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I recently started a company, and as the only member, I am not sure what title to give myself. While it feels silly to spend time on something so trivial, I have a few concerns:

  • Ideally, I want to indicate that I am operating a company rather than being a sole trader (this is important in my case as my company is a type of non-profit, so in the UK at least this makes some difference).
  • I don't want to imply that my company is bigger than it is, or that I'm managing other people (which I feel titles like "director" do).
  • I worry that if I leave out the title altogether, people will think that I just work for the company, and again may think that the company is more than one person.

My title would essentially only show up on emails, linkedin, business cards etc.

Thanks in advance!

  • 4
    What is the name of the company? I mean say your name is John Doe and your company John Doe Consultancy (just an example) I don't think any title is neccesary – user180146 Nov 5 '19 at 12:10
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    Founder of xyz? – Bee Nov 5 '19 at 12:51
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    You mention you are not a sole trader, but have you incorporated your company/non-profit - as in, are you registered with Companies House and named as a Company Director? – AdzzzUK Nov 5 '19 at 13:05
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    I like "Founder". It will always be true, even when you bring in a CEO to replace you or sell up for millions of pounds. – SQL Hacks Nov 5 '19 at 13:54
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    You can give yourself any title you like - it's your company (eg Chief Key Depressor instead of 'programmer'). Whether anyone else will understand that title is another matter. Generally use whatever you want to Convey. If you want the cards to stress you are the owner of the business, then Director is a good place to start. If it's not obvious by the Company name what sort of business it is, then you could give a job title for the profession (Eg Company name of 'Big Designs' and title as 'Building Architect' to demonstrate the type of work undertaken) – Smock Nov 5 '19 at 14:47
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A common choice in this situation is "Founder". It conveys that you're working for your own startup, without giving an impression about the size of your company (you could be the sole employee, or you could be Mark Zuckerburg, or anywhere in between).

If you have a specific focus in your career then "Founder and CEO", "Founder and CFO", "Founder and CTO" etc are also common. They may not be as appropriate for you at this stage though, since you're the sole employee and don't want to imply that your company is larger than it actually is.

5

I've used "Principal" in a similar situation ... clients and potential clients responded well.

Founder is certainly an option, but if you're a solo it just seems pretentious.

My $0.02 ...

3

I know a few people who are owner-operators of consultancy businesses who give themselves a job title that describes their day-to-day job. Two on my network are 'Senior Project Manager' and 'Human Resources Consultant"

2

When I started my one-man consultancy, I used Managing Director (the accurate legal title in the country in question) when doing business as myself. However, when acting as a hired gun for my previous employer and dealing with their clients, I continued to use the same title I used to have when employed there.

The fun thing with small companies, though, is that you can name yourself pretty much anything you like: when we later grew into a two-man company, my partner opted for Vice President of Internet. Because why not?

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