It turns out, quite a lot.
Nearly 3 years ago, I quit my design day job to start my own design business. I was looking for many of the same things lots of newly self-employed are looking for: creative control, more flexibility, and maybe an extra few weeks of vacation.
In pursuing these goals, I knew I wanted a business that lived online. "Remote" in tech-startup parlance. I wanted to be professional, and I figured that meant I needed a professional-sounding name. Something that wasn't just me, but something bigger than me.
After endless brainstorming, countless lists, false-positives, and domain name searches, I settled on Spence Digital. I wasn't just going to design stuff for a few great clients, I was going to build an online design agency. I bought into the idea, I even dabbled in calling myself a "marketing agency" in the first article I posted on my company blog.
There was just one problem: I didn't want to run an agency.
An agency means offering social media marketing, TV ads, ad buys, public relations, and a whole bunch of other things don't know how to do. It means hiring employees and contractors, buying lots of expensive software and equipment, and responding to RFPs.
I want none of that.
I realized this pretty quickly. What has taken 3 years is figuring out that using a name that sounds like an agency doesn't make much sense when I'm not actually an agency.
It turns out, you don't need a professional sounding name to be a professional. You just have to conduct yourself professionally. I can't comment on whether I've achieved that in the last 3 years, but I've at least figured out I don't need the fancy name in order to get there.
This all started because I love creating things. The fact that I can make something on my computer and then it becomes a thing that people see, start to recognize, and occasionally love - that's pretty cool.
Design is what I like to do. I wanna make branding and design stuff for things bigger than myself. I want to design websites that help people find the information they need, and do so with the least amount of fuss.
These are things that are important to me.
From now on, it's just me. Adrian Trimble, designer, former marketing agency owner.
Photo originally by Brett Enquist. Edited by me, perhaps unnecessarily.