Sunday, May 28, 2017

For a really small venture, maybe keep it simple

In most jurisdictions you do not need to register a business name if the name you use is your own unaltered name – e.g. if I called a photography business Victoria Fine Photography that would need to be registered as a business name, but if my names was Jane Doe and I called it Jane Doe Photography I would not need to go through the business name registration process.

I still could register under another name, and there would be advantages in doing so, such as protection from another Jane Doe starting her own photography business under a confusing similar name.

Mainly if you want to have a very small business, with just yourself part-time doing the work, with little potential for legal or financial liabilities,  you might want to keep things as simple and inexpensive as possible.

A one-person business is called a sole-propietorship. You still pay income taxes on money that you make, but you will be taxed as an individual. Keep in mind that any legal or financial liabilities are held personally, so you do not have the protections offered by registering a company.

You can still operate a sole-proprietorship under a name other than your personal name, but you will need to register that business name.

You still want to have a website, though, and this is where some of the new TLDs come into play. In the case cited, a great domain name might be or for example.

So what are your choices in TLD extensions?  The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) maintain a TLD listing (nicely arranged alphabetically) of the current possibilities.

Some good TLD choices for professionals working under their own name are the following:
  • .accountant
  • .attorney
  • .author
  • .catering
  • .construction
  • .consulting
  • .dentist (or .dental)
  • .design
  • .doctor
  • .education
  • .engineer (or .engineering)
  • .farm
  • .finance (or .financial)
  • .fitness
  • .marketing
  • .photographer (or .photo)
  • .productions
  • .professional
  • .plumbing
  • .realtor (or .realty)
  • .studio
  • .toys
  • .training
  • .vacations
Keep in mind though that being on this list just means that some domain registrars handle that TLD.  It certainly does not mean that all registrars do. If you hope to keep your domain registration, DNS (domain name serving) and web hosting all within one service, for example with, it's a good idea to explore options before you commit to a name.

Check to be sure of any regulations in your area with respect to business names. An excellent article on Naming Your Business by Canada Business Network has links to the various Canadian provincial sites.

The Fine Print: We are an education service, and nothing you read here should be considered individual legal or business advice. Briefly our background is that we have owned a business, managed numerous websites, and registered many domain names. While every attempt has been made to be current and accurate, any details important to the reader should be independently verified. We are members of Google Adsense, so you will see some ads from them on these pages, and also are members of several affiliate programs including Amazon, HostPapa, and Namecheap. We only join affiliates if we use that service ourselves, and have had a positive experience.  Unless we explicitly indicate otherwise in a post, we have not been offered compensation by any company or organization for any post or recommendation.

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