Does your email address present you professionally?
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Computers and the Internet have made it easy to start a business with minimal investment, compared to the days when nearly all businesses had to have a physical presence to become known. Unfortunately, too many people just jump in without giving any thought to their email address.
Ideally, you should have your own domain name. This is not only important for branding, but it tells the world you are serious about your business. Even if you don’t intend to have your own website right away, or at all, you can still benefit from using your own domain name. Since domain name registration costs $15.00 per year or less, it’s affordable even if you’re on a shoestring budget. I would be very leery of dealing with someone who doesn’t have enough confidence in their business to invest $15.00 in it.
If, for some reason, you really don’t want to invest in a domain name, you should at least create a separate email address for your business. Many ISPs will give you multiple email addresses at no extra charge, so why not set one up that is firstname.lastname@example.org, or even email@example.com if you haven’t decided upon a business name.
If you absolutely MUST use a free email service, choose a user name that reflects your business appropriately. Keep in mind that many people will be reluctant to deal with a business that uses this type of service, as they are often associated with spammers and here-today-gone-tomorrow operations. Not only that, they may question why you are using an online service and think you don’t have your own computer and must go to a library or Internet cafe to check your email. If this is the case, it is vital that you make every effort to do so every day and to respond to your messages promptly in order to establish your professionalism.
Never use a shared email account (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) for business purposes. Not only does this send up a red flag – your clients probably do not want your spouse reading their messages to you – but it is too easy for you to miss a message if your spouse reads it first and either doesn’t remember to mark it unread or accidentally deletes it. I have had this happen to messages I’ve sent to clients, on more than one occasion.
Under no circumstances should you use an email account with a cutesy or suggestive user name for business purposes, unless of course it relates to the nature of your business. Would you have confidence doing business with email@example.com?
A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.