Seventy seven.

Choosing the ‘right’ name for your business.

This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from coach Rachael Middleton. She says:

“Dearest Frankie, Steve and the DIFTK crew,

I’ve been working on my business about a year now and have a name and logo already BUT I recently attended a webinar where the host made a point about words that trigger potential clients. This can have a negative impact too.

My ideal client base are traditionally a weary group (farmer’s stressed out partners who may be frowned upon for seeking help!) and as coaching still isn’t an accepted norm in their world I’m starting to question whether my business name is having a negative effect…

So, my question is how do you choose a suitable business name and how important is a logo to go with it? I appreciate for certain professions it helps, but how much can the wrong name and logo impact your business?

Thanks in anticipation,


Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.

Here’s what was said in this episode:

Our answer to this week's question:

[00:05:24] – Frankie
Our question comes from Rachel Middleton, who calls herself The Country Life Coach.

[00:05:28] – Frankie
“Dearest Frankie, Steve and the Doing It For The Kids crew,

I’ve been working on my business about a year now and have a name and logo already. But I recently attended a webinar where the host made a point about words that trigger potential clients. This can have a negative impact, too.

My ideal client base are traditionally a weary group: farmers’ stressed out partners who may be frowned upon for seeking help. And as coaching still isn’t an accepted norm in their world, I’m starting to question whether my business name is having a negative effect.

[00:05:58] – Frankie
So my question is: How do you choose a suitable business name and how important is a logo to go with it? I appreciate for certain professions it helps, but how much can the wrong name and logo impact your business?

Thanks in anticipation, Rachel.”

[00:06:14] – Steve
Okay, let’s answer this to help Rachel, obviously, but to help anybody stewing over this.

Shall I use my name? Shall I use a company name?

I think with a company name — do you aspire to be bigger than just yourself? So if you think you might want to hire other people, then having a company name from the beginning can make sense, right? A company name can help because, if you choose to, in the company name you can explain what you do and it can have an SEO benefit. For example, I’ve interviewed for the Being Freelance podcast, ‘The Edinburgh Copywriter’, ‘The Brisbane Copywriter’.

[00:06:56] – Frankie
‘Ben The Illustrator’. Never forget that!

[00:06:58] – Steve
Ben The Illustrator, yeah. It says exactly what they do. So that can help. And I suppose you’ve kind of got that, haven’t you, with… what is it? The Country Life Coach?

[00:07:08] – Steve
This doesn’t apply so much to Rachel, but do you want large clients? Because I think if you want to work — and I’m talking about, like, really big multinationals, governments or councils or whatever… A lot of those would prefer to work with a company than a solo person, unless they may be hiring a real high end consultant.

[00:07:28] – Steve
Do you have a common name? As in, a name that a lot of other people have, like John Smith, for example? So, there’s not many Steve Follands or Frankie Tortoras. What happens when you Google yourself? Are other people already showing up ahead of you?

And for that matter, if you do choose a company name, you should be Googling that. Are there other people with similar names? Not necessarily the exact same name, but could it be confused? Can spellings be confused? Is the URL available? Are the social handles available?

[00:08:07] – Frankie
One of the benefits of not having a company name and just doing it under your own name is that careers are long. You may not be The Country Life Coach forever, or you may do that and want to do other stuff. So if it’s just you, you have the flexibility to change it and do multiple things. But under the umbrella of, ‘Hi, I’m Rachel, I do X, Y and Z, here’s the links to the things that I do.’

[00:08:33] – Frankie
A bit like you, Steve, to be fair. If you go to, it’s like, ‘Hello, I make audio and podcasty things for clients — go here for that. I make a podcast about freelancing — go here for that.’ Like, all of those are under your Steve world.

[00:08:48] – Steve
I think maybe you can combine the two, though, right? So, like, ‘Rachel Middleton — The Country Life Coach’. You could combine the two.

Because I’m thinking of Janet Murray. Lots of us know Janet Murray, but she’s been through many sorts of variations on what she preaches and sells things about, and I think one of them was ‘Soulful PR’? That’s years and years ago. And then she was ‘Janet Murray Soulful PR’. Then it was like the marketing thing, and now it’s ‘Confident Content’, I can’t remember anymore… But the fact is she’s always Janet Murray.

[00:09:26] – Frankie
With these sub names.

[00:09:28] – Steve
Yeah. And that name then gives you a big clue as to what she’s actually doing at that point.

[00:09:35] – Frankie
I think you’re right in that sitting down and thinking about your longer term goals should be a part of that decision. But also you might not have a clue what your fucking longer term goals are. And ultimately, you can always change this stuff.

[00:09:48] – Steve
Yes, you can change this stuff. I was thinking that because I spoke to one of my very first guests on the Being Freelance podcast eight years ago — it was Jessica Morgan Illustrator. She became ‘Jessica Draws’.

[00:10:03] – Frankie
Yes, nice.

[00:10:04] – Steve
Jessica — nice and friendly. Draws — she draws for a living. And then she started to hire people, but still kept it as Jessica Draws.

At this point, some people, Tom Hovey, for example — he’s the guy who illustrates for Bake Off. He was on the podcast, and I think his business is called ‘Studio Hovey’, so he’s still got his name in there. But it does mean that anybody that he hires to draw in his style is included. And I think that’s worth considering. If you’re going to hire people, like how they would feel? Would they feel part of your team? Is it all about you?

[00:10:39] – Steve
Anyway, Jessica has now called her company — because they have about ten people working for her now — ‘Tiny Wizard Studio’. And it doesn’t even say what they really do, does it? Yeah, things can change, and that’s not necessarily a big issue.

