Freelancing, apps, freelancing, Resources, Tips, Tools
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:38:46 +0000
If you don’t already do freelance work, chances are you will within the next few years. Full-time jobs are on the decline. Companies have laid of millions of employees and have no plans to re-hire for those positions. When they need work done, they’ll hire freelancers. This can be both a blessing and a curse for people seeking worse. Freelance opportunities and wages are increasing, so people who seek work can certainly find it. At the same time, it’s difficult to get started. Becoming a freelancer is akin to starting a new business. You need to spend money up front for the proper tools. But how can you spend money that you don’t have? It’s not as though a bank will give you a loan to start a freelance career. (Nor should you ask the bank for money in this situation, but that’s a topic for an entirely different post.) The best solution is to take advantage of the best free tools the web has to offer. Many of these are not your best solution in the long run. But they will provide you with adequate services in the short term. Try these nine free tools to get a jump start on your career without going into debt. Project Management: Workflowy Everyone has a favorite to-do list. The problem: to-do lists don’t work. You feel a sense of accomplishment merely for typing out the list. This sense of satisfaction can decrease your motivation to actually check off the items on the list. Then, later in the day, when you haven’t accomplished anything, you feel a sense of shame. How in the world is this productive? Workflowy is different. It focuses more on project management than on task management, making it a true Getting Things Done tool. Create a project, and then list off all the actions you need to complete the project. You can add in notes, resources, or any other material that might prove helpful. Workflowy uses an outline format with collapsible levels, so you can see as much or as little as you need. Get it: Workflowy. Accounting: FreshBooks Sure, you could keep track of your accounting on a spreadsheet — if you were an amateur. Professional freelancers need professional accounting software. They need professional invoices. They can’t rely on Microsoft Office templates to do the work for them. Of course, professional accounting software can be expensive. Unless you go with FreshBooks. FreshBooks might be the ideal accounting software for newbie freelancers, because you can get it for free. It handles a single client, which is exactly what a newbie freelancer starts with. It even offers a free invoice template, so you can send a professional-looking invoice using your company logo. (You did create a company for your freelancing career and did create a logo, right?) Once you expand your business, plans are far more reasonably priced than competitors. Get it: FreshBooks. Time management: Toggl Dan Baum knows something about freelancing. He’s been doing it for decades, for some of the biggest magazines in the business. What’s his best advice for new freelancers? Understand your nut — how much you earn vs. how much time it takes you to earn it. If a project pays $500, but it takes you 40 hours to complete, you’re underselling your services and destroying your budget. Toggl provides free basic time tracking capabilities, so you know how much time you spend on each project. This can help in a few ways. For starters, it lets you know how much time it takes to complete certain tasks. Second, it can give you the data you need to approach a client and get more money. Finding that a project takes far more time than you estimated? Sell your client on a rate increase. At the very least, you’ll know to increase your rate next time. Once you start making money, you can pay $5 per month to unlock Toggl’s more advanced time tracking features. Get it: Toggle. Finances: Mint Mint and Toggl go hand-in-hand. The money you earn, and the time you take to earn it, determines your budget. But you still have to stay within that budget, lest you go into deep debt. Work outside your budget long enough and you’ll buy yourself a ticket to the poorhouse. To avoid that, working with a budget is necessary. Mint provides the tools you need. At this point Mint is a pretty familiar app. You enter your bank and credit card information into their secure app, and it lets you know your net worth. More, it can track your income and help determine your monthly budgets. Then it tracks your spending in each category, letting you know how much you’ve spent to date. Given how much data Mint can track, it’s amazing the app is still free. Get it: Mint. Producitivity: Strict Workflow The biggest fear of newbie freelancers: that they won’t have the discipline or focus to get the work done. You can sit down at a computer, but what will you do once you get there? The web is made for distractions. Check your email, your Facebook, instant messages, your email again — the cycle can be unbreaking. What many people need is way to block those distractions, eliminating them while they do meaningful work. You use the Chrome browser, right? Then you can take advantage of Strict Workflow, an ingenious plugin that prevents you from viewing distracting material. When you’re ready to do focused work, start a timer. Strict Workflow will block popular distracting sites. You can add to that site list yourself. