A guest-post from Anne Samoilov

Today’s post comes to Thinkspace courtesy of Anne Samoilov and is republished by permission.  Anne has been helping solopreneurs become more productive, create and launch their life’s work. She teaches about topics including online launching, product launch, small business growth, productivity, self-management, motivation, business planning + goal setting. Anne’s background also includes 10 years experience as producer for animation, visual effects, and game development. We’re excited to have Anne here on the Thinkspace blog – as well as a featured speaker in a series of brown bag workshops.


Is it possible something you said 4, 5, or 6 months ago affected your recent launch sales?

Does it really matter what you say to people about your launch? Will it make the difference between sales and dead air?

Is there a known, working method of reaching out, touching, connecting, getting to know your customers before you open the doors, starting conversations that actually lead to sales?

And don’t you want the RIGHT people to take your offer?

There’s nothing worse than making an offer and getting the wrong audience on board… though it does tell you something about what you’re offering… but I digress.

Talking about your upcoming launch, sharing the behind the scenes, taking people along for the ride – it’s crucial to your launch bottom line – but the process is riddled with mistakes people make when they’re first starting.

It’s not as simple as posting 5 times a day on social media (and hoping for the best). If you track your tweets – you know most people don’t click on those posts.

You can’t just run an ad on Facebook – and again, think that everyone will be magically drawn to it.

And – you can’t hope those guest posts – ok that ONE guest post you did – a year ago, will help you grow your audience.

Unless, you understand what it takes to get the right people’s attention NOW.

I learned that to get the conversation started meant focusing on (BRACE YOURSELF THIS MIGHT SOUND SELFISH) the what I wanted back.

Yes – the exchange of ideas – opinions – feelings – experiences… that’s what I wanted.

Once I determined what I wanted back – I changed my approach to communicating forever.

And I’m going to share the secret with you in a very special,  in-person workshop on March 20th here at thinkspace.

Conversations That Sell: How to tell the world about your launch + reach more of the right people.

  1. The easy launch conversation starter that equaled sales within 24 hours – most people don’t realize that this simple strategy is so powerful – and it even surprised me.
  2. My top 3 “no brainer” methods to prepare your audience for a launch.
  3. The one no cost “everyday” business tool that saved me hours in time and money.
  4. How my “Launch Leak Strategy” allows you to “tease” your launch and create excitement before you even launch!

And then – I’m going to share my proven “before, during and after” launch communication plan that will take all the guess work out for you!

Anne will be presenting at an upcoming thinkspace event – March 20th, Fearless Launching: Conversations That Sell, Workshop #2.  For more information and to register for this event, click here.  If you aren’t able to physically be present for this event, view the webinar by subscribing here.

SEO Bootcamp for Startups image credit
You’re a visionary. Your Idea will change the world!Every time you tell someone about your idea they instantly become a believer and start spreading the word. Your energy and passion for what you do is so contagious that you are attracting talent, people want to get involved. Only problem is you need funding, cash is tight, and can’t afford to hire a top notch SEO agency.

If you’re like me you’re a jack of all trades. My trade is SEO. Little did I know, I’m also a bookkeeper, attorney, real estate advisor, human resources department, project manager, marketing director, sales manager, public speaker, and the list goes on….

So, my fellow start-up friend, let me help make you the best overnight DIY SEO expert possible! Here are some tools and insights to help with your journey!

On Page Optimization

This will show you what the Perfectly optimized page looks like

Keep in mind that 70% of all internet searches are long tail searches, a critical factor when creating your content strategy

Use this tool to do keyword research. It’s important to understand the difference between broad match searches and exact match searches. Also, understand that the long tail lives between the exact match and broad match

Don’t waste your time with the meta keywords tag

Always keep users in mind when optimizing page content, never stuff keywords into a page to rank.

Set up a profile with Google Webmaster tools and Bing webmaster tools

Submit an XML sitemap to both Google & Bing through their webmaster tool accounts. Remember, Bing controls Yahoo. Need a sitemap? Use this Generator

Use this Tool to find broken links, missing alt tags, 404 errors , and other technical issues in your site. Export the report and tell your web dev to get busy!

More tools by the Ninjas! The DIY SEO Guys best friend

SEO Tools

SEOmoz has a great SEO tool kit, some say the best. Hey, with 18 million in funding they should have a kick butt tool kit!

OpenSiteExplorer will show you all of your competitors links. Go get em! Check out the “compare link metrics” on this tool

Megistic SEO will show you how many links your competitors have generated over time

SpyFu will show you how much money your competitors are spending on AdWords, and what keywords they are using. Also, compare two competitors to see what overlapping keywords are used….target these!

Raven Tools – This is SEOmoz’s largest competitors. They have a robust suite of SEO tools for link acquisition, bench marketing, and reporting

Link Building

Use UBL or YEXT to get into the local directories

The Penguin update put a stop on manufactured link building strategies. Put every link service through the test and ask yourself, “Will my target market find this useful?” If the answer is no, stay away.

Always ask link vendors for a deliverable. If they will not show you the link URLs do not do business with them

When you get your deliverable run the domain through Open Site Explorer to see the domain authority. If it’s a high domain authority (30+) then keep the link building service. If it’s of low domain authority then get rid of the service.
Never sign monthly contracts with link building vendors, keep them on their toes with purchase orders.

