changed the agency's
name to AlloyRed at great risk to lost branding. I have never
asked, but I suspect that the new name will help when it's
time to sell the business.
One thing is certain, however, and that is that many who knew
the Rosen/Brown name will not recognize AlloyRed as one and the
same. So it pays to choose your name wisely, and to look ahead.
My personal belief is that you should brand your name if you're
a freelancer, and create a separate company in the background if
and when you decide to sell something other than your freelance