When approaching someone online, one of the first things they’ll see is your name and email address.
You can’t easily change your name legally, but you do have control over your email address.
Having an email address from your own domain these days is a must-have. Consider the following addresses and think about how much you’d trust each of them:
You’d probably trust them in that order exactly, with the hotmail one the least.
It’s easy to understand why when you think about it. Anyone can get a free email account. These days a lot of them are throwaway accounts, especially with the amount of unwanted email people are getting.
If you knew me, you’d know that I go by edavis10 online. But I can’t expect a potential client to know that. To them edavis10 just looks like edavis, edavis1, edavis2, edavis3…edavis9 were already taken (for clarification, 10 shows up a lot in my life and is my lucky number).
Out of all of those, my Little Stream Software email address sounds the most trustworthy. It shows that I’ve gone through the work to setup a website, domain, and email system (even though all three are still pretty trivial).
The other benefit of using a branded email address is that if this client is interested (group 2 from the last email), they might go to my website to do some more research on me and my business. I know I do this for a lot of people who contact me, especially clients.
I know some freelancers who get by with using Gmail email accounts. They might have lucked out and gotten a good one. But even then it doesn’t feel as strong. I hate to say it, but using a free email account like gmail.com makes it look like they’re only moonlighting and their business is just a passing fad.
Anyways, enough of that rant. For now…
Go get a branded email account. You probably have a domain and website already so it should be a simple add-on. You can use your first name, full name, or first initial last name if you want. I don’t think that matters as much. And you can always alias it. eric@ also comes to me, though I discourage people from using that.
P.S. I use Rackspace for my email hosting (formerly known as Mailtrust). They’ve been rock solid and for a few bucks per email address, they are a great value. You don’t want to run your own email servers. Trust me. I have done it. It’s a waste of your time.