Encrypt Anything: 50 Ways to Secure ALL Your Data, Regardless of Medium

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 4:15pm by Site Administrator

New communication and data storage technologies like VoIP and USB drives allow us to easily manage, share and transport large amounts of information without being tied down to a single location or clunky desktop. The ability to connect with friends, family, and business associates has made remote access a necessity in today’s world, but with that demand comes increased vulnerability to hackers, theft and privacy breaches. To make sure all of your data remains safe and secure, from private (and possibly incriminating) photos, e-mails and conversations to standard files on your computer’s hardware, we encourage you to research the following software programs, downloads and articles to better understand how data encryption can benefit your lifestyle. Open Source Computer Software Feel free to tool around with the encryption software in this list: if the version you download doesn’t work just right for your computer, add some new features and then post your version online for others to share.

  1. TrueCrypt: This open source disk encryption software works with Windows Vista and XP, as well as Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. The software can encrypt USB drives as well as files and features a hidden volume security solution, which "cannot be distinguished from random data."
  2. AxCrypt: AxCrypt is a file encryption program for Windows operating systems that can be modified and redistributed by any developer.
  3. GnuPG: This software is currently undergoing some revisions, but advanced developers may want to contribute to the updating process. Visit this site to learn about the latest news, controversy and installation guides surrounding GnuPG.
  4. SWF Encrypt 4.0: Amayeta’s encryption tool SWF Encrypt 4.0 gives open source developers the protection they need to for Adobe Flash SWF files. The program works on PCs, Macs and C++ systems.
  5. FreeOTFE: FreOTFE works on PCs by creating virtual disks that encrypt your files before copying them to the hard drive.
  6. CrossCrypt 0.4.3: This "on the fly and offline encryption" solution works with Linux systems, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.
  7. Cypherix: Cypherix uses the open source program Blowfish to carry out its commitment to "strong encryption." The program works on all Windows operating systems.

Portable Storage Encryption Portable storage devices like USB drives make it easy to move information from one computer to another; however, these little tools are also way too easy to lose. Make sure your data is protected even if your portable storage device is lost or stolen.

  1. Thumbdrive Encryption: Watch this video from CNET TV to set up a thumbdrive encryption system.
  2. CMG External Media Shield: This program, issued by CREDANT Technologies, aims to secure the data stored on devices like USB drives, iPods and external hard drives. Features include user-transparent encryption, policy-based intelligent encryption and more.
  3. Pointsec Device Protector: Designed by Pointsec Mobile Technologies, the Pointsec Device Protector "can separately control the two-way flow of data between a PC or laptop and" portable devices like USB drives. The tool is highly customizable, allowing owners to list which storage devices and programs can be opened and which cannot.
  4. Portable Storage Device Security: This article from ITtoolbox Blogs lists different ways to amp up security on portable storage devices.
  5. ID Vault: GuardID’s ID Vault "provides multi factor authentication in the form of a USB security token with an embedded smart card chip," according to About.com reporter Ryan Groom. This means that users can securely store password and sign-on information on the device and protect themselves from identity theft.
  6. The Pros and Cons of Portable Storage: Before loading up your USB drive with confidential information read this article from SearchStorage.com to evaluate the risks associated with portable storage. The article also reviews different encryption software programs.
  7. CruzerLock 2: This application can encrypt and decrypt folders and files on PCs and flash drives. Users can also share files via e-mail, copy-to-hard-drive-capabilities, on CDs and DVDs, and through network drives.
  8. Thumb Drives are Too Often the Victims of Convenience: Read this article to find reviews of encryption software and to learn about the different ways USB encryption operates.
  9. GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption: By supporting USB, FireWire, Floppy, CD and DVDs, the GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption features either 256- or 128-bit AES encryption of stored data and helps businesses avoid property loss and theft and other security threats.
  10. SecurFlash: Issued by Encrypt, a BeCompliant Company, SecurFlash encrypts all types of files being stored on USB flash drives and removable hard drives.
  11. KanguruMicro Drive AES: This device "is the only USB flash drive that meets federal requirements for insuring the confidentiality of sensitive dta and information accessed by portable flash drives." The tool comes with an encrypted virtual disk that is password protected.
  12. DeviceWall: This tool provides USB encryption, "simple and secure administration," and access to a free data leakage prevention guide. The website also has information about portable storage security, USB lockdown and more.

