personality based business verses a pennameWhen starting out with their web businesses lots of people feel nervous about putting themselves “out there”.

They often feel a little embarrassed about their friends/family/work colleagues learning about their new venture.

This is totally understandable and after all the fear of failure not only drives us forward but also makes us shy about admitting to others what we’re actually doing!

So, do you actually NEED to use your own name and personality in your business or can you still make money online under a pseudonym or penname?

The short answer is you can absolutely make money under a penname!

In fact, I personally know several online marketers who make very healthy full-time livings by marketing under pennames!

There’s certainly nothing unethical about this and if you think about it many famous book authors throughout history have concealed their identities too: George Orwell, Lewis Carroll and George Eliot (who was actually female!).

When I started online I actually used a penname myself for several months. I assumed the pseudonym Robert Johnson after one of my favourite delta-blues guitarists.

Some very successful marketers have done the same: Glen Allsopp from Viperchill “admits” to this in an excellent post here.

So basically, there’s no problem creating your business under a penname. You CAN still do very well!

A Personality Based Business

On the other hand, many people are keen to build their business around their own identities.

I was advising someone last week who is in exactly this position. She is very enthusiastic about helping people (a great trait to have if you want to make money online!) and has no qualms at all about basing her marketing around her own personality.

As we’ve already proved this isn’t a requirement for success, but as and when you do reach a confidence level where you’d be happy to do this then you’ll definitely get a big boost from putting your own personality into your business.

Here’s why: Customers of personality based business don’t just buy because of the quality of the products but because they because they also like and trust the person who is selling them.

And of course, doing business online is really all about building trust with your audience and not just trying to sell to people straight away and in every email you send to your list (and we all know marketers like that I’m sure!).

So putting yourself “out there” does definitely help but don’t feel that you need to do this. As you progress forward and succeed (and you will because the ONLY way to fail is to give up!) then your confidence will build and you’ll find that you are more and more comfortable with coming out of the woodwork.

There’s so much fake in online marketing that just being yourself and being real will help you really connect.

And don’t think for a minute that nobody will be interested in you: It doesn’t matter who are you you’ll attract a like-minded crowd that is keen to learn and hear what you have to say!

Would you prefer to market under a penname or are you happy to have a personality based business? Please drop a comment below with your thoughts (your real name or a penname is fine!)…