Elance minimum rates down from $50 to just $20

30 September 2011 Comments
A Delayed Commentary on Elance Minimum Rates for 2011

shocked kitty
This may sound like sour milk to Elance providers, but I was shocked with the major changes to the Elance minimum rates for 2011.

The company apparently lowered the minimum from $50 to just $20 for fixed jobs, and from $5 down to $3 for hourly jobs.

The changes took effect some time August 2011 this year, so this commentary is a delayed reaction. I was away from the system for a long time to do a couple of off-line projects. I logged back in yesterday. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate one of the most popular job bidding sites online to take such drastic measure!

Like Opening a Can of Worms

The minimum $50 was already a pain to begin with for a lot of freelancers from the United States and Europe. Lowering the amount by $30 more was just horrible. It's just like opening a can of worms. How so? Read on.

Quick Fix - Google+ Not Showing on Social Sharing Buttons

28 September 2011 Comments
Good news: If you're on Blogger, you can easily show the Google+ button with one click. All you need to do is enable the Social Sharing buttons.

kitty with Google plus
photo credit: Geek Yard
Bad news: The technique works only for classic templates - the good but limited stuff including the ethereal, watermark, classic, and simple styles.

For those of you using different themes and modded templates (like Teecup Limited's theme from Dzignine), the Google+ button will not appear along with the rest of the social sharing buttons. 

You need to edit the HTML design to fix the problem. Below is a proven effective, step-by-step guide shared by Blogger Plugins. I suggest that you visit the site directly so you can view the illustrations, and copy and paste codes with ease.

A Day in the Life of a Freelancer and Her Cats

24 September 2011 Comments
This is a scheduled blog post featuring my favorite entries from the blog site Cat versus Human. The comic strips pretty much paint an exact picture of how cats and freelancers (and their partners) co-exist:

While you enjoy the comic strips, don't miss these two relevant posts on Teecup Limited. Caution: You might actually need to love cats in order to be "in the zone."


Is DoNanza any good?

21 September 2011 Comments
thinking kitty
Is DoNanza any good? Can you trust it? Is it legit or a scam? There were no complaints and violent user reviews (yet), so it's safe to say (for now) that you can include DoNanza in your circle of trust. The few reviews posted online only discussed the background of DoNanza. What is known:

DoNanza is a job search tool for freelancers. 

It gathers postings from different established job sites, so that you can browse online opportunities without limiting your search to just one or two platforms. Once you find a work-from-home opportunity that interests you, you will have to register with the respective site before you can apply for the job. So, the "Do It" button is really more of an "Apply" or "Sign me up" button. 

Pricing Advice for Freelancers Considering Long-Term Work

20 September 2011 Comments
lovely yellow cat contemplating
Many freelancers dream of landing a long-term stint with a favorite online client some day. When the chances comes however, very few individuals are prepared to answer one very crucial question: How how much should you charge for freelance work?

Today's blog post will not discuss specific rates but will arm you with some tips on how you can reach a price that will keep you and your client happy.

First Projects

Always charge the full price on your first projects. Whether you like it or not, long-term clients do expect discounts for future work. Giving them such incentive is one way to bring in repeat business.

Another way to phrase the advice is: Never low-ball your way to win a regular project. You start low. You'll end up receiving less over time. Stay financially safe by anticipating a slice price cut when you commit for more work.

Some Factoids on Writing and Procrastination

19 September 2011 Comments
kitty with yellow eyes
Writing is one unique activity that sets the human race apart from the higher forms of animals, and yet it is also a dreaded exercise in the academe... a necessary evil in offices... a chore for many.

Does this sound familiar? You bet it is. It's not surprising that 9 out of 10 people procrastinate with their writing work - professors, bloggers and freelancers alike.  On his May 5 entry at the APA Style blog, author and psychologist Paul J. Silvia explains why:

Protecting your work from content predators

15 September 2011 Comments
cute cross-eyed kitty
It's a crying shame that the world never runs out of copy cats.  For blogger, artists, writers and freelancers alike, nothing can be more disheartening than to find your work stolen right under your nose.

Posting banners that read, "Do not copy" or "Do not plagiarize" eat up valuable space and do not often work. So, what do you do? You give the copycats a hard time stealing and claiming your precious content.

  1. If you must create a sample write-up, then craft a teaser only. Teasers are not full-length pieces of work. On the average, 150 to 200 words should be enough to show your writing style.

  2. Do not e-mail customized samples to a prospective client. Publish the work first on your online portfolio, and then give only the link. 

How to Stretch Time on Tight Deadlines

13 September 2011 Comments
How do you stretch time so you can beat tight deadlines? Quick answer: You can't. There's no logical way that any freelancer can extend 24 hours to become 30 or 60 or 100. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can get a good head start with your project:

stretching kitty
photo credit: Mr. Puffin of That Cute Site
Begin early. "Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today." Even when you cannot start writing yet, then at least start by planning how you can accomplish the work and by anticipating what may be needed along the way.

Set a working schedule and stick to it. It doesn't matter whether you work only 2 to 3 hours a day as long as you're really doing stuff related to your project. No TV breaks, chatting and Facebooking in between.

