What entrepreneurs won’t tell you about having a personal brand versus a separate business name.
When you first become an entrepreneur, one of the main things to think about is “Should I use my name for my business? Or should I have an actual business name?”
And while the choice is only yours to make, here’s why I chose to switch from a personal brand to a separate business name after a year in business.
Perhaps it will help shed some light on the pros and cons of both sides.
1. Even though validation and attention is great, privacy was more important in the long run.
Let’s face it; it’s nice to be recognized.
It’s validating knowing that you as a person are helping the world by sharing your story.
And the attention isn’t half bad either.
But as I started growing, I became more aware of the people who seemed like they were always around the corner.
People I used to work with in my ‘traditional’ jobs, kept coming back around every few months to my online pages (specifically people who weren’t nice to me back in the day, and now I continually remove if they become followers).
It has gotten to the point where I had to block some people just to feel like I wouldn’t have to deal with it again after the 6th time.
But not just people I knew, people that I didn’t know too.
People who would make sexual harassment comments, exploitative DMs, and other not-PG things.
Without a business name, it’s easier for people to look in and just think “oh, this is just an object in my screen” (which is a whole totally different can of worms we won’t even get into today).
But without a business as the front facing identity, it was harder to get away from these people altogether.
And there will always be some sort of risk no matter what, but I personally chose to switch because of my own experience.
That’s not the only reason why though…
2. It was hard narrowing down what I talked about.
Niching down is preached as much as people breathe in entrepreneurship.
And while you have some wiggle room for talking about relevant things in your niche, on the opposite side, going too broad can have the same disadvantages.
Either way I leaned, it wasn’t working out for me mentally.
For some people, having all the freedom in the world is what they love. They can live in that creative space and just start talking whenever.
I didn’t thrive in it though.
I’m a planner. And I love being able to work within a set of guidelines.
It makes my life so much easier.
If this sounds like you, too, then a business name might be more for you.
3. Getting negativity was harder as a personal brand, and I value my mental health.
With every single thing you do, there will always be judgement.
It literally does not matter whether you choose to do something or choose to do the opposite. People will judge you no matter what.
The problem for me was that I was so intertwined with my business that every criticism felt like a personal attack.
You know how when someone critiques your shirt, you can think “well that’s okay, I like it, and you don’t have to like it too” because you realize everyone’s different? But if someone critiques your hair color or facial features, that feels like a personal insult because that’s just part of who you are?
That’s how I feel about having a business name versus a personal brand name.
When someone critiqued, ignored, rejected, or insulted my personal brand, it felt like a personal attack.
It wasn’t actually a personal attack. But let’s be honest, our brains aren’t the best at determining what is and isn’t one. And my mental health was suffering, the same way my emotions were dealing with a roller coaster when it happened.
Again, it’s 100% possible to work through this without switching.
However, after switching to a business name, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much.
It’s a slight mindset shift (and can work whether you choose to be a personal brand or a business brand), but it makes all the difference.
And for me, it’s healthier for my mindset if I’m the CEO of the business, rather than the business itself.
Don’t ever let judgement stop you from doing what you want to do, but find what works for you within the parameters of what you’re doing.
4. My identity was consumed by my business.
This one was the one that affected me the most.
Detaching from my business each day wasn’t happening.
When I woke up, I was thinking about my business.
When I ate lunch, I thought about my business.
When I was with my friends, I thought and talked about my business.
When I was taking a bath, I was learning about and improving my business.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a determined work ethic — you need that to succeed as an entrepreneur.
But when all you do — when all you ARE — is your business, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.
I started my business because I wanted to create a life of fun, fulfillment, and freedom.
Being my brand was NOT conducive to this lifestyle for me.
Again, for some people it works. For me, it didn’t.
When I can’t even sleep because I’m still “my business,” there’s a problem.
And of course, there are ways to detach from your business mindset. They just didn’t work well for me.
The only thing that I have found that worked well, in all of these regards, is to separate myself and my business.
Because I’m a human being. I’m a person.
I’m not just a business.
So even when it may seem glamorous to be an influencer, or a personal brand, think about what you value. Think about your tendencies.
Think about what kind of life you want to build. Think about what you prefer.
Take a look within each of these areas I’ve suggested.
What are your opinions?
And which do you prefer?
Are you the type of person that wants to be the personal brand?
Or are you, like me, the type of person that wants to have a business that’s separate from yourself?
If you’re like me, and you aren’t sure what business name you want yet, you can use the name generator to get inspiration like I did. You can find it here.
All you have to do is type in your one or two keywords that your business will be based on and generate the names. And this one will also check the availability across the main social platforms to see if it’s available to use!
And lastly, don’t forget that you can always change your mind in the future.
Just take these considerations into mind when choosing which one is right for you.
Have thoughts, opinions, or comments about this post or topic? Leave a comment below!