How I Became a Baby Name Consultant (& What I’d Do Differently)

As a little girl, before I ever new that “name consultant” was a real job title, I’d spend hours on Yahoo! Answers in the baby name forum giving my two cents on the monikers expecting parents should choose. I’d reference data and what names were being used on Disney channel and Nick at Night to justify my reasoning. I also accredit this hobby with learning to type quickly. I had an hour a day on the computer, I needed to be as efficient as possible.

I’m sure at the time, these parents had no clue they were talking to a fifth grader, but I took my time on Yahoo! Answers seriously. In high school I discovered Name Nerds on Reddit and would apply the same diligence to my answers and input there. 

When TikTok entered the scene, the next natural move was to start sharing my thoughts on baby names there, too. It took me a few months of posting before I had the “ah-ha! I need to be sharing names moment.” But, I finally got there. 

Little did I know that my tiktok would open doors for me to become a full-blown baby name consultant. (Something I didn’t even know existed until last April.)

Screenshot of a name consultant profile on tiktok

My journey from casual TikToker to baby name consultant looked like this: 

My TikTok Journey

August of 2020: I posted my first wedding planning TikTok video. In my head, TikTok was a temporary thing to help dull the sting of wedding planning in the depths of Covid.

September 2020: I shared three videos of interesting names that I found in my collection of vintage yearbooks. These videos did fairly well, but I was still focused on wedding planning.

October 2020-June 2021: I focused back entirely on wedding planning content.

June 21, 2021: I posted a video of my 1932 Davenport High School Yearbook. This video went small scale viral getting over half a million views in just a few days, and coming close-ish doubling my follower count. I went from about 12,000 followers to 19,000.

June-October 2021: I continued focusing mainly on wedding content, mixing yearbook videos in as well. My wedding videos did far better than my yearbook videos at this point in time.

October-December 2021: I kind of lost focus of TikTok all together. I posted a few random videos, and a few more yearbook videos but I was super sporadic during this timeframe. I had thought I was going to more or less quit TikTok after my wedding, since that was the original purpose of my account, but I started to miss it.

December 2021: I doubled down on posting the names I was finding in my yearbook. A few videos also went small scale viral and started growing an audience that was as interested in vintage naming trends as I am. 

December 29, 2021: I made a video asking people to give my criteria so I could help them come up with baby names. This was the beginning of what I do now. 

January 2022: This month was mainly focused on video requests. Rather than solely relying on my yearbooks, I began incorporating my own knowledge and research. I was trying to do a video a day helping people find a name for their baby. I also began to create a database sharing every name I had found in my yearbook collection. 

February 2022: I continued doing my naming videos, jumping on “viral” sound trends hoping to grow. I also incorporated sharing the stories of some interesting people that I found in my yearbooks. 

March 2022: I posted my first “vintage names that will make a comeback” prediction video. This one got viral attention and major news pages shared it. Truthfully, I spent many nights upset at the cruel comments left and wanting to delete my TikTok altogether. Luckily, the negative attention didn’t last long.

At this time, I was also majorly struggling to keep up with the name requests. Because I was accidentally “skipping” people, I was getting angry and unkind comments on my videos for that, too. I felt overwhelmed and stressed.

April 2022: My husband sent me an article about a name consultant and encouraged me to look into that. He said something along the lines of, “This used to be really fun for you, maybe if you can create a way for people to guarantee you do a video for them so you’re not getting the hate comments, it’ll be fun again.” 

May 2022: I opened my consultations hoping to get a couple a week and quickly booked over 70. May was a blur of trying to get everybody’s finished in good time. It was fun, but it was also incredibly stressful. I knew I had to raise my prices, because 70 consultations a month wasn’t sustainable. 

May to Present Day: My Name Consultant Journey

I’ve raised my prices twice, and I’m at a spot where they feel comfortable. I get between 20 and 50 inquiries a month, and I’m now making enough that I can justify spending the time that I do on them. I’ve also streamlined my process, too. Now instead of every consultation being a 4-6 hour endeavor, I can finish most of them in about 1-4 hours. Some consultations (especially the ones that need names that sound great in multiple languages) still take longer. The most time consuming ones are few and far in between so I deal with a lot less overwhelm as a name consultant.  

My name consultation process

After I get the intake form from my clients, I begin working on their brainstorm document. This is essentially lists of names and ideas I have to draw out the process of how I come to their top suggestions.

I created a master naming doc where I’ve compiled list after list of names including (but definitely not limited to) these categories: 

  • Names that are in the top 100 most popular in Spain and Germany
  • Nature names that sound good in Spanish
  • Flower names outside the top 1000 most popular
  • Flower names for boys
  • “Tough guy” names
  • “Main character names” 
  • Non-biblical “normal” names
  • Non-biblical “creative” names
  • Biblical “normal” names
  • Non-biblical “creative names” 
  • Literary boy names
  • Literary girl names
  • “Rugged” boy names
  • “Adventurous” girl names
  • Gender neutral names
  • “Girl names” for boys
  • “Boy names” for girls
  • …and so on

Overall, there are about 125 lists and I try to add a new one each week. These lists are great for reference points and jump starting my search after parents reach out. Typically I’ll copy every list over to the client’s brainstorm document, and then refine from there. My lists are broad on purpose, so I can get rid of the names that don’t meet the other criteria points, or that don’t “vibe with the vibe.” 

From there, I create the corresponding video, and either post it on TikTok or email it privately. 

How to become a TikTok 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: 

  • Create high value, highly researched name posts for my first 3-6 posts. 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 would recommend against using stock videos / photos of kids for these. I’ve seen a lot of name accounts pop up putting names over photos of babies and on the surface it’s such a great idea. 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 your data driven posts start attracting an audience, insert your thoughts and opinions. Videos 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. 
  • Go crazy with the video responses to comments. 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. 
  • Open up consultations! My one regret is not doing this earlier. 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.
      • 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 40 in my queue.
    • My second biggest regret was guaranteeing a turn around time. I believed I was going to get 2-4 clients a week. Instead I got close to 15 or 20 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.
  • Track everything! 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 2023 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.

You can find me on TikTok here! And you can find my consultation availability here! And while we’re at it, I just began creating name videos on YouTube, too. At the time of publishing there is just one, but another goes live tomorrow.