I see the question come up often of how to get around not using your real name online. People wish to not use their real name for many reasons. It might be that you are a high profile person and don’t wish for others to know who you are. It might be you are working offline and do not wish to confuse people with your two lives, or it might be you prefer not to be found by someone who might be looking for you. Whatever your reason, you are now faced with whether or not to use your real name online.
I see many work-arounds. If you are a woman, and you have a maiden name, consider going by your maiden name. Chances are, most folks will not know your maiden name.
Another thought is to use only the first letter of your first name, along with your last name.
You can use any variation of your initials that feels comfortable. You can use your first and middle name initials, along with your last name. You can use your first name, then your maiden name initial and a last name.
Other people have chosen to use nicknames. For example if your name is Katherine, you could use Kat, Kate or Kathy or any other spelling of the name Kathy. If your name is Robert, you could use Rob, or Bob, or Bobby, or Robby.
In some cases, I’ve seen women use their husbands’ names online. They believe a man’s name will benefit them.
Another option is to change your last name just a bit. For example, if your last name is Wolfman, consider shortening it to Wolf. If your last name is White and you want a name other than White, consider adding a few letters and making it Whitman.
It is my belief that in business, online, you do need to use a real name versus an “online screen name” or “handle”.
Branding online is very important so consider the name you will use carefully. Choose a name that you want to attach to everything you do online.