More than just a search engine, today Google offers a wide range useful tools that have helped women transform their passions into commercial realities. Here are the inspiring stories of three women.
Over the years, Google Web Search has helped us navigate through the vast and cluttered terrain known as the Internet. But today, Google is more than just a search engine, offering entrepreneurs numerous tools to help their businesses flourish in an increasingly digital world.
The matter is significant because women have often felt inadequate in male-dominant industries such as business, but with the influx of digital tools, today they are starting businesses at a higher rate than men.
Research also indicates that Australian businesses owned by women were more profitable over the past 12 months.
For example, a recent survey by MYOB revealed that more female business owners (21 percent) experienced a revenue rise than their male peers (17 percent) in the past year; a clear indicator that gender is not a hindrance in the business world.
Here are the stories of three Australian women who experienced success after using Google tools:
1. Jennifer Lawrence and Google AdSense
Owner of NewAgeStore.com, Jennifer Lawrence, started her business in 1999. At the time, NewAgeStore.com was one of the first e-commerce stores in Australia – a while before the Internet became a popular space for businesses to establish a presence.
Her passion for spirituality and background in IT was perfectly blended into the New Age Store, though initially it was not a profitable model and often left her packing crystals at 2am.
She spent all her time trying to keep the business afloat which made it difficult for her to be the mother that she is today.
In 2005 she was made aware of AdSense – a service by Google through which she would be paid by advertisers who placed banner ads on her site.
On her first day, she earned $3 and was so excited that when she received her first cheque from Google, she wanted to frame it.
Now Lawrence makes a very comfortable living from AdSense, earning almost $150,000 a year which accounts for 95 percent of her revenue.
She spends less than an hour a week to update her site with new content, giving her more time to spend with her two children.
“My first priority as a woman and as a mother are my children. When Google AdSense came along, I was able to balance being a businesswoman and a mum. Now I organise my days around my children,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence said that for someone who never received tertiary education and scraped dollars together to get her own tarot readings done as a teen, it’s a testament to the old adage that if you follow your dreams and passions, the universe will provide.
“I love that I get to live my top values – spirituality, technology, travel, children, and wealth; and my business is all part of that. I get to have no guilt association with my children especially as a single mum.”
The one piece of advice that Lawrence would like to share to all women is, “If you can find something that you’re passionate about, then follow that with complete love and conviction. Put it out there because your love will show through on a website and in a business … have faith in yourself, because everybody has a story worth telling and everybody has something that’s worth sharing.”
2. Nadia French and Getting Aussie Business Online (GABO)
After signing up to GABO – a joint initiative between Google and MYOB that provides a free website to Australian business owners – French’s passion for baking became a commercial reality, and she has been receiving a continuous stream of customers through her site ever since.
“The response has been amazing. I’ve had customers book in months in advance and I’ve even been included in bridal fashion magazines after they found photos of my cakes online,” said French.
She acknowledges that today, the Internet is one of the most important communication and marketing tools for businesses, and so establishing an online presence is the only way to move forward as a business owner.
“It really is necessary to have an online presence these days … I have been making cakes for years but being able to promote my business online made such a huge difference to the way I felt about myself as a business person and made everything so much more accessible for customers any time of day or night,” said French.
Following her growing success, French said the best thing about being a businesswoman is financial independence and the satisfaction of knowing that something as small as a cupcake can be transformed into a successful business. The fact that her children get to witness her in action is also a bonus.
“I simply love being able to say that I am a businesswoman and I love the thrill I get from knowing I have been building something from nothing and am now growing it. I think it is such an important thing to show your children, that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and work hard,” said French.
The one piece of advice that French would like to share to all women is, “Suck it up and do it! Know what you want and go for it. There is so much help available for people starting small businesses these days but particularly for women in business. I have found that friends and family are all willing to lend a hand where necessary and if not, we are masters at multitasking – women will always find a way to make it work.”
“I have only ever taken on things in my business that I felt comfortable doing at the time … occasionally pushing myself beyond those boundaries and surprising myself on many occasions … [So] take a deep breath and jump in with both feet and your eyes wide open – you may be pleasantly surprised and realise you can make something of yourself and your business that you only ever dreamed of.”
3. Aleisha Jane and Google AdWords
Aleisha Jane is an experienced beautician who opened her beauty salon Aleisha-Jane Beauty in Sydney six years ago while she was just a teen.
Her parents wanted her to receive higher education, but she had her own hopes and dreams. Against their will, she launched onto a path to pursue her true passion.
Towards the end of the first year, her business started winning awards and gained publicity. But she felt that its success was driven mainly by word-of-mouth and that it wasn’t reaching its full potential.
“When I first opened my salon, I was on my own and obviously I had to prove myself which was quite challenging. But I was quite passionate so I worked seven days a week and 12-hour days. I did everything I could to get my name out there … but I still felt that my business wasn’t reaching its potential,” said Jane.
All of that changed after her husband introduced her to AdWords – a service by Google for businesses wanting to market their products and services on Google’s Search Engine through the use of placed text ads.
In the last two years since she started using Google AdWords, she believes it had a huge impact on her business. She saw a large increase in clients to her salon.
“My husband introduced AdWords to me and once I started using it, there was so much more traffic being driven to my site … The business has now increased double in size so it’s pretty phenomenal,” said Jane.
When asked about the best thing that has come out of her success, she explained, “There’s always lots of work behind-the-scenes running a business, but AdWords allowed me to do that home and it allowed me to be a mum and spend more time with my children. It’s just enabled me to be a businesswoman and a mum and juggle the two more efficiently.”
The one piece of advice that Jane would like to share to all women is, “Never give up … eventually the hard work pays off as long as you’re passionate in what you believe in. Customer service is really important. Loyal clients are your bread and butter, they’re the ones bringing in the money, so it’s important to take care of them. But as long as you’re providing a good service and a good product, then be passionate about it and never give up no matter what other people say because I’m a firm believer in women going into business.”