Changing my pen name AND business model...?

15 replies
Due to some recent issues that brought to light the importance of not advertising everything you do under your own real name, I'm considering changing the name I do IM under.

Since my username here is Zabrina without my last name, I think it wouldn't be too hard to simply use a different last name. That would provide a lot more anonymity without completely restarting everything. The problem being, this would likely involve some loss of reputation, plus some changes of email addresses, etc (and registering a new domain, of course).

At the same time, I'm also changing my business model. For about twenty months, I've learned all I could about freelance writing and made a pretty decent income doing it. But I finally decided to stop trading time for dollars and make the jump.

Now, I'm working on product creation -- selling PLR ebooks and training ebooks to teach others looking to writing for that first step up, and teach people about various other methods and tricks unrelated to writing that I've picked up along the way.

So the big question I have is... would now be the best possible time to change my name as I jump into a new field, or the worst possible time as I need the reputation I gained from my work in the old field (which is quite relevant if I'm selling PLR, for example) to make a go of the new venture?

Any hints and pieces of advice would be much appreciated.
#business #changing #model #pen #penname
  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Stop thinking about it and just do it...
    Signature

    nothing to see here.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682513].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    This is a tough question, but here's my first thought:

    Change it now.

    Why? Because you are entering a new field. In theory, your reputation in a different field isn't as important. So, it makes sense, to me, to start building your NEW reputation as soon as you can; assuming you will be changing it.

    It would be much harder to change your name after you're established in your new business model.

    Yep. That's my take on it.



    All the best,
    Michael

    EDIT: What Andy said.
    Signature

    "Ich bin en fuego!"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682518].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BlondieWrites
    First, I would consider if the *recent issues* are major enough that would really need to be known under another name, since you are already doing business under that name. If so, then I would say make another name now, before you go any further with your business. If the issues are not THAT bad, then stay who you are are just deal with whatever it is and keep plugging on, with the name you are known as now.

    Branding yourself is what you want to do, obviously. And since you are already known with the name you are using, to change it now would probably mean starting over.... so just decide is the reasons you want to change are really that major.

    Cindy
    Signature
    WAHM Daily -

    Working from home, work at home moms, make money online, internet marketing, PLR content
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682525].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Bray
    Zabrina,

    The famous German Photographer
    Helmut Newton changed his name
    from Neustaedter to Newton after
    the war.

    He never looked back.


    I used to use my middle names
    for my photography and my
    first name and last name for
    everything else.

    It got too complicated!

    Were I the correct gender, and
    had I your youth, I would simply
    aim to be known as 'Zabrina'.

    It's a good name, and although
    others may possess it you really
    might elevate yourself to become
    its ideal.

    Stephen
    Signature
    Send me a DM, or visit my support desk to contact me: http://support.stephenbray.com
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682532].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author TelZilla
      Originally Posted by Stephen Bray View Post

      [FONT=Georgia]Zabrina,
      Were I the correct gender, and
      had I your youth, I would simply
      aim to be known as 'Zabrina'.

      It's a good name, and although
      others may possess it you really
      might elevate yourself to become
      its ideal.
      I agree with Stephen. Why change it? You could easily brand your name, imagine in 5 years when someone says "Well, Zabrina says..." You don't need anything more than that. It's unique enough to be, well, unique.
      Signature
      Don't get so wrapped up in making money that you forget the important things in life.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682801].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
    I would just do it and be done with it, especially since you are newer, more time to brand yourself with the new last name.

    Rob
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682647].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author rizzy
    What is the importance of not advertising everything under your own real name? Is this something most people do? I would think if you put a product out and it is of quality why not use your real name?
    Signature

    Join the thread - Beginner IM December Challenge

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682719].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Gary King
    Zabrina,

    First, I hope it's nothing serious - guess all that cash you've made has poor neighbors coming out of the wood work looking for a loan, eh?

    If you feel it's important enough to do, then as Andy and others have said, just do it and move forward.

    Look Zabrina, you'll built a following and friends here. If you're in need of testimonials or something for your new efforts, contact those closest to you and tell them what your new pen name is. When it comes time, ask them for their input - they will totally "get" it that you are using a pseudonym and simply help you the way they would have anyway.

    If you're just changing your username here, your picture and posts will follow you (provided you're changing and not abandoning). If you're worried about being "Sally Smith, PLR queen", then don't be.

