One of the first things that trip up new copywriters as they’re getting started is naming their business. “How do I name my copywriting business? Should I use my name? Should I get a logo? Do I need to do a trademark search?”
Let me make something very clear from the beginning: You do NOT need to name your business. I never have and many copywriters don’t. I, myself, write copy. So, you’re hiring Nicki Krawczyk, plain and simple.
So, why do some people choose to name their businesses? Well, first if they have bigger plans for it later on—say, they want to subcontract work or even become a full-fledged agency—there’s an argument for starting with a business name at the beginning.
But I think what’s much more common is that people want to create a business name because it helps them feel more professional and more serious about their new endeavor. And that’s perfectly fine.
There are some considerations you should keep in mind about naming your business.
What If My Name Is Hard to Say?
One of the biggest things we hear from copywriters is “my name is too hard to spell or say.”
First, your clients shouldn’t have to type your website into their browser. If you have it in your email signature, link the text so they just click it. If you have it on your social profiles like Facebook or LinkedIn, they should be able to click, too (or, worse case, copy and paste the link). And even if it’s on a business card, they should be able to type it as you’ve written it.
Second, there are very few instances when you’re going to speak your website to someone. Instead, write it down for them, or ask for the person’s email and follow up. (Plus, if you say, “my website is [insert name of your website],” the chances of that person remembering, going home, typing it in, etc. are slim.)
Don’t I Need an SEO-Friendly Business Name?
If you’re worried about whether your name is SEO-friendly, your time is much better spent finding and pitching the clients you want to work with. If clients find you via search, great! Consider it a bonus. It’s not what you want to rely on, especially when you’re just starting.
Of course, if you have experience in SEO, you may find opportunities. But for most of us, learning the ins and outs of SEO is going to result in spreading ourselves too thin versus focusing on becoming a copy expert.
Do My URL and Business Name Have to be the Same?
We often see copywriters who stress out because they have a common name and the URL is already taken. But here’s the thing: your business name is not the same thing as your URL or website name.
You can do business under your legal name and have a different URL.
According to the SBA website, “Your domain name doesn’t actually need to be the same as your legal business name, trademark, or DBA.”
So, that means you can have clients send payments made out to your legal name, but could have a website name that is completely different.
Do I Need to Register My Copywriting Business Name?
As the Small Business Administration (SBA) says, “If you conduct business as yourself using your legal name, you won’t need to register anywhere.”
But if you don’t want to use your name, that’s fine, too! In the case of using a name that’s not your legal name, you’ll want to check with your state, county, or city whether you need to register a Doing Business As name, or DBA. (You may also find your state, county, or city also refers to it as an “Assumed Name.”)
This is a relatively straightforward process, though there will be a fee associated with it. For example, in my county, the cost as of 2021 was $26. You may need to renew it every five years or so. Confirm this when you register and make a note in your calendar so you renew it with plenty of time.
Do I Permits or Licenses?
As a sole proprietor, you generally do not have to register your business at the state level (though see above regarding registering a DBA name).
Because copywriting doesn’t fall under any industry that’s regulated by the federal government, your town or county clerk’s office should be able to tell you what, if anything, you need to do in the way of registration, licensing, an permitting for your area.
Warning: Sometimes Naming Your Business is Resistance
There’s one sneaky secret about naming your business that a lot of new copywriters are unaware of:
Sometimes naming your business has very little to do with your business.
Here’s what I mean: Often, naming a business is not a quick decision. For many new copywriters who choose to name their business, it involves days—or even weeks!—of equivocating, polling friends and family, second-guessing themselves, and so on.
And all of this is time that SHOULD be spent on building a portfolio, creating a network, and polishing and sending pitch emails. You know—the stuff that BUILDS your business.
The secret is that, for many people, the process of choosing a name turns into a procrastination technique to keep them from actually moving forward on building their businesses.
That’s right: Naming your business—which can seem like making forward progress at first—can be a symptom of our old friend, resistance.
Choose a Name and Move Forward
Anything that’s taking up significant time and taking you away from actually doing the WORK in your business is going to be a sign that your resistance is kicking up and trying to sneakily keep you in your comfort zone—and OUT of the bigger, more successful life you dream of.
It’s the voice that says, “This IS working on your business! You have to get the name right! Let’s poll 10 more people.” Wrong. You don’t even NEED a name! This just your inner resistance trying to keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone to do the work that will build your business.
And it’s not just with business names. You’ll see this pop up with logos (fun but unnecessary), choosing a template for your website, choosing your website URL, deciding which day you’ll start pitching…any number of things.
The secret is that if something is taking you away from doing the work to build your business, land clients, and earn income, it’s not an essential step in your business. It is resistance.
Resistance is always trying to sneak in. If you’re going to beat it, you’ve got to learn how to spot it, refuse to give in, and do the work anyway. You can do it.
Your Copywriting Business Name Can Change
Like most things, you’re not stuck with your business name forever. It’s particularly easy as a sole proprietor to change your mind.
You can always use your name for now and choose a business name down the line and file any paperwork you need to then. For example, if you decide you want to take on employees, at that point you may feel having a business name better reflects your team.
But you may find that until then your name is working just fine (and you’ve got plenty of brand equity).
Your turn! What sneaky ways have you seen resistance popping up? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: We are not legal experts or tax preparation professionals, so always consult an accountant, tax prep professional, or attorney if you have concerns. This information is aimed at copywriters in the United States. Copywriters in other locations may find this information useful for determining what questions they need to ask and answer based on their city, country, or region.
Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by Kate Sitarz