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can create a whitelist, so you visit only those sites until the timer runs out. Once you start a timer, there is no stopping Strict Workflow. You have no choice but to work. Which is the entire glorious point. Get it: Strict Workflow. Client relations: Insightly It’s easy to see why client relationship management is important for a 10-year freelancing veteran. At that point the freelancer has probably worked with hundreds of clients and has made contact with at least as many more. Those relationships form the lifeblood of the freelancer’s business. A newbie freelancer should view relationships no differently. The newbie might have few relationships, but that makes each one all the more important. Like many of the tools on this list, Insightly starts off as freeware. As your needs (and income) grow, so do Insightly’s features. You can store up to 2,500 records (contacts, projects, organizations, etc.) in the free tier, which is far more than competitors offer. Once you’ve grown your business and have more contacts, you can upgrade to their $7 monthly plan. Get it: Insightly. Content: Google Apps If you don’t already have Microsoft Office on your computer, don’t go look at the sales page. OK, now that you’ve gone and looked at the sales page, I’ll give you a moment to recover. Office is a hugely expensive program that most new freelancers cannot afford. So what do you do? There are options like Open Office, which (poorly) simulate the Word and Excel experiences. Or you can get on a platform that might actually improve on Office. No, you won’t be creating macro-laced spreadsheets with Google Apps, but you can create basic ones. The document creator doesn’t have all the features of MS Word, but it does have all the ones you actually use. Perhaps the greatest benefit of Google Apps is the sharing feature. If your client uses Google Apps, you can easily pass drafts back and forth until you get a great final copy. Even if they don’t, Google Apps makes document creation and editing a breeze. Get it: Google Apps. Photos: Everystockphoto Content creation has expanded beyond mere words. While in the past a magazine might provide pictures for your article, many websites will not. They need you to provide the pictures. How are you going to do that? It’s not as though you can fly to Egypt and snap a photo of the Sahara Desert. If you’re a regular Inspiration Feed reader, you saw the post about 25 free stock photo websites in June. The very first on that list, Everystockphoto, might be the best. You’ll need to pay for very high resolution images, but most websites don’t need those. They need photos no greater than 800px width, which you can download for free. The licensing terms are very generous as well, so you can find great images for use with any kind of freelance work. Get it: Everystockphoto. Photo editing: Pixlr Editor and Inkscape The thing about stock images is that they’re not all that great. Since they’re free, many people use them. A familiar image gets boring after you see it so many times. Touching up those photos, either by making a collage or adding different effects, can make a boring stock image fresh again. Of course, the two most popular image editing tools, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, are massively expensive — more expensive than Microsoft Office by a longshot. There are free alternatives, of course. They don’t have the same feature sets, but they do give you the basic tools you need. Pixlr is a website that is essentially Photoshop Lite. Import images, resize them, crop them, draw on them, add effects, and more. Inkscape is essentially an Illustrator clone, where you can enhance images and create fascinating collages. Both together should replace Photoshop for non-photo-professionals. Get them: Pixlr Editor and Inkscape.
Quotes, chilling, Inspiration, life, moving, quotes, wisdom
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:25:59 +0000
Words! Words can be as simple as a few dozen letters on a white sheet of paper, yet they can be overwhelming strong. Words can enrage us into a fury. They can make us feel empty and alone. They can make us smile and they can make us cry. Words are simple but strong. They can inspire, teach and motivate. Some of the best quotes contain life lessons and send chills down one’s spine when read or spoken aloud. Enjoy the greatest quotes from the smartest minds below. “Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.” – Oscar Wilde “We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us.” - Sam Steven “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” “Remember me as you pass by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so you must be, Prepare for death and follow me.” - From old American gravestones. “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” - Mark Twain “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin “Tell us sweetling, which is more disturbing: the the guilty still walk, or that the innocent are so very desperate to kill?” - The Secret World, 1712 Fire “War is the old and bitter tricking the young and stupid into killing each other.” – Niko Bellic “Choosing the lesser of two evils, is still choosing evil.” – Jerry Garcia “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – John F. Kennedy “Wolves do not concerns themselves with the opinions of sheep.” “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless, and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.” “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” - Mark Twain “Battle not with the monsters, lest you become a monster. And when you gaze into the Abyss, it gazes also into you.” “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” – Paulo Coelho “I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.” – Oscar Wilde It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it. -Robert Edward Lee “People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness.” “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when