    You'll have partners to help drive traffic to get you going and you can reference any testimonials, etc. simply by getting the original person to agree it's ok to change it from "Zabrina, these are the best..." to "Sally, these are the best.."

    Or, even better, do a new project for those favorite customers under the new name and grab a fresh testimonial there.

    All the best,

    Gary
    Signature

    ===========================
    OFFLINERS! Warning: Unless You Know These Pricing Secrets, You are Leaving THOUSANDS on the Table. Get Your Free Report Now.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2682821].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      Stop thinking about it and just do it...
      That's generally my attitude these days, and it does typically pay off, but I think it's wise to think carefully before making a change to your name when so much comes from reputation in this biz, after all.

      Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

      This is a tough question, but here's my first thought:

      Change it now.

      Why? Because you are entering a new field. In theory, your reputation in a different field isn't as important. So, it makes sense, to me, to start building your NEW reputation as soon as you can; assuming you will be changing it.

      It would be much harder to change your name after you're established in your new business model.

      Yep. That's my take on it.



      All the best,
      Michael

      EDIT: What Andy said.
      Great, that does make sense to me too, just wanted to consider other opinions too and see if it's that wise after all. Thanks!

      Originally Posted by BlondieWrites View Post

      First, I would consider if the *recent issues* are major enough that would really need to be known under another name, since you are already doing business under that name. If so, then I would say make another name now, before you go any further with your business. If the issues are not THAT bad, then stay who you are are just deal with whatever it is and keep plugging on, with the name you are known as now.

      Branding yourself is what you want to do, obviously. And since you are already known with the name you are using, to change it now would probably mean starting over.... so just decide is the reasons you want to change are really that major.

      Cindy
      Good point, but I think this change is worth it if it prevents future issues. I agree that it isn't something to do lightly. Thanks!

      Originally Posted by Stephen Bray View Post

      Zabrina,

      The famous German Photographer
      Helmut Newton changed his name
      from Neustaedter to Newton after
      the war.

      He never looked back.


      I used to use my middle names
      for my photography and my
      first name and last name for
      everything else.

      It got too complicated!

      Were I the correct gender, and
      had I your youth, I would simply
      aim to be known as 'Zabrina'.

      It's a good name, and although
      others may possess it you really
      might elevate yourself to become
      its ideal.

      Stephen
      Huh, that's a really interesting idea! I might actually do that, just drop the last name entirely, since I haven't met any other Zabrinas in IM yet. Thanks for the thought!

      Originally Posted by ccmusicman View Post

      I would just do it and be done with it, especially since you are newer, more time to brand yourself with the new last name.

      Rob
      Great advice, thanks.

      Originally Posted by rizzy View Post

      What is the importance of not advertising everything under your own real name? Is this something most people do? I would think if you put a product out and it is of quality why not use your real name?
      Of course I'm happy to use my real name... I've done so for nearly two years. The issues aren't with me not being comfortable using my real name. (I actually had a line about this in my original post, but took it out because it sounded too moralizing. ) Some people use pseudonyms for privacy, others don't. I never understood it either, until recently.

      Originally Posted by TelZilla View Post

      I agree with Stephen. Why change it? You could easily brand your name, imagine in 5 years when someone says "Well, Zabrina says..." You don't need anything more than that. It's unique enough to be, well, unique.
      Thanks for the encouragement -- I think I'm going to go with that idea, just dropping my last name.

      Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

      Zabrina,

      First, I hope it's nothing serious - guess all that cash you've made has poor neighbors coming out of the wood work looking for a loan, eh?

      If you feel it's important enough to do, then as Andy and others have said, just do it and move forward.

      Look Zabrina, you'll built a following and friends here. If you're in need of testimonials or something for your new efforts, contact those closest to you and tell them what your new pen name is. When it comes time, ask them for their input - they will totally "get" it that you are using a pseudonym and simply help you the way they would have anyway.

      If you're just changing your username here, your picture and posts will follow you (provided you're changing and not abandoning). If you're worried about being "Sally Smith, PLR queen", then don't be.

      You'll have partners to help drive traffic to get you going and you can reference any testimonials, etc. simply by getting the original person to agree it's ok to change it from "Zabrina, these are the best..." to "Sally, these are the best.."

      Or, even better, do a new project for those favorite customers under the new name and grab a fresh testimonial there.

      All the best,

      Gary
      Nothing too bad, but also nothing I want to get into in public. Suffice it to say that allowing those who are estranged in your personal life to track you down and follow every move you make isn't always a good thing. I might drop you a PM later (depending on how faulty my memory is today ).

