Educational

girl feeling sad that she has no website traffic

Launch4Life writes about a variety of topics to help small businesses better market their products and services. This collection of posts fall under the category of EDUCATIONAL.


Touring Google Headquarters: A Great Business Model [Updated 2019]

Touring Google Headquarters: A Great Business Model [Updated 2019]

google through a magnify glass

 Just a few days ago, a possible attack on Google’s Headquarters was thwarted by police.

 

A man was apparently driving across the country (from Maine to California) to “meet” with Google executives. All this with no luggage in the car. Hm… yep, that sounds kind of suspicious.

 

Once the police did a little investigation, it turned out the suspect had warned others he was going to harm Google employees for taking down his YouTube channel. Yikes!

 

While reading about this in the news, I got to thinking about when the Launch4Life team had a personal tour of the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. At the time (May 2015), we were just getting started with our online marketing business. We had no reason to visit the search engine giant, but yet we knew it was something we just had to do.

 

Now it almost seems serendipitous that we got that tour. Because five years later, knowing the ins and outs of Google is the core of our business. Back then, we barely knew the difference between organic search and pay-per-click ads.

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in just a few short years. Today it seems that not a single day goes by that we’re not learning something new about Google. Just this past weekend, I came across these mind-blowing stats:

 

  • 5 billion Google searches are made every day. (Internet Live Stats)
  • The volume of Google searches grows by roughly 10% every year. (Internet Live Stats)
  • Every year, somewhere between 16% and 20% of Google searches are new—they’ve never been searched before. (Internet Live Stats)
  • 90% of searches made on desktops are done via Google. (Statista)
  • 35% of product searches start on Google. (eMarketer)
  • 34% of “near me” searches done via desktop and tablets result in store visits. (HubSpot)
  • The average Google search session lasts just under a minute. (Moz)
  • Dating & Personal Services advertisers drive the highest click-thru-rates on paid Google results. Just over 6% of their views turn into clicks! (WordStream)
  • Organic Google results with 3-4 words in the title drive higher click-thru-rates than organic results with 1-2 words in the title. (Smart Insights)
  • Google has indexed hundreds of billions of web pages. All told, the index is about 100,000,000 GB large. (Google)

 

P.S. That last statistic of 100 billion web pages is so astronomical that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Let’s just say… that’s a heck of a lot of web pages.

 

That big number reminds me of a book I used to read my boys when they were little, Can You Count to a Googol? by Robert Wells. This cool little children’s book is a real fun way to visualize big numbers – like Googol (which is a real mathematical equation that equals 10100).

Can You Count to Googol? book

Excellent children’s book for visualizing really big numbers.

And, just in case you’re wondering if the really big number Googol and the really big search engine Google is a coincidence? Nope, not a coincidence at all. According to Google’s history, when the founders were trying to come up with a name for the company, they misspelled the Googol and “Google” was born. See, even search engines mess up.  

 

Below is our flashback blog post, where we shared our thoughts on visiting Google Headquarters back in March 2015. I hope you enjoy it.

And, if you EVER have the opportunity to visit the Google Headquarters in California, please do. It truly was one of the highlights of our business career.

 

Touring Google Headquarters: A Great Business Model 

May 3, 2015

Launch4Life at Google headquarters

The Launch4Life team had the recent pleasure of touring Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. It was an awesome and eye-opening event.  While it is true that Google is a really big business, we learned that its a very cool company to work for.

The first thing we should tell you is that it’s actually very difficult to get a tour of Google HQ. When we learned that we’d be in the Santa Clara area, we thought it would be awesome to add on a “field trip” to Google. So, I began looking into how to set up a visit. Well, it turns out that you can ONLY tour the silicon giant if you have a prior invitation, or, if you know someone.

Matt gave us the most awesome tour of Google and we so appreciated all the time (hours!) he spent with us.  He took us from building to building, explaining Google’s philosophy, work environment, and why everyone loves working there.

