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  What should you do first?

What should you do first?

The first thing you need to do is get yourself an email address that's exclusively for your business. Since you’re going to be signing up for a lot of services that all require an email address, the last thing you want is to mix up your business and personal emails. But you don’t want just any email address. You want a professional email address – one that includes your domain name, which we’ll talk about in just a second.

This may sound like a small thing, but when you’re trying to establish your business as being trustworthy and one people will feel comfortable doing business with, you need to look and be as professional as possible. A professional email address helps.

A professional email address includes your domain name after the @ sign. So instead of “[email protected]” for instance, it will be [email protected] Again, this may seem like a small thing, but think about it… With a brick and mortar store, your building and its location can go a long way in building trust in your business; but with an online business, how do you build trust? You do it by having a professional-looking website and a professional email address. How would you feel if you started looking for a business and you noticed that the address was in a residential area? Not so good, right? You’d wonder if they were a legitimate business. The same goes for your email address. It needs to be professional.

Before you can get your professional email address, you’re going to need a domain name. A domain name is like a physical location for a brick and mortar store, but in this case, it’s a location on the Internet where people can find your website. (To learn more about domain names and how they work, you can check out this help section on Considering your domain name brings us to probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make about your business – what you’re going to name it.

Here are some tips to think about when trying to decide on a name, or in other words, what your domain name is going to be:

  • Make sure you keep it short.
  • Make sure it is memorable.
  • Make sure it is easy to spell.
  • Make sure you avoid using hyphens, if possible.
  • Make sure you include words in the name that tell something about your business (i.e. pet, portrait, artwork, keepsake, prints, etc.). This can help with search engine optimization, which is just a fancy way of saying it may help people find your website on a search engine like Google or Bing much easier.
  • Make sure you use the extension “.com”, if possible.

If you just can’t think of anything, or you find out later that all your ideas are already taken, you might try one of the following name generators to give you some ideas.

One last thing you may want to check before registering your domain name is whether the name has been trademarked. If your business does phenomenally well, and you decide later you want to trademark your name, you want to make sure it’s not already trademarked. You can check for trademarked names at

The next step is to see if the name you’ve chosen is available or not.

To find out if the name you want is available go to and type in the domain search box some of your ideas for a business name. (If you used one of the domain name tools I mentioned above, you will already know if it is used or not.)

When you find a domain name that’s not taken, and you think you can live with it for a very long time, go ahead and buy it. You can do that at or any number of other domain registry services (of which there are many). I prefer, but they are not the cheapest by any means. When deciding on a company from which to buy your domain, you should choose carefully, as this will not be the last time you will be dealing with that company. You do not simply buy your domain name and never go back to the site again. You will need to interact with your domain service to perform other services like direct the name to your website and create your professional email address.

Okay, so you have your domain name. Now, how do you get your professional email address?

Once you have your domain name, you can choose from a couple of business suites to set up your professional email address. They are:

  • Google’s G Suite – Annual plans are $10/month for email and online programs
  • Microsoft’s Office 365 for Business – Annual plans are $4/month per user and $12/month for all their programs and Exchange. (Make sure it includes Exchange. That’s Microsoft’s email service that allows you to use your domain name.) GoDaddy also offers a year free when you buy your domain from them at the time of this writing.

There are also several standalone types like:

It is possible to get a professional email address for free using a free email service such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo. The first thing you need to do is create an email account with one of the free services like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo. (We like Gmail because they have a feature that lets you use canned responses. After several emails asking you about prices and other common questions, it’s nice to have a response you can add with just a click of a button. (This feature must be turned on in “Settings” – “Labs” – enable “Canned Responses.”)) After you have created an email account using one of the services, go back to and create an email account in their “Workspace Email” area and have it forward your professional email to your free email account. GoDaddy’s workspace email is usually free when you buy your domain, but you may need to pay for it. It will run you about $3 a month if you didn’t get it for free when you registered your domain. We will walk you through the process of setting it all up in the next section.

Once your business is growing, you may want to move to one of the suite-type email services offered by Microsoft or Google. We use Google’s G Suite and have tried Microsoft’s Office365, as well. Both are good, but it can be confusing setting them up when you’re new to all this, so I’ve decided to take you the easiest and cheapest way possible.

What you need to do…

  1. At this point, you should have your domain name. If you do not, go to and set up an account and purchase your domain name. It’s very straight forward. You shouldn’t have any trouble.
  2. Then, go to, or whatever free email service you feel comfortable working with, and set up an account using your domain name as the name of the account (e.g. [email protected]). This will be the email account you get all your emails for your business.
  3. Now, log in to, if you have not already.
  4. In the top right corner, you will see your name with a dropdown menu. Click on it and select “My Products.”
  5. In the “My Products” area you will see “Workspace Email”. Click on the Manage button.
  6. Next, you will want to create a new account.
  7. Click on “Create” and, when the window opens, type your first name in the email address box followed by the @ sign. At this point, you should see your domain name appear. Click on it to finish your email address.
  8. Then, enter a password and confirm it.
  9. Now, at the top right corner of the window, you will see “Create Many | Forwarding.” You want to click on “Forwarding.”
  10. Then, enter your professional email address in the “Forward this email address” field. This will be the email address you just created. In the field labeled “To these email addresses” enter your Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail address. This will forward any email sent to your professional email account address to the free email account address you created in step 2. So, [email protected], for instance, will be sent to my [email protected] account. This essentially lets me use a professional address without having to pay for it.
  11. The last thing you need to do is check the “Catch-all” field. Using this field ensures that all emails are forwarded to you, no matter what they type before the @ sign. For instance, an email sent to [email protected] will still be forwarded to you, even though you set it up your address as [email protected]

What are the costs?

The domain name registration through will cost you about $10 to $15 a year depending on the number of years for which you register the name and the type of additional services you may decide to buy. There isn’t anything additional at this stage you will need except for maybe the privacy add-on and the webmail if it didn't come free with your domain registration.

If you decide not to choose the privacy add-on, be prepared to block a lot of phone calls from people wanting to sell you something.

The email services will be anywhere from $5 to $10 a month, or if you do it like we’ve instructed, the email service will most likely be free.

So, now that you have your domain name and a professional email address with an email service to take care of your emails, let’s start using them to sign up for services.

Pick a name for your business - Worksheet.pdf