Buckling or Booming Businesses

Monday, June 25, 2012 at 1:36pm by Sandy Jones

Despite the challenge of an ever-changing economy, a few businesses are managing to keep afloat with strategic investments and innovative new products. However, not all companies are able to sustain growth.



Procter and Gamble

For Procter and Gamble (PG), the Euro activity and Europe crisis has exacerbated their downward slide. Since the markets slowed down and growth became stagnant overseas, PG decided to route their investments via China instead. However, as investors.com reports, they ended up lowering their sales and profit direction because the exchange rates were so unfavorable. The predicted Earnings Per Share (EPS) of 79-85 cents are only expected to reach 75-79 cents. Additionally, Organic sales growth is not projected to be 4%-5% but rather 2%-3%.

Businesswire.com continues the story noting that PG plans to prioritize its investments in the highest profit markets and largest innovations as part of their strategic approach to the coming fiscal year. The company has made it clear that they are committed to winning the fight against the odds. Part of their initiatives includes more focus, balance, and a strategic approach to wise investments. They have expressed concern over volatile variables such as commodity costs, foreign exchange, and government policies.


Walgreens

In contrast to Procter and Gamble, Walgreens announced just recently their largest quarterly dividend in company history; the previous 22.5 cents per share rose to 27.5 cents per share. Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson reportedly attributed the success to their commitments to returning cash to shareholders and staying consistent with their goals of paying out a target of 30%-35% of net earnings for long-term dividends.

This was countered by the company’s recent acquirement of nearly 50% of Alliance Boots in a strategic attempt to put a solid foot on the ground in Europe. What impact did this have on consumers you might ask? Due to uncertainty, the Wall Street Journal notes that investors bailed on Walgreen’s shares out of fears that the European gamble won’t follow through and based on the expensive price tag of $6.7 billion. However, Wasson feels confident the move will benefit the company in the long run. If things pan out the way he expects, it won’t be long before they purchase the entire Alliance Boots Company.


Starbucks

Crowned-king of coffee, Starbucks decided to take on a new flavor of business in an innovative endeavor to create a tea-only shop featuring the Tazo brand. Unlike the typical coffee shops, this store allows customers to choose from over 80 varieties of tea and pay for it by the ounce. CNN shares that the location of the store will be in Seattle’s University Village, nearby the company’s headquarters.

Tazo as a brand has been quite successful, especially since Starbucks purchased them back in 1999. Having paid $8.1 million for the tea company, Starbucks has increased the brand’s value to $1.4 billion. Depending on the success of the first shop, Starbucks may continue to build more in the future. However, the company is currently more focused on bolstering the Tazo brand at the moment.

Starbucks is stirring up excitement in Costa Rica too. Daily Finance reports about the recently opened location in San Jose that offers the complete range of beverages to the Latin American coffee consumers. Starbucks has a history with Costa Rica, but although they import beans from the country, this will be the first store located there. In addition to the coffee shop expansions, Starbucks also added a Farmers Support Center in Colombia and plans to open one in China as well in the coming year. Over the next three years, the coffee-king will team up with a joint-venture partner and open 300 new stores in Mexico and Argentina.


Burger King

The New York Stock Exchange welcomes back Burger King (BK) to the public market through a complicated deal the fast food franchise struck in April (rather than a public offering, the chain sold a minority stake to Justice Holdings Ltd.). Burger King modestly offered 16% of their shares to investors and according to Business Week the shares are on the rise. 3G Capital, who controls 71% of BK’s stock, will hang onto that claim for at least the next six months. Burger King also seeks to expand their business overseas, in Russia and China specifically over the next few years.

Speaking of innovations, Burger King just announced a bacon sundae as one of the limited time offers of summer delights on their menu. The NY Daily News gives us the delicious scoop on this frozen salty-sweet treat. Made with soft serve vanilla ice cream, topped with fudge and caramel sauce, bacon crumbles, and accented with a strip of bacon, it’s not surprising the dessert clocks in at 510 calories. Between the 18 grams of fat and the 61 grams of sugar, this treat is sure to give anyone a heart-attack. Thanks to the recent additions of fruit smoothies, wraps, and new salads, at least there are plenty of alternatives for health-conscious consumers.

It seems successful businesses are strategically planting their feet globally to provide added stability and making safe investments to secure their future despite whatever economic changes come their way. Innovation also plays a key role in determining the success and survival of a business.

52 Creative Ideas for Finding New Clients

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 2:13am by Site Administrator

As a bootstrapper, you know that clients equal business. Without them, you’d just be another one-man (or woman) shop with an office trying not to go into debt. Fighting for and retaining clients against your competition can be a struggle, just like recruiting new employees or searching for a job yourself is a frustrating battle. With this list, we want to help you take a step back from the front lines and get a little creative. Read below for more than 50 ideas on how to find new clients the smart way.

Online Tools and Resources

Utilize the Internet to connect you to clever tools and resources that will help you find new clients.

  1. Make sure your website is in working order: If you hand someone a business card, they probably won’t call you right away, but they will check out your website. If you have an amateur online set up, you won’t come across as cutting edge or professional enough, even if your physical office space is in great shape.
  2. Start blogging: In addition to setting up a professional looking website, start a blog on which you regularly post articles about your field. You can dispense free advice or discuss industry news in a more casual setting than if you met face to face with a new client. You’ll increase your online profile by reaching out to readers all over the world.
  3. Maintain a strong presence online: Regularly visit other blogs and websites in your field and comment on different posts and message boards. Most sites will allow you to link back to your own blog or website. Becoming a known fixture online is free advertising, and others will come to recognize your level of expertise.
  4. Hot Gigs: This online staffing exchange can help you find new clients looking for qualified vendors and project managers.
  5. Word of Mouth Marketing Association: This online community supports entrepreneurs by allowing them access to a job board where they can find new clients. Business owners can also read articles, share tips and meet up at events through the organization.
  6. Web Designers: 5 Steps to Dozens of New Clients: This detailed article from Interspire.com reveals 5 Internet-based tricks and tools that Web designers can use to win over new clients.
  7. Free Tips from the Marketing Mentor: The Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun sends out free tips to subscribers who want advice on attracting new clients.
  8. YouTube: Direct a YouTube video that showcases your company’s services in a creative way. You can embed the video in your website or blog, e-mail it to friends, family and clients, or just wait and see how popular it becomes on its own.

For Freelancers

Freelancers in search of new clients should check out these job boards, which post resumes, offer tips for finding new gigs and encourage networking throughout the freelancing community.

  1. 37signals Gig Board: Clients can search this job board for freelancing help with copywriting, Web design, programming and other techie tasks.
  2. Writerlance: This site is "connecting writers with buyers." Sign up to start placing your bid on quality projects.
  3. Guru.com: Guru.com boasts that it is "the world’s largest online service marketplace." Register your skills here to meet new clients.
  4. sologig: Sologig posts "superior projects" for "independent talent." Browse through the job listings and place your bid on top projects which could lead to long lasting client relationships.
  5. Freelancers Network: This UK-based network is worth checking out if you live in the area or feel like you can compete with British professionals from home.
  6. iFreelance: Use this site to find new gigs and start an ongoing business relationship with new clients.
  7. eLance: Web programming, design, writing, sales and other jobs are available here. Register online for a clever way to meet new clients.

Marketing Strategies

Without a solid marketing strategy, you’ll never be able to reach out to quality clients. This list documents clever ways to modify your marketing plan so that your business achieves maximum exposure.

  1. Create an e-mail campaign: Web-based tools like Breeze can help you design and create attractive e-mail campaigns that you can use to announce your business deals, special events and other news-worthy items that will attract new business.
  2. Find New Clients: Check out this article by Bernadette Doyle to learn how to successfully market yourself and your company so that you become attractive to your specific audience.
  3. New Client Marketing Institute: Turn to this website for free how-to articles that will help improve your marketing strategies and attract clients.
  4. MarketingProfs.com: This online networking community of marketing professionals hosts a job board, blog, information about upcoming special events, and features lots of valuable marketing resources and forums that promote communication among business owners.
  5. CPA Marketing Challenge: Clients Quick and Easy: This guide offers fail-proof advice on how to attract clients you’ll work with forever.
  6. shoutlet: This social media marketing tool allows entrepreneurs to manage contacts, newsletters, mailing lists, tracking tools, and digital content storage capabilities.
  7. New Clients Now! Marketing Strategies for Freelance Success: Freelancers have unique marketing needs, and this article reveals simple but effective secrets for success.
  8. Entrepreneur.com: Utilize this valuable resource for all kinds of articles and advice on marketing, attracting new clients and other topics related to owning a growing business.
  9. As your business grows, advertise to existing clients: Just because you’ve had the same client for 5 years doesn’t mean they remain aware of your company’s most recent progress. Continue to market to existing clients by notifying them of new services, special deals and more.
  10. Become an industry expert: Check out this article from Write2Market.com for tips on how to gain publicity and a new client base by becoming a go-to expert in your field.
  11. The Freelancer’s New Client Primer: Great tips supplied in this article include perfecting the art of selling, building rapport among industry professionals and developing a relationship strategy.
  12. CafePress.com: Design and order your own promotional items to hand out at trade shows or to give as gifts for existing clients.

Networking Ideas

Let these tools and guides inspire you to tap into all of your contact resources to network, network, network.

  1. Reconnect With Your Alma Mater: Ework.com writer Rob Einaudi urges professionals to go back to school in the search for new clients. He notes that "many alumni associations have large databases containing a wealth of useful information and contacts."
  2. Keep your portfolio in the trunk of your car: You never know when a new opportunity might strike. While it’s best not to show up to a wedding with a bulging binder under your arm, make sure you have a few examples of some of your best work, and keep the phone numbers of references handy in case a new business relationship materializes.
  3. LinkedIn: This popular online social network connects professionals, students and alumni. Become a member and set up your own profile to strengthen existing business relationships or start new ones.
  4. Capazoo: This online social networking community supports blogs, videos and music files so that you can reach your customers more creatively.
  5. Doostang: This career hub doubles as a networking site for those looking to expand their audience and professional contacts. Doostang is currently invite-only, so ask around to see if you can score an invitation.
  6. Gather: Members of this social network can post photos, engage in group chats, upload videos and make new contacts.
  7. Attending Trade Fairs/Exhibitions to Meet New Clients: Discover what other professionals have to say about networking with potential clients at trade shows.
  8. 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking: Nervous about getting out in the real world to meet new people? Use this guide to arm yourself with solid networking strategies.
  9. Networking Tips: How to Work a Room: Check out this article from the University of California – Berkeley’s career center. Great tips include: "check your attitude", "practice and perfect your self-introduction" and "risk rejection".
  10. Meetup: Meetup connects people who share the same interests, business-related or otherwise, and encourages them to organize real world events to network, communicate and foster new relationships.
  11. Business Networking for Entrepreneurs: This resource from About.com has lots of clever ideas for giving your networking skills a boost. Learn about "the importance of being memorable" and "how to cultivate a network of endless referrals."
  12. Ryze: This popular business networking site connects users to new clients and business partners through its professional online community.
  13. How to Network: For Introverts: This article from BusinessPundits.com coaxes shy business professionals into the profitable world of business marketing.
  14. 8 Networking Tips: Ideas like "brainstorm for contacts" and making sure to follow up are simple but extremely effective strategies that will help you find new clients.

