Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Perk Up Your Boring Routine and Do Things Your Way!

There must have been times in your life as a freelancer when you get by the day by writing dozens of dull articles on a dozen of dull topics, requiring absolutely no imagination at all. These times aren't rare. For freelancers they tend to appear far too often than needed at times.

Fret not! We all are prone to these days and will go through some sadistically boring routine one time or another. The main reason for why we just 'get by' is mostly so that we can get through the day or the month so as to get paid and pay our ever increasing bills or perhaps so that some of us can maybe indulge in one of the frequently needed shopping spree.

But ending up with a monotonous routine is no way to freelance! If you have done that one too many times then you are truly killing the essence of freelancing itself.,, which is 'freedom'... hence 'free-lancing' ;)

What you need to do is follow a simple process. Something that I like to call the CPP strategy. Here's how you can turn your absolutely monotonous routine into a much more cheerful one:

Customize - The best part about freelancing is that you don't work in an office, so there is no need to give yourself a reason to get bored. It's your workplace... CUSTOMIZE it! Add a little color, get some funky decorations, install your favorite surround system or play station or invest some money in getting yourself high-quality workplace supplies. Anything to get the party started... or rather keeping your mind from getting dull.

Personalize - Figure out when you want to work with what. You are your own boss so make a schedule that works for you. If you can't stand to do one work at a certain time then assign another time for it and do what you can handle at that time. The key is to PERSONALIZE your schedule according to your needs and not to let the work boss you around.

Prioritize - Since you have the freedom to choose what you do, then why not utilize it! Set your standards and remain firm. Only take the work that you know you can do and not just everything that comes your way. Figure out which work is more important and needs to get done and which can wait. PRIORITIZE your work and you will find yourself doing work that you love!

With these 3 simple steps your freelancing work will not only become easier but also loads more fun! Just remember that YOU ARE THE BOSS so do things your way! ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Edhi Animal Shelter - Karachi

Situated near Toll Plaza in Karachi, just off the superhighway, the Edhi Animal Shelter is a one of its kind shelter in Pakistan. Although it's very basic and stark, the shelter is providing injured and abandoned animals protection and a safe abode from the harsh city life. Animals don't deserve to be abandoned by their owners or treated cruelly, they deserve a sanctuary where they can thrive and be taken care of in time of need. Government and society must now come together in order to help make this shelter a better place for the animals by offering as much assistance as they can, whether it comes in form of a donation or active volunteer help.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The True Bliss of Freelancing!

It's December, it's cold, it's windy... and there's rain!

Aah! The blissful rain and it's accompanying chill. All you want to do is stay in bed, get cozy, get under your blankets and eat lots and lots of roasted peanuts. But wait... you have to work... there is a deadline you have to meet... you promised your client that you'd send in work today. Eeeeek! Welcome to the dull 9 to 5 routine some of us have. Sigh! Sad really :( Now you can't enjoy the weather and work at the same time if you're in office, can you?.... Unless you're a Freelancer! ;)

Yes, there's the catch! One of the best part about being a freelancer is this whole scenario. I'm at home, I get up when I want, stay in bed as long as I like.... ah yes, work... I can get that done too. And the best part is I get to work while enjoying the weather. Sitting out in the patio, listening to the sound of the steady rain, watching it fall from the green trees, feeling the chilled breeze, eating dry fruits, typing happily on my laptop and feeling extremely content while my cat dozes off in my lap. Aah! The true bliss of being a freelancer!

Let it rain I say! Let it rain!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Freelancing - The Freedom to Choose!

Why freelance? Because you get to choose what you do. Why choose? Because you have the freedom. Freedom to do what? Freedom to do what you want to do and be who you want to be.

That is what freelancing is all about and what freelancing can give you. You not only get a free rein but also the freedom to express yourself. The great 'freelancing' appeal to many is the freedom of lifestyle and the very choice that is laid before you. But being your own boss isn't all that easy...

While with freelancing you make your own rules and play your own game, a traditional employee ends up under limits and possibly with not much freedom. Freedom is one of the basic reason that lures many into the realms of freelancing. Unbound and unrestricted - It's the place where your creative processes can work at their best and you are able to find your true style. We all seek this path... where we can combine our creative senses and the overpowering need to become our own boss. We desire this essence, we crave this till our entire being screams for us to reach out and grasp the freedom... never letting it go!

Fortunately (or rather unfortunately for some of us) freelancing is not everyone's cup of tea. As freelancing is bound to get overwhelming with time and projects, only those with a true flair and talent for writing actually end up doing this for a lifetime and find a real career in this. The rest of the talentless hopefuls end up... either away from the freelancing world or not doing too well in it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Naming your Price - When to Ask for More!

As an experienced freelancer it is important to know your worth. Whether the services you offer are content writing, graphic designing or anything else, if you know that your work has got quality, then asking for a higher price is your right.

