How to name anything

It’s every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare…

You’ve got an amazing idea for a new product, service, program, workshop, class, book, blog, newsletter, or project, except…

You can’t figure out what to call it!!

When you can’t think of a cool name, it can feel totally paralyzing. I’ve seen people toss up their hands in despair—and give up on their entire idea—solely because they couldn’t come up with a snazzy name for it. So tragic.

If that’s you, here’s some name-spiration to help you out…

Stuck on what to name your new business, next online course, or even your blog post? Check out these tips for how to name anything!

– Look at locations and travel destinations.

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and it’s named after the largest river in the world. Patagonia is an outdoor clothing and gear company named after… yup, Patagonia. Cheddar Cheese is named after the town of Cheddar in England, where it originated. John Warnock is a computer scientist who lives near the Adobe Creek in Los Altos, California. That’s why he decided to name his tech company Adobe. (Who knew, right?)

Browse through travel magazines, travel blogs, and travel booking sites like Airbnb, or crack open an atlas, or spin a globe, or glance right outside your window. #Inspo is everywhere!

– Read smutty romance novels.

I always find tons of swipe-able words and phrases inside erotic novels. Maybe you want to offer a copywriting package called RED HOT, or a sales seminar called NO LIMITS, or make a meditation app called SURRENDER. You can probably find at least 50 naming ideas inside Fifty Shades of Grey, for starters! LOL. Not even joking.

– Dig through your fan mail.

What do your clients say about you? What’s the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work? What types of words do people typically use to describe your biz? Poke around through your fan mail, customer feedback forms, and online comments. What do you notice?

Over the years, I’ve gotten several emails from people who tell me that they “devour” my weekly newsletter. Ding! DEVOUR could be a fun name for a writing workshop! (Hmmm… Now that I mention it, I might have to do that! 🙂

– Google yourself.

… but not in the way you might think.

What I mean is, think of a couple words that describe your personality and your brand. One word that definitely describes me is “bubbly.”

When I Google the word “bubbly” and look at the Google Image Search Results, I see images of champagne, bubble gum, bubble baths, things like that. Zing! Inspiration! I could create a free mini-class called POPPIN’ BOTTLES where I encourage people to celebrate small victories every day. Or I could create a blog series called CHEW ON THIS filled with bite-sized business tips.

– And remember, you can always… go nameless.

Ooh, so scandalous! It’s like going braless! Sometimes, it just feels so right!

Entrepreneurs often get fixated on finding “the perfect name.” But in many instances, you don’t actually need a name.

For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you can say, “I offer private training sessions and group training, too.” You don’t necessarily need to say, “I have a 6-week personal training program and it’s called THE MUSCLE-BLAST-OMATIC MASTERMIND INTENSIVE.” Sometimes, going nameless is the best approach. Instead of a fancy name, just say what you do. Really. It can be that simple.

Lastly, before you go bonkers over a cool name, do some Googling and do a trademark search to make sure it’s not already being used. Hire an attorney to trademark your own names, too.

Most of all, remember that if you don’t have a snazzy name yet, that’s okay. Don’t allow yourself to get paralyzed. Give your project a temporary “working title”—this happens in the movie/TV biz all the time—and keep moving forward. Write another chapter. Outline your curriculum. Test ideas with beta-customers. There’s a ton of work you can do even without an official name in place.

Sooner or later, the right name will materialize in your mind. It will probably happen when you least expect it—and when you’re not trying to force it. Like during a shower. Or during a spin class. Or midway through an episode of Game of Thrones.

Play more. Stress less. Relax. Look out into the world around you, not down at your phone. That’s the best way to generate names, names, names, galore.