Name Your Freelance Writing Business: 5 Essential Questions
Your freelance writing business should not be in the “baby steps” phase when you begin to consider your business name. At this point in your freelance journey, you should have a semi-clear grasp of the writing services you provide, the general niches you write in, and the best business structure for your writing business.
I’ll assume at this point that you've done some serious brainstorming. You've also probably (hopefully) served at least a couple clients, even if that was done while in a transition phase of your freelance writing career.
For example, I got my start as a freelance editor by editing a friend’s new magazine while also working my full-time job as an editor at a college—a name, identity and business entity weren't components that I needed for that first project, but it did help me steer my ship toward the kind of work I wanted to do.
In addition, you’ll want to be a bit up-to-snuff on the topic of brand identity. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert nor have your “brand” completely solidified, but you do need to have some basics down before you make the big decision.
Now, let’s ask some questions.
Can I Name my Freelance Writing Business After Myself?
The biggest dichotomy I see in the freelance writing world when it comes to business names is the toss-up between using one’s own name, and/or creating a branded phrase/moniker for the business. The questions below will help you to walk through this path/process, so do consider each option as you continue through the article.
Answer each question using all the options you've considered, even if one of those options is simply your own name.
Will My Business Name Pass Muster With the Powers That Be?
In registering your business name with your state or local authorities, are there any potential hiccups looming on the horizon?
For example, were you to name yourself “Dr. Editor,” some states might put the kibosh on the idea, due to the potential misuse of a medical title. Yes, I’m serious! Want to be sure? Go ahead and check out your state’s consumer or business services department.
Will My Freelance Writing Business Remain As Is?
Consider your future. Will you perhaps be providing freelance publicity services five years down the road? Freelance editing? Author representation? If so, be wary of adding any words to your name that denote only one kind of service feature. My business name, GardenWall Publications, hopefully covers the entire idea of published services I provide. But what if I had gone with something like “GardenWall Writing Services”? Well, I’d be scrambling today, wouldn’t I?
Another look into the future should include some thoughts about selling or transferring your business. Were you to be offered a million bucks for your entity and client list, chances are you wouldn’t want your own personal name (Allena Tapia’s Writing Services, anyone?) going with it.
What Will My Clients Think?
Think about your ideal customer. Are they young and hip? Are they conservative middle American wanna-be authors?
Are you targeting cool and trendy marketing agencies who need to send you overflow copy? Does your name fit that demographic and service? Are your services clearly identified in your name? Approach your name from your clients’ point of view, and clarify what your name might say to them.
What Is the Future of the Business?
The last set of considerations has to do with the fit of your freelance business name over the long term. In three to five years, how will you feel about saying this name at the local business mixer? Does it ring too trendy to you? Not trendy enough? Is it personal enough that you get warm fuzzies when you think about it, but not so personal and deep that it leaves your colleagues with serious confusion about your “brand”? Think about the fit of the name to you, and to the things that are important to you.
Will you still like the name 10 years down the road? Do you really like it now?
Your freelance writing business name could be something that you’re “stuck” with for years to come. Take the time to brainstorm your choices, answer the questions presented here and talk to those you trust before you scratch it on your shingle and hang it above your door. Good luck!