It’s a common question that many freelancers ponder at some point in their freelancing careers — should I market myself as the commodity or form a business to promote my services? One way isn’t necessarily better than another, and the best path for you depends on a number of factors. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.
You As the Brand
Here are some of the pros and cons you may experience if you use your own name to form your brand.
- You don’t have to take steps to formally create and register a business name.
- You are not tied to offering a specific type of services.
- You’re unique; there is no other “you” out there.
- Personal and business merge, making your social media and networking activities more streamlined.
- You may be viewed as a “free agent” by some potential clients.
- Using your name as your brand implies that you’re a one-person shop.
- You can’t change your name without adjusting your brand.
- It can be difficult to separate work from who you are as a person.
- Personal and business merge, potentially limiting your social media involvement.
Forming a Business
If you decide to form a business (or a DBA), here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you may experience.
- You can more easily separate work from your own personality.
- Some clients may view doing business with another business more favorably than with an individual.
- You can hire others under your company name.
- You (or your name) are not needed to keep the business running, and you can explore selling your company at some point.
- It takes time, research and some investment (for fees, startup, etc.) to form a business.
- If you are already well-known by your name, you will have to start over developing a new brand.
- You may have to follow certain regulations and guidelines, depending on the structure of your business.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to either scenario. But keep in mind that it’s not always that cut and dry. For example, you could create a formal business with your personal name (John Doe Enterprises).
My experience with this was a little backwards, since I started my business first and it was my brand for a long time. When I started branching out and doing some different things that weren’t related to my business – freelance writing, for example – it stopped making sense to use my company to promote everything.
I decided to change my online brand to Alyssa Gregory. To me, this incorporates all elements of me – business owner, writer, consultant – and leaves room for whatever I decide to tackle next. It all fits nice and pretty under the “Alyssa Gregory” umbrella.
What’s your take on branding your name instead of a company? And have you ever decided to change your brand?
Thumbnail image credit: reuben4eva