In my spare time, I’m building a side project. It’s an open-source / open hardware robot for learning programming. I pondered for a long time whether to promote it under my name or a distinct brand.
Here are the conclusions I gathered.
Personal branding should be the default choice because:
- it builds your recognition in the industry – which is handy when acquiring clients or seeking a new job,
- it’s easier to promote – in my industries (previously marketing, now IT), few strong personal brands exist. At the same time, people trust them more and form a stronger bond with them,
- it’s the sum of all your experiences – when changing career directions or interests, you don’t start from scratch but leverage the position you’ve already established.
Build a new business brand if:
- your surname is difficult to pronounce, very common, or the same as a famous person,
- the industry of the side project does not align with your professional work,
- you plan to sell your side project someday, find an investor, or take a step back.
What decision did I ultimately make? I chose perhaps the most challenging scenario – I will be promoting two brands simultaneously – personal and business. The robot got its name from one of the Slavic deities (Swarozyc). Smaller programming projects will bear my surname.