Guides

Read these articles and guides for quality information on seeking out and retaining profitable clients.

  1. How to Attract New Clients to Your Work at Home Business: Work-at-home professionals sometimes don’t get as much respect as entrepreneurs who operate out of a traditional office. Use this guide to develop a marketing plan that will bring clients to your home office.
  2. How to Land New Clients Fast: This step-by-step article urges business owners to "be bold, be creative" and "give up your fears, doubts and insecurities" before actively pursuing new clients.
  3. 101 Ideas to Get More Freelance Work and Generate New Client Leads: Save this resource from FreelanceSwitch to get lots of clever ideas for bulking up your business and fostering relationships with newly acquired clients.
  4. Five Ways to Cross-Promote to Attract More Customers While Spending Less: Start a partnership with another company in your field or active in a different industry to sponsor an event, engage in product sharing or refer customers back and forth.
  5. CareerJournal.com: This "executive career site" from the Wall Street Journal includes a job board, a collection of business-related tools and many other resources to help your business grow.
  6. Small Business Resource Center: Nielsen’s Professional Network publishes this online collection of articles, tools, job classifieds and other resources to increase your presence among potential clients.
  7. Target Ideal Buyers to Get More Customers: This post from the StreetSmart Marketer blog dispenses critical advice for recognizing "ideal buyers," who are "easier to sell…more profitable" and "likely to become the best clients."
  8. Business Planning: Pitching successful campaigns to clients all starts with a solid business plan. Use this guide to develop an effective, workable strategy that will attract the clients you want.
  9. 21 Strategies to Attract New Clients: This article is full of ideas for bringing new clients into your office.

Get Involved

The following ideas will help you get out of the office and get involved with the community.

  1. Leverage Your Hobbies: MsMoney.com suggests that entrepreneurs take a look at what interests them outside of work, and then take steps to pursue it professionally. Rob Einaudi writes, "if you are an avid skier, perhaps a ski resort, tour company, or retailer you frequent could use your services. The fact that you already "speak their language" will make you a top candidate."
  2. Volunteering: Use a site like Volunteer Match to find volunteering opportunities that match your interest and are located in your area. Volunteering is a great way to meet individuals from all walks of life and develop with them a special bond.
  3. Donate your services: If you don’t have time to give up your weekends or evenings to helping with a volunteering project, consider donating your services, whether it’s printing services, marketing assistance or legal help to a charity in your area. You’ll enter into a whole new world of valuable networking and new business opportunities.
  4. Join a professional organization: Join up with the local chapter of your field’s professional organization. You’ll meet other professionals at all levels at special events, lectures and more.

50+ Google Reader Productivity Hacks

Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 6:33pm by Site Administrator

Google Reader is already a tool that can be used to boost your productivity throughout the day by letting you view your favorite blog’s feeds and posts in one spot: through your Google account. But for those of us who tend to get bogged down in a lot of useless subscriptions and really need to cut down on the minutes (or hours) we spend procrastinating each day, there are a lot of little hacks to make Google Reader more productive. We’ve compiled a list of over 50 of our favorites here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Use these basic but necessary keyboard shortcuts to make searching, organizing, sharing and reading your feeds more efficient.

  1. /: Use the forward slash to move your cursor to the search box and start looking for new stuff or saved items.
  2. g then u: Type g then u to go to your subscriptions.
  3. g then d: This shortcut will take you to the recommended page. If there are no recommendations, typing g then d will take you to the browse page.
  4. 2: Press 2 to see your subscriptions in a list view or headline view.
  5. ?: Find more keyboard shortcuts just for Google Reader by pressing the question mark.
  6. Shift-s: Pressing Shift-S will share or un-share the selected item.
  7. s: Star and un-star your highlighted items simply by pressing s.
  8. Shift-o: Open up the highlighted subscription or folder with this shortcut.
  9. g then h: Press g then h to go back to the Google Reader homepage.
  10. g then shift-s: This shortcut will take you to the "Your Shared Items" page.
  11. shift-n/p: n/p stands for Next/Previous, and using this combination will select the Next/Previous selection or folder.
  12. v: Open up the original page of the selected item in Google Reader.
  13. e: Quickly e-mail a page or other selection by pressing e when you’re in Google Reader.
  14. r: Check to see if anymore unread updates have been added when you hit the r button in the navigation.

For Firefox

Firefox users like their browser’s speed and ability to add on new scripts or buttons. Check out several Google Reader-specific hacks for Firefox here.

  1. Enhance Google Reader Preview: This script adds a Preview button so that you don’t have to open up an article or post all the way to read it.
  2. BlogThis2Me: The BlogThis2Me script lets you "blog Google Reader’s "BlogThis!" to your own blog system, not to blogger.com," as long as you have Firefox and Greasemonkey.
  3. Smart Google Reader Subscribe Button: this script "adds an overlayed check icon when you’re subscribed to at least one of the feeds that the site advertises via auto-discovery."
  4. Gbutts 1.5.1: Gbutts is short for Google buttons, and you can add your Google Reader button, as well as any other Google buttons, to your Firefox address bar.
  5. Better GReader: Better GReader works with Firefox adds a menu with extra options and features like Smart Subscribe, Preview Inline, Optimized Skin and others.
  6. Google Reader Watcher: Google Reader Watcher is an add-on that makes Firefox check your Google Reader for unread fees. This download does not require Greasemonkey.
  7. Quick Hide Message: Shave off milliseconds with this script, which "quickly hides the message displayed in Google Reader after performing renames, folder changes," and other actions.
  8. Auto Add Feed: The Auto Add Feed script only adds feeds to Google Reader, instead of asking you where you want it to be saved.
  9. Title Unread Count: This hack moves the unread count in Google Reader to the front.
  10. Greasereader: Add even more hot keys to your Google Reader systems by reading this guide.
  11. Google Reader All Starred: Extract all of your starred items as links from Google Reader so that you don’t have to download each one.
  12. Google Reader Read by Mouse: Set up this script so that you can use a mouse-only system to read your feeds. It uses mouse buttons for the following actions: next item, previous item, and more.

Real Time Savers

If you’re serious about making your Google Reader visits more efficient, learn how to categorize by priority, use the "next" bookmarklet, and implement scripts that let you autoscroll, review your subscriptions and more.

  1. Categorize by priority: Stepcase Lifehack recommends categorizing your feeds by priority so that you don’t get bogged down in irrelevant articles.
  2. Google Reader Autoscroll: The autoscroll script lets you "view and mark items as read by means of a mouse wheel and keyboard shortcuts."
  3. Mark All as Read: If you only want to read one article from a feed, you can mark everything else as read to weed out your extra entries.
  4. Google Reader Scroll Reducer: With this script, you’re able to comment on and view the original site without having to scroll to the top of page to get to the URL.
  5. The "Next" Bookmarklet: The Google Reader Blog discusses this hack, which "allows you to use Google Reader through just one link — clicking on it takes your browser to the next unread item in your reading list."
  6. Review your subscriptions: Are you still getting subscriptions for some obscure hobby you were only interested in a year ago? Go through your subscriptions and delete any that you don’t really want emptied into your account regularly.
  7. Print Button v2.0: The Google Reader Print Button v2.0 allows users to print either the selected content or everything that’s displayed on the page in Google Reader.
  8. Gmail + Google Reader: Add Google Reader into your Gmail account so you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth.
  9. Google Reader Filter: Get rid of duplicate and unwanted content with this script.
  10. Tag your items: Take advantage of the tagging feature on Google Reader. It’s there to help you stay organized and more productive.

Social Media Hacks

How much time do you waste each day checking all of your social media accounts? These hacks let you sync up Google Reader with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Chat and more.

  1. Google Reader + ma.gnolia: This basic script lets you add a Google Reader post to ma.gnolia.
  2. Google Reader Digg News: Add a Digg button to your Google Reader posts with this script.
  3. Tumblr: Sync up your Google Reader and Tumblr with this script. You can attach your reblog button or Share-on-Tumblr at the bottom of articles on Google Reader.
  4. Managing Your Shared Items: This post from the Google Reader Blog shows you how to add and remove friends from your Gmail or GChat account.
  5. Google Reader and Flickr: Now you embed Flickr videos into your Google Reader, so you don’t have to switch back and forth to share with extra friends or read their comments.
  6. Facebook Sharer + Google Reader: Share your favorite posts and articles with Google Reader friends and Facebook friends.
  7. Google Reader + del.icio.us: Use this script to define tags and links for a faster way of posting to del.icio.us.
  8. Google Reader + Twitter: Use this script to add reader posts to Twitter.

Add-Ons and Solutions

Try out these add-ons to customize your Google Reader experience and streamline your Google accounts.

  1. Google Reader Notifier: This extension keeps you updated by showing you how many unread items you have in your account.
  2. Add a Search: Add a search engine to your Google Reader account to make searching for items faster.
  3. Google Reader Optimized: Use this script to view Google Reader in a larger space. The last official update was in 2006, but Google Reader users have submitted updates.
  4. Google Reader Romeo Script: Check out this script to access Google Reader from your cell phone — if you don’t have an iPhone.
  5. Google Reader Button for Internet Explorer: IE users can add on a Google Reader to their browser using this tutorial.
  6. iPhone Skin: iPhone users can easily view Google Reader on their phones with this special skin from developer David Cann.
  7. Iris: View your Google Reader subscriptions in a Firefox sidebar.
  8. Go behind the scenes: If you want to know how many people have subscribed to a certain feed, you can use this tutorial to speed up your search times.

The 100 Most Useful WordPress Add-ons Available

Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 5:34pm by Site Administrator

Shuffling through the thousands of WordPress add-ons and widgets takes up way more time than most bloggers have. To give you a jump start on improving your blog on everything from understanding how to market to your readers to learning new formatting tricks, we’ve generated this list of the 100 most useful WordPress add-ons available so that you can stop searching and start blogging. Publishing and Formatting Make your blog easy to read and manage with these super smart formatting hacks.

