When I started my own business in 2010 after leaving my corporate management gig, I started an online travel business.
I called it Boutique India Travel.
I arrived at that name because it is aligned to what people would be searching for, and what the business actually was all about.
It was a business that could have been sold and was all about the service and offerings rather than ME.
But, as a life coach, your business is likely run by just you and is a personal brand.
Therefore it makes more sense to use your own name as your business name, and this is what I’d recommend.
Now stay with me here, even if I can feel your resistance to this idea from here!
I did not take this advice and that meant that I had a very long and winding road to land on my own eponymous brand.
So after I moved on from Boutique India Travel I wanted to start my own social media consulting business, and I thought about using my own name then, but the .com domain name was taken.
I did manage to grab the one with a hyphen between my first and last name, and used that for email, but decided that because I was doing social media, my business would be more like an agency, so I called it social inc.
So I built a beautiful website back in 2011 and went for it.
I spent a lot of time on logos, branding, website, and creating social media, so much so that I didn’t spend nearly as much time on making offers.
But the smart thing was, I set out to learn what I could about Facebook Ads.
I invested $5K in a coaching program, and I was lucky enough to pick up lots of monthly clients which was super cool.
They were all still engaging with me, and the Social Inc brand, even though I’d spent a ton of time agonizing over it, didn’t really make a drop of difference.
So then, I started to think about the fact that I was only really getting hired for Facebook Ads and Facebook marketing, and I was far from being a social media guru.
So, once again I felt the pull to change my branding.
This time it was FB Ad Queen.
Yep… I changed all my logos and branding again, but stopped just short of creating a website with that name because Facebook trademarked FB in it would have left me open to getting sued by Zucks.
Cue another business coach who was really in the “built to sell” mentality and advised me to pick a business name so I could sell it down the track.
That is still my legal company name to this day, but it became my third website and fourth brand in 2012…
Are you exhausted just keeping up with all of this?
The problem with this as a brand was that it meant nothing and most people couldn’t even pronounce it.
Needless to say, it wasn’t long until I went back to wanting to use my own name – so yet another website and brand was required.
Imagine the hassle and identity crises I could have avoided by just using my own name to begin with.
Even now, I’m so grateful that I did, as I now target and serve life coaches rather than coaches overall and having my own name as my business name can carry me through and transition easily (I still got a new site because my other one was 6 years old and it was TIME!).
The choice should be much easier as a life coach.
You are your brand, so it makes sense to use your name.
But so many life coaches fall into the new business owner trap of thinking that to legitimize their business they need a business name because it sounds SO much more professional,
It’s a bit like the obsession with creating your website before you get paying clients when the truth is you can use social media to get your first clients and build your site later (I really could have saved a ton of time and money if I’d followed this strategy over the years!).
Another reason to avoid calling your business a name other than yours is that a business name can actually be a disconnect between you and your market.
Having a personality-driven brand is the fastest way to get known online and connect with your ideal clients.
People want to deal with people, not brands.
And you won’t lose clients when people find out that the only people in your business are you, nor will you need to change it as you grow a team or even employ more coaches to help you scale.
The key benefit to this is that you can launch many different brands, programs, and offers under the umbrella of your name, but never get stuck with any of those names if you don’t want to.
That’s not to say that you won’t run into some questions or issues around this strategy, so let’s highlight some of those.
What if I want to grow the business, or sell it down the track?
There are plenty of companies that are sold and carry on without the founder eg Think Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Colette Dinnigan… the list goes on.
In fact, there are thousands of businesses out there that are named after their founder (you can even check them out on Wikipedia), and they are no less sellable with a person’s name.
But really, you are looking to create value now for you and your clients, and as a life coach they will be primarily dealing with you, so name your business, website, and Social Media handles with your name (the exception here is if you want to have a free Facebook group).
What if your name is hard to spell or pronounce?
I’m sure many life coaches think this is a good reason not to use their own name, in fact, I’m sure that’s why Oprah Winfrey called her production company Harpo back in the day and her network OWN, but there’s still no stronger association to her own personal brand than her own name.
But if it is particularly bothersome, you can shorten your name or use your first and middle names instead.
My friend Denise does this with her website and a couple of my clients do this too.
And you can use these hacks if your domain name happens to be taken.
My name was not available for a domain name for so long and then finally I snapped it up for $400 – but for a long time I used a hyphen between my first and last names.
More people will find you on your socials anyway – and on that, your Instagram handle may be (and probably is) taken – same rules apply, in this instance, I used @iamvictoriagibson, or you could try your name with the word coaching added.
Already chosen another name for your business and want to change it?
That was me! It’s painful, but you really can just change it.
If you’re planning on getting married or divorced and you do want to change your name in time, know that it is possible, so don’t make it a reason to avoid choosing your name and getting yourself out there.
The truth is that you can be successful in naming your business as your name or something else, the only thing that will stop you from success is your thoughts.
And the thought that you can’t use your name is an opportunity for self-coaching.
Why can’t you use your name?
What would it create in your business to use your own name?
And coach yourself on those thoughts.
So, you just need to decide to name your business either way.
We always decide in a moment anyway, so choose that moment to be now.
Don’t think about this too long, make a decision and get yourself out there – don’t use it as a way to delay action, fail in advance or hide.
Remember, even if you decide and you need or want to change it – it isn’t a tattoo on your face.
But you’ll have fewer headaches and the need to change things as often when you use your name.
It also sets you up for being a great success in the personal development industry from the get-go, so what are you waiting for?
Talk to you next time!
Join me for my free workshop where I’m sharing how to become a Wildly In-Demand Life Coach here >> https://victoriagibson.com/live-workshop-series