the storm comes.” -Alexandre Dumas “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Oscar Wilde “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” “Life is only precious because it ends.” – Rick Riordan “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke “Guide this one to where the traveler never tires, the lover never leaves, the hungry never starve. Guide this one, and he will be a companion to you as he was to me.” “A dream without a plan is only a wish” “He who makes himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Samuel Johnson “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” – Arthur C. Clarke “The only ones who should kill are those prepared to be killed.” “The ones that love us least, are the ones we’ll die to please”. – Paul Westerberg “We are all evil in some form or another, are we not?” – Richard Ramirez “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain “The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes.” “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde “The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.” - Horace Walpole “Happiness and sanity are an impossible combination.” – Mark Twain “You wear a mask for so long, you forget whose beneath it.” “Would you rather cross the line and suffer the consequences, or spend the rest of your life staring at the line wondering what could have been?” “The more real you get the more unreal the world gets.” – John Lennon “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” - Henry David Thoreau “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King
Industrial, Artistic, bathroom, contemporary, cool, creative, design, Inspiration, modern
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:59:41 +0000
When it comes to designing your bathroom or kitchen, whether you’re planning a few changes or a complete overhaul; if you’re aiming for a sleek, modern look or something fun and artistic; or if your goal is to incorporate ecologically-friendly fixtures, the numerous sink choices available to consumers these days ensure that no matter what you’re looking for, there’s a perfect sink for you. Whatever your preferred aesthetic, the clever, creative, and beautiful designs available today guarantee you’ll find just the sink to fit your needs! Below you will find twenty-five creative sink designs meant to inspire you. Enjoy! 1. Circular Water Station Island by KWC 2. MySlot 3. Mystic Sink by Elkay 4. Ammonite Washbasin 5. Aquarium Sink 6. Novus Undermount Single Bowl Sink 7. Guitar Sink 8. ConcreteWood Sink by WertWerke 9. Water Map by Julia Kononenko 10. Alveo 11. Farmhouse Sink by Rohl 12. Step Basin 13. Foglio Ceramilux Sink by Mario Ferrarini 14. Acquaio Vessel Sink in Solid Bamboo Woo 15. Aqua Laminated Transparent Glass Counter Top 16. Luna Bar Sink 17. Lavabo Skin Sink by Lago 18. Eaux Eaux Sink by Joel Roberts 19. Signature Erosion Sink by Gore Design Co. 20. Strappo Sink by Antonio Lupi 21. Soffio 22. Covo 23. Dieresi 24. Waterfall 25. The Abisko Washbasin by Eumar Santhenica and Johan Kauppi
Packaging, beautiful, creative, design, Inspiration, Minimal, packaging
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 04:51:56 +0000
The saying ‘less is more’, is something of a rule to live by in today’s society. Designers take note – a minimalistic approach now overrules the flashy gaudiness of yesteryear. Today we find even the most simple of ideas the most endearing, and it’s becoming a noticeable trend among consumers who favor clutter-free packaging, dressed-down products, and no-fuss marketing, over which product is the shiniest, and which has the most colorful label. Take a look at these amazing examples of simplistic packaging. They’ve turned down the loud, and obnoxious look and created products you’ll want to buy – even if it is just for the packaging. Mr Black MR BLACK is a cold drip coffee liqueur from Australia that is truly in a league of its own. This award-winning product is a perfect pick thanks to its packaging. While the liqueur itself is world-renowned – if it comes in a bottle this gorgeous, do we really care what’s inside? X-Pen The X-Pen may be a pen, but it isn’t just any old pen – which is immediately noticeable by its sleek, stylish design. This felt tip pen is crafted out of machined 6061 aircraft grade aluminium, and its creators (a group of designers who are clearly worth their weight in gold) say it is meant to embody the ‘passion, creativity, and hard work that goes into design’. Well, we would certainly agree. One-handed First Aid Kit by Gabriele Meldaikyte This One-handed First Aid Kit may be everything you’ve ever dreamed of if you’re wounded and in need of a one handed assist – but it’s hard to look past its genius, simplistic design. Cute, classic, and containing all the bells and whistles a first aid kit should without bragging about it. And the packaging is so simple that you can access it with one hand. Priceless. Undercover Pinot Noir by Ampro Undercover Pinot Noir – the brainchild of design firm Ampro Design, was a self-promotion that allowed them to sneakily gift clients a bottle of fine pinot noir. This adorable ‘milk’ bottle is certainly a think-outside-the-box champion when it comes to simplifying packaging. Apparently their main objective was to stand out from the crowd amongst the other gifts that their clients received over the winter holiday season. Mission accomplished! Fire Fighter Vodka by Timur Salikhov We all love a product that says what it means, and means what it says. Well, Fire Fighter Vodka does just that. Use it in case of a party. It’s a big, red fire extinguisher, filled with thirst quenching Russian vodka. Pure class. 