  1. Post Thumb Revisited: Turn your posts into thumbnails for easy display and organization.
  2. Exec-PHP: This plugin adds the php code into your posts and widgets.
  3. WP Post Icon: To make designing your blog less complicated, use this add-on to pick certain topic icons and images which will be automatically inserted when you write a post.
  4. DJ E-mail Publish: This app sends your new post to all of your other blogs via e-mail.
  5. Mowser WordPress Mobile: Accommodate your iPhone and BlackBerry readers by installing this plugin, which redirects them to Mowser.com, a site that displays blogs in a mobile friendly format.
  6. WP Widget Changer: Set up different widgets for each page without having to change the anchor widget’s code.
  7. Collapsible Elements: Use Collapsible Elements to add a button to create a code for multiple collapsible elements.
  8. WP CSS Text Stroke: Make your pages easy to read even when text appears " on a non-uniform coloured background." Text will show up as black letters on a white background.
  9. Raw HTML: Bloggers wanting more control over formatting can use this plugin to any coding method, including raw HTML when writing posts.
  10. Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator: If you want a sitemap that works with Google and your WordPress blog, as well as Yahoo! and MSN Search.
  11. Advanced Excerpt: Publish excerpts without ruining HTML markup or messing up your formatting.
  12. WP-Table: Create functional tables for your WordPress blog with this app without having to manually write in plain text mode or risk messing up your formatting.

Comments and Reader Communication From feeds to comments, keep in touch with your readers by taking advantage of these applications.

  1. Get Recent Comments: Easily view your most recent comments with this app.
  2. Add to Any Subscribe Button: Readers using any feed reader will be able to subscribe to your blog easily with this plugin.
  3. DeCat: If you want to leave out a post or category from your RSS feeds, hide it with this app.
  4. DMS Guestbook: This customizable guest book lets bloggers set hidden text like IP addresses, design their own language templates, set up mandatory fields in the guest book and more.
  5. SimplePie 2.1: Manage your feeds by setting up multiple templates, accessing support for several different feeds, automatic set up of cache folders and more.
  6. RSS Image Widget: Display images from your posts in RSS feeds with this widget. The SimplePie plugin is required.
  7. Top Commentators Widget: Originally designed as the Show Top Commentators plugin at the Personal Financial Advice site, this app has been adapted for all WordPress blogs. You’ll be able to display your blog’s top commentators, which advertises archived posts, encourages readers to comment and more.
  8. Comment Sorter: More effectively manage and organize your comments with this add-on.
  9. Contact Form 7: This contact form works with AJAX and features spam security from Akismet. Bloggers can also set up multiple contact forms with this app.
  10. Vote It Up: Let users vote for or against your posts with this simple add-on.
  11. Ajax Comment Posting: This user-friendly Ajax comment app lets readers post comments without having to refresh the page. It also double checks reader’s comments to make sure they filled out the form correctly.
  12. Easy Gravatars: Give your readers the opportunity to leave a more personal impression when they comment on your blog. This app allows gravatars to be displayed when readers comment on your posts.
  13. Quick SMS: Readers can now get in touch with you via your cell phone when you install this app. Messages are sent directly to your registered mobile device via supported networks all over the world, including the UK, India, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, the U.S. and more.

Understanding Statistics Get to know your readers and revamp your marketing techniques when you use these apps that collect information about visitor demographics.

  1. Official StatCounter Plugin: Features that come with this plugin include an invisible counter option, a configurable counter, search engine wars, keyword analysis and statistical information found on popular entry and exit pages.
  2. Feed Master: Feed Master is another app that lets you understand your reader demographics.
  3. StatPress: Designed just for WordPress, this app displays information about your readers, so you know which kinds of Web surfers you’re attracting.
  4. FeedStats: Find out exactly who your readers are by researching their stats with this button.
  5. Googmonify: This marketing tool allows bloggers to add Google AdSense units into your posts as well as give you "accurate" information about your readers’ statistics.
  6. WassUp: This real-time plugin features a current visitors online display system and a visitor details view that lets you analyze reader data and stats.
  7. Counterize II: This statistics counting add-on has no external libraries, "and can display total hits, unique hits and other statistics in WordPress webpages."
  8. GeneralStats: This plugin "counts the number of users, categories, posts, comments, pages, links, tags, link-categories, words in posts, words in comments and words in pages," giving bloggers an inclusive look at their reader demographics and an analysis of the blog itself.

Connecting with the Outside Online Community From photo sites to Facebook, use these add-ons to connect with the outside online community via your WordPress blog.

  1. Fu4ny’s Blogroll Widget: Organize your blogroll in XHTML with this widget.
  2. Your WordPress Is In My FaceBook: Start blogging through Facebook with this app.
  3. WordPress Fotolog Widget: Fotolog users can use this unique widget to display thumbnails of recently added Fotolog photos.
  4. Amazon Showcase: Whether you’re selling items on Amazon.com or just want to highlight a particular product, use this widget to display items clearly.
  5. MyTwitter: Twitter users can show readers their recent "tweets" on their WordPress blogs with this app.
  6. Link Harvest: This smart tool "will go through all of your posts and pages and compile a list of all external links. Then it will create a live updating linkroll for you, based on your actual linking activity."
  7. Blogroll Autolinker: Turn names from your blogroll into links that appear when you write about or refer to the selected author.
  8. Sociable: This very simple tool adds links to your posts which connect readers to sites like Facebook, Digg and StumbleUpon.
  9. Slashdigglicious: Make it easy for your readers to submit their favorite posts to social bookmarking sites when you install this app.
  10. FlickrFaves: Recruit new readers by publishing your favorite Flickr photos on your WordPress blog.
  11. jPic WordPress Widget: Use this widget to link to photos you find on the Web.
  12. Facebook Comments: Sync up your Facebook comments with your WordPress blog using this plugin.
  13. Wordbook: Update your Facebook friends with your most recent WordPress posts. Bloggers can also add posts via Facebook Mini-Feed.

Marketing Add-ons Use these tools to spread the word about your blog in general or about each of your posts.

  1. Digg This: Many bloggers already have this button at the end or beginning of each of their posts. The code for adding it to your blog can be found here.
  2. Reddit for WordPress Plugin: Don’t limit your readers to just Digg-ing you; add this Reddit button to improve your ranking on other sites too.
  3. Gregarious: Gregarious lets bloggers easily add buttons for different social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit. Bloggers can choose to customize the buttons’ designs and play around with the Share This plugin.
  4. Del.icio.us Bookmark This!: Encourage your readers to vote for your posts on Del.icio.us by adding this app.
  5. Live Space Sync: WordPress bloggers and Live Spaces users can connect their accounts to update posts on both sites.
  6. Bookmarkify: This app is able to connect readers to over 50 social bookmarking sites where they can add your posts and improve your ranking.
  7. Email+ from Grouptivity: Get the word out about your blog by adding an "Email this" button after each post.
  8. LiveJournal Crossposter: This app automatically updates users’ LiveJournal profiles with their newest WordPress blog posts.
  9. Last.FM Events: If you’ve got a gig coming up on Last.FM, advertise to your readers with this widget.
  10. WP Tags to Technorati: If you’re tired of coming up with new tags for every bookmarking site and blog directory, use this add-on to automatically create Technorati tags from your posts.

Moneymaking Apps Monetize your blog by making the most of programs like AdSense and Kontera. These widgets and add-ons will make it easier to manage your funds.

  1. AdSense Manager: Add a flexible AdSense widget to your WordPress blog with this plugin. You can easily manage ads and show all your readers that you’re open to displaying their logos and messages…for a price.
  2. Kontera Ad Wrap: Manage which pages and parts of your blog display your Kontera ContentLink ads with this app.
  3. All in One Adsense and YPN: This open source plugin "is able to automatically insert Google AdSense ads or Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads into your posts on the fly."
  4. AdSense Revenue Sharing 1.1: If your blog is run by or written by several different people, use this app to divide up revenue from AdSense profits.
  5. Are PayPal: Use PayPal to monetize your blog with this app.
  6. Who Sees Ads?: Control which readers can see your ads by using this add-on.
  7. AdServe: As WordPress’ official advertising server, AdServe lets users set up banner campaigns and easily track statistics.

Adding Style and Customizable Plugins Personalize your blog with these simple plugins and widgets that give your pages a fun but sleek look.

  1. Countdown Timer: This feature is especially attractive for bloggers tracking weight loss progress or budgeting goals. You can add several different dates to which you’re counting down.
  2. bSuite: This set of apps gives bloggers more control over designing their pages "and leverage[s] WP as an application platform."
  3. Image Caption: Titled images will be displayed as a caption when you install this application. Image Caption also supports MyCSS, custom CSS, and automatically formats captions so that they are displayed in the appropriate width and height on your blog.
  4. Add Your Own Headers: Design your own headers by background, text, image, and other options. Bloggers can also add tags to the headers with this plugin.
  5. Feed Styler: Create a different design for your feeds with this app.
  6. File Icons: This add-on displays icons by CSS before links that appear on your blog.
  7. WP Vivitiger Image Resizer: Cut and crop images so that they fit into your blog more cohesively.
  8. WP Vault: Use this tool to "upload and store any type of files" you want. The Vault also lets bloggers browse files with Ajax, resize images to make them load faster, organize files with tags and more.
  9. p2p Converter: Convert posts to pages with this simple add-on.
  10. Extension Manager: Manage your blog’s themes and add-ons with this valuable tool. Admins can also easily search their account for different plugins.

Organization Make the most of WordPress features like categories and archives by supplementing them with the following tools.

  1. Extended Live Archive: Organize your past posts with this in-the-works plugin.
  2. AddThis Sidebar Widget: Clean up your pages by adding this widget, which "adds the feed subscription and/or social bookmarking buttons from AddThis to your sidebar."
  3. Advanced Category Excluder: Implement CMS-like functionality into your WordPress blog and regain full control over your page organization and category listings.
  4. Flexi Pages Widget: This "highly configurable WordPress sidebar widget" lists pages and sub-pages, allowing for easy navigation and organization.
  5. Admin Links Widget: Add links to certain administrative functions on your sidebar.
  6. No Widget Category Cloud: Organize your categories in a cloud-like format without installing a widget.
  7. Cleaner Dashboard: Tidy up your dashboard with this tool, which removes WordPress Nws and gives your sidebar four columns.
  8. Smarter Archives: Use a template tag to organize your archives page. Bloggers will see a row for each year and then a link to each month in the above year.
  9. Flexo Archives Widget: This expandable archive display lets bloggers display the number of posts written each month and saves room on the page.