[00:10:58] – Steve
What Rachel seems to be talking about is knowing your audience. How do your audience search for things? How do they feel about things? And the fact that a name can portray, I guess, an emotion? Yeah, an emotion. The Country Life Coach — what does that bring into people’s heads when they hear that?

[00:11:25] – Frankie
And it’s interesting that she’s saying she thinks her target audience will find the word ‘coach’… I don’t know, she thinks it will bring up anxiety for them or put them off because they don’t want to be associated with coaching. I mean, it’s great that she’s thinking about that at this point, particularly so early in her business. She hasn’t gone through the pain of setting it all up and then five years down the line going, ‘oh man, this really isn’t working’.

[00:11:48] – Steve
Yeah. I think, you know your audience. Read what they read. Talk to them.

[00:11:55] – Frankie
Yeah. I was about to say, if you don’t know your audience… I mean, you should have an idea, given you started a business to serve them! But if you’re not sure how your audience feels about your business name, ask them. Do some market research.

I think, particularly when you’re starting out, people are so afraid to look like they don’t know what they’re doing and to ask for help from their customers when actually people want to help. And people on the whole feel more ownership and are more excited about your business when they feel that they’ve contributed to it’s development and made it a success. Do you know what I mean? It benefits everybody.

Be transparent and say, ‘I’m thinking about calling my business X, would love to hear what you think about that’.

[00:12:35] – Steve
Yeah. Are there Facebook groups where these people are hanging out? Literally ask them.

[00:12:42] – Steve
And I think whilst going with an obvious name like ‘The Country Life’… I’m not saying it’s obvious, that sounds offensive! What I mean is it explains what it does. That is one approach, but equally, you could call it, I don’t know… I’m looking around, Satsuma. Brand names become associated with the thing that people encounter, don’t they? Like Google meant nothing.

[00:13:05] – Frankie
Right. The number of times I’ve seen this question come up in freelance communities about whether your name should be keyword heavy. Describe exactly what you do because that’s what people are going to search for. Versus no, give it a name that is more about the feeling that you get.

I mean, I’m not an expert. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be You can do the keywords and the SEO through your copy on your site and the way you talk about your business. It doesn’t need to be in the name. It really doesn’t matter what your name is as long as it’s memorable and people can spell it.

[00:13:39] – Steve
Yes, spelling does help.

[00:13:41] – Steve
There is no right or wrong, though.

[00:13:43] – Frankie
No, definitely not.

[00:13:44] – Steve
And there is nothing wrong with The Country Life Coach because your personality is going to breathe life into that name. And this is, I guess, where it comes into what you said about logo — I’m not a logo and branding expert, but the fact is, the way The Country Life Coach appears on my screen or on my Instagram or whatever… Like, the colors, the style of photography, the font… All of those things will portray either a very serious, formal, high end business or a much more friendly, approachable feel.

[00:14:21] – Frankie
Oh, totally. Yeah. With the right visual, it’s going to look great. But if you know that word is putting off your clients, then you need to change it. But if you don’t know, you need to do some research to find out and then you can make an informed decision.

[00:14:35] – Frankie
On the logo thing. Again, people starting out in their first year or whatever, or even before they’ve launched, they get so hung up on having a logo. But you don’t need all of that from the beginning.

[00:14:45] – Steve
No, just have a really lovely photo of you cuddling a sheep.

[00:14:50] – Frankie
That would do it. But honestly, yes, a logo can elevate your business. A picture paints a thousand words, right? So people come to your website and if you’ve done the visual work that can convey so much about how you want people to feel about your business without saying anything. But you don’t need to spend loads of money and loads of energy and a lot of the time — don’t stop yourself from launching until you have a logo. You don’t need to do that.

[00:15:15] – Frankie
You can launch your business with literally the name of your business typed out in a decent font. Do you know what I mean? Use that. And then when you’ve got some clients and you’ve refined your offer and you know what’s going on and you’ve got some budget in your bank account, you can work with a designer to make it great. I worry that people use it as a delay tactic — logos and names.

[00:15:39] – Steve
I think more than the logo is having a really good quality approachable photo of yourself.

[00:15:47] – Frankie
Yes, definitely. Particularly in this context.

[00:15:50] – Steve
Especially as you say, yeah, for coaching, which is such an approachable, personal, get to know you, friendly thing. Having a photo of you smiling and… I’m not even joking about cuddling the sheep! Because that brings in the element of country. I mean, pick your farmyard animal, it doesn’t have to be a sheep.

[00:16:08] – Frankie
But her question is, can you go wrong with a name and a logo? Yes, you probably can. Like, if your business is called Fuck You All, I’m Going To The Pub, people probably aren’t going to—.

[00:16:21] – Steve
I don’t know, it would stand out! Depends on what it is.

[00:16:23] – Frankie
But I really do think that the name is just the name. And while you need to get that right, personally, really, I think you’re right about a photo in this instance, Steve.

[00:16:35] – Frankie
But also, I think copywriting is so important. So, like, yeah, I found your name. But if I go to your Instagram and I don’t understand what you do from your bio, that’s it. You’ve had one opportunity to explain what it is you do beyond the name.

[00:16:49] – Frankie
Similarly, if they come to your website, they find your website, whatever you are called. If they come to your website and the first paragraph doesn’t make sense to them, or they don’t understand what it is that you do or how it relates to them… I think it’s so easy to lose people with poor copywriting than it is to lose people with a slightly shoddy logo. Maybe that’s a controversial opinion.

[00:17:09] – Steve
No, I agree. And I’m sure a lot of copywriters listening do as well.

What would your advice be?

Let us know your thoughts using #DIFTKpodcast on Twitter and Instagram, and join in the conversation via the DIFTK Community on Facebook.