Naming Your BusinessAugust 18, 2017
How do you choose a business name? Today’s minisode is all about what to name your business—whether it’s your own name or a creative name—and how that impacts your business.
How do you choose a business name? Today’s minisode is all about what to name your business—whether it’s your own name or a creative name—and how that impacts your business.
Kathleen Shannon 0:02
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Emily Thompson 0:29
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Kathleen Shannon 1:11
Just this morning, I was having coffee with a fellow creative entrepreneur. And we started talking about naming your business. And it's kind of a complex issue. And it's a hot topic in our Facebook group too. So like the things that keep coming up are people want to know whether or not they should name their business with their name, or if they should come up with a business name. And I feel like it directly translates to how they present their brand and themselves online. So a lot of people already might have a personal blog, and then they want to start a business. And they don't know if they should have separate websites or bring it all together. So it's kind of like a naming issues slash all the websites issue. And we just kind of wanted to jam on it a little bit today because, well, spoiler alert, there's like really no right answer. But I just want to talk about what Emily and I have done in our own businesses as far as building our own personal brand, while at the same time building a business brand. So, Emily, you have Indie Shopography, but you also have Emily thompson.com. So like, what would you say are the difference between the two? Why do you have two websites? Have you thought about blending them all together?
Emily Thompson 2:32
So I do I have two two websites for myself, I guess I have one for in digital biography, my business and one for my personal brand, which is actually Emilymthompson.com. Do you not know that it's fine. Um, so I should back up a step though. And say that for a very long time, I only had the one website. And it was indie shopography dot com, and it was it was my business, and especially when I was a solopreneur. And I was working absolutely alone. It was just in the job ographers calm and I did all my blogging there. And it was definitely a blend of like business and personal. And then as my business began to grow, and I felt myself like wanting to expand a little bit beyond like, my web design, and even branding and entrepreneur.
Kathleen Shannon 3:19
Can I interrupt you let's back up a little bit more. Because I feel like whenever I first started following your blog, it was Emery web design. It was his that was it. emri web design calm.
Emily Thompson 3:29
It was it was Emery web design, kind of which then turned into indie shopography. Yes. Okay. So
Kathleen Shannon 3:35
this is just to point out that, like brands evolve and change, and your name changes.
Emily Thompson 3:41
Yeah, and if you want to get real real, it was Emory designs before it was Emory web design. Because I was a jewelry maker many years ago. And and it was Emory designs is what I operated under. And then whenever I found myself transitioning from jewelry design to web design, I still had the jewelry and I did the web. And so I had Emery designs for my jewelry. And I had every web design for the website work that I was doing. And then Emory designs died away. And I had Emory web design, which was where I sold my websites, and where I did my blogging, and then and then I got rebranded by braid. And we talked about that a lot. So I had an ecourse called indie shop orography. And it was for creative entrepreneurs wanting to get websites and it was an educational thing on what you have to do to get a website it was things like was redoing hosting and domains and those sorts of things. And, and we decided collectively that indeed typography was was where I should be taking my brand. So we ditched Emory web design because Emory was a combination of Emily and Marie which is my first and middle name and was confusing because people call me Emory all the time, and that is not my name.
Kathleen Shannon 4:56
Let's see you're bad for making your website Emory.
Emily Thompson 5:00
Completely Well, I mean, and that was, so you make mistakes is the point of Exactly. And you learn along the way, the point so so yeah, so then I had Indie Shopography. And then about two or three years ago, I decided that I wanted to separate my personal brand a little bit, because I was hiring people under in digital photography. And we were creating such a strong the brand there with the idea of us as using branding and websites and strategy to help creative entrepreneurs. And I wanted to blog about cocktails, and like the fact that I was homeschooling my kid and things like that. So I broke it apart. So I could build this personal brand, a little bit separately from Wendy's or burger V, even though they definitely tied together. And I tie it together in a couple of ways. For example, if you'll notice, like the color schemes on both sites are the same. And I definitely like link back and forth a lot. So I've done a little bit of both. And if I'm not mistaken, Kathleen, I think you have done the same.
Kathleen Shannon 5:55
Yeah, so here is my cluster.
Emily Thompson 5:59
Yeah. Tell us your evolution.
