What’s in a Name?

I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain.
That’s like a free compliment and you don’t even gotta be smart to notice it.
~ Mitch Hedberg 

All joking aside, deciding on a business name deserves some serious contemplation.

You would never have a baby and say, “I couldn’t think of anything else, so I guess this name will do”.  Take some time to really consider what name you want to represent the work you do.

When considering your business name, your first decision needs to be, are you going to be a personal brand (using your own name),  or are you going to have a business brand (using a business name)?

Each offers some benefits and challenges which I’ve outlined below. Take a read through and see what feels right for you.

Just Personal Name

Example: Jillian Bromer


  • No name registration needed
  • You ARE your brand


  • Will always need to explain to people what you do
  • May not appear as legitimate


Personal Name + Descriptor

Example: Jillian Bromer Counselling & Consulting or Jillian Bromer Health Services


  • You ARE your brand
  • Introducing self = introducing brand
  • Makes it easy for people to know what you do
  • Can add “& Associates” in the future without having to change your branding


  • Known that your business is just you
  • Depending on future growth, could be limiting

Business Name

Example: Gentle Mist Counselling Services


  • Can appear to be larger than one person
  • Can have employees under business name w/o changes
  • Business can be sold in the future and still run without you


  • Have to educate public to connect you with your business
  • Have to find name that cannot be misinterpreted
  • Unless incorporated can still only take payment in personal name


When choosing a name, ask yourself these two questions:

1) Does this name represent what you want to do now?

2) Does this name represent where you see yourself AND your business being in the future?

Action Item:

  • Share your Business Name with the group if you already have one.
  • Share the options you’re considering if you haven’t decided and ask for feedback.