GoDaddy’s Pilot You Empower Cohort Proves Power of One-on-One Personalized Coaching for Entrepreneurs
Leveraging its deep expertise as the world’s largest services platform for entrepreneurs around the globe, GoDaddy Inc.’s You Empower pilot cohort has proved the power of one-on-one personalized coaching for entrepreneurs eager to enhance their small business’ digital presence and branding.
GoDaddy You Empower is a 12-week, skills-based, full-time employee volunteer assignment where employees are paired with Empower by GoDaddy nonprofit community partners. The goal of the pilot was to provide GoDaddy employees with an enriching professional development experience while delivering much-needed additional digital support and training to microbusinesses in the Empower by GoDaddy program. Developing skills in website creation and digital presence along with other critical marketing, social media and branding tools were core priorities for most participating entrepreneurs.
Empower by GoDaddy is the company’s signature social impact program that provides entrepreneurs from underserved communities with digital tools, training, and resources to accelerate their small business journeys. Together with its nonprofit partners, Empower by GoDaddy works to understand local communities and the small business landscape to identify gaps and develop customized, neighborhood-based programs to support entrepreneurs at all phases.
Empower by GoDaddy developed You Empower to serve as a 12-week pilot in which three GoDaddy employees teamed with three Empower by GoDaddy nonprofit partners – both virtually and in-person. The initial program partners included Impact Hub Baltimore, Better Business Bureau of the Pacific Southwest and the Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Alabama State University.
At the conclusion of the pilot cohort, Empower by GoDaddy’s nonprofit partners reported that the one-on-one attention, deep expertise and highly encouraging and personable support of the GoDaddy volunteer coaches propelled participating entrepreneurs’ website content, strategy and operations forward. Feedback also indicated that the trusted, caring relationships fostered through the coaches’ individualized, constructive guidance, and accountability drove the entrepreneurs to successfully create or update their websites and build stronger marketing and digital efforts.
“Most of the entrepreneurs were intimidated at first,” explained Mesha McMiller, a GoDaddy You Empower volunteer. “The entrepreneurs were hoping to convert more customers whether through driving product purchase, scheduling appointments, etc., so we helped them dial in on their goals and get to where they wanted to be.”
All three GoDaddy You Empower volunteers were asked to keep journals reflecting on their personal and professional experiences throughout the 12 weeks and were interviewed at the completion of the program. Their reflections included:
“Over the course of several years, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that has enabled me to successfully connect customers with the right product to meet their needs in the way of websites, digital media and server technology. You Empower allowed me to take those interactions further. I was able to not only connect with the entrepreneurs in a personal way but could also act as a sounding board and coach as they published and revamped their websites, began using social media pages, or set in motion plans to expand their online audience. The entrepreneurs highly valued the coaching we provided and were eager to learn and finally present their work. The experience was deeply satisfying and empowering. I cannot wait to see how the You Empower program evolves and affects not only the entrepreneurs we serve but also other employees here at GoDaddy.” – Mesha McMiller, GoDaddy Website Specialist II
“You Empower granted me the ability to work on the ground with people I’ve always had a connection with – small businesses making an impact in their community. Through getting to know them personally and seeing them with their first online win – what I had been doing with GoDaddy for years now finally clicked. This is why I love my job and the people I get to interact with every day. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to see the program grow to help others feel the same.” – Cody Mahaffey, GoDaddy Marketing Services Account Manager III
“This experience afforded me the opportunity to see things I would have never seen [being in Alabama]. The program gave me an understanding of who I am – the uniqueness of who I am. I now approach my work with even more conviction. I can help anyone lean in more and stretch.” – Desmond Sweet, GoDaddy Learning Program Manager
For other companies seeking to build full-time, skills-based employee volunteer assignments with their community partners, GoDaddy offers the following key insights from its You Empower pilot:
- Be highly intentional around the community partners you choose to work with by defining clear criteria, vetting partners and conducting site visits. It’s crucial to ensure the partner can deliver against clear expectations for both the corporate partner and their own organization.
- Create and implement an engaging and thorough upfront training program for employees, including an overview of tools available to support the volunteer coaching and deliver; background on the nonprofit partner and players; and insights about the community and participants.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of in-person face time to make the experience meaningful and impactful for the employees, program participants and nonprofit partners.
- Believe in the importance of testing and learning and embrace a mindset that “failing forward,” or learning by doing without fear only helps to achieve your social impact program’s mission and business goals.
“I’m thrilled that hundreds of Empower by GoDaddy entrepreneurs received the additional skills-building and coaching that they sought,” said April Skeete, GoDaddy employee engagement leader. “I’m very proud of how committed GoDaddy is to truly being there for entrepreneurs throughout their journey with ongoing support, no matter an entrepreneur’s circumstance or background. These efforts really signify how GoDaddy lives out its mission of making opportunity more inclusive for all.”
Empower by GoDaddy Spotlight Series: By partnering with diverse local nonprofits around the world, Empower by GoDaddy aims to reach those who haven’t otherwise had access by offering skills training, resources, and mentoring to help accelerate their business journeys. This article is part of the Empower by GoDaddy spotlight series that shines a light on the individuals who make this unique initiative possible.