Multimedia Have fun sharing videos, songs and other multimedia favorites with your readers by implementing these add-ons.

  1. WordPress Video Plugin: This add-on makes it easy to add videos from sites like YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo! Video, SlideShare, Metacafe and more.
  2. IM Online: This add-on shows readers when you’re online so that they can reach you via instant messaging on AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, Jabber, Skype and more.
  3. 1 Bit Audio Player: 1 Bit Audio Player is touted as a "very simple and lightweight Adobe Flash MP3 player with automatic JavaScript insertion." Readers can listen to previews of music files that you link to in posts.
  4. Inline mp3 Player: Connect links to mp3 files to media players that let your readers listen to music easily.
  5. XHTML Video Embed: Add Flash content to your blog with this plugin.
  6. EasyTube: This add-on "allows WordPress users to easily embed YouTube and Google Videos using one simple tag."
  7. Viper’s Video Quicktags: This popular add-on makes adding videos from YouTube, Google Video, IFILM, Metacafe, MySpace and Vimeo extremely easy. Users just have to paste the video’s URL into a prompt box.

Security and Spam Protect your blog from copyright infringement and spammers by installing these WordPress add-ons.

  1. ©Feed: Add this plugin to your blog to protect yourself from copyright infringement. You can also search online for writers ripping off your content.
  2. Feed Footer: This app lets you add copyright to your feed, HTML to your footer and display ads under blog posts in your RSS feed.
  3. Tinfoil Hat: More effectively control how much of your information is sent over the Internet by WordPress.
  4. Math Comment Spam Protection: Require your readers to answer a simple math problem in order to ward off comment spammers.
  5. Simple Trackback Validation: This security add-on "performs a simple but very effective test on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam."
  6. WP-Spam Free: This popular add-on is advertised as "one of the most effective anti-spam plugins for WordPress." It protects bloggers against automated spam bots without prompting readers to solve math problems or enter in keywords.
  7. Chap Secure Login: This privacy application encrypts your admin password when you work over an insecure network.

Miscellaneous From automatic updates to creative navigation systems, here are more WordPress plugins that will make managing your blog simple and improve reader usability.

  1. Plugin Updater: This plugin adds an "update now" button so that you can instantly update all of your WordPress add-ons easily.
  2. Redirection: Keep track of 404 errors and maintain "full logs for all redirected URLs."
  3. WordPress Automatic Upgrade: Automatically upgrade your WordPress installation by adding on this tool, which also backs up your database and files.
  4. Random Posts Widget: The Random Posts Widget "displays a list of random posts on your widgetized sidebar," giving your readers a fun way to "channel surf" your blog.

50 Fun Ways to Use the Wayback Machine

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 7:55pm by Site Administrator

Even in its short history, the Internet has gone through serious growth, often shedding old content for new developments. The Wayback Machine offers an archive of what used to be, and the results of searches on the machine are often quite fun. Here are our suggestions for amusing and useful ways to use the machine for yourself.

  1. Find old friends: Reconnect with old chat buddies from your early days online.
  2. Find a manual for your obsolete product: Have you bought a discontinued item on eBay? Get the manual from the manufacturer’s old website.
  3. Take a look at your own site’s growth: Enjoy a trip down memory lane as you track how your site has grown over time.
  4. Create a scavenger hunt: Design a fun hunting game that uses the Wayback Machine to find quirky bits from yesterday’s Internet.
  5. Track the commercialization of the Internet: Marvel at how the Internet has become a great tool for marketing and sales.
  6. Check out your site’s history: If you bought your domain name from someone, see what it looked like before you got your hands on it.
  7. Research a website you’d like to buy: The Wayback Machine is an excellent domainer research tool. Find out if a seller is yanking your chain about any statistics and history by plugging it into the archive.
  8. Find old school photos: Check out your old school’s online newsletter to find dorky photos of yourself.
  9. Save a lost site: If your hosting company dropped off the face of the earth, use the Wayback Machine to recover some of your work.
  10. Reminisce about your old resume: Find your old online resume and enjoy a look back at old jobs.
  11. Create an Internet timeline: Track the Internet’s history, or your own, complete with screenshots.
  12. Review the history of Internet porn: Take a look at how online porn has evolved over the years.
  13. Research conspiracy theories: Sites may be taken down, but with the archive, you can still see what others may not have wanted you to find.
  14. Clear your name: If someone accuses you of stealing information, prove to them you had it online first.
  15. Find old crappy GIFs: Remember when the Internet was full of stupid smiley animations? Check out the Wayback Machine to snag a few and harass people with them.
  16. View a suspended site: Did you go to check out a cool site, only to find out the owner didn’t pay their bill, or overloaded the server? Use the Wayback Machine to pull it up.
  17. Show punk kids how cool you used to be: Know a kid who thinks MySpace is about the coolest thing the Internet has ever done? Let them take a look at some of your old favorite sites.
  18. Settle a bet about who’s been online longer: Show your buddy that you found the Internet 4 months before he did by finding old forum posts.
  19. Create a PDF copy of an old ezine: Retrieve old issues, and preserve them for later reading.
  20. Learn from bad design: Take a look at sites from the early Internet to learn about what not to do.
  21. Reminisce about your old dotcom job: Visit your dot-com’s defunct site and think about the way things used to be.
  22. Compare historical prices: Find out how much a seller paid for the item you’re buying today.
  23. Compare page versions: Analyze how a page has changed by comparing two versions side by side.
  24. Retrive lost content: Find your old resume, papers, and more.
  25. Check out stock prices: See how stock prices have risen and fallen in the past decade or so.
  26. Nail a content thief: Prove that you published content before a thief did, and you’ve got a rock solid case against them.
  27. Make fun of old predictions that never came true: Find sites that predicted the sky would fall on a certain day, and laugh when you realize that day was 5 years ago.
  28. Enjoy pre-coverage of Y2K: Read press releases and worried postings about how Y2K was supposed to screw everything up.
  29. Figure out why you dropped in search engine rankings: Take a look at old stuff that used to work to your advantage, and figure out what you need to bring back.
  30. Take a look at past elections: Revisit the hype of now-forgotten candidates of elections past.
  31. Marvel at the early years of the Internet: In the Web Pioneers collection, you can see some of the sites that shaped the Internet.
  32. Blackmail: This one’s easy. Just find something embarassing on your friend, and screenshot it for future blackmailing.
  33. Check out old promotional sites: See how sites like McDonald’s and Pepsi jumped on the Internet in the early years.
  34. See how generic domain names have evolved: Take a look at the way sites like Porn.com and Milk.com have changed over the years.
  35. Find embarassing old photos: Get photos that have been long taken down, and use them to torture friends and family.
  36. See ads for old cars: Remember what your car looked like when it was brand new.
  37. Research historical prices: See how the cost of software and more has gone up through the years.
  38. Research potential employees: Before you hire someone, see if you can dig up any dirt on them with the machine.
  39. Find deleted LiveJournal entries: Did someone delete a particularly juicy entry? Find it with the Wayback Machine.
  40. Check out pre-"404" pages: Satisfy your curiosity and find out what existed before a page went bad.
  41. Laugh at failed business plans: Check out past business plans of corporations that failed.
  42. Find the goofy website your boss built: Discover your boss’ old crappy website devoted to cats.
  43. Research the past of political candidates: See what political candidates were saying a few years ago.
  44. Check out wedding websites of divorced couples: See the calm before the storm, and look for signs of impending doom.
  45. Research religious wackos: Find out what crazy ideas cults and other strange religious groups have published in the past.
  46. Find out how long your competitor has been established: Figure out whether or not your "first on the web" claim stands up.
  47. Preserve old sites for nostalgia’s sake: If you miss old communities, save your own copy of them with the machine.
  48. Find old news stories: Check out breaking news coverage now that it’s not so "breaking" anymore.
  49. See how big name web sites used to look amateur: Check out sites that have become large, but started out very small.
  50. Check out dot-com casualties in their heyday: See what failed sites like Pets.com used to look like.

Redesign Productivity: 50 Ways to Create a Motivational Workspace

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7:02pm by Site Administrator

The environment in which you work can have a profound effect on your level of motivation. Everything from the color of your walls to the way you position your desk can make an impact. Follow these 50 tips to improve your workspace, and you’ll be taking steps toward more productivity and motivation.

Feng Shui

Follow this ancient Chinese practice of arranging objects to create harmony.

  1. Sit in a commanding position: In feng shui, the commanding position is one where you’re supported from behind and open from the front, so this means you’ll work facing the entrance to your work area.
  2. Incorporate water into your office: Water features will keep you in tune with your desires and help you better become motivated to meet your goals.
  3. Keep your doorway clear: Make sure you don’t obstruct your doorway, or you’ll block the flow of positive energy.
  4. Look to inspiration: Don’t arrange your workspace so that you’re looking at clutter or unnecessary objects.
  5. Define your personal area: Use a door or alert bell to make a clear definition of where your workspace begins and ends.
  6. Rearrange your office frequently: Frequent changes in your work environment will keep you alert and on the ball.
  7. Draw attention to your achievements: Place your diplomas and awards in a prominent area to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished.
  8. Create a balance: Follow a balance of yin and yang, with light and dark colors, hard and soft surfaces, and more.
  9. Place symbols of goals in your area: Create something that is symbolic of your goal, and place it at a high level.

Decluttering

One sure-fire way to feel better in your work environment is to clear out junk. Follow these tips to de-clutter your way to a better workspace.

  1. Corral your gear: Make sure that all of your cords, devices, and tools all have a specific place.
  2. Create a calendar: Instead of using sticky notes and scribbled papers, keep all of your important dates together in a calendar.
  3. Adopt a to-do list notebook: Just like the calendar, a notebook can make it easy to cut down on having lots of different papers around.
  4. File: When you do have extraneous papers, make sure that there’s a home for them in your file cabinet.
  5. Create a system for paper: Decide what the process is for dealing with bills, letters, and more.
  6. Bulletin board: Use a bulletin board to corral important notices and keep them off of your desk.
  7. Create zones: If your work requires a few different tasks, create a station just for that task filled with all of the supplies you need. Good examples of work zones would be for shipping or reading.
  8. Throw away old magazines: Stop letting old magazines accumulate after you’ve read them. Instead, clip important pieces out, and scan or file them.

Comfort

A comfortable workplace is a productive one. Take these steps to make sure you feel good in your work area.