Here are some vendors that deliver manufactured strategies. Your success is through vendor management : AstaMedia , Link Narwhal, Backlink Mafia, Link Fool

Local SEO

This is your local SEO bible, if you’re a local business or have plans to operate many locations it’s critical that you read this

Content Generation

Media Piston: Crowdsouring platform for content generation. Need 1000 product reviews in 48 hours, this is your source. Need affordable movie reviews writer, product descriptions, or blog content? This is a great place to start. Sidenote: The founder of this company is a local Badass (what up Joe!)

Zerys – Project management platform that connects you with a pool of writers. Find one writer or power a crowd.

Crowd Content – another content platform. Content generation is getting easy now days…..

SEO Resources


SEOMoz – worlds largest SEO community, blog, and user generated blog

Search Engine Journal – Search marketing trends and updates. Check out my posts

Search Engine Watch – Authority in search info. Sign up for their weekly updates and get high level major updates in your inbox….

Search Ranking Factors – by SEOmoz, a complete look into the Google Ranking Algo, this is true science

Google Algorithm Changes – Track Google’s Algorithm changes with this web page by SEOmoz

All of the resources in this section (Search Ranking Factors and Google changes) have been tweeted thousands of times. This is because the content is the best in the business…..That’s your goal, create the best content in your business and deliver it to those that care. If you can do this, and you’re an ethical company, Social media will give you life

Alright – this will get you started! Start-up’s stick together….before funding and after! In the comments below, feel free to ask any questions or add to the list. I’m happy to help.

About Gabriel Gervelis
@seo_pro – I’m a digital expert a search marketing samurai, social ad serving gun slinger, start up entrepreneur, & marketing master mind who’s mission is nothing less then to change the world!
Find me on Linkedin

Phone Dropped in Water

As a professional, you are constantly using your cell phone. You’re answering calls, emails, tweets, accessing files, checking in, taking pictures, checking the weather… with the millions of apps available for smartphones the options are truly endless.

So, what do you do when you accidentally drop your phone in the lake? your cup of coffee? or in the sink?

There’s a chance your soggy phone is still usable. Unfortunately, I am speaking from experience on this one.

Follow the following steps to remove liquid from your phone:

  1. Immediately turn your phone off and take it apart.
  2. Remove your battery, SIM, and SD cards.
  3. Take a bag and fill it with uncooked rice.
  4. Put your phone and battery in the bag of rice.
  5. Leave your phone in the bag of rice for 48 hours. Do not touch it!
  6. Locate a temporary replacement phone. Old phones are perfect for this. Contact your wireless provider to configure the new phone. If you have a SIM card this is real easy.
  7. After 48 hours, remove your phone from the rice and assemble it back together.
  8. Plug your phone into your wall charger and turn it on.

Does it work? If so, hooray! Check to see that the screen, speaker, and buttons are in working condition.

This rice trick may sound crazy- but it’s worked for me (and many of my friends) several times. The rice helps to absorb the water and excess moisture without destroying the structure and hardware in the phone.

DIY OfficeFor small businesses, securing recurring customers is a big deal.  A couple years ago, Peter saw a small business that kept a count of their recurring customers on a LED sign posted in their team office.  This seemed like a great idea for thinkspace!  It would give us a strong visual of where our company stood and it would decorate our bare walls in our new team office.  There was one problem—the price tag was $300-$3000.  So being the scrappy, fun-loving bunch we are, we decided to make our own counting system using recycled clipboards, paper and a few other items we found lying around the office.


3 clipboards
30 sheets of card stock
Recycled newspaper, cut into small squares
Recycled holiday wrapping paper or construction paper
Decoupage (purchase at any craft store)
Scissors, craft knife, sandpaper, foam paint brush, towel, number stencils

1. Prepare your work area by spreading out old newspaper (it makes it okay to spill).
2. Lightly sand the surface of your clipboards and wipe off the dust with a towel.  This allows the decoupage to adhere to the surface better.
3. Spread a light coat of decoupage on the surface of the clipboard with the foam brush.
4. Arrange the pieces of newspaper on the clipboard and be sure to smooth out the wrinkles.  Apply a coat of decoupage over the newspaper. TIP: Don’t be afraid to let pieces hang over the edge or the clip because you can always trim them later with a small craft knife.
5. Let the clipboard dry for a couple of hours.  I balance the clipboard on a cup so it doesn’t stick to my work area.
6. Reapply 2-3 coats of decoupage as needed.  When you are finished, let the clipboard dry for 24 hours to ensure it sets properly.  Trim the edges of the clipboard with a utility knife.
7. Using your number stencils (I made mine by hand, but you can purchase them as well), cut out three sets of numbers (0-9) with the recycled holiday wrapping paper.
8. Glue or decoupage each number to a separate piece of cardstock.
9. Once all of the pieces have dried, clip a set of numbers to each clipboard and watch your number of recurring customers grow right before your very eyes!

Bonus Idea: If you’re feeling really creative, you might want to try using this technique to color-code different clipboards, make a picture frame or keep track of various TO DO lists.