5 Olive Oil by Designers United Clean and simple. 5 Olive Oil -Pure & Powerful Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This new premium quality Greek extra virgin olive oil plays on its name – where 5 stands for quintessence in olive oil, it also stands for the five principles of stunningly minimal packaging. Keep. It. Simple. Fresh. Crisp and Clean. Mel de Cal Milio – Simply Beautiful Spanish Honey Mel de Cal Milio – Simply Beautiful Spanish Honey. And might we add simply beautiful packaging too? Simple and a little bit sultry, with a lovely play on the origin of the honey with the design of the label. Zen Perfume by Good Creative Marketing PR (Russian) Zen Perfume -scents that are inspired by nature. Ah, we see what you’ve done here – and we love it. Delicate products of Mother Nature are seamlessly incorporated into each perfume bottle design, so you are literally one with nature when using these perfumes. These also make for beautiful ornaments even after the scent is gone. Nature for keeps. Pluto by Bang & Olufsen This minimal package design for skincare brand, Pluto by Bang & Olufsen is a brilliant reflection of everything that’s within the bottle. Simple, sleek skincare. Selfridges Tea by Noreen Khan and Lewis Moberly Selfridges Tea is a cheerful celebration of minimalistic packaging. Colourful, yet not overpowering, these gorgeous paper bags are a treat fit for any tea party. The Secret Keepers by Vasilis Papadopoulos and Thanasis Tsampoukas The Secret Keepers are ‘one of the finest harvesters’ of virgin olive oil, green olives and honey, and their packaging says just as much as the actual product. ‘The Secret Keepers’ are self-proclaimed keepers of hidden secrets of tradition. The minimalistic design of their packaging is perhaps, one of their best kept. Inspiron and Vostro by Mucho The packaging redesigns for Dell’s Inspiron and Vostro reflect an environmentally conscious organisation, whilst still being at the forefront of communications technology. Simple, bold graphics, and minimal detail make this upcycled packaging something worth noting. PURO Premium Water by Filippos Protogeridis PURO Premium Water looks as fresh as it tastes. The bottle has a simplistic design, and the only added detail to its otherwise sleek physique, is the addition of the cork bung (for the Still Water) and the granite bung (for the Sparkling). PANACEA by Alexey Malina The name Panacea is the name for ‘universal remedy’ and thus the album imagery was visualized as a ‘pill’. While the concept behind naming your album after a pill is complex – the aesthetic of a tiny piano encased in pill form is rather endearing. Pure, white, and light. While this New Zealand vodka ticks all the boxes when it comes to great taste, purity, and quality, so does its packaging. Vodka jelly in a unique sealant packaging? Manly tool meets feminine bottle – this is a great party trick for entertaining a crowd. Harmonian by Mousegraphics Harmonian food products have hit the nail on the head with their radically simple packaging. Flour, pasta, oil, and herb infusions are bundled up in boxes, with the design based on the Triticum Dicoccum variety of wheat seeds. The seed is one of the earliest domesticated crops in the ancient world, and the use of tem in showcasing each Harmonium product reminds us of the versatile nature of not only the seed itself, but the product inside. Copenhagen Copenhagen is the name of Carlsberg’s new beer, although you wouldn’t guess that by looking at its sleek and sexy design. Simplicity reigns here, and they’ve succeeded in targeting a new generation of beer drinkers who love the total package of design, taste, and quality. Harry Brompton by Cartils Harry Brompton’s premium alcoholic ice tea has a classic and old fashioned look about it, but at the same time it’s dominating the market as a the next big thing in lifestyle beverages. Jealous Sweets by B&B studio Simple, elegant and stunning – Jealous Sweets have that ‘much too good for children’ appeal, which is perfect for these high end sweeties that are the ultimate gift for grown-ups. Detailed luxury boxes, glossing, embossing, and foil blocking – simply, sweet. Restored Water by Morgan Sterns Restored water was ‘strongly influenced by the process of taking highly treated wastewater that would have previously been discharged into the Pacific Ocean and purifying it using a three-step advanced treatment process.’ The clean cut glass bottles mixed with the rustic charm of the wooden box is a great combination of elegance, old and new. Fruits & Passion by lg2boutique Recently, Fruits & Passion introduced a new range of packaging to portray their new CHERRY, BAMBOO and COCONUT products. While the use of white space, colourful and bold type that jumps off the packaging is incredible, the playful use of the coconut shape, bamboo texture, and boldness of the cherry creates a fresh, zesty energy – which is a perfect reflection of the brand. Provenance by Jog Limited Provenance high-quality home ware products are made from recycled, reclaimed and renewable materials, so it is fitting that their packaging reflects as much. Each product has a story to tell, with the packaging using a ‘this is now’ and ‘this was’ approach to explaining the recyclability of each. For example, ‘this bottle was once a part of a building’ to the reverse ‘this is now an antipasti platter set’ on the front.” Heineken Icone Pure by ORA-ÏTO 100% sustainable aluminum bottles, and a chic new look for one of world’s most renowned beers? Meet the the Icone Pure by Heineken. This unique bottle is pure white with a green dotted inscription and still features the iconic green logo of Heineken on the front and back.