There may come clients who own start-up or small businesses, people on tight budgets, who don't want to burn a hole in their pockets. Such clients are looking for discount prices and providing a reasonable quote will ensure that they know what to expect.

Recognize You Worth
: The first thing you need to do is to recognize whether you really need that project or not. Since ignoring is terrible for your business, you need to play your cards right. In fact if you want a client, you need to offer some discount or a work or two at a low cost.

Offer Discounts:
To avoid pitfalls and shortcomings it's always good to offer a discount. This will help your client to come back for more. Although sometimes after getting your services for a cheaper cost the client might make an issue over slightly expensive cost. The best way to go about it is to provide them with a proper quote (no matter how expensive) and offer them a much smaller portion of work along with it at a cheaper price. This way the client will feel like they are getting a discount and they might as well agree to your over all price!

Be Reasonable:
Another important thing to remember is that when creating a quote for your client, make sure you are being reasonable and fair. Research around a bit for what others are asking for the same kind of work and understand your worth. There are chances that you might blow off your client with the amount you ask, however the significant thing to know is that if your work quality is superior than what is being offered out there in the market then you have nothing to worry about.

Stand by Your Standards:
Even if your client runs away after hearing your quote, you should remain happy that you did yourself justice by asking for a price worth your professional standards. Your client might choose someone much cheaper but they will eventually come back to you. Just remember your limits and be firm and specific about how much you offer and at what cost. Your clients might go away for a while but trust me... they will find their way back and might even refer you to their colleagues or buddies.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Think - Latest Lego Art Exhibition!

Nathan Sawaya's latest exhibition 'Think' took his work to new heights. Exhibiting over 30 works, all created from Lego bricks, the artist once again proved his ability to transform the simplest of lego bricks into the most meaningful art. The works were displayed at the The American Swedish Historical Museum in November 2008.

More details available at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nathan Sawaya - The Inspirational Brick Artist!

Nathan Sawaya is the inspirational creator of the future art of Lego. This New York-based artist creates amazing works out of the most unlikely toys... Lego building blocks.Working with over millions of colored Lego bricks in his New York studio, Nathan has created the most astounding forms that are both stunning and playful at the same time. His devotion can be seen in the quality of his work and the perfection with which he creates to conceptualize various subject matter.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lego Art - No Limits!

Awe-inspiring and truly inspirational, Nathan Sawaya (a former attorney) is better known as the Brick Artist who has created several wonderful sculptures out of lego building blocks. Having used over a million colored bricks he continues to create wonders from legos.

Nathan's website showcases images of all his work, beginning from 2002 to-date and contains all the information needed regarding his tours and exhibitions.

Given below are just a few images of his famous works... Check it out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Fascinating Masterpieces

Inspired by my friend Charlie's Most Dramatic Movie Posters on the GraphicDesignBlog, I decided to put down my own list of movies... but with a little difference. My movie list is concerned with the strangely out of this world movies.

Strange, enchanting and inspiring... this is what these movies are. Thrilled, exhilarated and baffled... is what these movies make us feel when they take us on an intense yet spellbound journey into the unknown realms. Movie makers do surprise us sometimes with masterpieces that are not just gripping but also fascinating... no matter how many times you watch them.

Seeing is truly Believing!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Do you Voodoo? - The Political Toy Fad

The latest fad in the toy world seems to be the interesting voodoo dolls of the various political figures (as if toilet papers, nut crackers and bauble heads weren't enough!). Whether you see these dolls as a must-have accessory, take them as collectibles, send them as gifts, burn them as effigies or consider them just another way of cursing the enemy from afar – these dolls seem to be creating quite a hype the world over ;)

The dolls come with a proper voodoo kit (pins and all) and range from political figures like Obama to Hillary Clinton to George Bush and now even to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Standing anywhere between 8 to 12 inches, these are available online under 20$.

Of course these dolls seem to have been on the scene for a year or two now but the hype is being fanned more so (unintentionally) by the French President, who is apparently considering legal action against the producers of the ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’ doll and asking the product to be pulled out of market immediately.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Google Upgrade - The Big Bundle of Joy!

Major updates are coming up on Google Analytics in the coming weeks. An official announcement was made at the Google Analytics Blog recently, announcing the upcoming updates of the user interface. The "Big bundle of joy" for Google Analytics users is the long list of updates featuring some of the most long-requested and welcomed characteristics.

And here's making the long list short...

Custom Reporting: Create your own reports and graphs by setting your own variables.
Advance Segmentation: Allowing you to create a segment for the traffic by breaking it down in various areas and in several ways... from a specific location to websites to people who visit regularly.
Motion Charts: Advance visual feature with graphical representation that you can watch change over time.
Integration with AdSense: Now you will be able to integrate not just AdWords but AdSense too and find out which pages are generating more revenue, the content that doing well on your site along with geographically broken down reports.
API Beta: This has been released to help the developers in extending the usefulness of Google Analytics.

