Gail from Growmap is a Small Business Influencer

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on July 22, 2011

I am not big on gurus. I think they are usually egotistical jerks who might know something, but are more into power than helping their followers grow. In contrast, mentors share knowledge freely and are proud when the people they are mentoring surpass them. Gail from Growmap is a mentor. She is also up for an award as a Small Business Influencer and could use your vote.

Gail works with small businesses to help them effectively market themselves on the internet.  Pace Lattin did a very nice two part interview on her that explains what she does.  You can find it here:

  • Gail Gardner and her Map to Small Business Growth: Interview Part I
  • Gail Gardner and Her Map to Small Business Growth: Interview Part II

In addition, Vernessa Taylor wrote about the effect Gail has on small businesses and bloggers who work with small business in her article, Who helps you map your path? Grow your business?

These articles give you a general overview of what Gail does.  They do not quite cover everything.  Gail helps lots of people.  She envisions herself as the hub of a vast wheel with many spokes.  When small business, the rim of the wheel, needs information or expertise, she directs them to the appropriate spoke for their need.  Sometimes she can help them.  Sometimes she refers them to a particular person who can solve their problem.  Sometimes, she assembles an ensemble of experts to attack the problem.  In almost all cases, however, if the small business follows the game plan she devises, or the experts she assembles devise, their bottom line improves.

That is all very interesting, especially to businesses, but it has been covered before.  What I want to talk about is the experience of being one of the spokes.  Now, I do not flatter myself and think I am a major spoke, but a small, thin one that is trying to learn.  I met Gail, online, late last spring when I entered a blogging contest.  I was using QuickBlog on, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I entered to learn more about blogging.  I ended up moving my blog manually from to a self hosted WordPress blog one weekend in the middle of the contest because I could not do some things with my blog other people could with WordPress.

Gail offered to help anyone entered in the contest if they asked her.  I asked.  I learned about blogging platforms, plug-ins, seo (I knew a surprising amount of that from my psychology marketing classes), bad neighborhoods, links, spam, and all the millions of things that make up blogging.  I also gained a mentor and friend who has continued to teach me about how to do this thing we do.  I even came in 9th in the contest, which got me a bit of prize money.

Someone commented that Gail has legions of bloggers and experts that are slavishly devoted to her.  I think that sounds like she is a guru, expecting people to jump when she says frog instead of thinking for themselves, so I reject that characterization.  What she does have is a huge group of people who she has mentored and taught a great deal of what they know.  When she asks for help, this group of people respond.  I certainly do.  That is leadership, not guruism.

Gail is up for an award at Small Business Advisor: News category.  It would be nice if she won.  She certainly deserves it.  Vote for her if you can.  It is appreciated.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Vernessa Taylor July 22, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hi Stephanie,

“Leadership versus Guruism” “Wheels and Spokes” . . . I like that! You’ve really captured the essence of Gail’s approach.

People are likely to say all manner of strange things, especially when they haven’t met, worked with, or otherwise engaged someone. But peers, colleagues, clients, protégés, and friends can put much of that to rest by correcting misinformation and sharing truth.

Thank you for sharing your own learnings, through a touching anecdotal perspective. And much obliged for mentioning my writeup on GrowMap.
Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Who Helps You Map Your Path, Grow Your Business?My Profile


Stephanie Suesan Smith July 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thanks for the compliments. Glad to reach out and meet you.


Gail Gardner from GrowMap July 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

I agree with Vernessa that the people in the best position to know the truth about whether someone is effective or has particular skills are those who know enough about the specialty to really evaluate someone’s abilities: their peers.

Thank you both for these beautiful posts. If I figure out where a testimonial page belongs on GrowMap I’ll include quotes from each of them and add links to the source.

Speaking of links and quotes, Stephanie is so modest that she didn’t include the post I wrote about how fast she was picking up blogging skills back during that contest. I called her the Most Improved Blogger and she was!
Gail Gardner recently posted..Bloggers: Promote Your Blog HereMy Profile


Pace Lattin July 22, 2011 at 10:03 am

Can honestly say Gail is one of the most interesting and opinionated people I’ve ever met. Was an enjoyable interview that everyone should read.
Pace Lattin recently posted..Google Including Malware Warnings in Search ResultsMy Profile


Gail Gardner from Niche Blogging July 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

LOL. Your comment made me laugh out loud and reminded me of something that happened in a little cafe I frequented. One neighbor asked me if I had an opinion on everything and I replied only on things I’ve thought about or researched – I just think about and research way more than most. Another man there said, “That woman scares me…she knows too much about too many things.”
Gail Gardner recently posted..Technorati Interview: Gail Gardner and her Map to Small Business GrowthMy Profile


Gail Gardner from Niche Blogging July 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

Writing about me must be contagious this week. I’m just glad it doesn’t go to my head! We can use the increased visibility to benefit everyone in our huge hub and wheel. I actually have many hubs and wheels so my analogy may be changing from a wagon wheel to a bunch of gears all turning each other. 🙂

Thank you, Stephanie (and everyone else) for sharing how our extended collaborations are benefiting you. I see us as all supporting each other and me simply being a servant to the process that makes that happen.
Gail Gardner recently posted..Blog Outreach Guest Posting OpportunitiesMy Profile


Stephanie Suesan Smith July 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm

It is called convergent validity — when multiple independent sources of information agree on a single point. Guess that makes you helpful if a bit eccentric, Gail, since that is pretty much what everyone said and I didn’t know them until their comments, so it wasn’t planned.
Stephanie Suesan Smith recently posted..Lessons from the 1980 Heat WaveMy Profile


Natasha from SEO Company Los Angeles July 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Stephanie –

From the interview and everything you’ve said about her in this article, Gail sounds like a stand-up human being and I’d be honored to help her toward this award. I’ll vote for her as soon as I send this comment and pass the link along to friends! Do you know how long the voting is open?


Stephanie Suesan Smith July 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm

NO, but you can vote once every 24 hours until it closes.


Damon from Debt Resolution September 10, 2011 at 2:53 am

Hey Stephanie,,
I actually found your blog because of the awesome post the did over at growmap to let everyone promote their blogs. I saw your comment and clicked over. I am actually looking for someone to help me shoulder the load of some articles I need to write, but I need a financial writer. Happen to know anyone that is good and will do freelance writing about financial topics?

PS, sorry if you get this twice, the first time I hit submit I received a 404 error.


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