Your freelance writing business shouldn't be in its “baby steps” phase when you begin to consider your business name. You should already have a semi-clear grasp of the writing services you're going to provide, the general niches you'll write in, and the best business structure for your enterprise. Hopefully, you've also served at least a couple of clients.
You’ll want to be up-to-snuff on the topic of brand identity, too. You don’t have to be an expert, and your “brand” doesn't have to be completely solidified, but you should have the basics down before you decide on a name. You'll have to mull over several considerations to come up with the right one.
Will Your Name Pass Muster With Your State?
There might be potential hiccups looming on the horizon when you register your chosen business name with your state or local authorities. Some states might put the kibosh on "Dr. Editor" due to the potential misuse of a medical title. Check with your state’s consumer or business services department to get a handle on the rules there.
Will Your Freelance Writing Business Remain As Is?
Consider your future. Maybe there's a chance you'll be providing freelance publicity services five years down the road, or freelance editing instead of or in addition to writing. Be wary of including any words in your name that will denote only one kind of service. Leave yourself some wiggle to expand and grow.
Another look into the future should consider whether you might ever sell or transfer your business. Chances are you wouldn’t want your personal name going off with your business if you were offered a million bucks for your entity and client list.
What Will Your Clients Think?
Think about your ideal customer. Are they young, hip wanna-be authors, or are they conservative middle American businesspeople? Are you targeting cool and trendy marketing agencies who will send you overflow copy?
Make sure your name fits that demographic and service. Approach your name from your clients’ point of view, and consider what your name might say to them.
Trendy Can Be Tricky
Your freelance business name should be a good fit over the long term. How will you feel about saying this name at a local business mixer in three to five years? You want it to be 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.
And what's trendy today can be and often is forgotten tomorrow. Don't tag your business with a name that will mark it as a "has been" some year in the future.
Keep It (Somewhat) Simple
Above all, you want people to remember your name. You want it to immediately come to mind when they need writing services. Something convoluted and complex might not do that. Potential clients might struggle with it. You might be "that writer with the weird business name."
But you don't want your name to be generic, either, and easily confused with countless others. Find a middle ground—not a one-word name, but not six words, either. Don't get fancy and creative with unusual spelling. You don't want your clients landing on someone else's webpage when they're looking for you, all because they didn't remember that you used "y" instead of "i."
Your name should be easy to spell, easy to say, and short enough not to confuse anyone.
The Bottom Line
Take the time to brainstorm your choices, answer the questions presented here, and try your name out on people you trust before you scratch your name on your shingle and hang it above your door. Good luck!