Down With William. Long Live Billy!
Whether or not you realize it, you’re a brand. We all are.
Shortly after the moment we come kicking and screaming into the world, we’re given a (brand) name that will stay with us for the rest of our lives, unless you decide to legally change it.
In my case, my parents named me William Robert Frazier.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with this name, especially when I graduated college and decided to freelance full-time.
Like many misguided creatives fumbling into the world of freelancing, my first step was to choose whether or not I wanted to brand myself as an agency or use a personal brand (you know, instead of focusing on finding actual work that paid the bills).
My initial thought was:
“I’m only one person so why the hell would I brand myself as something I’m not?”
At the same time, I wasn’t fully convinced potential clients would hire someone named “Billy.”
In my mind, Billy was a ten-year-old with a propeller hat or a country bumpkin who didn’t know the first thing about technology — either way, not someone you would want to trust with the fate of your business.
I desperately wanted to be taken seriously and felt the need to reinvent myself as someone clients, customers, and companies would all respect.
With this in mind, I decided on using my formal name “William Frazier” and went full steam ahead.
Over the next decade, I made a living illustrating posters, building brands, laying out websites, designing apps, writing articles, facilitating workshops, throwing summer camps, and pretty much everything else in-between. I’ve even been paid to make weird sounds with my mouth while five other guys sing. True story.
Throughout all this, “William” never sounded quite right to me. It always tasted weird in my own mouth and it sounded even weirder when others used it, especially to my face.
It wasn’t until the past few years that I discovered how much I value being open and honest with others, which is funny because in many ways, I had been lying to myself all along.
I was ignoring a few clear cut truths:
- William is formal, cold, calculated. Billy is fun-loving, optimistic, and loves sharing experiences with others.
- William takes his work seriously. Billy takes his work seriously while doing the exact opposite with himself.
- William sounds like someone who might be more successful in a traditional sense, but Billy couldn’t give less of a damn what other people think is successful.
And this is why I’ve decided to go back to my roots.
As of today, I am rebranding (Rebranding? Unbranding? We’ll go with rebranding) to:
Billy Frazier — a designer and writer who likes blurring the lines between work and play while making people smile.
What exactly does this mean?
It means I’m focusing more on writing and other creative projects for making fun of the slippery slope between work and play (or work/life balance as most of us call it).
For me, this decision came down to redefining what it means to be “successful” in today’s professional world.
I truly believe being happy and successful means being human. It means bringing your authentic self to the table, even if that includes all of the ugly, messy parts. In fact, these are the parts that resonate with others because everyone has them (and many of us are still forced to hide them while at work).
Being a professional means acknowledging the idea that from business leaders to elementary school teachers, no one has any idea what the hell they’re doing — we’re all making this up as we go.
William did his best to ignore this, praying that no one would see through him, but now it’s time for him to step aside and let Billy take the mic.