In the interview below, Alexandra Watkins, founder of branding agency called Eat My Words, shares advice on choosing a good brand name and transitioning to the self-employed lifestyle.
For even more insights on creating a favorable brand name, visit Alexandra Watkins' website and submit your potential names to her SCRATCH & SMILE name evaluation test.
I had a cushy 6-figure job at an ad agency as a copywriter, but I wanted more time off to travel. Having my own business allowed me to take as many vacation days as I liked. I've now been to 45+ countries including Cuba, Libya, and South Africa. And I traveled for nearly all of 2003 through Bali, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
What has been the biggest challenge of being self-employed?
Not having steady paycheck.
What practical money advice would you give to entrepreneurs who have not had experience supporting themselves through their own business?
Freelance on the side before you quit your day job.
Your company Eat My Words is all about names and tag lines- what is one of the most common mistakes you see people making when selecting names for their fledgling businesses?
People start by looking for an available domain name. No one cares what your domain is.
Seriously, would you not do business with a company if they didn't own the exact match of their name? Slideshare has the domain name wwww.slideshare.net. No one notices or even cares. It's better to come up with a suggestive name that people can spell, pronounce and remember. If the domain is in use, just add a modifier (e.g. SmittenIceCream.com) or choose a fun phrase like we did for the frozen yogurt place we named Rehab (their URL is www.getmetorehab.com).
You brand name will last longer and get used more than any other investment you make in your business. Many people need professional help.
As you launched your business, how did you build your reputation and clientele when you had less experience and your work was relatively unknown?
I over-delivered and exceeded expectations and still do - I always create more names and 95% of the time deliver them a few days before they are due.
For someone who works as hard as you do, you seem to be incredibly happy, healthy, relaxed, and un-stressed. What's your secret?
I love what I do and I've made time to travel. Also, I don't work with mean people.