I finally did it! I made the switch from my regular Gmail account to one that uses my domain name. Huzzah! It only took me 4 years of freelancing.

I’ve been hearing some tips recently that warn “DON’T HAVE A REGULAR EMAIL ACCOUNT! IT’S SO UNPROFESSIONAL AND CLIENTS WON’T WANT TO WORK WITH YOU.”

To this I say…”meh.”

In some ways, I completely agree. Don’t hand out your “butterfly0523 at hotmail” account. That IS unprofessional. But handing out your tasteful Gmail account address with your full name (and maybe a number if there are just too many Smiths in the world)? Why not? I’ve worked with several excellent translators who use a Yahoo or Gmail account. And I’ve worked with some pretty terrible translators who have a domain name email. So let’s talk about email addresses.

Are you considering switching from your generic account to using a domain name? Go for it! Are you unsure? Fine. This is for you. Here are some pros and cons (the ones I used when making this decision):

Arguments for changing your email address

  1. It looks more professional. It really does! If you have a company name or a name you do business under, it looks sharp, catches the eye, and it lets people know you are serious about your work and not a fraud (anyone can create a Gmail account).

Rebuttal: If you are anything like me, maybe it is taking you a while to decide on that company name you want plastered all over your business card, website, and resume. It’s a big decision. So if you aren’t sure yet, use your Gmail account for a while longer. I worked for 4 years using my Gmail account. It was on my CV and my business cards, and I sent cold emails from that address. Guess what? I got responses. I got clients. Because I let my experience and credentials do the talking for me. My email account was just how they could get in touch.

2. It doesn’t cost much. If you are already paying for a domain name, it’s not a huge extra expense. Google Apps for Business lets you have a basic business email for $5/month (with a 30-day free trial period).

Rebuttal: Maybe you aren’t paying for a domain name. If you are considering one, you can also do that through Google Apps for Business or GoDaddy, which is what I use. There are a lot of options out there, and there is usually a discounted price for the first year. If that’s not in your budget, and you are just starting out and trying to figure out what you want to call yourself and your freelance business, spend some time there first. Come up with a business plan, and once you have that outlined, you can go from there.

Because once you change your email and let all your clients know and create new business cards, you can’t decide next month that you’re going to change it again.

 

Another big pause-point for me was the amount of things I would have to change if I changed my email address. Changing your CV is pretty easy, but ordering new business cards, making sure all your clients and agencies have your updated email in their databases. It’s a big deal. Thankfully, Gmail makes it easy to forward your email to another account, so if you do make the switch, make sure to set that up so you don’t miss any important emails.

 

Look, I know this is the trend. Get a website! Get an email address with your domain name! And it only worries me because I see that so much time and energy is invested in marketing yourself (yes, yes, I get it – it’s how you get jobs)¬†but not as much time and energy invested in training, continuing education, sharpening skills, reading, writing, and dictionaries.

I know this because I saw it happening to me. When I didn’t have a job for the day, I thought, “What marketing can I do?” instead of “What glossary can I organize?” or “What style book can I browse?” I see so many blog posts about how to market yourself, and, in a competitive “market,” I do see the value in that. However, what good is it to have an ultra-professional email address with a fancy schmancy website if your work is sub-par, your writing skills are poor, or your translation falls short?

 

Let’s get our priorities straight.

 

To the hirers and firers of the world. If you see someone with a Gmail account address, don’t write them off just yet. Look at the rest of their credentials and experience. Maybe they just aren’t serious about their work, and, if that’s the case, move on to the next resume. OR maybe their priorities are simply in a different (and, possibly, better) place.

What do you think? How important is it to have an email address that uses your domain name?