Blogging, commont, educational, english, grammar, language, mistakes, writing
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:09:57 +0000
As a frequent reader of various blogs, I often find myself running into common grammar mistakes. I decided to cover the top 5 mistakes I constantly see being made. I’m not going to lie, the English language is strange. So don’t feel bad if you’ve previously committed these mistakes. Let’s get to it… Affect Versus Effect How do you know when to use the word affect and effect? This is a very common question, and it is one that many people become confused over. Here is an explanation about both words and how to use them. When should the word Affect be used? Affect basically means “to influence,” so for example, “The storm had a disastrous affect upon the town.” When should the word Effect be used? This word has several meanings when used as a noun, but the main meaning is that of obtaining a result. So for example, Tom’s bad mood had a negative effect upon Amy”. One rule of thumb is to remember that affect is usually used as a verb (so a word that describes an action or ‘doing ‘something), and effect as a noun (a thing, person or place). So if we consider the word affect as a verb, we could use the following examples: “Running affected Sam’s heart rate.” “Many children are affected by disabilities.” “Homes around the country are suffering and are badly affected by poverty.” If we consider effect as a noun, then we can use the following examples: “Air pollution has been proven to have a negative effect upon health.” “What is the effect upon children who drink too many sugary drinks?” I.e. Versus E.g. “I.e.” and “e.g.” have completely different meanings and should be used accordingly. So what exactly do they mean? Well they are both abbreviated from the Latin with i.e., meaning “that is” as well as helping to clarify a sentence and its meaning, while e.g., means “for example”. One way to remember this is to think, i.e., has an ‘I’, so means that is, while e.g., means for example while also sounding like the word, ‘egg’ sample. If you were to write a list of your favorite foods and wanted to provide a few examples you could write, “My favorite foods are for e.g., pizza, chocolate, chips, and apples.” This, therefore, is not a definitive list as there will be other favorite foods but these are a few examples. I.e. means “that is” so if you used i.e., in the above sentence it would give a slightly different meaning. “My favorite foods are i.e., pizza, chocolate, chips and apples.” This sentence gives clarification to favorite foods and is a definitive list. Who versus Whom When to use the words “Who” and “Whom” Both of these words are pronouns, so they are words that ‘stand in’ for a noun, so what are the correct ways to use them? “Who” is always used when referring to a subject, and “whom” when referring to an object. So for example if we are referring to people within a sentence the person who is doing something is the subject and the word “who” should be used, and the object of the sentence is the person who is having something done to them and therefore the word, “whom” should be used. So for example, “Who made the delicious cake?” “Who is in the living room?” “Whom did you talk to today at school?” “Whom did John blame for the accident? Lay Versus Lie The distinction to make between these two words is that lay requires the meaning of a direct object and the word lie does not. So for example, “you lie down on the bed” (this has no direct object) but if you write, “you lay the newspaper on the coffee table (then the direct object is the newspaper). These two examples are in the present tense as you are writing about doing something right now, However with regards to the past tense things change. Lay is used in the present tense and lie in the past tense. So for example: “Last weekend the cat lay down on the rug.” Laid is the past tense of lay so for this we could write, “Tom laid his laptop on the table.” Which Versus That These two words are commonly confused with people not understanding when to use them. “That” is used before a restrictive clause while “which” should be used for everything else. Restrictive Clause—simply put this is the part of the sentence that cannot be removed as it restricts a part of the sentences, so for example, “Hens that cluck are the most happy.” Here we need both the word hens and cluck for the sentence to make sense. “Which” is used with a nonrestrictive clause, so something that can be removed with the remaining sentence still making sense. In a way the nonrestrictive clause provides additional information and not information that is a necessity. “Hens which cluck often are usually very happy.” Hens do cluck so if we remove the word cluck from the sentence, the meaning will still remain the same.