Choosing the right domain name for your business is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when you’re starting out online.
It’s the classic dilemma of the budding entrepreneur – do I create a brand name, or do I use my name as my domain name?
“Use your name,” urged my mastermind coach at the outset. Her logic was clear. As your business evolves, it gives you flexibility to move in any direction without having to rebrand. It also helps to establish you as an authority in your field. Plus, people love to buy from people. So much of online business is about building relationships and genuine connections – and that’s much easier to do as a person.
No way, I thought. Sure her arguments made sense, but for a start, the .com was not available. And who was I to be my own .com anyway? I just wanted to fly under the radar for a bit – to test out this online business thing for a while and see if it worked for me.
So I spent months pondering the perfect domain name, while developing my workshops and programmes behind the scenes.
Finding the right domain felt like a huge hurdle to launching my online business. It seemed like the pivotal piece of the puzzle. If I could just think of the perfect domain name – and if by some miracle that combination of words was still available as a ‘dot com’ – everything else would fall into place.
I’m willing to bet Go Daddy makes a large part of its profits from such entrepreneurial false starts. If I thought of a strong contender, I just had to grab the domain before it disappeared.
Part of my domain name obsession, I’ll admit, stemmed from fear of being judged. This new way of working was completely outside the box for my former corporate colleagues. I wanted to prove my success before bringing this new business venture to their attention.
You see the problem there, right?
It’s hard to build a successful business if you are worried about being seen.
With the help of my mastermind group, I came to understand that my concerns said more about me and my fear of letting go of my former corporate persona, than they did about my colleagues. I was judging myself in their names.
Eventually I got sick of the whole domain name issue and decided to just woman up and go with the option that would give me the most flexibility for the future. My name.
And just like that, I saw that all that agonising about domain names and logos was not really about the name. The real problem was that I was not clear on exactly what I was offering, or to whom I was offering it.
It’s hard to put your name on something, when you’re not really sure what it is, or if you’re afraid to offer it up to the world. I had to do the mental hard yards, and figure out what my business was really all about, so that I could stand in my integrity and create truly great work from the heart.
Fast forward a few months and here’s what happened when I finally launched:
- One of my corporate clients emailed me right away. “I love your new website,” he said. “And I hope we can still work together.” Then he promptly hired me in a new capacity, far more aligned to what I really love doing. Turned out he was so used to hiring me for the more structured work that he never knew I worked in this creative way.
- I got my first speaking gig at an intimate local event. I got to share the stage with some inspiring women in business and it was a fantastic opportunity to practice sharing my message from the heart.
- Three old friends got in touch to share their budding business ventures and there is a strong possibility we’ll work together in the future to bring their brilliance to the world. I can’t tell you how that excites me.
All of that took place within the first 24 hours.
It’s true that most of my corporate friends don’t yet ‘get’ what I do. But rather than judging me, they have largely stepped up to support me (some have just ignored me, which is okay too).
Are you using a domain name where you could use your own name? Or are you hiding behind your brand name and keeping “you” out of it as much as possible – hardly any photos, no personal story, no video?
If so, I encourage you to question that decision. Ask yourself, where am I afraid of being truly seen in my work? And why?
Then comment below and lets see if we can blast through those blocks together.