      Thanks for all the thoughtful advice, Gary. I think it'll be less of a problem if I simply lose the last name entirely like a few have suggested. Then I don't have to change my username here or worry about testimonials -- just change my email address and domain name.

      I think I'll scamper off to do that now...
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683536].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Gary King
        Originally Posted by Zabrina View Post

        I might drop you a PM later (depending on how faulty my memory is today ).
        I have sent you one to help you remember (we all have those times!)

        Gary
        Signature

        ===========================
        OFFLINERS! Warning: Unless You Know These Pricing Secrets, You are Leaving THOUSANDS on the Table. Get Your Free Report Now.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683772].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author mcmahanusa
          As so many have done, retain Zabrina (very cool name) for your current niche, but use a pseudonym for other, unrelated niches. Many famous people are not known under their birth names, but rather the ones they chose:

          Pseudoymn Birth name
          Tony Curtis Bernard Schwarts
          Mel Brooks Melvin Kaminsky
          Rock Hudson Roy Sherer, Jr.
          Sandra Dee Alexandria Zuck
          Mark Twain Samuel Clemens
          Charles Ludwidge Dodgson Lewis Carroll

          The list goes into the many hundreds. Modesty prevents me from listing my own.
          Signature

          Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become - Jim Rohn

          Visit our beautiful gardens

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683917].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
            Originally Posted by mcmahanusa View Post

            As so many have done, retain Zabrina (very cool name) for your current niche, but use a pseudonym for other, unrelated niches. Many famous people are not known under their birth names, but rather the ones they chose:

            Pseudoymn Birth name
            Tony Curtis Bernard Schwarts
            Mel Brooks Melvin Kaminsky
            Rock Hudson Roy Sherer, Jr.
            Sandra Dee Alexandria Zuck
            Mark Twain Samuel Clemens
            Charles Ludwidge Dodgson Lewis Carroll

            The list goes into the many hundreds. Modesty prevents me from listing my own.
            Wow, I knew about a few of them, but not all. Thanks -- maybe I'll consider becoming several people. :p

            Originally Posted by good2go4 View Post

            I love the name Zabrina and I think it is unique enough to use for all of your efforts on its own. For myself I have usernames that are nothing like real names for some of the things I do, but for the work i do that impacts my reputation online I use my real name. I have had some issues with this in the past, but overall I think clients like to know who they are dealing with and my reputation from my writing work over the years does help a bit with my own product promotion (although not a lot yet, lol).

            Be who you are comfortable being; promote yourself with integrity and if you do have a few issues they will pass especially if you handle them with dignity;

            Best of luck with the IM
            Lisa
            Originally Posted by snowtiger View Post

            Yeah, Zabrina is such a cool, unique and memorable name as it is that I think simply going by Zabrina would be effective. Sort of like Oprah.
            Thanks, Lisa and snowtiger! Maybe I'll thank my mother for naming me while she was anaesthetized after all. :p

            Originally Posted by BrettQ View Post

            Do it sooner rather than later, as everyone has said.

            Switching focus is a great time to rebrand yourself and gather momentum for your new field.

            Good luck!

            -Brett
            I'm glad someone else agrees -- I'm going ahead with doing it, and I've registered a new domain. Once the DNS propagates, I'll start setting up email addresses/changing my Paypal, etc. Really looking forward to it now. Thanks!

            ---

            Thanks to everyone for their feedback! I've made up my mind: a name change it is; I'll just drop my last name and become the enigmatic Zabrina.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2686787].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sean Fry
    Yeah, Zabrina is such a cool, unique and memorable name as it is that I think simply going by Zabrina would be effective. Sort of like Oprah.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683651].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BrettQ
    Do it sooner rather than later, as everyone has said.

    Switching focus is a great time to rebrand yourself and gather momentum for your new field.

    Good luck!

    -Brett
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683873].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author good2go4
    I love the name Zabrina and I think it is unique enough to use for all of your efforts on its own. For myself I have usernames that are nothing like real names for some of the things I do, but for the work i do that impacts my reputation online I use my real name. I have had some issues with this in the past, but overall I think clients like to know who they are dealing with and my reputation from my writing work over the years does help a bit with my own product promotion (although not a lot yet, lol).

    Be who you are comfortable being; promote yourself with integrity and if you do have a few issues they will pass especially if you handle them with dignity;

    Best of luck with the IM
    Lisa
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[2683875].message }}

Trending Topics