Setting Up My Own Email Domain for Business

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
Here's my story:

I have been a communications consultant for 6 years. I'm not a LLC. I don't work with state secrets. I'm a sole proprietor, and most of my work is done through PR firms of which I am a member of their extended team and I work w their clients. I work with a ton of different industries and sectors -- health care, education, financial services, energy. In all that my time I've used my personal Gmail for almost all my work stuff. In a few cases, I have had a client set up an email for me on their domain that I get delivered to my phone. But for the most part it's been my Gmail which is firstname.lastname@gmail.com -- which is good because my name and rep is pretty much my business.

But now, I have a financial services client that has a new policy that says I can't keep using a "personal email" -- ie, an email with a gmail.com (or hotmail.com, etc.) domain. Literally anything else is fine, which is dumb, as it is my understanding that Gmail security is the same across its platforms, including their business/Google Workspace offering. It just has different words. The client tried to give me an email from their system, but after going through literally months of setting it up, it turned out they don't have any way of allowing people to check their email without being on site or logging into the Citrix virtual desktop, which fucking sucks. So, having run out the clock on the client on this issue, it seems the only option is to set up a business account with my own domain.

Now, I know *how* to set up an email for this -- I did it for my dad when he set up a consultancy after he retired from his business. I mostly just don't want to. For one, I have studiously avoided naming my business. I hate stupid clever business names with "strategies" and "communications" that I see on LinkedIn. But also, I don't want to transition all my clients to another email, I don't want to pay for an email and email domain out of my own pocket (even if I could charge the client or write it off). And I don't want to go through the hassle of checking multiple fucking emails. I'd like to have everything in my Gmail account without having to flip back and forth between business and personal.

What does SoSH suggest here as the best and most painless way to do this? As for the platform, I'm thinking maybe it's Google Workspace -- $12/mo. My wife has used GoDaddy but that seems to have been a mess for her and I prefer the Gmail platform to Outlook's. As for the name itself, I'm thinking and the name is either my name spelled out -- or maybe better yet, my three initials, a la "fredo@xyzcomms.com."

Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

mwonow

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 4, 2005
6,244
I mostly use addresses associated with domains that I own, but when I needed one on a stand-alone basis, I went with Ionis 1&1. Bad news: they just doubled their fee! Good news: ...to $2/month.

EDIT: btw, I just forward most of these addresses to my gmail account, which is the only one that is on my phone. You may need to respond via the separate email, but you can at least monitor it from a central source.
 

johnnywayback

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,328
Here's my story:

I have been a communications consultant for 6 years. I'm not a LLC. I don't work with state secrets. I'm a sole proprietor, and most of my work is done through PR firms of which I am a member of their extended team and I work w their clients. I work with a ton of different industries and sectors -- health care, education, financial services, energy. In all that my time I've used my personal Gmail for almost all my work stuff. In a few cases, I have had a client set up an email for me on their domain that I get delivered to my phone. But for the most part it's been my Gmail which is firstname.lastname@gmail.com -- which is good because my name and rep is pretty much my business.

But now, I have a financial services client that has a new policy that says I can't keep using a "personal email" -- ie, an email with a gmail.com (or hotmail.com, etc.) domain. Literally anything else is fine, which is dumb, as it is my understanding that Gmail security is the same across its platforms, including their business/Google Workspace offering. It just has different words. The client tried to give me an email from their system, but after going through literally months of setting it up, it turned out they don't have any way of allowing people to check their email without being on site or logging into the Citrix virtual desktop, which fucking sucks. So, having run out the clock on the client on this issue, it seems the only option is to set up a business account with my own domain.

Now, I know *how* to set up an email for this -- I did it for my dad when he set up a consultancy after he retired from his business. I mostly just don't want to. For one, I have studiously avoided naming my business. I hate stupid clever business names with "strategies" and "communications" that I see on LinkedIn. But also, I don't want to transition all my clients to another email, I don't want to pay for an email and email domain out of my own pocket (even if I could charge the client or write it off). And I don't want to go through the hassle of checking multiple fucking emails. I'd like to have everything in my Gmail account without having to flip back and forth between business and personal.

What does SoSH suggest here as the best and most painless way to do this? As for the platform, I'm thinking maybe it's Google Workspace -- $12/mo. My wife has used GoDaddy but that seems to have been a mess for her and I prefer the Gmail platform to Outlook's. As for the name itself, I'm thinking and the name is either my name spelled out -- or maybe better yet, my three initials, a la "fredo@xyzcomms.com."

