The Case Against Using Your Personal Email for Business

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky

Do you use an email address from a free email provider—like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, or your Internet provider—for business purposes? 

If so, you could be delivering the wrong message about your small business every time you hit “Send.”

Sure, using a free email service is easy, convenient, and free. You’ve probably already have one or more free email addresses set up for personal use. So what’s the big deal about using them for business?

Here are some important reasons not to use that personal email for business:

1. It doesn’t look professional.

Recently, I asked a contact of mine for a referral to a financial advisor. She gave me a person’s name, praised him to the skies—and then gave me his Hotmail email address.

Immediately, I was filled with doubt. How up-to-date could this advisor be if he was using an email address from 1998?

Perhaps he’s equally behind the times on investment advice, I thought.

I eventually contacted him—and was pleasantly surprised that he was quite knowledgeable and professional. However, that outdated free email address came very close to costing him a customer.

2. It can make it harder for your emails to get past spam filters.

Spammers typically use free email services to send their messages, so if you’re doing the same, you’re increasing the risk your emails will never get to their intended recipients. Worse, you could get flagged as a spammer if this happens too often!

3. It does nothing to promote your brand identity.

You might argue that there’s a big difference between sending business email from a AOL address and an address like Comcast.com.

That’s true… But only up to a point.

Every time you send an email from a domain-based business email address—for example, Susan@YourBusiness.com—you’re promoting your business’s brand.

If you send your business emails from a free email service, even a “current” one such as Gmail, you’re ignoring one of the best ways to build name recognition for your business.

4. It could keep you from getting the financing you need.

Bankers, investors, and other financing sources are likely to look askance at a businessperson who doesn’t have a registered business email.

Let’s face it: these people are busy, so they quickly form opinions of you based on first impressions. If you’re too cheap to set up a domain-based business email address, they’re going to think you’re…

  • An amateur. (See Point 1 above.)
  • Not planning for growth. (Are your future employees going to have AOL email addresses too?) Financing sources are looking for growth-oriented businesses—that’s how they make their money.
  • Unwilling to invest in your business. If you’re too cheap to spend the minimal amount required for a registered business email address, why should they lend you money or invest in your company?

***

There’s no excuse for not getting a domain-based business email address of your own. When you register your business domain name, the same provider can typically set up professional email for you at minimal cost.

Think of it as a small investment in your business that can pay actual dividends, even though it seems so minor.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky

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