I'm in the process of creating a workshop business which also offers therapy and coaching services. I am debating whether to brand it under my name (firstnamelastname.com) or under a separate brand name (or both?). I've seen people offer similar services using both models and wanted some feedback on what is the best direction to take and why?
If you are going to lead the workshops:
Start with personal branding. Workshops and coaching are by experts and I'd recommend building a personal brand first. People should build trust in you. Then your offerings.
Each offering that you have - a workshop, a coaching program etc. - should have it's own branding. You may even have separate websites for each of your offerings.
If you are only organizing the business and not going to lead the programs yourself: then you got to do a corporate branding. So people relate to the organization more than individuals delivering the programs.
The coaching / self help / personal development / health industry is full of examples of both branding strategies. If you study a few cases, and their business models, you will gain better insights on why they chose their branding strategy. And you can even question if the strategy worked or not.
I hope this gives additional perspective to what you are thinking.
Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this further.
It is really personal preference and what you feel comfortable with. If you will be using your name you would be the primary face of the company and would have to think of your business down the road. Will you be hiring a team? Will you want to keep your face the primary aspect of your company? I have seen coaches primarily use their name and have seen them reach extreme success by being visible and proactive.
Know that if you ever have the desire or need to re-brand and/or re-position, you will face many challenges. Sounds logical after the fact, but as you go down that path of associating your name with the brand, it is easy to let the ego, or the simplicity of finding the domain name, run the branding process and push you into the limelight for good (may that actually be for better or worse!). I would advise against it so you can grow your business, eventually. Your personal brand will always be in the foreground and grow, regardless.
I had a similar dilemma recently, when building out my website to help grow my project management and consulting business. I ultimately went with my first name and last name as the domain, mainly because my specific goal for this particular site was to inform people who already know me that I was available to take on new projects.
I'm also offering coaching services. These are separate from my project management and consulting business and are related to the principles I discuss on my blog. I'm using the coach.me platform for coaching, so am using my profile on their site as my primary coaching site and promoting it through my blog. People are more likely to come to the blog based on what I discuss, i.e. mindful wellness for entrepreneurs, rather than who I am. So in this case, I have the blog name as the URL, rather than my name. Once people find the blog, they can find me on coach.me.
Finally for therapy services, as someone who's been seeing a therapist for a few years now, I'd lean toward working with someone who uses their name, rather than a "company" name. I think this builds trust from the outset and I'm guessing most referrals will come via your name, as opposed to a company name.
I agree with another commenter that this could pose rebranding challenges if you decide to grow past yourself and establish a group of therapists under a company or collective name. One example of someone who's been able to pull this off is Jerry Colonna, who is a pretty well known therapist in the co-founder/startup world. Jerry used to work by himself and somewhat recently started a company called Reboot.io, which is a group of coaches and therapists. You can search for Jerry to find his individual site, then for reboot.io, to see how he's pulled it off.
Good luck and always happy to discuss further on a call!
Both. By all means, have your cake & eat it too!
If your brand IS your identity, then what's your exit strategy?
When you sell the business, do you let the buyer run amok with your personal name? Then lose your reputation AND access to your identity online!
Do you force the buyer to contemplate an expensive rebrand that disorients your audience? Then lose your buyer!
You want a brand that can be detached from your identity. But you also want to build your personal reputation in tandem with that of your workshop business.
Why not give your audience (and yourself) 2 doorways? Let them find you however they please and associate the 2 names in a way that allows for future separation.
I believe it depends on 2 things:
1. Your target group and how they will be finding you
2. Your intention to sell the business one day
1. If your target group is friends and friends of friends and your key communication channel is word of mouth or posts on social media, then it makes sense you keep your name as the name of the company.
If you plan to target people interested in the services you offer and who don't know you yet, and that most likely will find you by searching a solution on internet, then you could decide to create a brand name that will score well in google and that will bring to life the solution your target group is looking for (for example, your brand could be: 'Ultimate success institute'). I'm happy to have a call with you in case this is the route you are considering.
2. Indeed as someone already wrote, if you plan to sell you might want to create a brand that is different from your name.
Have a good day!