Think of the money. Sometimes, freelancing is not always about the money... but most of the time it is. Wouldn't you agree that money is a good motivator? The earlier you finish your work, the faster you can get paid.

Take advantage of the adrenalin rush. Do tight deadlines thrill you? Then think of everyday as your final day to turn over the work. You'll be surprised with how much you can really do in such a short time.

Declare a holiday from the house. Unless you really have no other choice, set aside strenuous household chores. The dishes, laundry and bills can easily shorten your head start. Delegate these responsibilities to someone else while you're busy pounding your key board.

Stay well fed. Don't memorize, skip or delay meals. Eat them on time. Your brain will need fuel to work efficiently. The last thing you want to happen is to get sick.   

Follow these practical tips, and you'll get used to beating tight deadlines in no time. In fact, maybe you won't even notice the pressure anymore. All it takes is constant practice to get your freelancing groove up and running. Do you have anything to add to the list?* 

4 Ways to Manage Your Freelancing Expectations

08 September 2011 Comments
kitty slumber"Manage your expectations." Many listings of second-hand items carry this all-around piece of advice, and from one freelancer to another, I'm all for it too.

I'm on to the final leg of one of the most difficult writing projects I have ever handled. I really feel like I could drop dead anytime. I can hardly wait to get the task off my chest. It's high time I get my perky little self back!

While a non-disclosure agreement prohibits me from discussing the nature of the work further, suffice it to say that the project took a toll on my health and sensibilities. I'm not whining. All I'm saying is that I learned 4 valuable lessons from my ordeal. As you can guess, they all relate to how you can manage your expectations as a freelancer:

  1. Prepare for the worst. Balance your optimism with a proper dose of Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will." Keeping this kind of mind set will help you stay on track. It will help you plot a work flow chart -- complete with back-up plans and all -- for problems that you anticipate with your client, with the work flow, with the skills needed to execute the project and with payment.

  2. Know yourself fully. Affirmation is important. However, do not let other people impose their beliefs on you. Deep inside, you know fully well what you can and cannot accomplish. To work on your weaknesses is all fluffy and nice, yet it does not always apply to real-world freelancing. You'll end up messing the schedule, compromising the quality, and short-changing the client if you accept jobs that you find too difficult to handle.

  3. Think of yourself as a human being, not a machine. You're not always at your peak. Real people get tired over the long run. As such, allow a few days or a few weeks of leeway on your quoted delivery date. If you feel that you can finish something in 3 days' time, tell your client you'll have the product ready in a week. There are no rules penalizing early submissions. Missed deadlines are a different matter.

  4. When all else fails, accept the reality that crap does happen. Out of 10 attempts, only 6 or 7 are hits; the rest are misses. This is how life works. Regardless of how much you strive for perfection, there simply is no fail-safe way that you can avoid freelancing mistakes. Be careful, and yet be ready to take blows as they come. More importantly, make the most out of your mistakes. Learn from them. Grow from them. Be a better freelancer on your next project down the line. 

Freelancing should be done with zest... If it's beginning to sound like a chore, it means you're close to the burnout meter. *

Freelancer Unrest with PayPal to Unionbank Delayed Transfers

05 September 2011 Comments
Breaking news. There's trouble in paradise. Freelancers are fuming mad.

Check Unionbank's Facebook fan page and in the discussions board, you will unearth a mountain of complaints and rants regarding delays in PayPal to Unionbank transfers.

Where before it takes only 2 to 3 days for your PayPal funds to be reflected on your Unionbank statement, the processing period has lagged to 5 days and even 2 weeks for many.

What is strange is that whenever reports and issues of a similar nature are raised, Unionbank stays mum. It is understandable that newbies who are not familiar with the PayPal verification process may have (1) failed to indicate the correct bank code (2) mistaken the ATM card number for the bank account number or (3) used incongruent names for the PayPal account and the Unionbank account.
    The fact that the rants stem from old users indicates that something is amiss.

    Haters are now threatening to cross over to other banks. One user wrote, "Better na bumalik ako sa dating bank ko... kasi kahit may charge, na-rereceive ang funds on time. (I am thinking of reverting to my old bank because although it charges a service fee, I can receive the funds on time.)"*

    Free Advertising Platforms for Online Entrepreneurs

    02 September 2011 Comments
    stunned kitty
    Blog shops are not fly-by-night businesses. You need to tend to them with care and consistency as you would any  regular blog site.

    If you feel that you're not yet ready to set up your own web store and blog site in one, then one of the easiest ways to begin selling and making money online is to take advantage of free advertising platforms. 

    Unlike blog shops which require some commitment to writing and updating, typical online advertisements are easier to craft, are not text-intensive and normally expire within 30 to 60 days' time. A lot of them resemble brief landing pages where you are expected to post all the necessary details that:

    - would convert readers to buyers 
    - gain the trust of prospective customers
    - tell the audience how to contact you and how to make a purchase
    - inspire buyer confidence in the product that you are trying to market (e.g., posting actual photos)

    Ebay aside (since it deserves a blog post of its own), here are some conventional blog shop alternatives where you can list your online ads for free:
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