Janet having fun in the Google ball pen

Janet in the stress-relieving employee ball pit

Gillian having a go on the google bikes

Gillian riding one of the Google campus bikes

Here are just some of the reasons that makes Google a very cool place to work:

  • Free carpooling buses (with free wifi) that allow people to commute easily from San Francisco.
  • Dog-friendly workplace that encourages you to bring your dog to work & sit at your work station.
  • Complimentary bikes that any employees can hop on and ride across the Google campus. A great way to encourage exercise and having fun.
  • Giant team meetings with the Google executives where everyone and anyone has a voice.
  • Ongoing education & inspiration with industry experts. They just had Tony Hseih from Zappos, talking about his book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.
  • Dining room that offers free food (awesome variety and very healthy) to all Google employees 24/7.
Janet & Gillian at Google's cafeteria

Janet & Gillian in the Google Cafeteria where employees eat for free 24/7

At the end of the day, we walked away with the appreciation that one of the reasons that Google’s successful is that it takes care of its people. They are a great business model because they are proving that a fun and nurturing place to work makes happier employees… which in turn makes excellent products and services.

Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Are You Really Helping Your Customers?

Are You Really Helping Your Customers?

My husband and I are in the process of selling our house. Since this is the first house we’ve ever owned, we’re what you call “First-time sellers.” If we’d known just how much work it takes to ready your house for market, we’d never have bought a house in the first place. Buyer beware.

We are currently working with a realtor that I’ve known for years through business connections. We tried to be right upfront with him and explained this was our first home, so we are real estate newbies. Unfortunately, I don’t think he understands how overwhelmed we are feeling. While he may eat, sleep, and drink, the home selling process – we are completely clueless.

First-time sellers do not understand the process of staging: whereby the nicest objects in your home are replaced with fake items – wall clocks that don’t work, ginger pear hand soap for display only, and a fake loaf of bread that sits in the middle of the kitchen counter.

First-time sellers do not know what’s supposed be documented on the seller disclosure form. Do we list every single thing we’ve ever fixed or just the big stuff? Since it didn’t come with any instructions, it took several back and forth emails to complete.

First time sellers do not intuitively know how to use booking appointment apps. We don’t have a clue how a lock-box works and we worry about who will have access to our home 24/7. But most importantly, first-time sellers have no idea how to prepare their home for potential buyers. Lights on. Blinds open. Toilet seats down. All personal items tucked away. Fake loaf of bread in place. It’s all so overwhelming. Throw in the fact that we have two anxious dachshunds, who also have belongings that need to be removed! When As my realtor and stager rattled off a lengthy checklist for me to follow, I quickly grabbed a pen and wrote it all down. Afterwards, I typed it all up and created a room-by-room checklist.

Here’s my thoughts, why wasn’t I provided with any written instructions on how to do any of this? Don’t realtors and stagers already have a checklist on how to ready your house for showings? Why doesn’t my realtor have PDF articles on his website that offer advice on showing a house when you have pets? Why does my realtor not understand the overwhelm a first-time seller feels?

This past week I was helping one of my clients learn how to blog. They are new to using WordPress. She admitted she did not find blogging to be the least bit intuitive. To be honest, once I looked at it through her eyes, I had to agree. While I have been blogging with WordPress for years, I clearly remember when I too was a blogging newbie. When I first began blogging with WordPress I found it so hard to use. I didn’t know how to change the font size, add graphics, or apply categories and tags. I didn’t even know what categories and tags were!

Remembering how overwhelmed I felt when I began using WordPress, I could totally empathize with my client. So, I began thinking outside the box and came up with some strategies that might better help her. I showed her a much simpler way to use WordPress, made a quick training video, and provided some custom cheat sheets. The end result? My client was thrilled and felt confident she could start blogging.

I think it’s important to recognize that while something may be easy for you, it might not be easy for other people. Often, it’s not until you sit down to teach someone something… that we realize how complicated it is. Always try to step back and remember how you felt trying to learn the thing you are now assume someone else should easily understand. Locking into prior experiences from a different perspective allows us to have empathy for other people and find a better way to bridge that gap.

No matter what business you are in, I encourage you to take some time and think about how you’re treating your clients. Are you making unfair assumptions that they should know as much as you? Do you use jargon that might make them feel dumb? Are they asking a series of questions because you failed to anticipate what they needed to know? These are really important points to consider, because you might not realize just how badly your client is feeling. Nobody likes to feel stupid.