Kathleen Shannon 6:01
I wanna I want to mention that like, URLs are a big part of this. Like, I feel like anytime you have a creative idea for what you want to name your business, check it out and see if the URL is taken. Because a lot of times that will make your decision for you. But Okay, so here's my journey. I started blogging at Jeremy and kathleen.blogspot.com. And so I really never thought it would be a business because obviously, like I'm on a blogspot, I didn't even have my own URL. Eventually, I think I bought Jeremy and Kathleen blog.com and just redirected it to my blogspot but kind of felt legit because now I had a.com without the blogspot in it. And then whenever Tara and I started braid creative together, Well, okay, let me back up. I freelanced for a year before I started braid. And that was under and Kathleen dot com, which again just redirected to my blog. So I kept everything in one place. And I was designing wedding invitations. So I was designing a product and, and not so much a service. And I didn't care if people read about how I was designing my house, because I felt like it really all tied into my brand of being a wedding invitation designer. I started blogging about freelancing on my blog, and that's kind of how I tapped into the creative entrepreneur world and being able to really service that tribe of people. So just by blogging about my own adventure in freelancing myself, okay, so then a year later, Tara and I started braid creative, she came up with the name, I think it was just some divine inspiration. But our name braid creative comes from the fact that whenever we're working with creative entrepreneurs, we look at all the different aspects of them and who they are. And we weave them together like a braid to make it all make sense. So that's where the name braid creative comes from. And we didn't go with a name like St. and Shannon, that's both of our last names because we didn't want to sound like a law firm and we always usually tell creatives to use their own name solopreneurs because we do specialize in personal branding and really more of the solopreneur and we feel like that's the thing that will never change. So even like with this podcast, it's called being boss. But we say from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon every time so we really are tying our personal names to the brand is just not the actual brand so remember
Emily Thompson 8:45
how we almost called this podcast the Emily and Kathleen show?
Kathleen Shannon 8:50
That's right We did it was it was it was a moment of thought. I think we even still have like one of our Evernote folders is called the Emily and Kathleen shadow Blitzer and it is the Emily and Kathleen show but we wanted to create a brand that we could and that had legs beyond just the two of us
Emily Thompson 9:11
Kathleen Shannon 9:12
So that's another good reason not to use your own name is because you might be building a brand that goes beyond just you you might grow the brand in the future and you might plan on selling your business down the road I don't know many creative entrepreneurs who are looking to flip their business I am this is great just got through the shop autography is for sale everyone.
Emily Thompson 9:36
No no, not yet. Not yet. But like but but that was part of my reason for for whenever I decided to do Emily M Thompson dot com. One of the reasons why I decided to keep in the shop agafay as its own and sort of not really breakaway by any means because indeed your biography is my brand. But and I've said this before, like I have no desire to be a 40 year old web designer like I have bigger goals in my life. And we
Kathleen Shannon 10:00
definitely want to say that because there are lots of 40s No, oh, no, it's not, I just have to say that Oh, I
Emily Thompson 10:07
know. But But that is not what I want to do, I do not want to be sitting in front of a computer for the rest of my life. Like That is not my goal in life. I totally respect it for other people, but I, it's just not for me regardless. We definitely took that into account. And I mean, 10, 15 years from now, I will sell Indie Shopography Not gonna happen anytime soon. But that was one of the reasons why I wanted to break my personal brand apart a little bit, so that I could sort of elevate myself and do something like being boss, or whatever other opportunities come my way without like intertwining that with the team that I was growing, or am growing at indie shopography.
Kathleen Shannon 10:51
Okay, and another thing about not using your own name, and I think that this one applies to women, it sucks that it's kind of a feminist issue, I suppose. Or maybe not even feminist issue, but just an issue for women, is your name might change, you might get married, you might get divorced. There was one year my name changed like three times in a year, because I got divorced. I took my maiden name again. And then I got remarried. And I took Jeremy's last name. So
Emily Thompson 11:22
yeah, I thing. I have clients who run into that all the time. But in this is the part where you have to, I think, draw the line between naming a business, your name, that would change and the fact that a brand like that doesn't have to be your name always does that make sense? Right? This idea that your name can change, and once you Your name will change or can change. But your business name should stay the same. It doesn't have to match constantly. I feel like a lot of people think that if their name changes, and their business name also has to change. I don't think that's totally true. But you also have to think of people who build amazing brands around their name, the good Martha Stewart, and Oprah. And I don't know Tommy Hilfiger, like, you can really like tons of people who who build businesses, Beyonce, yeah, Beyonce, there you go. There are people who build brands that grow far beyond themselves, that keep personal names, just as easily as if they had named it something completely arbitrary.
Kathleen Shannon 12:31
I think that you can have both, I think that you can have both a professional name Oh, this is something else I'm going to talk about is sometimes whenever I'm working with creative entrepreneurs who have a name, it's like a name that meant nothing to them. So naming your business is kind of like getting a tattoo. And so like I have some creatives and for a while there is like this trend in plant and animal. So like, number. Fagin, Sparrow, seven monkeys, like you know, these trendy formulas for naming your brightness. And a few years later, they're like, I don't I don't even know what that means. I have no idea. So I would say if you do want to name your business a name that is not your name. Think of it like a tattoo because it's going to be stuck with you for a while. And think about how you want to grow that brand and if it makes sense. And so even whenever we were naming being boss, we thought it through a little bit. I mean not a whole lot sometimes.
