In this day and age, when all businesses – big enterprises to the next door grocery store – are connected online, this is the number #1 advice I want to give to all budding entrepreneurs.
Get Yourself A Professional Looking Email.
firstname.lastname@example.org looks much better than
I have been managing my online businesses for 10+ years now. The first thing I notice when I receive an unknown solicitation is the email address. So an email from
email@example.com sets a mental flag in my head and in all probability that is the end to the conversation. The unknown email solicitations I receive are mostly from tech oriented people. A technical person not serious enough to secure himself a pro email, won’t be really serious with his business.
Email from free services like Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo are absolutely fine if you use them for personal mailing purposes to friends and family. For any other use, get yourself a professional email.
Other than looking unprofessional, here is another solid reason why you should NEVER rely on free email service providers.
Why You Should Not Rely on Free Email Services
You may be booted out any time with no explanation whatsoever. There are chances you may inadvertently violate one of the terms-of-service (TOS) and you may be shutdown forever. Irrespective of who is right or wrong, it is YOU who will suffer at the end when fighting with behemoths like Google or Microsoft. If such a thing happens with your Gmail account, all your connected Google docs, blogger blogs, Google photos, Google voice account will be shut down in an instant. This has happened | to several | people and can happen to anyone of us.
You may ask, even a premium service provider can shut you down for such a terms-of-service violation. Yes, that is very much a possibility but here comes the big difference. You OWN the control to your domain and MX records. In an unfortunate instance of your premium email getting shut-down from one of the service providers, you just need to migrate to another email service provider, change the MX record from your domain registrar or DNS service provider and your email is LIVE again in a matter of minutes.
Which Email service I use?
After buying a domain, the first thing I do is to get an email from Google’s G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) – that’s Google suite which consists of Gmail, Google Docs and other services. When you sign up for G Suite, you get name specific email ids for at $5/month/email (or Rs 220/month/email) while generic email ids like
firstname.lastname@example.org are free. It is quite inexpensive and provides all the usability, security and spam prevention of Gmail that we have been used to over the years.
What happens to my old data in case my premium Email Service Provider shuts me down?
When compared to free services, the possibility of premium services shutting you down without notice is quite low. Premium services normally come with SLAs, TOS which are different compared to free services.
Still it is better-to-be-safe-than-sorry.
I take backup of all my major email accounts using the inexpensive Spanning Backup. Spanning backs-up my email account on a daily basis in the background without me lifting a finger. Given that Spanning stores an unlimited backup, it can even help if you want to get an email that you have deleted by mistake.
Here are 3 rules-of-thumb you should follow if you run a business online.
- Keep your points of failure segregated as much as possible. In my case, my domain registrar, DNS service provider, WebHost, CDN and email service provider are different organizations unrelated to each other. In case anyone of them goes bust or tries to shut me down for any reason whatsoever, I can easily switch to the competitor without losing my money and my sleep.
- Have backup or a failover strategy for anything you do online. Run a WordPress site? Back it up using BackupBuddy Gold. Run an eCommerce store? Have another payment gateway ready with all paperwork done in advance.
- Enable two factor authentication on all your service providers.
Over To You
What is one thing you would like to tell to a new entrepreneur? Do you agree that even today email remains the most critical aspect of business online?