The new features are being considered timely by many, keeping in view the economic rundown and Google is hoping to "go with what works... and invest... to increase their conversions". Still some users remain skeptical of the updates, considering them to be one of Google's "tricks" damping the spirit of Halloween this year. Let's see who gets the run for what! ;)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Google Monopoly

Google has its own monopoly when it comes to search results and its so-called search standards. Every few months we hear of new rules and amendments being made to Google’s algorithm. The SEOs will possibly lose their jobs if it wasn’t for Google... or so I am told (Ya right! As if I am going to believe that).

More than just providing us with authentic search results Google appears to be determinedly focused on being different and so it is.

Honestly speaking, when it comes to Google you can never be too sure!

Some people seem to want to report paid links and so Google thought that they’d do something about that. Every few weeks they update their algorithm and feel like trying some new ideas that leads them to change the existing algorithm. I don’t mean to imply that paid links shouldn’t be reported. By all means they should. If someone is using wrong means and ways to get the better of the resources and getting by in someone else’s place, that person and company should most definitely be reported and stopped. But shouldn’t the whole scheme and system be perfected before Google starts making everyone’s life a living hell by only testing their still-in-process systems?

What they initiate themselves is what they usually end up creating a system against. What of the webmasters who have only recently brought links to sell off? Ok, so maybe the ones who had all the wrong reasons to buy those links would be feeling very stupid right now but honestly give me a break! How are you to provide valuable services to your customers when your paid links are under siege?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Social Networking - All that Glitters...!

Social networking seems to be the 'in-thing' these days with almost all the sites... but is it really that good? I wonder sometimes. How helpful is it? And why would someone want to waste a load of time for it online? Ya well, it’s true that the so-called "social networking phenomenon" has been all that and is, at the moment, a great platform for marketers. It's definitely one of the new ways to advertise your brand online. But it rather seems more like a fad. Things like these seem to come and go. How accurate is this really?

So it started as a cool thing, like most of such stuff does, and it's gradually being turned into the 'not-so-cool' by all that extra jazz being thrown its way. More and more companies and brands are opening up their own blogs to advertise for themselves... that’s justified? Ok, so its sending all that growth towards you, but did you know that it's also creeping up some people!

Over the past couple of months social networking sites seem to have received their fair share of 'spam', especially for those who have been using networks like 'Facebook'. They sure seem to be complaining about unwanted friend requests and malicious activities, not to mention the unsolicited advertisements.

So are we still going somewhere with all this 'Social Networking'?

It won't be long before spam becomes all too frequent in this area as well, and then what? Wouldn't the companies who are all "for" social networkings seek other safe havens then? Of course they will. Sure networks seem to be taking notice of this right now but the question remains... how long till people start dropping out of this? Honestly, if spam becomes more frequent, people will decide to leave these networks for good. Just look at the amount of friend requests you get on Facebook and MySpace alone. It’s like a hobby for some people, seriously! And it gets worse... Some people leave social networking thinking that the spam problem is over, but the truth is that the spam seems to follow you even long after you have left. And it doesn't seem likely that this 'social networking' hype will last that long as the 'in' thing, or will it?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Becoming Googled

Amongst all the various search engines that we have Google is the most popular due to its customer trust. However, we also stumble upon examples every now and then where Google either buys or creates a clone of services that might be threatening their market dominance.

Take StumbleUpon as an example. Once Google saw their growth rate, they made the best possible offer to buy it or in some cases they rather have cheaper clones created that are capable of making huge sales and competing with others. This way Google not just advertises for itself but end up creating a lot of exposure that leads to market dominance. Google doesn’t like competition, who does? But Google knows how to gain an edge over its competitors. And due to Google’s strange market policies it has killed many small market players to get a piece of larger businesses. Google will keep ranting against your brand if they see competition unless you give in and strike a deal with them and give them a big cut. Due to this many small affiliates have been gradually killed and Google just leads the show with businesses who work directly with Google.

And yet again Google bonds with another well-known name. This time Google decided to connect AdSense to Western Union giving small countries a payment option. So now countries like Egypt, Bulgaria, Morocco, Taiwan and Lithuania can follow easy instructions and get paid in local currency easily. Google main search is also providing exchange rates. Well, that's an achievement and one way of how Google keeps on making it Big and being the only one to get a 70% market share in the U.S... yes that's right... by buying or teaming up with market giants. Duh! Way to go guys!!!

So moral of the story is... Anything that is big and has a huge market – it will be Google’s. If it isn't Google's already then it will be soon enough! So all the successful companies and people out there become a part of Google and it gets even bigger and better. Hmmm... so what next?!!!