134 Replies
john faulkes

Technically most of us who are independent deliver commissioned works rather than 'products' ; we are in the service business and the most important driver of that is Trust. A client will typically know you by name and reputation, so in a sense they don't care over much what you call your business, as long as it doesn't distract (you wouldn't want to go to a client as representing the eLearning department of Joe's Bathroom Fittings).

If you do alight on a great name, though, fine. You can be energised by it and promote it. Just make sure it doesn't constrain you too much - future client requirement may well take you into new and as yet unpredicted areas of work. if in doubt, using just your name is fine, and it's also less likely that someone else has already thought of it!

Daniel Adeboye

Awesome thread, took the time to read through and it's a great resource for starting out...

This has sent me thinking about the issues of naming and it's importance; preferences of people, and the various effects or likely effects on the business. This would become very needed at the time of decision making...

Thanks all for sharing your personal stories!  

Judy Nollet

I started freelancing back when admin assistants (aka secretaries) answered phones. When I'd ask to speak with a specific person, they'd ask me what company I was with. When I said it was just me, it usually turned out that the someone I wanted to speak to wasn't available. But once I could say "I'm with White Plume Communications," they'd put me through...

Why White Plume? It has to do with Cyrano de Bergerac. You can find out more at my site:

http://www.whiteplumecommunications.com/page-aboutPlume.html 

Christy Tucker

While I would have liked to use my name or initials as part of my business name, There are several other people with the same name though, and my initials match other acronyms (CT = Course Technology or CT scan).

I tried a bunch of different ideas, all of which were already taken or too similar to other existing companies. I ended up looking at Google Translate and trying out various learning-related words in different languages. "Syniad" is the Welsh word for idea. I liked the sound of it, and it sort of reminded me of synthesis or synergy. That's how I ended up with Syniad Learning.

Ant Pugh

I came up with Elearning Architect because the name really struck a chord with me when I first heard of it as a Job Title, but I never had the chance to use it in the corporate world as a job title, so thought it would be the perfect way to use it in the freelance world!

Secondly, I think it describes what I do perfectly :)

John Wagner

When I originally stepped out on my own as an evangelist without any denominational affiliation I settled on the corporation name "Open Bible Ministries"  (thus my email address). Our ministry has always been carried out in our home. High school students would tell their parents "We're going to John and Yvonne's house." It was never "We're going to Open Bible Ministries." That was always too formal. When we moved to Virginia and began ministering to military men and women in our home they too said "We're going to John and Yvonne's."  Thus, the change from the official title to the use of our names for our ministry. As for branding and a logo. We use our picture and names on everything - social media sites, our blog, letterhead, business cards, brochures, etc. The identification factor is instantaneous. That's the most important thing to us.

Ant Pugh
Ant Pugh

I came up with Elearning Architect because the name really struck a chord with me when I first heard of it as a Job Title, but I never had the chance to use it in the corporate world as a job title, so thought it would be the perfect way to use it in the freelance world!

Secondly, I think it describes what I do perfectly :)

I should add that I wasn't actually allowed to name my limited company Elearning Architect because I was told that the word Architect wasn't allowed - strange. But I already owned the domain name so it actually doesn't make too much difference, its only official/invoicing purposes where anyone will see my actual limited company name (I think?!)

Jacinta Penn

I didn't use my own name because I always wanted the company to be about more than me. I had worked with a company called Workbridge, so when I came to name my company, and was trying to come up with a name that would express how I could improve client's business, WorkBright just popped into my head. Learn more, work smarter, work bright. I have now morphed into calling it Workbright eLearning, so that people know exactly what we do.

Christy Tucker

Architect is a protected name in the US too, at least in some states (North Carolina, where I live, is one of them). Titles like architect, engineer, and CPA require documentation to prove that you're certified and licensed to perform that work. As much as I like the job title "learning architect," I've stayed away from it personally because of those legal issues.

Kevin Thorn

I went through the whole process to get NuggetHead Studioz and the avatar as a registered trademark. While a tedious process, "NuggetHead" didn't appear to be a protected word. :)

Fact: Attorney said, "This must be the most entertaining and fun registration research I've ever done for a mark."

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4803:j5jrdv.2.1

Angie Elliott

I am kind of in the same camp as some of the others. I wanted something fun, but also didn't want it to limit offerings/services as I wanted room to grow without having to rebrand. So I chose Beyond Content Learning, LLC. It still mentions learning so I feel like potential clientele can assume that I will offer some learning-related services, but the beyond content portion might get them inquisitive enough to ask about my other offerings (i.e., voiceover/narration, technical writing, etc.) I would also add that of course, I researched the domain possibilities as which should have greatly dissuaded me since the site was already taken - at least at that point in Europe. Now the .com is not available at all! Guess .net it is!

A marketing friend of mine told me to mindmap my thoughts about my business when I launched to try to find a name and brand. Truth be told, I already had this name before then, but my map kept leading me in this direction. I do wish it was a little shorter, but I can already see myself using the initials in my branding materials.

Marta Burda

I named my company eUniwersytet Marta Burda-Stys (which basically means eUniversity plus my name). It was a tough call but what I really want is to create an elearning service (Moodle-based) with lots of elearning courses (mainly SLA). With that in mind, I think it's not that bad. As for an elearning developer, I would have chosen something different... I guess?

I had some problems with the name registration but I'm good as long as the terms of use clearly state that my services aren't by any means connected with higher education ;)

Jeanne Bernui

This is an interesting thread.  Not sure how I missed it earlier.  I'll chime in here on my decision process... While I agree with many that using one's own name as a business name is a great strategy, I was worried that "Jeanne Bernui" was not well suited to be a business name.  Most people can't remember the correct spelling of my first, nor my last name... let alone the correct pronunciation:)  (I'm jealous of you Tim Slade!)  So, I decided a different name was in order.  I went with something that focused on the two key things I see as my business focus "Design" and "Learning" (eLearning is not the only thing I do).  Anyway, I chose Designs4Learning as my company name.  Not the most creative, I know.  But I think it communicates what I do pretty accurately.

In TN, I can't get a trademark because I provide a service, not a product.  So I have a registered service mark.