Thoughts?
You can accomplish this within Gmail -- I have an email address with a domain name I pay Hover $44 a year to maintain (I also have a cheap Squarespace website up there just for kicks), and the emails come right to my Gmail inbox via POP3. There's a little drop down box to choose which address to send from when I send a new email. I set it up through Gmail, by going to Accounts and Import and adding an email address. So I think you need to buy a domain, but then it's pretty easy, at least it was with Hover.

FWIW, I am also a sole-proprietor communications consultant who does not have an LLC, and I've actually found having a "company" useful, if only because when you describe yourself as a "CEO" on LinkedIn you get a lot of invitations and occasionally some free stuff.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
You can accomplish this within Gmail -- I have an email address with a domain name I pay Hover $44 a year to maintain (I also have a cheap Squarespace website up there just for kicks), and the emails come right to my Gmail inbox via POP3. There's a little drop down box to choose which address to send from when I send a new email. I set it up through Gmail, by going to Accounts and Import and adding an email address. So I think you need to buy a domain, but then it's pretty easy, at least it was with Hover.

FWIW, I am also a sole-proprietor communications consultant who does not have an LLC, and I've actually found having a "company" useful, if only because when you describe yourself as a "CEO" on LinkedIn you get a lot of invitations and occasionally some free stuff.
I just realized you could do this -- I spent some time this morning trying to configure an Outlook account to deliver to my Gmail via POP3 (tho I'm getting an error). Once I figure this out tho, I think that may be the solution.

That's a good tip re. having a company ... free stuff is good!

Thanks to both of you!
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,368
02148
I set up firstname@lastname.com back when gmail offered free email to small businesses, so obviously that’s no longer an option. However, I already pay for the 200 GB tier of Apple iCloud which offers custom domain email, so I now have an “no additional cost” option. (My primary use is for camera recordings and backups.) I’ve also registered a new custom TLD recently, so I might set up firstname@lastn.ame just for kicks.

There are other benefits to having your own custom domain email. For example, Zelle only allows you to link an email address to one bank account. Now that I have an endless supply of new addresses, I can send money to chasebiz@lastname.com to transfer money instantly from a personal account to my business checking. You can also get a lot of sign up bonuses multiple times. Recently I was also able to create a single email address that my wife and I shared for wedding items.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
1,346
Simi Valley, CA
I was going to suggest that you can get a first name last name icloud email if you have an Apple product but the Apple Mail client is not very powerful. Just sayin.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
These are all good ideas, thank you. I’m really familiar with Gmail, which can aggregate multiple email addresses, so am kind of inclined to go in the Workspace direction. $12/mo. isn’t too bad I don’t think.

Tho I am tempted to maybe try the massive iCloud thing anyway to just have everything on my computer backed up to the cloud – so integrating that with my work switch isn’t a bad idea …
 

gtmtnbiker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,166
Regarding having multiple email addresses to check, it’s not a big deal. I used Outlook on iOS to have a universal inbox with all of my emails from three different providers. I use Mailbird on windows desktop to do the same.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I realize I pay for Apple iCloud storage already so can set up my domain that way without having to incur any extra costs. Unfortunately, I ran into some problems setting up Two-Factor Authentication for my Apple ID account (which is required to set up your domain). I spent some time over the holiday on the phone w Apple trying to sort that out, but it hasn't been resolved yet.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
You can accomplish this within Gmail -- I have an email address with a domain name I pay Hover $44 a year to maintain (I also have a cheap Squarespace website up there just for kicks), and the emails come right to my Gmail inbox via POP3. There's a little drop down box to choose which address to send from when I send a new email. I set it up through Gmail, by going to Accounts and Import and adding an email address. So I think you need to buy a domain, but then it's pretty easy, at least it was with Hover.

FWIW, I am also a sole-proprietor communications consultant who does not have an LLC, and I've actually found having a "company" useful, if only because when you describe yourself as a "CEO" on LinkedIn you get a lot of invitations and occasionally some free stuff.
FWIW, I ended up doing this ... it was dead easy. Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions.
 

Earthbound64

Member
SoSH Member
FWIW, I am also a sole-proprietor communications consultant who does not have an LLC, and I've actually found having a "company" useful, if only because when you describe yourself as a "CEO" on LinkedIn you get a lot of invitations and occasionally some free stuff.
Interesting. I've had my own domain (firstnamelastname.com) for probably a decade or more, as well as a "PayPal Business Debit Card" – I don't make or sell anything, it's basically just a résumé – but I've never thought of doing that...
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
21,590
Newton
FWIW, I ended up doing this ... it was dead easy. Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions.
Small update/complication: it seems that Gmail doesn't fetch these 3rd party emails with any regularity. Which would make it less than ideal as an aggregator for email accounts including work emails.