Personal Brand v. Business Brand: Resolving The Dilemma

"The brand building process is a marathon that takes time with patience, persistence, consistency and authenticity to deliver on your unique promise of value"
Bernard Kelvin Clive

Creating a new business is an exciting adventure and one of the very first decisions you will need to make right out of the gate is whether you will build a personal brand or a business brand.

Its one of the biggest areas of confusion when I start working with a new client, differentiating a personal brand from a business brand. Don't let this process overwhelm you. It just takes some brainstorming about your big picture goals and the direction you want your vision to take you. There are pros and cons to each that we will cover in this post. At the end of the day its all about choosing what is right for you and staying true to your style and the way you want to do business. 


A personal brand is built around you as a person and usually involves choosing to use your name for your brand + business. Some personal brands that you will recognize who also turned their names into big empires are Martha Stewart and Oprah

People like Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey and Marie Forleo have also used their personal names to create successful brands and businesses and they also market their services and products under their personal brand name.


Personal brands are flexible because they are centered around the person's name, website, social media accounts, products and services. This makes a change in direction a lot easier. Let's say down the road you change your focus from financial coaching to booking speaking events around self empowerment through hypnosis. Using your name means you can easily rebrand yourself. Change up some copy on your website to reflect your new direction and voila you are off and running. 

Personal brands are ideal for coaches, those who want to have a speaking career, authors, artists, bloggers, the multi-passtionate entrepreneur who has multiple interests going on at once and those in the networking marketing/direct sales industry. A strong personal brand will boost your business and attract quality new prospects into your tribe.  


A personal brand name won't obviously convey what you do but that is easily accomplished with a strong tagline. I simple but powerful statement that you use to describe what you are passionate about and what your values are. Here are a couple examples of great tag lines. One is a business brand and the other is a personal brand:

GT's Kombucha: "To combine the wisdom of ancient medicinal foods with the resources of the modern day to create products that uplift and enlighten the health of all those who enjoy them". 

Melyssa Griffin: "I help heart-centered hustlers grow their audience and income online"

The only hiccup that you may run into with a personal brand is having a common name that is not available as a domain or for social media accounts. That is exactly what I ran into with such a common name like April Williams so even though I have a personal brand, I had to get a little creative and come up with a name that I could use consistently and set myself apart from the other 1,000+ people in the world with the same name. That is how Creative Brandista™ was born. 

If you run into this issue, see if you can use a variation of your name, first name + middle name or your first name shortened "Jenn" instead of "Jennifer" + your last name. Research GoDaddy to see what .com domains are available. Do the same research on social media and see what account names are available. The key is to have as much consistency as possible. The more consistency there is, the more recognizable your brand will be. 

Another drawback to having a personal brand to take into consideration is a personally-branded business can be hard to sell. You may not even be thinking about that at all right now because you are just getting your idea off the ground but if you think there is even a remote possibility that you would want to sell your business someday, a personal brand may not be the best choice.  


A business brand requires more upfront work to create because unlike using a name that already exists, a name that you were born with, you have to put your creative thinking cap on to come up with a business name and brand design. This means putting together meaningful words that describe your business. It takes some market research and checking to ensure that someone has not beaten you to it. There is nothing worse than spending weeks or months designing a business name only to find out that someone has it already established or trademarked. 


Creating a business brand from scratch forces you to think your business plan through. What products and services you will offer, your brand identity {the visible elements of a brand such as colors, design, logo, imagery and style that together identify and distinguish a brand}, who your ideal customer is and mission statement. Going through this creative process will help you create a long term vision for your business that goes way beyond a name and mission statement.

Business brands are easier to sell when you are ready to move on and focus on the next chapter of your life. When you are ready to sell your business because your passions have changed, your purpose is being called in a new direction, you retire, relocate or want to pass your legacy onto your children it is easier to step away if you have built it without your personal name being tied to it.  A business named after a person is not worth as much once that person is no longer there. 

If you are part of the BossBabe™ network you may have seen recently that the founder, Alexandra Wolf, has decided to take a step back to pursue other interests. Because she created a business branded name, she was able to easily step away and allow other people on her team to carry on the #BossBabe business as usual. 


It is harder to build a business brand than it is to build a personal brand. The upfront work of a business brand is much more involved and requires way more forward thinking. That can be especially complicated if you are still trying to decide what your business direction is and what products/services you will provide. 

Business brands are not as flexible if your personal interests change. If your ideas and vision change course and you want to do and offer something completely different, the business brand you created may not fit into that forcing you to create a second brand and going through the entire process all over again. 


The brands that I geek out over the most are the ones that are building strong personal brands AND building strong business brands. Allie Webb, Owner and Founder of The Dry Bar is a perfect example. Allie builds a strong personal brand while her company builds a strong business brand. Its branding perfection in my book. If at any time Allie wants to sell The Dry Bar and move on to something else, she has built a strong personal presence and reputation as a woman entrepreneur that will follow her into whatever business venture she chooses. 

Another great example of this is Sadie Lincoln, Owner and Founder of Barre3. She builds a great personal brand around her life and interests and her business is also building its own brand presence and identity. 

This is not the right avenue for everyone but this strategy works well for Sadie and Allie because their businesses revolve around a physical location {hair salons and yoga/Pilates studios} where their services and products are offered. 


Only YOU can answer this question. Take what you have learned in this blog post and do some soul searching. Get clear about what your passions are and the purpose you want to fulfill for your life. Then do some research. Draw inspiration from others who are doing it and doing it successfully {be careful not to compare, this is about YOUR journey}. All the answers you need are within you. Tap into your inner truth and listen to your intuition. 

I would love to hear how you made this important decision for your business. Are you building a personal brand or a business brand? 

Would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments so you can inspire someone with your story. Know someone who is trying to sort this out too? I would be so honored for you to share this post with them. 

Need to dive deeper into your branding and marketing strategy? We would love to help you do that inside The Creative Gristmill mentorship community xo

April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist for creative women entrepreneurs and founder of Creative Brandista™ . 

Imagine. Create. Inspire.