“Communication leads to community,
that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
~ Rollo May
It is recommended that you have a separate email only used for your private practice. This will be the email that you put on your marketing materials and use to correspond with clients. Similar to your phone, you should determine for yourself what days and between which hours you will check your business email.
Keeping your business and personal emails separate will reduce the chance you accidentally send something personal to a client, and also help you maintain business boundaries for yourself. Make sure that you have your name, your designations, your contact details and a privacy disclaimer in your email signature regardless of the service you use.
Options for Business Emails:
Domain Specific Email
What this means is using an email address that ends with your domain name
From a brand consistency standpoint, this is a really helpful feature. It also looks very professional. The downside is, there usually is a small monthly fee involved. Most hosting companies offer this service at an additional fee, however sometimes the user experience is not the best. I would recommend asking if you can see what your account would look like before you purchase if you choose to go this route to make sure it is intuitive to use.
Personally I use a service provided through Google Apps which is separate from my hosting package. I do this because it also allows me access to Google Calendar, Google Drive and all the other google services. It costs about $5/month and I’ve found it to be the most reliable platform and very user friendly as it is the same format that a gmail.com email uses.
Gmail or Apple services
The next best thing to having a branded domain specific email is using Gmail (gmail.com) or Apple (me.com – this is an older service and you may not be able to get this type of email anymore) It is recommended you use just your name, your name with your designation or your company name.
The reason I single out these two services is they seem to be generally accepted in the business community for use as a “professional” email address even though they are “free” services. (You need to have an apple ID in order to have a me.com account so “free” in this case may be debatable).
Email through Internet Providers
Another option is email addresses offered through internet providers such as Telus (telus.net) or Shaw (shaw.ca). These are also generally accepted as professional email addresses.
They can be accessed from any computer. However, if you choose to switch service providers, you will also be required to change your email address. That can be a major overhaul of your marketing materials and you risk clients and colleagues not being able to get in touch with you during/after the transition. Unless you are planning on staying with the same provider over the lifetime of your business, you may want to consider a different option.
You may want to avoid using emails from these accounts for professional purposes. They are generally viewed as unprofessional and more something that one would use for personal purposes.