  1. Listen to music: Use music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  2. Eliminate loud noises: Avoid interruptions by choosing a workspace that’s far away from neighbors, TVs, and other sources of noise.
  3. Add family photos: Add a touch of home and remind yourself what you’re working for with family photos.
  4. Make it smell good: Use aromatherapy to add a nice ambiance as well as motivate.
  5. Choose an area with good ventilation: Keep yourself from feeling stagnant by choosing an area that provides lots of air flow.
  6. Add a few pillows and blankets: In your reading area, keep a few pillows and blankets to make it cozy.

Equipment

Make these changes in your equipment to turn your workspace into the ultimate motivation zone.

  1. Get a nice chair: These days, a good chair is vitally important, especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer.
  2. Task lighting: Take it easy on your eyes by using lamps and other lighting to focus specifically on the task at hand.
  3. Ambient lighting: Use indirect ambient lighting to reduce glare on your eyes.
  4. Keep important items close: Make sure that you keep any frequently-used items, like a phone, close to your workspace.
  5. Reading chair: Use a separate, comfortable chair to create a zone made just for reading.
  6. Bookshelf with helpful references: Keep your knowledge close to you with a bookshelf filled with all of the references you need.
  7. Use a fan: Keep your temperature right where it needs to be so you don’t stagnate.

Environment

Take these tips into consideration when planning your work environment.

  1. Create a personal style: Your workspace needs to follow your own style, or you’ll feel like you’re working in someone else’s office.
  2. Use natural light: Stay in sync with day and night with a window for natural light.
  3. Add art: Introduce paintings or other pieces of art that make you feel great for added motivation.
  4. Choose a color: Adopt an inspiring color for your space. A popular color is green because it’s the color of money.
  5. Use a separate room: Get privacy and your own space to let your mind go into a work zone by choosing a room to be used solely as a workspace.
  6. Plants: Foster the growth of living, oxygen-generating plants so that you can grow with them.
  7. Give every object a home: Things won’t pile up if there’s a specific place for each type of item.

Ergonomics

Carefully follow ergonomic guidelines to avoid injuring yourself.

  1. Ensure that you have adequate lumbar support: Reduce stress on your lower back with a good chair, and you’ll be more productive and healthy.
  2. Place your feet on the floor: Ensure that your feet rest on the floor, using a footrest if necessary.
  3. Protect your upper body: Ensure that your arms, elbows, neck, and shoulders are all in a comfortable position.
  4. Reduce glare: Make it easy on your eyes by eliminating or reducing glare.

House Rules

Set a few rules about your workspace to carefully preserve your motivation and productivity.

  1. Establish "Do Not Disturb" times: During specific times of the day, turn off everything and focus only on the task at hand.
  2. Avoid letting things pile up on the floor: Don’t let clutter take over your office, or you’ll find it to be a drain on your energy.
  3. Never use your workspace for storage: It’s tempting to use a secondary room for junk, but it will be distracting, especially if it’s not related to your work.
  4. Always turn off your computer: Symbolically turn off your day by turning off your computer when you’re done every evening.
  5. Make your office a sacred space: Make sure that friends, family and neighbors know that your workspace is for work only.
  6. Never eat at your desk: Avoid eating at your desk both for cleanliness and productivity.
  7. Never use your workspace for play: Train your mind to get into work mode whenever you sit at your desk by avoiding recreational activities while in your workspace.
  8. Always clear your desk: Never leave a messy desk, or you’ll leave the troubles of today piled up for tomorrow.
  9. If it doesn’t have a function, you don’t need it: Make sure that everything in your workspace serves a purpose, or you don’t need it.

How to Telecommute Successfully: 50 Tips and Resources

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 6:06pm by Site Administrator

Telecommuting is a beautiful thing, what with skipping traffic and wearing fuzzy slippers to work. However, working from home doesn’t come without its trials. If you’re not prepared for them, you may find yourself experiencing a serious drop in productivity and motivation. Not to worry though, here are some tips that will have you on the path to telecommuting success with just at little effort and preparation.

  1. Stick to a ritual. Make sure your work and home life don’t become too blurred. Create a ritual to transition from one to the other in the morning so you’ll be prepared mentally to get to work.
  2. Simplify your schedule. One of the pitfalls of working from home is the tendency to try too hard to prove you’re really working, which often results in doing too much. Simplify your tasks and only do what you really need to get done each day.
  3. Set limits for work. Don’t let work start taking over the rest of your life. Set a starting and ending time for work each day so you won’t work longer hours than you would if you were at the office.
  4. Make a plan. Don’t just jump into your work in the morning. Figure out what you need to get done and plan out exactly how you can accomplish it. The structure will help you to get more done.
  5. Schedule everything. Schedule not only your work time but your down time as well. Plan out times for breaks, lunch, and household chores so they don’t interfere with getting things done.
  6. Find quiet. Working at home can be full of distractions. Find a quiet place in your home that will allow you to get away from it all and concentrate.
  7. Work smarter. Don’t work harder just because you’re at home, work smarter. Be organized and focused when it counts and you’ll get more done in less time.
  8. Allow some distraction. It’s easy to overdo it and deny yourself any pleasures when working at home. You should be cautious of these distractions, but allow yourself the occasional distraction to break up your day. It’ll keep you happier and more productive.
  9. Don’t forget about your health. Sometimes working at home can take a toll on your health simply because you’re no longer climbing those stairs to the office or walking to the train every day. Make sure to take time to exercise and take care of yourself.
  10. Find a work space. While not everyone has the luxury of their own home office, set up a private and out of the way space to work. Make sure you have room to spread out, and surround yourself with things that make you feel good so you’ll get more done.
  11. Keep connected with coworkers. Don’t miss out on colleague friendships just because you’re working from home. Keep in touch with your coworkers so you don’t feel isolated working from home.
  12. Find your optimal work time. Everyone has a time of day when they work their best. Figure out when yours is and schedule your most challenging tasks around it.
  13. Be responsive. Check your email and voice messages regularly so you can quickly respond to issues and inquiries sent your way.
  14. Keep in touch with work. Let bosses and coworkers know where you stand on projects through emails and phone calls.
  15. Promote yourself. It can be easy to be passed over for promotions and raises when you’re not in the office all the time. If you are doing good work from home, make sure the right people know about it.
  16. Take advantage of associations. There are many associations designed for those that work at home. Try joining the American Telecommuting Association to meet fellow telecommuters and get advice and resources that can be helpful.
  17. Get dressed. It can be quite tempting to work in your PJs or sweats, but you’ll be more productive if you feel professional. You don’t have to put on a suit and tie, unless you want to, but at least put on something you’d be willing to leave the house in.
  18. Keep track of your time and work. Keep a spreadsheet or log of the time that you put into work each day. It will serve not only as a record for your employer of your work, but can give you a sense of accomplishment as well.
  19. Practice self-discipline. Telecommuting can take a serious toll on self-discipline. Learn to keep a lid on those voices telling you to head for the couch and you’ll be much more successful at working at home.
  20. Make downtime productive. Don’t waste time waiting around, make that time useful. Whether you’re waiting for a response to an email, or just for your lunch to heat up in the microwave, use those minutes to get small, easy tasks accomplished.
  21. Use a timer. If you’re having difficulty staying focused, try using a timer. Work without stop for a set amount of time and then take a break. Breaking up your day into smaller chunks like this can help you get more done.
  22. Limit incoming calls. You don’t need to take your phone off of the hook, but it can be to your advantage to screen your calls to avoid becoming distracted.
  23. Share your work. Don’t feel that just because you’re working at home that you have to do everything yourself. If you’ve got too much on your platter, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other telecommuters or coworkers back at the office.
  24. Don’t isolate yourself. While the isolation of working at home can help you be more productive, you shouldn’t let yourself become a total hermit. Keep in touch with coworkers, meet at friend for lunch, or just get out of the house and socialize every once in awhile.
  25. Prevent emails from dominating your time. Email is a fast and convenient way to keep in touch, but it can also be disastrous for productivity. Set times to check or respond to your email so you won’t constantly be interrupted by it.
  26. Practice good stress management. Sometimes working at home can be just as stressful as working in the office. Make sure you don’t let the stress get to you. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break to do something you enjoy, and come back when you’ve calmed down or relaxed.
  27. Put on headphones. Sometimes you just need to shut out the world, and headphones can help you eliminate all other noises and concentrate on your work. Try listening to songs that relax you or give you motivation.
  28. Establish checkpoints. You can often feel more productive by establishing checkpoints to help you monitor your progress. As you complete each checkpoint, even the biggest and most overwhelming tasks will feel more manageable and you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment.
  29. Set time limits for tasks. To keep any one task from dominating your day, set time limits for completing tasks. If you don’t get things done, set them aside and come back to them later after you’ve made time for the other things you need to accomplish.
  30. Disconnect from the Internet occasionally. Sometimes it can be helpful to get things done if you just disconnect from the Internet for a few hours. While it is a valuable tool, it’s also full of distractions, and you might be better able to concentrate when you’re not tempted to check your email or the news.
  31. Attend meetings whenever possible. If there is a meeting in the office, try to attend whenever you can. It will make your presence in the business known, and also let you represent your own work instead of letting someone else do the talking for you.
  32. Pace yourself. You don’t need to work at warp speed all day just to prove you’re working. In fact, it’s a surefire way to burn out fast. Instead, work at a steady pace, allowing for breaks and opportunities to get out of your office chair.
  33. Find helpful resources. You can find resources for telecommuters provided by many nonprofit organizations that are designed to support telecommuting. Check out the TelCoa website for valuable tips and information.
  34. Schedule face-to-face meetings. While you could very well telecommute to meetings with clients, it’s preferable to meet with people face-to-face. You’ll get to know each other better and be more comfortable working with one another.
  35. Close your door. If you work in a room with a door, sometimes it helps to just close it and shut out any potential distractions.
  36. Let people know your hours. Make sure that both coworkers and family members know and respect your working hours, so they’ll know when they can get in touch with you and when you’ll be off limits.
  37. Don’t let friends or family intrude on your work time. It can be tempting for relatives, friends and neighbors to take advantage of the fact that you’re home during the day. While these intrusions sometimes are unavoidable, make sure that those close to you know that even though you’re home, you’re still doing legitimate work and shouldn’t be disturbed.
  38. Remember the benefits. Sometimes working at home can get stressful, but don’t let the occasional stress obscure the benefits. Working from home can save you money, miles on your car, and the stress of commuting, not to mention the fact that it probably allows you a flexible schedule to be at important events for your friends and family.
  39. Keep work tasks and home tasks separate. While your dirty laundry or dishes may be calling your name, keep your work for work and work for home separate whenever possible by creating specific times to get each done.
  40. Don’t work from your bed or the couch. It’s easy to get lazy when you’re lying down, so only work from your desk or other more formal workspace to maximize your productivity. If you need to, you can take a nap or relax over your lunch break.
  41. Use the best technology for the task. Don’t waste time using technology that isn’t right for the job. Save lengthy and complex conversations for the phone rather than email.
  42. Expect a period of adjustment. Don’t expect to be the perfect telecommuter right away. Allow yourself a period of adjustment while you figure out your schedule and learn from your mistakes.
  43. Be accessible. Quell office fears about telecommuting by being readily available to bosses and coworkers. If necessary, arrange an office instant messaging system so you’ll always be just a click away.
  44. Network. Don’t let your business connections suffer because you’re not in the office. Talk to clients, business associates, and other telecommuters whenever you get a chance.
  45. Make sure people know how to get in touch with you. Make sure all your coworkers have your phone number and email handy if they need you for anything. You should also keep a list of contact information for yourself as well, just in case you have a problem.
  46. Don’t overindulge in the comforts of home. It can be hard to resist the temptations of your television or refrigerator when you’re at home and they’re within easy reach. Allow yourself a few indulgences, but keep them to a minimum, or you could end up with little work and a big waistline.
  47. Allow yourself breaks. You wouldn’t think twice about taking a quick coffee break at work, so allow yourself similar breaks at home so you don’t get burnt out.
  48. Plan work in and out of the office. If you have work that can only be done at the office, don’t waste time worrying about it at home. Get done what you can at home, and take care of office work at the office.
  49. Make sure you have the right equipment. Make sure your home office is equipped with all the gear you need to do your job properly. Technology is important, but be sure you’ve got a comfortable desk chair and a setup that won’t give you any aches and pains.
  50. Download productivity software. Sometimes it helps to have a little software to keep you on track. There are many free programs out there that can help you get organized and keep track of all your to-dos.