Always be on the lookout for keywords that may indicate they’re frustrated. Phrases like: “I don’t have a clue”, “this is new to me”, or “this is not intuitive”, are not a good sign. When clients use these keywords they are communicating they need your help. Your job is to always meet your client where they currently are and help raise them up to where they want to be.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Cultivating Better Communication Skills

Cultivating Better Communication Skills

My son recently graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science. Last month, while he was applying for his first full-time job, he needed to put together a 12-minute introductory video. In the video, he was required to discuss his educational background and professional experience, as well as “say a few words” about himself. While this task wouldn’t be easy for most people, it was even harder for him because he’s an introvert. Yet despite the difficulty, my son put together a really good video. Even better, he did it so well that he landed the job. Hurray! Later, he confided that he could not have done it without the help of Toastmasters.

For those of you unfamiliar with Toastmasters, it’s an international organization dedicated to helping people cultivate better communication skills. When my son first started college, he quickly discovered how uncomfortable he felt giving class presentations. While he had no problem putting his thoughts down on paper, speaking them out loud felt awkward. One night my son decided to come and check out my Toastmasters club. After just one meeting, he could see the members of my club would make excellent mentors. Several years later, everyone in the club has helped my son gain more confidence in his speaking ability. While my son is still an introvert, he is now totally comfortable whenever he’s asked to “say a few words.”

While Toastmasters is a wonderful organization for introverts, it’s also great for extroverts. At Toastmasters, members learn that becoming a better speaker requires evaluations that identify your strengths and weaknesses. In order to be a good evaluator, you need to become an active listener. Being a better listener can help every business professional better serve their clients.

Toastmasters has been around for a long time. The organization was founded in the United States in 1922. Today, Toastmasters is now an international organization, comprised of 352,000 members in over 141 countries. Most Toastmasters clubs meet weekly, or every other week, for 1-2 hours. Using a system that helps individuals learn-by-doing, club members help one another advance their public speaking and leadership skills.

Here are the reasons I think every business professional should consider joining Toastmasters:

1. Overcome Public Speaking Fears
The most positive and supportive audience in the world is a Toastmasters club audience. Speaking regularly in front of a group will help calm your nerves and communicate more effectively.

2. Become a Better Public Speaker
Club members progress through a series of speech projects.  Each project is specifically designed to help improve the ability to write and deliver speeches.

3. Become a Better Listener
By watching other members give speeches and evaluating their performance, you’ll become a better listener. Evaluating speeches forces you to pay attention and listen carefully. In addition, meetings include a grammarian report where word usage is scrutinized and everyone’s “ahs” and “ums” are counted. The reports help you become aware of using distracting filler words.

4. Gain Leadership Skills
Leadership and communication skills are related. As you gain more confidence in your ability to communicate effectively, your ability to lead will also improve. In addition to improving their speaking skills, Toastmaster club members can elect to take on leadership roles within the club. These opportunities help strengthen and grow the club.

5. Think Fast on Your Feet
During each Toastmasters meeting, there is a portion known as “Table Topics.” During this part of the meeting, club members respond to questions on a general topic. This impromptu speaking opportunity helps prepare you for the times in your life where you need to “speak off the cuff”.

6. Expand Your Network
Toastmasters is an excellent way to meet new, interesting, and successful people. Each club has a diverse range of members, ranging from young adults to retiree, from students, to working professionals, to business owners, and retirees.

If this sounds interesting, I urge you to visit a club near you by searching the Toastmasters club database online. If you live in an urban area, you may find you have several clubs to choose from. Instead of signing up with the first club you visit, be sure to shop around and choose the club that best fits your schedule and/or personality. Every club is unique and different. I like to visit new clubs when I’m traveling. It’s a great way to meet new people – anywhere in the world.