Emily Thompson 13:37
I mean there were enough conversations it wasn't just something that we named on a whim it wasn't some formula by any means. Exactly. We threw out several names and we did some domain research like that was definitely part of like how it was that we created three the name of being boss is domain research and if it was even available or competition or just if there are big brands out there already using it so naming things definitely requires research which is why sometimes naming something your name is simply the easiest way to get exactly exact maybe we should have just done the inland Kathleen show or not
Kathleen Shannon 14:15
maybe that'll be our next adventure together maybe but I would say like think about what will never change whenever it comes to your name and then as far as just having a separate website because I do feel like they're kind of one in the same and people are asking like should I have one personal website and one professional website? I think it just depends on how comfortable you feel sharing and again i think that i mean for the longest time I cannot figure out how to kind of link and Kathleen calm which is where I do personal blogging. Oh, I don't think I ever finished my adventure of like, how all my names change. Okay, let me go Let me rewind a little so I had Jeremy and Kathleen the blog. Then I decided to take Jeremy out of the equation, not in real life, but just on the blog because like you, I wanted to have my own personal brand. And whenever I started Jeremy and Kathleen, I literally thought that we were both going to be blogging on it, I didn't realize that it was going to be the Kathleen show, and only the Kathleen show. So I took him out of the equation as far as the title goes, and kept it as an Kathleen calm. And then I started braid. And really a lot of the design set, I mean, I designed both of them. So they very much feel the same. I ping back and forth a lot, especially when I first started braid, because I was blogging on my personal blog about the adventure of starting a business. So I think that there really are ways to tie the two together. Another gal who does a great job of this is Sarah Von Bargen. Her personal blog is actually called yes and yes.org. And then she's constantly linking to her small business blog. I think that her small business blog is that Sarah Von Bargen dot com says kind of the flip of what you would normally think, where her personal blog has the name, yes. And yes. Anyway, I'll include her blog in the show notes. And you guys can kind of see how she does it, because she's constantly pinging back and forth between the two. So that's something that I did a lot with andkathleen.com. And then I would even link back to andkathleen.com from braid creative, in case people wanted to see the more personal side of my life, I'm not doing that as much anymore. And now that we've started being boss, I'm pinging back and forth a lot between my braid content and the being boss content. So again, it's kind of a mess. It's like having literally like a really messy room or like trying to reorganize your closet, you just have to like, get in there and get messy and figure it out as you go. And know that it can maybe this is a question for you, Emily, like you can always change it later, you can always migrate your content over to a new URL, you can always merge platforms, it'll take a little bit more work down the road, especially if you build up equity into one brand. And then you want to rebrand. So, yes, it takes forethought. But it also you can try and just figure it out as you go. Yeah,
Emily Thompson 17:27
you did. Well. And I think an important thing to point out here too, though, is that you and I both built a very firm foundation in one place first. So you really have this really great foundation of blogging and followers and like equity and and Kathleen or Jeremy and Kathleen, I had been on in Detroit biography, which is one of those things where I did, I migrated my Emory web design content to an Indie Shopography. When I changed the name, it's totally doable. And I had that really good firm foundation before I like split that into Emily M Thompson. And actually, even the content that was in digital biography is now on Emily M Thompson dot com. So do it again. But but it is, I think it's just one of those things, you have to start somewhere and you have to do it well, somewhere first, and then just sort of see where life takes you.
Kathleen Shannon 18:23
I like that I like that key takeaway. So basically, buy all the domains that you want to buy, right? It's one place focus on that. But I would also say that if you feel like one of like, for example, you want to blog about cocktails and your kids, but you don't feel comfortable doing that in your business space. Like for sure. Buy it, buy a new domain, get a template up, write that content, it's just whatever allows you to be the most creative and produce the most work. That's what you should be doing. There's no right or wrong answer. Don't pay anyone 1000s of dollars to tell you that
Emily Thompson 19:06
right? Just figure it out on your own.
Kathleen Shannon 19:08
No, I mean, not necessarily. I mean, Emily and I do creative coaching and people pay us 1000s of dollars to figure this out for them. Right. And but it is like a case by case situation. And I guess that's why so many people even in our Facebook group are asking about it like what should I do? Because it is complex, and it's a complicated answer. But just meditate a little,
Emily Thompson 19:31
yeah, get good at one place first, and then really just sort of see what happens. I mean, Emily Thompson, or EmilyMThompson.com came out of Indie Shopography, like it wasn't something where I sat down one day and was like, Okay, I'm gonna do two shots. And it's gonna be what is business and what is personal it simply, it came when it was time, and I did it and it worked out.
Kathleen Shannon 19:57
Thanks, you guys so much for joining us today on this mini set. Feel free to continue the discussion on our Facebook group just search being boss on Facebook and request to join or you can go to facebook.com slash groups slash being boss. And if you haven't already, please be sure to check out all of our full episodes at lovebeingboss.com on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher. Thanks again for all the amazing reviews. You've been leaving us on iTunes. It really does help. So thank you for that. Do the work be boss and we'll see you next week.
Kathleen Shannon 20:36
This minisode was brought to you by Twenty20 check them out at Twenty20.com/beingboss that's t w e n t y 20 as in the number.com slash being boss.
Emily Thompson 20:50
Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at beingboss.club. There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work be boss