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    E-⁠resident and German entrepreneur Kirsten Meisinger founded her strategic marketing business SEO SEAL so she could work anywhere

    SEO SEAL Founder and e-resident Kirsten Meisinger
    SEO SEAL Founder and e-resident Kirsten Meisinger

    Kirsten Meisinger is a German entrepreneur who is based in Augsburg in Bavaria. She has always been involved in marketing and communications, but when the first AI applications became available, she quickly seized the opportunity to harness their use in online marketing.

    This led directly to the founding of SEO SEAL, an Estonian company, in June of this year. The new company relies on different AI tools to carry out market research and analysis, as well as to craft marketing strategies, and also create better content for its clients.

    "Since ChatGPT appeared on the market in November last year, we have been looking at a lot of AI tools, how to best employ them for online marketing processes," said Kirsten. This has allowed SEO SEAL's clients to streamline their workflows, enabling them to be more creative, she maintained, as well as to make less mistakes and to alleviate burdens on existing staff.

    "Most marketing departments have trouble finding personnel who are willing and up to the job, so we are helping to support staff with AI tools," she said.

    The decision to open an Estonian company did not stem from a personal connection to the country though, at least at first. Rather, Kirsten, a serial entrepreneur with a taste for adventure -- she also enjoys paragliding in the mountains in her spare time -- was looking for a platform that would allow her to eventually travel more and to manage her business from wherever she happened to be. She was also, admittedly, "tired with German bureaucracy," as many are.

    "I could probably work from anywhere in the world," said Kirsten. "So I looked into different business models offered by different countries." These included UAE, Romania, Spain, Portugal, the UK, and Ireland, but she said there was always some complication that discouraged her from setting up a company in any of those jurisdictions. But then she found Estonian e-⁠Residency, which checked basically every box in terms of what she was looking for.

    Find out how Estonia compares as a business jurisdiction with other countries:

    "The more I read, the more excited I got, because I knew e-Residency was the solution," recalled Kirsten.

    But what exactly was she looking for? For starters, she wanted to be able to manage her company completely online, which is something e-Residency allows her to do. But she also admired Estonia's ecosystem of digital services, which allowed her to manage the company from one access point, rather than, say, visiting the websites of different state agencies. The whole process is also "neatly outlined," she said, and the government is good at communicating timelines. "They'll tell you this will happen in 24 hours or this will happen next week," she said.

    Other benefits were the ability to do business in English, as well as the €265 fee associated with company set up, compared to Germany, where some estimate it costs between €2,000 to €3,000 to set up a firm, including notary fees, commercial register fees, and company formation services.

    Kirsten credited Estonia with being "very clever" in setting up its digital business model, making it easy for residents, both domestic and electronic, to set up new companies. This business-friendly atmosphere, as well as Estonia's flat taxation system, where reinvested profits are not taxed by the state, inevitably leads to the afterbirth of even more businesses.

    "The whole atmosphere is more like Silicon Valley, moreso than in Germany," Kirsten said.

    Estonia's startup culture and opportunities are ready for you to access:

    While she was impressed by e-Residency from the moment she was approved and obtained her digital identity card, she decided to open a bank account in Estonia and visit the country again. She had been to Estonia just once before during a trip around the Baltics back in 2011. Here, she received a rather warm welcome from local entrepreneurs. She said that she would be visiting on a Facebook group and asked if anyone would be willing to have a coffee with her. She was soon inundated with responses. "There were so many people who replied," she said.

    Kirsten has returned to Estonia another time since, and Estonia and the Baltics in general are the main target markets for SEO SEAL, which would like to help companies in the region penetrate deeper into core European markets, as well as to market between each other, powered by AI. Success is not measured by clicks, she noted, but by the satisfaction of partners. "I am successful if my customers think we did a good job because they got new customers," she said.

    Currently SEO SEAL has a small team in place, mostly working on a freelance basis, but next year, Kirsten would like to work toward getting a physical office set up in Estonia. She will also look to advertise more in the next year to onboard more Estonian clients. And she has been so enthusiastic about e-Residency that she has already participated in several events to promote the country's program, and been designated as an official Envoy for Estonian e-⁠Residency.

    Kirsten's happy place is in the mountains.

    But will she ever go fully Estonian? Not 100 percent. But the reasons are purely topographical. While Estonia hosts the highest elevation in the Baltics, it's still only 318 metres above sea level.

    "I'm a paraglider and I like mountains," said Kirsten. "So I will keep traveling there and back."

    Indeed, to relax, Kirsten often likes to take off on the weekends to the mountains of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy, where she can paraglide over hundreds of kilometers, with the hitch that she has to find someone to drive her back, wherever she happens to come down.

    "I like the adventure," she said, "I like to go cross country, and you never know where you are going to land." Recently, she landed in the yard of an old Italian mountaineer who had once summited major peaks in South America. "Just like doing business in Estonia, paragliding is about networking. You connect with people, and look to create value for each other," she said.

    When asked why a busy entrepreneur and mother needed to go paragliding, Kirsten said that getting out into the mountains is a must. "I have to do something to relax," she said. "I meditate and do Qigong during the week to keep my quiet and energy, but on the weekends I go to the mountains where it is quiet and where my mind and my eyes can wander," Kirsten said.

    "I call it work-life flow, not work-life balance," she added. "I don't need to balance it. It's a flow."

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