Question from Gabe: I recently retired after a long career in public service and I’m planning to start a second career as a professional photographer.
I’ve already lined up a few shoots through word-of-mouth but I’m planning to put up a business page on Facebook and have some business cards printed to promote my photography services.
The question I have is do I need a private email address (something like [email protected] where example.com is my own domain name) or will a Gmail address suffice?
I have always heard that having your own domain name presents a more professional image but I’d really rather not have to pay for a domain when I don’t plan to have a website.
What is your opinion on this? Would a Gmail address work or should I spring for a domain name?
Rick’s answer: Congrats on your retirement, Gabe! I hope your second career turns out to be just as fulfilling as your first!
To answer your question, I used to be firmly in the “you really need to have your own domain name for your business email” camp, but my opinion on that has changed in recent years.
Third-party “free” email services used to have a bad reputation, and for the most part it was well deserved. But Google’s amazing Gmail service has changed that.
It’s now quite common to see business cards, social media accounts and even full-blown business websites proudly displaying a Gmail address.
What’s more, many self-employed individuals now do business using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Therefore they don’t need a website and an associated domain name, and in most cases it seems to work quite well for them.
The bottom line is this: I don’t believe you need to “spring” for a domain name (although they are dirt cheap these days) in order to present yourself and your photography business in a favorable light. Gmail should work just fine for you in my opinion.
Bonus tip: This Kindle ebook explains how to use Facebook marketing to promote and improve your business.