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Ah, how I love #startupchat on Twitter! It has become a weekly ritual of mine, taking place every Wednesday at 2:00pm EST. It is such a valuable resource, and a great way to network as well. If you are a new start-up, or even an existing business, I highly recommend joining the chat, as well as following all of the contributors below, very wise people.

Yesterday’s chat was particularly appealing, an open Q&A where you could ask whatever was on your mind. It was interesting to see how many people were interested in some of the same topics. Twitter chats can be a little tricky to follow, so I did my best to group the responses by a particular question.

I’m just starting a new business and wondering if I should get a separate checking account?
• the answer is YES, you should have a separate way to keep track of your tax deductible expenses so you don’t confuse with personal $.
• Financial and tax laws can be tricky and it’s worth it to get an accountant to help you. Claim deductions, etc.
• Opening credit cards are good to get rewards, but I don’t typically recommend you get them for a line of credit.

@PhyllisNichols Also make sure you get a tax ID number, and keep track of everything!

@GoodiesForGifts Re: Expenses, I was told it does not matter what u use, as long as you are keeping track! It is vital

What government grants/ sources are the best for woman owned business?
@startupprincess Be very careful with grants. Some have restrictions on what they can be used for and when.

@WinGrants The NSF Small Business Innovation Research Program Grant gives special consideration to WBEs: http://ow.ly/7a8NH

Name 2 other social media networks besides Twitter, FB, & LinkedIn to be on as a female entrepreneur?
@startupprincess We typically only use Twitter, FB and linked in. But I also recommend using video and having a youtube chan.

@GoodiesForGifts Foursquare is a great way to network locally when used correctly. I know video is great for SEO, BTW.

@KCbakes Social Media is essential, but don’t take on more than u can handle. Idle/inactive accts make your biz look idle/inactive.

What is the best way to increase SEO without hiring a professional?
• Look at the keywords people are using to find you, and use those words in blog posts and text.
• Update your content frequently through your blog. Search engines are looking for what’s fresh.
• Have keywords in your header. Above the URL bar it says Your company, add other keywords.

• Get other sites to link to you. Use relevant keywords. Find them with Googles Adwords Keyword tool.
• Submit to relevant directories. Find blogs in your niche and write posts for them, link to your site in it.
• If you need DIY SEO help, hit me up on Twitter/email. I’ll give you pointers.  Check out my website: http://www.whitefireseo.com/

What were the steps that led up to landing that first BIG client?
• Don’t be afraid to start small. Big clients come. Share your successes & attract big clients with results.
• Also note that branding and good websites go a long way. Invest there. Build your email list, and prime clients.
• Good press also helps land big clients. Get your name out there in the media. Magazines, newspapers, TV.

@ParijatDesh Network! Get to know big players in ur field. Show them concrete examples of success & what u can do for them!

@KCbakes research! Know the field you’re in and learn who the big players are. Knowledge can earn you great respect.

What’s the best way to get that “big article” to spotlight you? To help the chatter going about you & your biz?
• Networking. Get to know the journalist and figure out how to pitch in a way that is timely and unique.
• Don’t be afraid to start small with local papers and smaller blogs. Good press spreads even if reach is small.
• Make your own blog interesting and relevant. Be your own press to start, if you need to.
• Have a fact sheet ready. Press often asks for it, and it’s a good exercise to have your 1-sheet in your brain.

• We’ve had success being guest writers on other sites. Helps drive traffic from ppl who are interested in what we do.
• Social media buzz really helps too. Ask for RTs & shares.

• hire pr or write some press releases
• PR firms are great for finding “your story” and promoting it.
• network & learn who contacts are at local papers. Many local papers will pick up if it is a story, not a sales pitch.

• Write about topics people outside your industry are curious to learn about; something that positions you as the expert
• write about topics folks in your industry will rally around

@PhyllisNichols Sign up for HARO alerts (free) way to submit info for articles/interviews. helpareporterout.com

Is a PR agency necessary or can we write our own press releases just as effectively? If so, how do you write a press release?
• “The Pitch” is key. Pitching is reaching out to a specific journalist with unique story.
• Pitching is preferred. It’s more unique and makes the specific contact in the media the focus.
• A press release is generic and is sent to everyone. A pitch should be customized for the specific media outlet
• A pitch also is unique, timely and appropriate to their specific audience. A pitch to one outlet will be different.
• Include brief info and bullet points on your business or product.

@FlackList Depends on your needs. It’s not really about press releases but knowing how to pitch and who to pitch.

@ParijatDesh a personal story attached to the pitch really helps.

@GoodiesForGifts Pitch a story to bloggers too. Many are always looking for guest bloggers.

I hope to see you at the next #startupchat!