So you’re ready to start a sustainability side hustle? Where do you begin? How about starting by selecting a name? Read on for more about how to select a name for your sustainability side hustle.
This post is part of the Sustainability Side Hustle series. If you’re curious about starting a sustainability side hustle, learn more about the series inspired by my own sustainability side hustle.
Now that you’re ready to name your new sustainability side hustle, I’ll assume you already have an idea about what you want to do. If not, spend some time brainstorming about the things that you love related to sustainability.
Consider if one of your eco-passions might be a great option to provide as a product or service for someone else. Would others in your community love to do what you do or use your great product but just don’t have the time to do or make “the thing” themselves? Do it for them!
If you’re landing here and not sure yet what might make a good sustainability side hustle for you, we discuss this more in-depth in a previous edition of starting your sustainability side hustle.
How to Choose a Name for Your Sustainability Side Hustle
If you have a knack for creativity, you may land the perfect name for your new side hustle by happenstance or creative genius. That’s amazing. This, however, was not me.
Brainstorm Words Related To Your Business
When I created WasteWell, I tossed around a lot of name ideas before landing on a name I loved. To begin the brainstorming process, I first created a list of words related to my business idea. As a small compost hauler, I jotted down words like waste, compost, scraps, reuse, reduce, green, earth, and more. After a couple of days of returning to the list periodically, I had a list of about 50 or 60 words with which to get creative.
Next, I started piecing together these words into potential business names. Scrapy. Who Gives A Scrap. Green Earth. And lots more! At this point, I don’t remember most of them.
Float Ideas To Family & Friends
A handful of the potential names made it to the final chopping block, and I floated the finalists to family and friends for feedback. I sent out text messages of the final name ideas along with a brief description of my business intent (so they had context for the names). The text message looked something like this:
“Hey. I’m thinking about starting a curbside composting business through which I would pick up food scraps from people in my community (kind of like you have your trash picked up) and compost it for them. I’m trying to come up with a name. Can you tell me what you think of these ideas or let me know if you have other suggestions? Do any of these resonate with you? Are any of them confusing?”
Most friends offered a few nuggets to consider. But a couple of friends, in particular, were especially helpful. I apparently found a trigger for their creative passion, and they helped me tweak the name ideas to come up with something better than any of my original ideas.
Luckily, I have one good friend who is also a marketing professional and incredibly creative. I knew she would have lots to offer on this topic. As we walked together during one of our kids’ soccer practices, I shared some of my business name ideas and asked for her feedback and advice.
She suggested tips like:
- Keep the name short and sweet
- Consider using letters that work well in logos
- Pick something that tells your customer what you do
- Don’t get too fancy or funky
- Make sure people can spell it and say it
Beyond just asking for feedback on the ideas I had come up with, I also asked them to share their own recommendations if they stumbled on other ideas. One friend, in particular, gave me an idea that was quite similar to WasteWell and ultimately the suggestion that connected me to my final business name choice.
The Name Doesn’t Have To Be Forever
While it’s helpful to pick the right business name from the beginning, you can always change the name later. It doesn’t have to be perfect forever, especially if you’re just starting with a side hustle and not a large business with heavy investment. It’s much better to just get started than to tie up the entire idea behind a barrier of finding the right business name.
Some other online resources have a laundry list of tips for finding the absolute perfect business name, suggesting there’s immense pressure to get it right and make a great first impression. Most of these tips to name your new business are useful, even if some are a bit strong.
If you’re launching something large with lots of investment, I agree that getting the name right is a pretty big deal. But for a sustainability side hustle, the pressure subsides. Get a few customers and fall in love with the business before you fall out of love with landing the perfect name.
Legal Considerations Related To Business Names
Let me first disclaim that I am not an attorney. I am not about to offer you legal advice. However, it is useful to do a bit of quick online research to find out if your business name is already in use by someone else. The United States Small Business Administration has some tips on the technical aspects of choosing a business name to get you started.
Once you select the name you would like to use, search for it online. Try the business name as a URL to see if someone else already has it. Check common social media platforms to see if your name is already in use.
With all of the social media accounts and websites that exist, you may not find the perfect option across all platforms. Your URL and social handles don’t have to be perfect or identical. For example, “WasteWell” was available on all of the social media channels that I wanted to use. However, www.wastewell.com was only available for sale, and I was not interested in paying a premium for that URL. Instead, I chose www.mywastwell.com, and it’s been more than sufficient.
Down the road, if I think WasteWell is about to blow up and make me rich (highly unlikely and not the intent), maybe I’ll invest in the pure URL. For now, as a simple side hustle, my current URL is just fine.
Do you really need a name to start your business?
I suppose it depends on what your business is. Technically no, but I think it’s really helpful.
Many small side hustles start out of a passion for making or doing something for other people in your community. Maybe you already have a garden, and you’re choosing to turn your habit of giving away produce into a sustainability side hustle selling fresh produce in your community. You’re already doing “the thing” and it doesn’t have a name.
However, if you’re choosing to grow your sustainability side hustle and share your idea with others, even to make just a bit of extra income, having a name really helps when sharing your idea with others. Friends and family need something to call your side hustle in conversation, especially if they are spreading the word to others.
If you have a sustainability side hustle or experience choosing a new business name, I’d love to hear how you went about picking your business name. Do you have any great tips? Share them in the comments, so the rest of us can learn from your expertise.
Let’s get Finpowered to Protect the Planet.
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.