Routine Teacher: Naming My Business

There are oh-so-many lessons I have learned along the way but I wanted to start this "Routine Teacher" series with this one because it would have changed the trajectory of my business from the very beginning. 

When I first started freelancing in 2012 the name of my business was "Alex Cottles Design." This was a huge mistake. For starters, who the fuck is Alex Cottles and why would I care about him? Right? My name meant nothing to most people but it also meant nothing to me. I didn't know who I was as a designer, who my ideal client was and I wasn't even confident about pricing my services (more on that later.) Struggles we all face when we first start out. Naming my business after myself not only didn't speak to people but I didn't speak to people. REAL LIVE PEOPLE. Yes I was giving a very vague elevator pitch on social media and yes I was constantly wishing the clients would fall in my lap (eventually they will I promise.) But I wasn't putting myself out there.

See the problem was that I hated talking about myself so much but I had named my business after myself. This is something I wish I had known right from the start so that I could speak of my business as if it was something I can look at from the side and even use the words "us" and "we" when "I" and "me" felt uncomfortable. I tell you this so you can avoid the same mistake if necessary.

Now don't get me wrong. Naming a business after yourself certainly has it's perks. You are building your name alongside your brand, if your given name is unique enough then domains are a breeze and plus it doesn't require much time or energy to come up with a name. Also, if you have a profession where it makes sense such as "life-coach" or "therapist", where your name is your reputation, then, by all means, use your name for your business. But for me, it just wasn't the answer. 

From the moment I named my business from a strategic stand point, speaking about it has become a million times easier! I find that people take me way more seriously when I am speaking about a brand vs speaking about myself. Hell, I take it more seriously now that I have a business and a brand I can be proud of that was built with purpose and meaning behind it. Not to mention if I ever want to grow a team behind me, it will be so much easier under "The Routine Creative" vs "Alex Cottles Design."

So I challenge you to really consider this. Especially if you are just starting out and want to approach your business with appreciation and respect that you maybe couldn't have if you were just using your given name. If you need a little extra help you can check out my post on naming your business. 

If you aren't just starting out and have already established yourself under your given name that's totally fine. You have to do what works best for you. But if you read this post and are kicking yourself because you didn't come up with a name then maybe it's time to just do it! But just know that if you have already established SEO and have a bunch of links referring people back to your blog or website currently, then changing your name can quickly become a big task. Not saying it's not worth it but just something to consider. 

I hope you enjoyed this Routine Teachable Moment. If you have any comments or questions on this topic feel free to hit me up in the comments below. Also, if there is a particular topic you would like to hear my perspective on for future articles share those with me below as well.

Your Friendly Neighboorhood Designer,
Alex

Alex Cottles

The Routine Creative, Richmond, Virginia, 23220