The Top 99 Freelancer Blogs

Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 4:00pm by Site Administrator

Freelancing is often a difficult profession: it can be lonely and nerve wracking at the same time. But you can make it easier on yourself by learning from and bonding with other freelancers out there who’ve blazed the trail ahead of you. Here are 99 blogs, in no particular order, that can help you find advice and guidance for your freelancing career.

Writing

Whether you’re just a small time blogger or a novelist hoping to write a new classic, these blogs can give you some helpful advice and information on how to improve your writing and manage your freelance career.

  1. Fab Freelance Writing: Writer Angela Booth gives advice on improving your writing skills in her blog, as well as her informative series of free ebooks on a wide variety of specialty topics.
  2. Freelance Writing Jobs: This blog provides not only links to job opportunities for freelance writers, but also advice on how to get the job you want.
  3. Successful Blog: While directed more at professional bloggers, this site has a great variety of tips for every kind of writer.
  4. InkThinker: InkThinker is written by Virginia writer-editor Kristen King and brings her experience at finding her place as a freelancer to her blog.
  5. The Golden Pencil: The Golden Pencil is a blog that caters to freelance writers. Check out their 31 days of freelancing tips for small ways to improve your freelancing skills.
  6. Ask Allison: For those wanting to break into the writing profession, this blog is a great resource. Send Allison your questions or read her answers to other reader queries.
  7. Writer’s Resource Center: Find all kind of information on writing at the Writer’s Resource Center. Learn how to please editors, market your freelance work and find cheap publishing. There are also job boards for writers and freelancers.
  8. Editor’s Ink: Learn about the business of freelance writing with this blog dedicated to freelance writing and editing.
  9. The Independent Journalist: The freelance journalist will benefit from this respectable blog associated with the Society of Professional Journalists. The site has a freelancer directory, postings for jobs, and advice for freelancers all over the world.
  10. Bad Language: Marketing writer Matthew Stibbe gives advice on blogging, freelancing, PR and even how to ace an interview.
  11. Freelance Writing Business Blog: Freelance copywriter Janice King shares her thoughts on business and marketing as well as information on books and materials to help the freelance writer.
  12. Write This Moment: Write this Moment is dedicated to providing information on jobs and resources for writers. Get your questions about writing and freelancing answered by the writers of this blog.
  13. Inkwell Editorial: Not sure where to start on your freelance writing career? Check out this blog, especially their series on 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career and great ebook series.
  14. Writing for Reason: In this blog you’ll find writing and commentary on freelance writing and marketing.
  15. Freelance Writing Tips: Freelance writers Craig and Linda blog about journalism, making great pitches and more at this freelance writing blog.
  16. Writers Weekly: Writers Weekly is the highest circulating free e-zine for freelance writers and contains articles on publishing, setting rates, and even fan mail.

Copywriting and Marketing

Learn to sell your freelance services and hone your copywriting skills with a little guidance from these blogs.

  1. CopyBlogger: One of the best copywriting sites on the Web, Copyblogger gives great advice on how to create good marketing content, ultimately helping you sell more stuff.
  2. Copywriter Underground: Professional copywriter Tom Chandler gives advice and consultation on marketing and how to sell anything.
  3. MarCom Writer Blog: Learn all about marketing communications from professional Dianna Huff on this great marketing blog.
  4. The Copy Writing Maven: Find tons of great resources on copywriting from the Copywriting Maven including tips on writing great Web content and working with clients.
  5. Adventures in Copywriting: Freelance writer Mike gives his thoughts on what it’s like to be a freelancer as well as some humorous insights into the day to day workings of it as well.
  6. Michel Fortin: Michel Fortin is a copywriter and consultant and his blog is full of advice on how to become a better marketer and write more persuasively.
  7. Writing White Papers: There are tons of copywriters out there, so how can you learn to stand out in the crowd? Start by reading this blog.
  8. Ask a Copywriter: Have a question about copywriting you’ve been dying to ask but didn’t know who to consult? Send you question to this blog and finally get the answers you’re looking for.
  9. The Write Spot: Freelance copywriter and blogger Ann-Marie Nichols shares her experiences with working on the Web.
  10. Micro Persuasion: Marketing is a rapidly changing field due to constantly evolving technologies. Keep abreast of the technical side with this blog by Steve Rubel.
  11. Signalwriter: The author of this blog is an incredibly accomplished copywriter and marketing man, so you can learn quite a bit by reading his blog. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something inspirational.
  12. The Opinionated Marketers: Get unfiltered opinions on marketing and advertising from three pros in the business on this blog.

Design

Even the best freelance designers can use a little inspiration now and then. Check out these graphic design and illustration blogs to give you a little spark.

  1. Coroflot: Here you’ll find guides on how to get design work, what companies are looking for in their designers, and maybe even a place to showcase your portfolio.
  2. Design Jump: The design world can be competitive and confusing at times, but this blog aims to give some unique knowledge and insight on how to be successful.
  3. Darjan Panic: Learn about typography, photography and boosting your design blog at the personal site and portfolio of Darjan Panic.
  4. Top Tut: Not sure how to create the look your client wants? Check out this blog. It’s chock full of tutorials for designers and webmasters.
  5. David Airey: Designer David Airey gives advice on this blog about logo design, blogging, dealing with clients and even business cards.
  6. Graphic Design Blog: Here you’ll find loads of articles on design, illustration, and advertising specially geared towards freelancers.
  7. Graphic Design Forum: At the Graphic Design Forum you’ll not only find lots of tips from fellow graphic designers, but a forum and a library of design articles as well.
  8. All About Freelance: This blog is written just for the freelance graphic designer. You’ll find articles on time management, project organization and even a few design tricks you can try.
  9. Drawn!: More into illustration than design? Then this blog might be of greater interest to you. Here you’ll find information on the latest and greatest in the illustration and cartooning fields.
  10. Designers Who Blog: As the name suggests, this blog, or rather a collection of blogs, is entirely written by designers. You’ll find some quirky content but also some informative stuff as well. If you’re feeling up for it, add your own blog to the mix.
  11. Design View: This blog is a collection of articles written by Andy Rutledge. He answers questions about design, and writes about professionalism, deadlines and other issues relevant to freelance design.

Programming and Web Development

What better place to look for programming and Web advice than on the Web? Read up on how to make your freelance business a success.

  1. Warren Seen: Freelance software developer Warren blogs about all kinds of coding as well as his advice on programming.
  2. Entrepreneurial Geekiness: Being a geek is big business nowadays, and this blog is all about becoming an entrepreneur in the tech market.
  3. Programmer Helper: Need a little help with a big project? Check out this blog for programming tips and advice.
  4. Carlos on Web: Carlos Velasco is a freelance programmer in the Philippines. Read his articles on reasons why you should become a freelance programmer as well as things you should consider before making the leap.
  5. Ben Ramsey: Programmer, author and consultant Ben Ramsey gives his two cents about the latest news in the programming world.
  6. Best Practices: Web developers might find some useful advice in this blog, both on freelancing and on a wide variety of programming issues.
  7. A List Apart: A List Apart is a great resource for web designers. There are articles on layout, design, process and even on how to get along with other designers.
  8. Smashing Magazine: Smashing Magazine, and its blog, are all about providing innovative and useful information to web designers that makes their jobs easier.
  9. Design Float: Design float isn’t really a blog in and of itself. It’s an aggregator that brings together the best web design posts.
  10. Future of the Web: Having issues with accessibility and making sites user friendly? Take a look at this blog for some tips as well as loads of information on programming issues.
  11. Web Worker Daily: Chances are, if you work online, you’ve already heard of this site. But if not, give it a look. Its full of tips to boost your productivity while working on the Internet.

Finance and Business

Freelance financial professionals and other self-employed workers looking for business know-how will benefit from seeing what these blogs have to offer.

  1. June Walker: Get tax and financial advice for your freelance business from advisor June Walker. She gives tips to graphic designers, writers, photographers and more about how to manage business finances.
  2. Simplify This: Streamline your business with advice from the Simplify This blog, home of the Simplify software, designed to give freelancers a means to invoice and get paid what they deserve.
  3. Keeping Nickels: Learning to manage business finances can be complicated for the newbie. Let this blog from a professional accountant set you in the right direction for financial success.
  4. The Solo Accountant Reporter: Freelance accountant Jeff Moore gives his insight into issues in forensic accounting and management.
  5. Double Ledger: Find tons of information about accounting jobs, news, businesses and software on this accounting-focused blog.
  6. Instigator Blog: Whether you’re just starting out in business on your own or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, you’ll find value in this business blog.
  7. Robert Alamos: This blog by Robert Alamos can give you insight and advice on starting and running your own online business, including tips for being successful at freelancing.
  8. Biznik: Biznik is a business networking site, and the blog gives information about the program. If you don’t find anything of interest on the Biznik site, check out the member blogs as well.

