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"I" or "we" ?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by lolage, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. lolage

    lolage Member

    Hi, I'm in the process of starting up a web design company. It will not have my name in the domain...

    Basically, is it a bad thing to write in first person for a web design agency. I would presume its a lot more proffesional to use words like "we" instead of "I" but I want to be hoenst on the website, and not make out there is more than 1 person behind the business when there is not.

    Any ideas? In a bit of a dilemma... I have so far wrote all my copy for the homepage/contact pages and have dodged having to use the word I/we but now that I'm writing the about page I'm kinda stuck.

    What would you do in this situation?

  2. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I also struggled with this a while ago before starting up. I came to the conclusion that whilst it's not a bad thing to use "we" instead of "I" it is a little bit misleading which may have unforeseen consequences, i.e. customers expecting faster deadlines due to assuming there are multiple people working in the company.

    There's a very good reason to use I instead of we though, which is that you can add a personal touch. Who doesn't like to use the local alternative instead of the local branch of a huge 'professional' company? (So long as the quality is the same or better of course)

    Personally, I would recommend that you market yourself as an individual.
  3. lolage

    lolage Member

    Thanks, I was also leaning towards this! Was just concerned it may have looked a bit odd or maybe even unprofessional.
  4. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    It definitely wouldn't make yourself look unprofessional. Sure there may be people out there who have had bad experiences with freelancers, but I bet there are just as many, if not more than have had better experiences with freelancers than companies.

    What languages do you know? If you don't mind me asking :) It would be interesting to know a little bit more about you.
  5. lolage

    lolage Member

    Despite the domain not being the standard <name>.com/<name> ?


    I wouldn't really call html/css a language, but that really is as far as I go. I understand really simple bits of PHP/javascript but nothing I'd be able to do from scratch.

    To be honest, I was hoping to get away with just creating nice static websites for local companies in my area with the use of a light cms if they needed one. If programming was needed, which I doubt - I can always get a freelancer involved.

  6. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Well, I use LA Designs because I'm going for the personal company image and eventually the plan is to hire more programmers/designers to establish a studio of some sort.

    What is the domain name? Realistically yeah it's going to look a bit weird if it's something like and then on loading the site it's all like "Hi, I'm lolage, nice to meet you. Welcome to my personal site".

    You really need to plan things like this, where do you want to be in 1, 5, 10 years time? Are you making a full time career out of this or is it just a hobby? You need to plan the future of your business accordingly. For the sake of £7 for a 2 year or £10 1 year .com it shouldn't really be that much of an issue - just buy a new domain name. Just make sure you've done your business planning first. You can't just wing it in business, it will never work!
  7. lolage

    lolage Member

    Cool, thanks for your helpful reply! I am in the same boat I guess, in regard that I don't want to go as personal as personal name domain. Mainly because if it does grow it looks worse than a with multiple people working for you.

    I'm really struggling domain wise, trying to think of any word before the word media seems impossible. I wanted the word media due to me wanting to offer more than just "design". In the future I'd like to offer videography on top of photography/marketing which I can already offer. Basically, just offer a great service to busineses.

    So far I came up with raw5 (rawfive) is an anagram of my home address. Sounded quite cool, but meh - I'm not sure. I personally don't like numbers in domains but it sort of works in this domain. (... I think?)

    As I see it at the moment, it will be just something to get a bit of experience while I'm at university. I'm hoping that maybe after a year or so I can quit my part time job so while studying I can earn money by doing something useful..?

    Then maybe, who knows by the time I've finished my degree it might be enough for me to do this full time. If that doesn't go to plan I'm sure it will look good on my CV for potential employers for having the initiative to starting something like this.

  8. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I wouldn't worry about a business name looking worse when you plan to expand because you can simply set up a new business with those people under a new name. At that stage you're likely to have a number of regular clients who you can simply bring over to the new business. Loyal clients won't care as long as it doesn't result in a lesser service.

    As for your name, I'll explain my view on it. I personally believe that anything that makes contact with potential clients needs to be considered to some degree, to ensure that it's conveying the right message to those people. People are very quick to judge and can base their opinions off of the slightest error, inconsistency or simply a personal reason which doesn't make much sense.

    So when a person is going about their business and stumbles across your business name they will think <enter opinion> they might then go on to read more if it's a leaflet or poster and make further judgements on your ability, professionalism etc. They might then Google you and find your website and will go on to make further judgements and ultimately these judgements will decide whether they spend their money with you or not.

    So, in my opinion, anything that communicates with potential clients, which includes your domain name as it will also be your business name, needs to have some thought put it into and what message you want to give to people. Does raw5 media give the right message? I don't think it's bad, but I think you can do better.

    I think personally, in your position, I would advertise myself as an individual (yourname media - or something) and build the fact that you're a university student into your portfolio. Make it known to people that you're studying it at uni level, it's not a bad thing to be a student, people are often willing to help you out more.
  9. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I wouldnt have an issue with using 'We' instead of 'I'. It sounds more professional and makes you appear a bit bigger than you are so you would likely attract bigger clients. You can of couse clarify things in your web copy saying 'we are a small company' etc, you dont have to be specific and say its just you on your own. A client would be daft to assume anything without an agreement. Even big companies who have lots of clients cant work on all of them at the same time - thats why things are agreed before hand. If you get too much work then dont agree your next project to be delivered for tomorrow - simple. Also using we will give you the flexibility of intorudcing collaborations with other designers / developers etc under the umbrella of you company/name/brand, so it is a totally fair reason and is not misleading at all in my opinion and will give you this flexibility from the beginning. Many of my designer friends do this and even well established design business' where its only a single designer studio. So I would not be afraid or concerned at all about using 'We'.
  10. lolage

    lolage Member

    Cool, I think I am actualy going to take your advise on making a site based more around myself as a person. I think this gives me the option to be honest about being a "freelancer" and at university studying etc.

    I would go down the route but sadly my name (Ben Davies) has been taken. Possible alternatives are: Matthew DAVIES)

    What do you think?

    Hmm, thanks I will bear it in mind if I do chose to go down the single designer studio route.
  11. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I'm sure lots of people do use we and claim to be a company, lots of people also commit suicide, doesn't mean it's an acceptable state of affairs. Personally I like to promote transparency and honesty through business, which is why I made my suggestions. Even as an individual you can still take on work and pass it on to other people if you're too busy, so I wouldn't say that's a reason for using we. I'm not saying you will fail if you market yourself using we, it's just a matter of principles for me. :p

    As for domain name, I would refrain from using an appended title, i.e. media.

    That's your only real option, unless you go with something like BM Designs or bendaviesdesigns. It's important to make sure people can remember the URL though, perhaps less so in this industry but try not to make it overly long or complicated :)

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