Once you find a club you like, signup and become a member. You will find that the membership dues are very reasonable (less than $100 a year). There really is no other public speaking program out there that will provide you with such an incredible return on your investment.  Best of all, Toastmaster meetings are fun to attend, which may be the greatest reward of all.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Never Stop Learning

Never Stop Learning

Over this past summer I have been doing a lot of traveling.  My road trips have taken me to 5 different states and next week I’m off again!  Traveling by car is my preferred means of transportation because there’s almost no limit on what I can take with me.  As a matter of fact, several of my road trips were pet friendly, which allowed me to bring along my two dachshunds. ?  However, the one thing I don’t like about car trips, is the down-time from my business.  Luckily, I’ve found a great way to never stop learning, even while driving.

I am an avid fan of podcasts.  I listen to them when I’m at the gym, walking my dogs, and even while cleaning.  I especially like listening to podcasts when I’m driving in the car.  A good podcast can keep my mind engaged, which stops me from becoming a drowsy driver.  It’s the best way to make time fly by.  Instead of focusing on the destination, I can enjoy the journey.

While I do have a few podcasts, I listen to for pleasure, the majority of the ones I subscribe to are business related.  I especially like podcasts that focus on marketing, leadership, and non-fiction books.

They say that you can tell a lot about people by the books they read.  The same holds true for podcasts. I say this because when you listen to a podcast, it’s like you are inviting the host/hosts into your head.  You want to make sure their personality, style, and voice is pleasing to you… no matter how much you enjoy the topic.  I have run across some podcasts that were just not a good fit for me because I didn’t care for the host.  For instance, one podcast was scratched from list because the hosts kept giggling.  I dumped another podcast because it was too short (only 8 minutes long) and I got tired of spending all my time listening to the opening and closing credits.  Another podcast had way too many commercials.  I suggest you listen to at least 1-2 episodes before you hit the “Subscribe” button.  Once you finally do subscribe to a podcast, you will automatically receive new podcast episodes as they’re released.

 

So how do you even find podcasts to listen to?  The best place is to start with iTunes, where you can find hundreds of thousands of free podcasts.  From Business to Comedy, Health to News, and Sports to Technology, there’s a podcast (or more) for everyone!  You will quickly learn that choosing a podcast is a matter of personal taste.  No two people will have the same preferred podcast list.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

I Love Marketing with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson

I Love Marketing is an ever expanding world-wide community of people that love marketing and want to keep innovating and learning. This podcast is for Entrepreneurs, small business owners or even start-ups that want inspiration and ACTIONABLE marketing strategies about direct mail ideas, lead generation, lead conversion, getting referrals, email marketing and more. Joe and Dean also discuss psychology, books, people and productivity delivered every Monday to help jump start your week!

Read to Lead Podcast | Business book author interviews with award-winning broadcast industry veteran Jeff Brown

If you believe as I do, that intentional and consistent reading is key to success in business and in life, then this is your podcast. My goal each week is to bring you key thoughts and insights from my conversations with those I consider to be among today’s brightest minds: our generation’s non-fiction authors. We discuss their latest book, as well as their unique perspectives on Leadership, Business, Personal Development, Marketing, Career and Entrepreneurship. If you love reading, or desire to do more of it, then consider this podcast your audio Cliff’s Notes. The Read to Lead Podcast is a three-time Best Business Podcast nominee.

The Introvert Entrepreneur

***Proud to be named as one of the “Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs” by Entrepreneur.com (Dec 2014) and featured in the “Inspiring Women’s Voices” category on iTunes (March 2015).**** This show is a lively space for conversation, learning and sharing. Through interviews and discussions, we’ll talk about business and life from an introvert perspective, providing resources, advice and inspiration. Show topics fall into four general categories: * Entrepreneurship: self-promotion and networking; productivity; defining success; moving through fear, uncertainty and doubt; creating focus and intention; finding your voice; and goal setting * Leadership: living your vision and values; showing up with authenticity; being a leader among your peers; communication; and courage * Relationships: partnerships and collaboration; forming support networks; and balancing your time and energy between your family, your business and yourself * Personal Growth: self-confidence; self-talk; tapping in to personal power; managing your energy; taking care of yourself and all of your parts, including the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and creative

The Mind Your Business Podcast

All entrepreneurs want to know the secret to success. James Wedmore, a seven-figure online entrepreneur, believes success is created by mindset over strategy, magic over metrics, and attitude over action. In this podcast, James untangles the common misconception that hustle and hard work are all it takes to be successful.