Photography

Great photography skills aren’t all you need to be a successful photographer–you need business savvy, too. Get advice on both elements of success on these blogs.

  1. Pro Photo Business Blog: Stanley Rowin, former president of the American Society of Media Photographers, publishes this page of photo business advice to help you make the most of your freelance career.
  2. Dan Heller’s Photography Business Blog: Follow the latest in photography business news with this blog and learn a little bit about your business as well.
  3. Photocritic: Get back to the DIY basics of photography with this blog. See photo criticisms or just get tips and ideas on photography you can use to make your work even better.
  4. Photo Business News and Forum: This blog focuses intently on the business side of photography. Get a few pointers to help yours get going in the right direction as well as getting the latest information on issues in photography.
  5. StockPhoto Talk: Want to sell your photos to stock agencies or even start your own stock photo business? Then check out this blog, dedicated to providing information about news, jobs, and companies working in the stock photo business.
  6. PhotoAttorney: Get legal advice and information on protecting your creative works with this attorney’s blog.
  7. The Online Photographer: Professional photographer Mike Johnson gives technical and business advice for photographers as well as reviews on cameras and other photography products on this informative blog.
  8. Strobist: Strobist is a great resource for photographers who want to learn to work better with flashes and lighting. Improving your skills will help your business in the long run.
  9. Digital Photography School: The Digital Photography School blog is another great place to visit if you’re looking for a little inspiration or want to beef up your skill set. Learn about techniques, styles of photography, and even equipment.
  10. DIY Photography: For those running their own business, little expenses can add up quickly, especially with pricey photography equipment. Save your business money by embracing the DIY spirit. This blog will let you know how to get things done as cheaply as possible.
  11. The Big Picture: Photojournalist and professor Dennis Dunleavy’s blog is a great place for freelance photojournalists to find commentary on technology and visual culture.

Consulting

Learn from other consultants in all different lines of business with these informative blogs.

  1. Gautam Ghosh: Gautam Ghosh is an India-based blogging consultant. His blog contains information on HR issues, leadership, training, organization development and social media. Check it out if you want to improve your own blog or help others to improve theirs.
  2. Consultant Journal: Thinking about a freelance career as a consultant? The Consultant Journal can help you learn the basics to get started and keep going.
  3. Management Consultants’ Blog: Keep up with the latest in consulting news with the Management Consultants’ Blog. Learn about networking online and off and make connections in the field.
  4. Law Consulting Blog: Experienced construction law attorney Cordell Parvin gives guidance for young lawyers entering the field and you can learn a little yourself to give consulting advice yourself.
  5. Steve Shu’s Blog: Steve Shu, management consultant, talks about his experience consulting as well as management in general and other related issues.
  6. The Nonprofit Consultant Blog : For the philanthropically minded, learn how to help the organizations you care about most by being a nonprofit consultant and freelance grant writer with this blog.
  7. About.com Consulting Blog: About.com gives you information on how to score consulting jobs and find your niche in the consulting market.

Freelancing and Parenting

Balancing work and family life can be hard working outside of the home and it can be even harder when the line is blurred by working at home. These blogs give some guidance on keeping both parts of your life in sync.

  1. Success from the Nest: Learn how to create a successful work at home business in this entertaining and illustrated blog.
  2. Freelance Dad: New York-based freelance parenting writer Gary Drevitch shares his expertise on parenting and his commentary on the latest news.
  3. Freelance Parent: Moms and freelancers Tamara and Lorna help other freelancing parents maintain a balance between the adult working world and the world of childcare. Find advice on this blog about finding your niche, managing your finances, and finding inspiration.
  4. At Home Mom Blog: Freelance writer and blogger Genesis gives advice on how to make your work at home business a success, get organized, and stay productive all while looking after demanding little ones.
  5. A Vocational Duality: Sometimes freelancing and motherhood overlap and require a lot of multitasking. Here, blogger Christa posts articles relevant to working from home, parenting and marriage.
  6. Dad Balance: Blogger Derek Semmler gives tips and advice for work-at-home Dads who want to find a balance between their career and their family.
  7. [email protected] Parents: Working at home, despite the fuzzy slipper appeal, can be a daunting prospect. Get some advice on working, parenting, or even how to manage the stress of the two.
  8. Career and Kids: Don’t neglect the best years of your kids’ lives for your work. This blog can help you work in things that mean the most to you, like coaching your child’s team or going on field trips, with your freelance career.
  9. Work It: Work It is a great blog for working mothers. Written by several business minded mothers, it can help you strike a balance between work hours and family time.
  10. Just Loving Life: Friends Wanda and Paula blog about their work at home marketing business and how they make it work with their busy lives.

General

Some of the best freelance blogs provide information for all fields, not just one. Find job offers, helpful advice, and business help on these blogs.

  1. Freelance Switch: Freelance Switch is full of resources for freelancers. Get some great advice on the blog, chat with other freelancers in the forum, use the job posting board to find work, or check out their list of free freelance tools.
  2. All Freelance: All Freelance has tons of great articles on every aspect of freelancing from how much to charge to how to keep on task when you’re working at home.
  3. Freelance Folder: Freelance Folder is chock full of information for freelancers in every field as well as small business owners. You’ll find tons of useful links, articles and advice on being successful at whatever you’re working towards.
  4. Self Employed Blog: Deciding to leave the world of cubicles can be the best decision you ever make, but it can also be a daunting one. Get tips and advice from Eartha on how to make the transition between the two and make your self-employment rewarding.
  5. Gizfolio: The main Gizfolio site is a place where businesses and freelancers can post jobs and get work, respectively, but the site also has a blog where you’ll find all kinds of articles with advice on freelancing as well as the occasional competition in which you can showcase your work.
  6. Freelancer’s Union: Many freelancers aren’t even aware that there is such a thing as a freelancer’s union, but there is, and it exists to help you. Check out their blog to band with your fellow freelancers and maybe even find some work.
  7. The Freelance Pro: The purpose of the Freelance Pro is to help readers learn to be successful and well-respected writers and designers and stop thinking like "employees" and start thinking like their own employers.
  8. The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: This blog is primarily directed at women, but men will find some helpful advice here as well. As the title suggests, the blog is dedicated to helping readers make the transition between the cubicle and the freelance lifestyle. If you like what’s the blog, check out the book of the same title as well.
  9. Ninja Freelance: This multi-author blog contains numerous articles on helping you become a "ninja" at freelancing. Learn how to get rid of bad clients and what mistakes to avoid.
  10. One Man Band: Freelance writer and photographer C.E.H. Wiedel blogs about the trials and tribulations of DIY business.
  11. The Freelancing Blog: Written by a fellow freelancer, the Freelancing Blog attempts to share the experiences and lessons learned during a freelancing career.
  12. Escape from Corporate America: Former long-term corporate employee Pamela Skillings blogs about her experience in quitting her job and going out on her own to pursue her passions. You’ll also get advice on how you can do the same.
  13. Freelance Tipster: Get little tips on how to boost your freelance career on this blog.

33 Ways an Amateur Photographer Can Make Money Online

Friday, June 18, 2010 at 5:55pm by Site Administrator

Trying to make a living as a photographer is tough. You have to deal with odd schedules, low-paying gigs, and sometimes long breaks between work. The Internet can help make working as a photographer a little easier. You can post your portfolio online, network with potential clients, and even find new and possibly high-paying jobs. Following is a list of 33 innovative ways amateur photographers can make money online. Work with Online Companies

Existing online companies are constantly looking for photographers to supply them with photos that they can sell to their own customers. Check out these sites to get a piece of the profits.

  1. Buy a Photo: This website serves as an online photography store. Visitors can browse through their catalog of photos, and then purchase the ones they want.
  2. Shutterstock: Bloggers, designers, and anyone in the market for photos can download them from this site to use for their projects. If your photo is chosen, you’ll get a cut of the profits.
  3. Share A Pic: This company pays photographers through PayPal and Google AdSense. Upload as many photos as you’d like to increase your chances of being published.
  4. Digital Railroad: This site connects you to buyers from professional organizations who are looking to purchase and publish photographs.
  5. Fotolia: Register with this system to sell your photos. You’ll make making money each time your photo is sold to a new customer.
  6. Alamy: Get 65% of each sale when you work with Alamy, "the world’s largest online collection of stock photography." Alamy makes photographers do a little more work than other stock photo sites, but you’ll get a much larger share of the profits.
  7. CameraDollars.com: This company pays photographers to upload digital images onto their site.
  8. PhotoBiz.com: Join PhotoBiz.com to make money for submitting your photographs. You’ll also meet new customers who with any luck could become your personal clients.
  9. Instaproofs: With Instaproofs, you can upload whatever photos you want. Read the marketing tutorial to learn more about meeting and working with new clients.
  10. Backprint.com: Sell your photos through Backprint, and take advantage of their custom marketing campaigns and private label services.
  11. Photo Stock Plus: Maintain the rights to your photos and earn 85% of the profits when you affiliate your services with Photo Stock Plus.
  12. dotPhoto Pro: At dotPhoto Pro, their number one mission is to "empower the professional." As an artist and a business person, you have the control to sell whichever photos you want and set your own prices and print sizes.
  13. MorePhotos.com: This website lets you upload and organize your photos and set up a shopping cart for customers.

Selling your photos

Find the entrepreneur in you, and sell your photos to buyers online. These sites will help get you started.

  1. Show Me Proofs: Register for this free program which allows you to sell photos through your website. The best part? You get to keep 100% of the profits!
  2. Zooomr: Their website boasts that Zooomr is "universally the best way to share, search, store, sort and sell your photos online."
  3. Photoblogs.org Create an account to become a member of the Photoblogs community. Your blog will appear on their website, connecting you to an unlimited number of potential buyers and contracters.
  4. Image Display Works: This online software designed especially for photographers allows you to sell photos and other photo products from your website. Sign up for direct deposit, and you’ll be able to see your profits instantly.
  5. Smug Mug: Set up your own photo gallery using Smug Mug. Get valuable tips and read funny photo session stories on the site’s forum.
  6. ProBlogger.net: Learn how to design a sleek, profitable blog, on which you can post and sell your photos.
  7. Lulu: Publish your images on the Internet quickly and easily. Lulu allows you to set your own prices and remain in control of your copyright.
  8. Shutterpoint: Learn the ins and outs of selling photos online when you participate in Shutterpoint’s photo store. Earn 85% of the profits, and then start your own online shop once you’ve learned the ropes.
  9. Easy Store Creator: Download free shopping carts and other handy merchandising tools that will turn your website into an online store.
  10. PMA: Visit the Web site for The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations to learn marketing strategies and other money making opportunities for independent photographers.

