Launching your web environment

I often find that many of my clients ask me for advice.  Coaching, in its purest sense, does not give advice; we are trained extensively NOT to give advice. In fact, in order to be accredited by the International Coaching Federation, we have to show through our coaching that we do not give advice. So what is the first thing all clients want? Advice, of course.

Since that is out of the question, we must take a different route. Instead, we become storytellers, narrating the success stories of others. But then, clients will want follow-up recaps. If you’re someone that is up late in the night, searching for the solutions to their most pestering thoughts, then I’m doing something for you: I am starting a weekly Tuesday blog series on tools, tips and techniques on how to authentically launch your onCOREventure. Once these are finished – all I need to do is send a link as a follow-up.

Most onCOREventures, whether they include the creation of a new business or just a new way of showing up in retirement activities, require web technology.  This usually starts with acquiring a domain name and setting up email and a website.  Setting up a domain name is very simple, and most people have no trouble taking this step.  Providers of web hosting and email services are usually more than happy to offer you low-cost domain name registration, which seems fantastic. But then, things take a turn. These providers then sell you a whole bunch of services that, for the average person just wanting to boost their web presence, are difficult to use and setup.

For our clients that are not tech-savvy and do not want to empty their wallets or spend all their time setting up their web environment, we usually suggest that they consider the use of Google Apps because of the great results that other clients have experienced. I say this owning stock in Microsoft and having wanted to use Microsoft Office365 for this, and I am still trying to get it to work.  But SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, Office, Office 365, Office for the Mac, Office 2010 for the PC, Office 2013 for the PC, the Hotmail to Outlook migration – seriously? – I have over thirty years of using Microsoft Office and operating systems and I am still struggling to get it to work using the cloud and my Mac-PC hybrid environment.

That being said, if you want the web to just work, use Google Apps.  Assuming that you have a Domain Name for your venture and simply a dream of it being done, you need to get a Google Apps account for your business.  You can get started here to find out more information.  If you are ready to get started right now, you can start out by paying five dollars a month for one user.

But, you can get started in less than an hour and kick the tires on the technology simply by going to this link.  You can set up your account free for thirty days without a credit card, and then direct your domain name for email to Google.  If you already use GMAIL for your email, you can add your own customer domain to your existing GMAIL account, and get all of your mail in one place.  Many people in corporate like to keep things separate, but I have found that in working with people embarking on their onCORE ventures, the line between business and pleasure dulls, and simplicity is key.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you plan your effort.  Let’s say that you are using onCORE.com for your domain name.  So far, all you have done is register your domain name with someone like Godaddy.com, or Network Solutions or Register.com.  You can set up an account for yourself with Google for Google Apps.  So in my case, I would setup a new Google apps account for frederick@oncore.co.  Once I did that I could then go to Godaddy, which is where I have registered oncore.co and change the MX records with them to point to Google.  About an hour or two later, I will be able to send and receive mail from frederick@oncore.com through my GMAIL user interface on my iPhone, iPad or through a web browser.  If you want to use your Mac Mail or Outlook client to get and send your mail, you can easily do that.  Because Google does a great job of proving wizards, videos, and documentation on how to set things up, I am not going to do that.  This is one of the reasons that I suggest to clients that consider this route because of its clarity and thoroughness.

Once you are done with this, and you want to set up a website with Google without paying someone to host it for you, you can use Google Sites. You can even play with the site and customize it to perfection before you put it on display for the public eye.  We will cover this use and other uses for the sites feature next Tuesday in our weekly blog series on how to take your onCOREventure to market.