Something weird happened about a year ago, and I became a baby name consultant. A couple of months before becoming a name consultant, I had no clue that such a job even existed. I had been creating content on TikTok leading up to my wedding, and one day posted outside my niche about my interest in baby names.
And after spending months creating wedding planning content with little success, that video blew my account up. At that time, I’d expected TikTok to be a hobby I abandoned after my wedding, but the realization that there were so many other people had me reconsidering.
I began to create more name content, and people really responded well. Eventually I began doing customized videos for my followers, and people kept choosing the names I suggested. As I gained momentum and a following, all of the sudden the demand for my advice was skyrocketing. It was amazing, but also a little intimidating – people were getting angry if I couldn’t get to them in time.
Thats when my husband suggested I create a service offering my baby name consultations.
I thought he was nuts.
But, I trust him a lot so I gave it a shot.
I started by searching “How to become a baby name consultant?” and really, not much came up. So I had to wing it. Through a lot of trial and error, I have finally found my rhythm. But if I were to do it all over, I could have streamlined the process so much quicker.
How to Become a Baby Name Consultant
If I had joined TikTok with the goal of growing a name account and becoming a name consultant, here are the things that I would have done differently. This is based on my own experiences, and slightly catered to my interests (vintage names, and baby name data.)
This guide on how to become a baby name consultant is catered to those who want to build their audience on TikTok. With that said, the tips could be adapted for other platforms, as well.
Create highly researched & detailed posts for my first ~10 videos
Focus on making data driven content. (i.e. tracking name trends over the years) or a look back in time (i.e. top names from 1902.) In my experience, these videos have the most “viral potential” for me and have brought my account the most growth. I might also make some “controversial” videos early on to gain traction.
In the baby name content creation world, all that “controversial” means, is including a name that might get people riled up. I’ve found the names Cove, Matilda, Agatha, Darryl, Rupert, and Kirby do the trick. Some people love them, others hate them. Both parties tend to voice their opinions and help drive engagement, which helps drive views.
I would recommend against using stock videos / photos of kids for videos
I’ve seen a lot of new name accounts pop up putting names over photos of babies. On the surface it’s such a great idea, people are looking for baby names, afterall. In practice though, I personally don’t engage with content showing children, and I know a lot of others don’t either. If you want to stay anonymous on your account, I’d consider using stock images of pretty scenery or even adults rather than kids.
After you start attracting an audience, insert your opinions.
Your high value, highly researched data driven or stat based videos should have gained some traction by now. You’ve showed your audience that you can provide value and that the content you offer them is interesting. Now they’re primed to get to know you a little bit better.
Videos I would start sharing now are ones where you share names that you think fit a certain “vibe” or sibling names you’d choose for celeb’s kids. This shows your audience that you’re skilled at recognizing aesthetics and trends and applying them to other people. This is where you can start building trust and intrigue.
Go crazy with the video responses to comments
Once you’ve gotten people interested in your content, and beginning to trust your opinions, now you should start getting comments asking you questions. The key here is to answer these comments with a dedicated video response. People love when the creators they like engage with them, and when your audience sees you doing video responses they might be hopeful to get a response to and be more likely to engage with your videos.
Every name consultant I know does free video responses to comments on top of their more in-depth paid consultations. The key here is to have each offering have clearly different values. For example, one reason people love my consultations is because they come with a 10+ page research document on top of their suggestions – that’s not something I offer in my free comment responses.
Getting requests for either sibling sets, or names fitting a certain vibe is half the battle. This means that people trust your opinion and what you have to say. Once you’re to this point, you’re officially a name consultant! Now let’s make you a professional baby name consultant.
Open up consultations!
If I could go back in time, I would have opened these up so much earlier. As soon as I started getting requests, I should have begun offering a paid tier.
I spent months doing video responses and having people get so mad at me for skipping them that I was so overwhelmed. Having an option that guarantees clients getting your 1:1 will cut 90% of the mean comments.
My number one regret was charging too little
When I started, my packages ranged from $10-$25 and I got so incredibly overwhelmed. I tried to hype up my consultations and that bit me in the butt because I got a ton. Every spare moment I had in May and early June was spent working on my consults. I’d start at 5 in the afternoon, and go to bed close to 2 am.
Technically I still get “too many” inquiries (though I’m so grateful for every one!) but now I just shut down my form whenever I have more that 25 in my queue. I open on the first of every month, this has been a big relief.
My second biggest regret was guaranteeing a hard turn around time
I believed I was going to get 2-4 clients a week. Instead I got close to 25 that first month. I told everyone their consultations would be complete within 30 days. I was so burnt out and then my last 15 consultations were “late.” (I sent emails 2 weeks in advance offering a refund if that was an issue, everyone was very kind and patient but I felt horrible.)
Still do comment responses!
I still try to do regular video responses to comments in a less “luxury” way. My paid clients get a ton of time, energy, and detail. When I’m choosing comments to do video responses to, I try to choose ones that are going to benefit the most people. So rather than doing one that says, “My kids are James, Ben, and Will, what should I name my fourth?” I’ll do comment responses to a comment that sounds more like, “I am looking for a nature name that’s not going to blow up in popularity.”
The first is too hyper specific to one person, whereas the second can help a wider audience with the same naming taste.
My comment response videos aren’t nearly as specific or detailed as a consultation client’s video because that isn’t fair to the people paying for consultations. But they do provide value and help me engage with my community.
This journey has forced me to become more organized, the first few months were chaos. I have a Trello board, planner, and spreadsheet that is technically equally chaotic, but in a more manageable way. A goal in 2024 is to outsource and hire someone with a type A brain to design a system that will help me streamline things.
Pull money for taxes
Luckily I’ve been a freelancer since 2014, so I know how the tax game goes. But when I started freelancing as a teenager, I accidentally owed the government $13,000 come tax time. I recommend putting 50% of your consultation income in a separate account. When you do your taxes pull the money from that account that you owe, and then everything left over is your “tax return.” (Because in the freelance life, you don’t usually get that fun money that nine to fivers do after their taxes.)
LET ME BE YOUR BIGGEST FAN! If you start a name TikTok or become a name consultant, I will be your biggest hype girl and #1 fan. There is room for more of us on TikTok, and the more of us who are doing this the more legitimacy this path gains from people on the outside looking in.