Miscellaneous

From contests to consulting, you’ll find more money making opportunities here.

  1. Snapfish.com: In addition to developing beautiful prints, this site also allows you to create mugs, cards, and other promotional items that feature your photos. Have fun making these items, and then sell them on your website to make extra money.
  2. Jyve: Earn money by becoming a consultant over AIM or Skype for Jyve.com.
  3. Just Answer: Just Answer is another site that hires freelance consultants to participate in Internet dialogues. Share your photography expertise with people around the globe.
  4. Guru.com: Join Guru.com’s directory of freelance professionals and wait for employers to come to you.
  5. Spy Media: With Spy Media, you can either upload the photos that you have or go out on actual assignments requested by buyers and the company itself. Earn money for each photo.
  6. Citizen Image: Photo categories include: news, sports and entertainment, travel and daily life, and creative. Submit photos, and earn money whenever they are published.
  7. FotoSurf Monthly Contest: This website sponsors monthly photo contests. Upload your photos to be considered in the voting process.
  8. Proof Positive Photo Contests: Proof Positive sponsors several contests year round. Check out this page for deadlines, guidelines, and prize information.
  9. Elance: Use this job board for freelancers to offer your services as a Web designer. Custom design existing photos to fit a website’s theme or take new photos as assigned by your clients.
  10. PhotoServe.com: Become a member of this photo community to connect with buyers all over the world. PhotoServe conducts year round marketing promotions to make sure your portfolio is seen by the right people.

Photographers don’t need to just rely on the occasional wedding gig to make extra money. There are plenty of opportunities to make money online as well. Try out a few of these. You might end up being successful enough to quit your day job!

Look on the Bright Side: 100 Tiny Tips to Improve Your Mood

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 6:32pm by Site Administrator

Even the most happy-go-lucky person in the world has a bad mood now and then, but the difference between moving on and having a bad day all depends on what you do about it. There are plenty of ways to shake off a funky mood, and we’ve listed 100 of the best ways to do it here.

Recreation

If you’re feeling unlike yourself, get out there and do something you like to do.

  1. Play with a pet: Unless you’ve got a particularly surly animal, playing with a pet is sure to pick up your mood.
  2. Cook: Chop up some vegetables or tenderize some meat to take out your frustrations. Do even better by cooking food that’s found to improve your mood.
  3. Dance: Loosen up and lose yourself in music and movement to shake off a sour mood.
  4. Sing: Sing something upbeat, and you can’t help but feel happy.
  5. Play games: Concentrate on a game to get your mind off of whatever’s bringing you down.
  6. Watch a movie: Lose yourself in a movie to feel better.
  7. Get a massage: Let someone work out the kinks, and you’ll come out with a nicer mood.
  8. Get a mani/pedi: Get pampered, and you can’t help but feel good.
  9. Garden: Interact with nature and get some sunshine, and you’ll feel better. Check out these tips to find out how you can improve your garden and mood at the same time.
  10. Play guitar: Think about chords, and you won’t be able to dwell on your troubles.
  11. Read a book: Lose yourself in a fun story for a quick pick-me-up.
  12. Create art: Make something beautiful to brighten your day.
  13. Fly a kite: It’s hard to not be happy when you’re flying a kite.
  14. Karaoke: Make a fool of yourself, and you’ll forget about your troubles. Interactive music like karaoke has been found to be therapeutic.
  15. Have sex: Get cozy, and you’ll enjoy a rush of endorphins and some fun recreation time.
  16. Enjoy your hobbies: Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, do it, and you’ll get a mood boost.

Exercise

Exercise is a great mood booster, offering a way to concentrate, feel good about yourself, and increase endorphins.

  1. Martial arts: Take on martial arts to discipline yourself and get your frustrations out.
  2. Breathe: Do breathing exercises to calm down an otherwise foul mood.
  3. Stretch: Loosen up, and you’ll feel better.
  4. Take a walk: Clear your mind with a quick walk around the block.
  5. Do yoga: Concentrate on yoga poses, and you’ll feel better in no time. Try these mood-altering poses to turn your day around.
  6. Boxing: Take out your frustrations with boxing.
  7. Run: For a quick mood booster, just run away from it all.
  8. Swim: Lose yourself in the repetitive motion of swimming.
  9. Weight training: Concentrate on building muscles, not whatever’s bothering you.
  10. Go hiking: Go hiking for a scenic, peaceful way to feel better.

Food

What you put in your body can have a great effect on how you feel, so make sure you’re eating right for a good mood.

  1. Eat chocolate: Chocolate is great for endorphins, and of course, it tastes great.
  2. Eat consistently: If you eat every 4 to 5 hours, you’ll have constant blood sugar and be less subject to highs and lows during the day.
  3. Avoid refined carbs: Carbohydratess will give you blood sugar swings that can leave you feeling blue.
  4. Fish: Eat fatty fish to get omega-3s, which boost seratonin and improve receptiveness to seratonin.
  5. Coffee: Drink a cup of coffee, and you’ll get a boost energy, and a kick start to mental pleasure centers.
  6. Drink tea: The calming ritual of drinking tea can make you feel better.
  7. Turkey: This poultry helps produce dopamine, which elevates your mood and prevents depression.
  8. Drink milk: The tryptophan in milk will help you create seratonin.
  9. Eat protein: Protein slows absorption of carbs, and it will boost your productivity.
  10. Take vitamins: Make sure you’re firing on all cylinders by taking your vitamins.
  11. Enjoy whole grains: With complex carbs, you’ll get a slow release of seratonin.
  12. Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts offer one of the best sources for selenium, which maintains mood and fights depression.
  13. Broccoli: Broccoli offers B-vitamins and folic acid, both of which will help your mood.
  14. Eat breakfast: Start your day right, and you’re less likely to feel down later.
  15. Anything yummy: By eating anything that tastes good, you’ll spark mood-boosting endorphins.

Mental Power

Put your mind to work on your mood with these simple tips.

  1. Meditate: Try meditation to shift the focus away from your bad mood.
  2. Try hypnosis: Hypnosis is a great way to get your mood level.
  3. Change your perspective: Consider how your troubles might actually be good.
  4. Recite affirmations: Focus on a few simple phrases to remind yourself to be happy. Affirming your goals has a great way of making you look at a more positive future.
  5. Imagine your perfect place: Put yourself somwhere else for a moment.
  6. Count your blessings: Remind yourself of all of the good things in your life.
  7. Laugh: Find something funny to feel better.
  8. Forgive yourself: Don’t dwell on your mistakes.
  9. Concentrate: Think about something: anything but what’s causing your bad mood.
  10. Look forward to tomorrow: Thinking about tomorrow will remind you that a better day awaits.
  11. Smile: Fake yourself into happiness with a smile. With a forced smile, you’ll send a signal to your brain to be happy.
  12. Make fun of yourself: Think about how ridiculous you’re being.
  13. Set attainable goals: Set goals to think of the future.

Social Aids

You don’t have to fight a bad mood by yourself. Call on friends, family and strangers to help you feel happier.

  1. Join a group: Find a way to interact with people for a boost of happiness.
  2. Attend a party: Even if you don’t feel like it, attending a party can boost your mood.
  3. Call a friend: Share your troubles with a friend to feel better.
  4. Go out to lunch: Visit with a friend or loved one, and you’ll lose your troubles for a while.
  5. Make friends: Find a new friend for a nice pick-me-up.
  6. Participate in a discussion: Get your mind moving to pull yourself out of a funk.

On the Outside

Step outside of yourself to improve your mood.

  1. Volunteer: Do something altruistic for others and you’ll feel better about yourself.
  2. Act happy: Trick yourself out of your bad mood.
  3. Take action towards a goal: Even if it’s a small step, taking action towards an attainable goal feels good.
  4. Finish your to-do list: Although it’s easier said than done, closing out your to do list is sure to make you feel better.
  5. Wear blue: The color blue offers relaxation, and color therapy has been found to be very effective.
  6. Forgive someone: Make someone else feel better, and you will too.
  7. Dress well: If you look good on the outside, you’ll feel better about yourself.
  8. Make plans: Give yourself something to look forward to.
  9. Go to bed at a regular time: Get your Circadian rhythm in order for a better day.
  10. Random act of kindness: Practice a random act of kindness to give yourself a boost.
  11. Practice deep breathing: Use deep breathing to calm yourself.
  12. Visualize: Use your mind’s eye to see a better day.
  13. Stay busy: Keep yourself busy, and you won’t have time to think about troubles.
  14. Learn something new: Expand your horizons for a nicer mood.
  15. Leave your house/work/etc.: Sometimes you just need to get away, so get out and do something to feel better.
  16. Mentor: Teach someone else how to follow in your footsteps for an ego boost that will help your mood.
  17. Donate: Do something nice with your money, and you’ll feel good about yourself.
  18. Blow off steam: So do something enjoyable for a pick-me-up.
  19. Return a favor: Have you asked someone for help in the past? Now’s a good time to return the favor.
  20. Take a bath or shower: Wash away your troubles.
  21. Write it out: Get your bad mood out on paper and let it go.
  22. Indulge yourself: Whether it’s chocolate, or just reading the paper, do something you like, if only for a moment.
  23. Play with a baby or small child: Pick up the carefree fun of a child.
  24. Give someone a compliment: Make someone feel good, and you will too.
  25. Check out stupid videos online: Take a mini-break to smile and laugh for a while.
  26. Cry: If you’re troubled, let it out to feel better.
  27. Pet your dog or cat: The act of petting is enough to calm most people down.

Environment

Change what’s around you to improve your mood.

  1. Get a burst of morning light: Morning light will reset your inner clock and boost your spirits.
  2. Get away from negative people: Remove yourself from the people who are bringing you down.
  3. Minimalize your decorations: Create a clean, simple environment for clarity of mood.
  4. Practice aromatherapy: Use aromatherapy to lighten your mood. Try mood-boosting scents, like eucalyptus and ylang ylang.
  5. Redecorate: Change whatever it is that you don’t like to feel better.
  6. Organize: Get rid of clutter, and bring order to your environment.
  7. Listen to music: Play music to keep things flowing and relaxed.
  8. Get in the sun: Get natural light for a mood boost.
  9. Take a nap: If lack of sleep is what’s causing your foul mood, catch up on your sleep.
  10. Fresh flowers: Bring something beautiful into your environment for a mood boost.
  11. Use a water feature: Even if it’s just a tabletop fountain, water can have a calming effect.
  12. Full-spectrum light: Beat winter blues with light therapy.
  13. Color therapy: Get relaxed with blues and softer hues to feel better.
Next Page »