Solo and small business owners have a massive advantage to larger organisations.
That advantage is that people buy from people.
When we start in business, we have this idea stuck in our heads. The idea that we need to project this professional corporate image, with a fancy logo and tagline, to be taken seriously.
In reality, it’s far more effective to be YOU.
If you’re a coach, consultant or service-based business owner, then you’re the one your clients will deal with; the one they know, like and trust.
If you have no aspirations to employ a team and create a company, then why FAKE being one?
Think of it this way.
When you go to a networking event, that person you talked to isn’t going to recall your business name. They’ll remember YOU and YOUR name.
If you provide a service based on your expertise, then why create an impersonal and faceless business?
Becoming a Personal Brand was a Big Decision
Choosing to develop a personal brand, where I would be the face and voice of my business wasn’t an easy decision.
Being an introvert, I tend to stick within my comfort zone. I knew pushing myself to be more visible in business would be challenging.
But I also knew that doing so would help me become known as an expert and bring more opportunities.
Before I made this significant change, I had to ask myself these questions:
1. Will I feel comfortable being the face and voice of my business?
I thought hard about this. I believed that with time, a clear strategy and practice, I would be able to do all the things I need to put myself out there and build a personal brand.
2. Would I want to sell my business one day?
I would be the only person providing a service in my business. I don’t wish to have an office or employees and have no plans to sell physical products.
3. Do I want to build a brand that is the same forever or have the flexibility to do other things in future?
I want to build an audience who know and like me, not what I do right now. That means I can be more flexible if I decided to pivot in the future and do other things.
4. Would this change have an impact on what I have achieved so far?
Firstly I considered my clients and knew things wouldn’t change for them. Then I looked at my data and reviewed the SEO implications.
As I hadn’t been focusing on SEO, my rankings had developed organically, and I felt I could eventually regain any loss in ranking from changing my domain.
I also spoke to my business coach, who had done this transformation herself. She felt I was making the right decision for my business.
Building my business around me and developing a personal brand made sense.
So the next step was to transform from where I started, with a studio mindset, into a personal brand.
Step 1: Changing My Business Name
I bet your business name was the first thing you decided when you started working for yourself.
I’m also pretty sure that you ummed and ahhed over it for some time trying to come up with something unique.
Well, that’s what I did.
I finally decided to go with Fifi Creative. To me, it sounded like a design studio but not an agency. Perfect!
After my first year and discovering my passion and purpose, becoming a personal brand was even more important. It was clear I would need to embrace my name, so I became Fifi Mason.
I kept my nickname Fifi because the my name was taken. I also think it sounds unique and memorable.
Step 2: Buy My New Domain
The next step was to ensure the domain name was available and to purchase the .co.uk and .com versions.
I chose to use fifimason.com for the website and direct the co.uk so that my domain is universal.
If your name isn’t available, try using a nickname, or if you have a long name use initials. Money mindset coach Denise Duffield-Thomas does this with her domain denisedt.com.
Step 3: Create My New Logo
I like to keep things simple when it comes to logos. It’s not the logo people will remember!
I use a consistent style, typography and colour palette, so I created a straightforward typography logo.
My advice to you, don’t get hung up on this. Get something adaptable that is easy to read and start moving forward with the essential things.
Step 4: Update My Website
There is a lot to consider when you change the domain name on your website. Firstly I took a copy of my current site and set up this up on my new domain.
I set a coming soon landing page and discouraged search engine discovery so it would not be indexed while I made all the changed I needed to.
On my website, I updated:
- Internal links to ensure all links work correctly
- Images to include branded photos of myself
- Content to ensure I’m using ‘I’ rather than ‘We’
- External links from directories, social media and blogs
- Redirects and ensure that 301 redirects were set up for specific pages from the old website (or a full redirect for the old domain)
Step 5: Change My Email Addresses
Before the site went live, I changed my email address.
This required me to:
- Create new email addresses in my hosting
- Add the new inboxes to my mail system
- Update the email on essential websites such as my accounting software and email platform
- Updated contact forms on my website
I kept my old email and mailbox open but stopped using it for new communications. If you want to, you can forward all emails to your new email address.
Step 6: Tell Clients
Now that my new website was live and email addresses all set up, I sent out an email to all clients to inform them of the change of name, domain and email.
Step 7: Change Social Channels
Once my clients were aware of my business name change, I was able to update all my social channels.
Changing a Facebook Page Name
Although I was only changing Creative to Mason, it took three attempts and six weeks to get the new name approved on my Facebook page.
Firstly I changed my @username and URL. If these aren’t available for you, you can try alternatives using Numbers, Capitalisation or a Period.
When you change your Facebook Page name, it has to be approved by Facebook and can take a few attempts.
To speed up the process (especially if you’re completely changing your name), add your name to the current page name.
For example, say your business name is Refreshing VA, you could change it to Refreshing VA by Your Name.
It is more likely to be approved the first time if you do this. Once approved, you could then change it to Your Name – Refreshing VA. Then eventually you can drop the business name altogether.
If you don’t do this, they may not approve a name change at all, or it could take months.
Changing Instagram, LinkedIn & Twitter Names
Next, I updated my Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. These were all straightforward, and there is no approval process required.
You can change the name, your handles and URL (on LinkedIn) in settings.
Step 8: Inform Your Mailing List
The final step was to send an email to my mailing list telling them about the exciting changes in my business. I explained my story and how I hoped they would continue to join me on my journey.
There are a few other things to consider when changing your business name and domain:
- Updating business cards if you use them
- Updating your logo on admin materials; such as letterheads or on accounting software
- Updating your domain, email and logo on your mail platform
- Informing your accountant of the change of name and email
- Changing your bank account email and name
If you’re considering transforming into a personal brand, then you can see that it’s not a straightforward process and not a big decision to make.
It took me two months to complete the transformation and update my website, but I feel that it was right for me.
Are you thinking about making the transition into a Personal Brand? Let me know why in the comments.