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July 01, 2010

What should my name be?


Some of the surprising things I've learned about running my own business.

--It takes very little overhead and startup costs to get going. At least, that's the case when you're doing writing/marketing/design and already have a good computer and an internet connection. I figured it would be a much more complicated process, but all it took was around $100 in licenses/taxes and I became an official business owner!!

--Way too much of my time is spent on admin. I thought most of my working hours would be devoted to clients, pursuing new leads, writing, creating. I had no clue there'd be invoicing. And keeping track of receipts. And organizing clients' correspondence, deadlines and order histories. Sheesh.

--Certain marketing-y things are easier to do for others than for yourself. Like naming yourself, branding yourself, describing yourself. Just coming up with my company's name was an arduous process that took weeks -- and just when I thought it was over I got a little surprise (see next item). Hey, wait a minute, maybe that's why people hire professionals!

--You should definitely check the trademark office to see if the name you want is already taken. I did a local name check when I chose my name back in February, but not a national or statewide search. And on Tuesday, June 8, after months of using that name (and opening a business bank account for it) on a whim I poked around and discovered another company in a different state with a similar domain name and a trademark.

Not a big deal now, but if I grow bigger or they ever find my website, it would be a problem.

I asked the Pro (the prosecutor turned friend I met on jury duty) for his advice, and he strongly recommended I find a new name. And check TESS first.

So that's what I did the rest of the day: I came up with a new name and asked people left and right what they think of it. My conclusion: It's totally me. Much better than the old one, in fact!

One day -- soon -- when I ditch the anonymity here, I'll share it with you. Can't wait!
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