The Social Media Examiner Show

Discover quick tips for marketing your business, from Social Media Examiner. Consume snackable social media content each day. The result: this daily dose of marketing vitamin will equip you to take your social media to an entirely new level. Find out more at SocialMediaExaminer.com/show

For other suggestions, simply go to iTunes and browse through the category of: Podcasts > Business > Management & Marketing

 

There are several different ways to listen to podcasts – on a computer, tablet, iPod, or smart phone.  I have an iPhone, so I opt to use my mobile phone to store and listen to all my podcasts.  I like using my phone because it gives me the portability I need.  To listen to my podcasts in the car, I simply plug an audio aux cable from the earphone jack to my audio input port in my car.  That allows me to hear the podcast through my car’s built-in speakers.  Other options to connect your mobile device to your car stereo include using a Bluetooth car radio adapter using your car’s cigarette lighter outlet, or a car audio cassette adapter (if you have a built-in cassette player).  A real simple method is to just use your phone’s native earbuds.  If you feel uncomfortable wearing headphones while driving, you can always listen with just one ear.  Finally, if your car stereo is already blue-tooth enabled (lucky duck) you can simply pair your mobile device and begin listening – no extra equipment required.

One thing I especially like about the podcasts I subscribe to, is that most of them include complementary “show notes.”  These are episode related web pages, the podcast host creates to share resources mentioned in the show (ex. speaker contact info, book recommendations, free downloads, transcript of the show, etc.).   Having later access to the show notes means you never have to worry about stopping to write anything down.  Instead, you’re free to listen at your leisure.

Podcasts are an excellent tool to help entrepreneurs and business professionals stretch and grow.  For many of us, it seems that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  When you put all our energy into growing our business, there’s not much time left over to work on your own personal development.  Thankfully, once you become a regular podcast listener… you will find you never stop learning.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Experts Academy With Brendon Burchard

Experts Academy With Brendon Burchard

We recently attended Brendon’s Burchard’s Expert Academy training in Santa Clara, California. To get a good feel for what this was all about… think Boot Camp for Online Marketing. Expert’s Academy is a four-day event where 800 people plus, from all over the world, get together to learn the secrets needed to market your expert knowledge. Whether you’re a speaker, author, coach, or business professional, you’ll learn everything you need to know to promote your products and/or services at an even higher level.

Brendon Burchard is a high-energy trainer and day-after-day he never disappointed. He was like the energizer bunny… never running out of batteries. He truly exceeded expectations with the value and knowledge he shared.  During the four days, Janet and I met, and worked with, a ton of interesting people. It really gave us a bigger vision of just how many people have the goal of building an online business. What was especially interesting is the everyone had a totally different niche market. I don’t know if we met any two people doing the same business. Each participant was unique with the “expertise” they wanted to share with the world.

We enjoyed that there was a strong focus on how to market your products. Whether you wanted to publish a book, online courses, coaching services, membership site, or whatever. Brendon provided a lot of information on how he personally launched many of his products and how he used joint venture partners. For those of you familiar with Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula,” you can tell that Brendon is one of Jeff’s students.

Here is just some of what we learned:

  • What is an Expert?
  • 5 Skills Needed for an Expert Empire
  • Facebook Best Practices
  • How to Package Your Expertise & Advice
  • Creating Evergreen Funnels & Relationships that Sell
  • Promotional Partnership Best Practices

Janet and I both thought Experts Academy was a really great seminar.  We were also impressed by the high caliber of people that were attending the seminar too. Everyone seemed so positive and upbeat.  As well as hungry for success. However, what was nice is that it seemed that instead of us all being competitors, we were instead, on a mission together. Nice.

One especially cool thing about Brendon Burchard’s programs is that his mom always attends as one of his “helpers”. We had the great fortune of meeting her and speaking with her for a bit. Wow, what a wonderful woman she is.

At the end of the program, Brendon acknowledged his mom and had her come up and join him on stage. I don’t think there was a dry-eye in the house. How do you not admire a man that pays homage to his mom?

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

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