A month ago, I switched my Instagram handle to Flying Goose Studio. It started as a bit of an experiment, sort of a “let’s see if this works”… and it had exactly the effect I was hoping for!
Let’s rewind a bit, and I’ll share some of the backstory.
History of MGJBTX
Mid-2018, when I was getting back into quilting (I think I had made a baby quilt or two as gifts that year) my husband suggested I should start a blog to document my projects. What started out as a simple blog adventure has turned into an Instagram feed, a small business, and of course… a lot of quilt projects.
The username ‘MGJBTX’ was born out of the first time I went to Texas in 2010. I was going to be there for 2.5 months, and told myself I would blog about the adventures of “MG and JB in TX” (definitely didn’t keep up with blogging, though!). Then after we were married, I kept the username and used it for my email address – J Gonzales was just too common of a name to build a username around.
When it came time to start my lil business, I couldn’t decide on a name. I mean, I was already making so many other big decisions and dreams, coming up with a name just seemed beyond me. I decided I’d “stay true to myself” and stick with ‘mgjbtx’. There’s just one problem: it’s not pronounceable OR memorable, which makes it really hard to grow a business around.
Y’all. Even people staring directly at it screw up trying to say it, and I definitely don’t blame them.
MGJBTX, the business
Fast forward to the beginning of 2020. I’ve been doing the small biz struggle dance for a little while, and I’ve also been watching what other businesses are doing. What makes them successful, and how can I apply that to my own practices? I’d also been wrestling with my own sense of identity on IG – am I an influencer? a small business? or just someone who posts photos of quilting projects?
Then one day, I was listening to the Quilt Buzz podcast, and had a thought. “If they invited me to speak on their podcast, how would they introduce my name?” and I realized it was time for a change.
How could I expect potential customers to find me online if they couldn’t remember my name? How much energy do I want to spend explaining my username every time.. and could that energy be used elsewhere instead? And how can I expect to be found in search results if my name isn’t even a word?
MGJBTX was “me”, but it was also bad for business, in a way.
Introducing: Flying Goose Studio!
Flying Goose Studio pays tribute to my identity as a Canadian and to my business as a quilter. It’s something I could put on the side of a building, and other quilters would recognize it as a place where they are welcome. (Hello, dreams of owning a brick and mortar fabric shop…)
I made the switch mid-May, and told myself it would be an experiment: will changing my username lead to growth? Yes.
First, let me say that life is not all about your follower count. But then let me follow up and say that increasing your follower account, and therefore your audience, is a surefire way to grow your business when coupled with the hard work of posting consistently, engaging regularly, and showing up genuinely. Anyway, I predicted that switching up my username would lead to an increase in organic growth, aka acquiring new followers without even “trying”. And it did. Since changing my username, I’ve seen an increase in followers even when I’m NOT posting regularly.
The Moral Of The Story…
So what’s the point of all this? Well, for starters… it has helped cement my personal identity as a “small business owner”, not just a “person who posts photos of quilts”. It has also helped inspire me to continue putting effort into growing my business, and it gives me hope that one day my biz dreams can turn into a reality.
I still have some places I need to change my name, like ordering new labels for my inventory quilts, creating new business cards, etc. but for now, I’ll continue enjoying my new name, especially since I’m still the same old Jocelyn behind the iPhone.