I get asked about my name a lot. My name is Sean McCabe, but my brand is seanwes. Where does seanwes come from?

It’s pretty simple. When I first got online, Sean McCabe was actually a fairly popular name. There’s other designers, artists, and musicians that share my name and I didn’t want to try to compete with them for recognition.

I decided to come up with my own unique name that didn’t exist anywhere else. I took my first name and middle name, Wesley, shortened it, and did a mashup. That’s how you get seanwes.

What if My Name Is Difficult?

If you have a more difficult name, it can be a challenge to brand. You may be considering using a different monicker to make things easier for your audience. Gary Vaynerchuk did something similar by going by “garyvee” instead of his full name.

However, as you grow and gain recognition, having a unique name can actually be a positive thing. It helps you stand out in a good way.

What you name your brand depends on how long-term your vision is.

Initially, going with a more difficult name can make it hard to get traction. But if you stick it out, it can end up working in your favor.

Personal Name vs. Business Name

You may be considering using a company name as opposed to your personal name. This is a valid approach, especially if you want to sell the business or remove yourself from it. The questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you plan to remain a solopreneur?
  • How long do you plan to be personally involved in your brand?
  • Do you want to be the one who personally runs the business?
Business Names Can Be More Easily Sold

If you do plan to remain personally involved, using a personal name for your brand can be rather powerful. But if you want to be able to distance yourself or remove yourself from the brand and sell it, it can potentially be difficult to sell a business that is named after you. In some cases that can work, but it’s going to be a lot more difficult.

Personal Names Provide Flexibility

One of the things I do like about using a personal name for the brand is it leaves room for evolvement. A lot of people know me for lettering, many others for business, and I just realized earlier today, once I reach the Lambo Goal, a lot of people will know me for having a Lamborghini.

If I had branded my business as The Hand Lettering Guy, I would be rather limited. If I wanted to start something else, I’d need to begin at square one and use a new name.

However, because my brand name is more ambiguous, it provides flexibility.

That ambiguity can potentially make it harder to sell a business, but if exiting isn’t your strategy, that versatility may be worth it. In the case of seanwes, I can now evolve the brand through the type of content I output. seanwes effectively takes on meaning through the content I share.