Agent2Agent in Chicago>Question Details

Michelle Wal…,  in Chicago, IL

I'm getting married soon and worried about changing my name or adding another name. Any advice on incorporating my new name into my business?

Asked by Michelle Wallace, Chicago, IL Mon Mar 1, 2010

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That's a tough one! I definitely understand the importance as everyone is saying about the prior branding of your name and not wanting to change your business name from "Michelle Wallace". I agree with that.

On the flip side, how many of the clients you have 10 years from now, will it ever matter that they knew you as Michelle Wallace? If you're using your married name for personal things - which it sounds like you will be - then you'll meet friends and acquaintances and leads who will want to look you up online. You definitely want to be searchable by your new name too.

Do you have a corporation or LLC? For example, I have a corporation I run my business from which is just called Richard D. Schulman Inc. For legal reasons, I include this on all of my marketing. Perhaps you could do something like this with either your married or maiden name... so that you are now Michelle XXXX, President of Michelle Wallace Inc. (or vice versa). Then both names can show up on your marketing, website, etc.

Maybe think of some similar ideas like that which will help you transition over over time!

Good luck and congrats on the marriage!

Richard Schulman
Keller Williams Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 23, 2010
I've been wondering the same thing Michelle. I almost want to hyphenate until all my clients get familiar with my married name. That can make for one really long last name though lol. The important thing is your phone # really so I would change up your business cards, signs, etc as you can afford to do so.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 23, 2010
Hi Michelle,

Don't change your name. Keep Michelle Wallace. Keep it simple. Changing your name in general is fine but when it comes to it impacting your business, that's a different story. The cost to you goes alot further than reprinting business cards and sign-riders. If past clients can find you, your new name will cost you valuable business now and into the future.

Best of luck.

Ken Dooley, CIPS, ABR, TRC
Conlon: A Real Estate Company
(312) 305 4919 cell
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 22, 2010
CONGRATULATIONS, Michelle! If your fiance doesn't mind, you could just agree to use "Michelle Wallace" as your business name. Explain to him that you may already have printed business cards, fliers and other printed materials, as well as the fact that such name is now known by many clients and prospective clients. You will likely always wear your wedding ring so that wouldn't be a question for anyone approaching you. :) It could be beneficial. At the same time it may not hurt to change it, using the hyphen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 3, 2010

If you have created a business around Michelle Wallace, you could just continue to use that as your "business name".

If you want to change your name to your married name, either do it quickly and rebuild your reputation or keep you maiden and married name over a period of some 2 years to build brand recognition with the new name, then you can drop the maiden name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
My wife, Cynthia Creasey, has kept her name.

To my mind, it is incredibly effective to simply use your name in your business. Michelle Wallace, Chicago's Finest Real Estate Agent.

I like cleverness as much as the next guy, but really, we as real estate agents get too clever by more than half. Mitchie's Marvelous Mansions, for example, really, would be so over the top.

If you do change your name, it is a fabulous excuse to send a notice and a pitch to everyone in your contact list. But, personally, I think HE should change HIS name!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
It was hard for us old timers (speak for yourself, Nack!) because keeping your maiden name was akin to bra burning in our day - but if I had been given the option, I probably would have kept my maiden name. However, having said that, my married name (Nack) has served me well. 'Course I was Nack before I got into real estate - so there wasn't any real decision involved.

One young woman I know in the biz kept her maiden name until she had a baby and has only now shifted over to her married name. It's not uncommon for women to change their name when those little ones come along. They just mess everything up - 'cause, after all, you want to be identified as the mom.

No matter what/when you do it, there's never an easy solution. Might as well bite the bullet and change your name now I guess. Unless, like Jo, you are well established in your career.

Congrats on getting married!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
When I married (the second time) I kept my name. It is pretty unique so is easy for people to Google and has been on my license for 16 years. If I changed it to what my married name is "Olson" I would be lost in space! lol! I think that some day I might "hyphenate" it. I wish when I was married the first time I would have just kept my maiden name - but back in the 70's it wasn't a cool thing to do. So I vote for Hyphen. Oh, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
Congrats! I just hyphenated my name and it's worked out well. I haven't encountered any confusion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
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