Phone/VoIP Encryption Whether you’re on your cell phone, landline or VoIP connection, your phone line probably isn’t as secure as you think it is. Try out these encryption devices and applications to tie up the loose ends and give eavesdroppers the boot.

  1. Zfone: This popular product lets users encrypt their VoIP phone calls for private discussions.
  2. Fast Guide: VoIP Encryption: New VoIP users can check out this beginner’s guide to understanding VoIP security issues.
  3. How to Encrypt Your VoIP: Lifehacker provides this tutorial for VoIP users who want to make their calls more secure.
  4. CryptoPhone 200/G10: Individuals and companies requiring ultimate wiretapping protection can benefit from this phone from Navastream. The phone features AES256 protection, an encryption key that is destroyed after each call and secure talk time for up to 3 1/2 hours.
  5. Videoconference Encryption Service: Also a Navastream product, this service ensures secure, private videoconferencing communications.
  6. PhoneCrypt: This product claims to provide "military grade encryption" capabilities. The product works on Windows-based Smartphones and encrypts conversations in real time.
  7. Nokia E61 Encrypted Cell Phone: This phone comes with a hefty price tag, but individuals wanting serious security will want the 256 bits random key feature and BlackBerry Connect compatibility.
  8. Babylon nG: Babylon nG is an application that "runs on a switch network which allows private communication to take place between users." It also features a 256-bit algorithm for solid encryption.

Images Whether you want to use an image to hide certain information or just keep others from accessing personal photos, check out this list to see how images can be used for encryption purposes.

  1. FreeCrypt: This software program encrypts all kinds of files, including personal photos and digital archives.
  2. EyeMage IIE: This free software encrypts files in bitmap images. Users can even "hide photos in photos" and share secure files.
  3. HIP Hide in Picture 2.1: Hide files in bitmaps and GIF formats to keep them safe.
  4. Androsa File Protector: Androsa File Protector is a free-to-use program that encrypts all kinds of files, including images and file videos.

Computer Encryption Keep your personal and professional files safe by implementing these security solutions into your computer. You still be able to share files with clients and friends, but outside parties won’t be able to spy on your documents.

  1. Advanced File Lock 5: Encrypt all of your files, including images and movie files, with the Advanced File Lock.
  2. Kryptos 2: This user-friendly system encrypts and decrypts files on PCs and portable storage devices. It also comes with a file shredding feature for ultimate security.
  3. RoboForm 6.9: Secure your password information with this program, which automatically remembers and fills in password forms for you on Web sites.
  4. AutoKrypt: Use AutoKrypt to perform encryption and decryption tasks on all of your files. The system also features a key store to help you manage keys, as well as zipping, unzipping, synchronizing and file monitoring capabilities.
  5. Folder Lock 5.8.2: Quickly "password-protect, lock, hide and encrypt any number of files, folders, drives, pictures and documents" with this version of Folder Lock. You can use the program on USB drives, CD-RWs, disks, hard disks and more.
  6. WinXAR 1.1: This encryption software also lets users share folders and files. The program works on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and 2003.
  7. Crypt4Free 4.6.16: This download relies on Blowfish, DESX and "Quick Wipe" to protect all kinds of files and medium, including zip drives.
  8. Cryptmage: Download Cryptmage here to access simple file encryption capabilities and a "proprietary algorithm to secure your files from preying eyes."
  9. HandyBits EasyCrypto Deluxe: This software’s Version 5.5 is free to download, and users will be able to encrypt files and folders, as well as self-extracting zip archives.
  10. Kryptel: Version 5.45 of Kryptel is compatible with Windows 95,98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP and Vista. Users can encrypt files and entire folders, including their Documents folder.
  11. Omziff: Encrypt textual data using Omziff by splitting files, creating random passwords, and utilizing algorithms like Blowfish and Twofish.
  12. NOYBcription (1): Mac OS X users will benefit from this software program, which stands for None Of Your Business. The program encrypts individual files as well as entire folders, which can be sent securely over e-mail or saved on a flash drive.

Wi-Fi and E-mail Close up open Wi-Fi and e-mail connections by downloading one of these software programs. You’ll be able to securely send e-mail attachments and log on to censored sites without anyone spying on you.

  1. Hotspot Shield 1.01: Hotspot Shield "ensures anonymous and censor-free internet usage" by encrypting information that goes in and out of your computer. This version is currently free of charge.
  2. SecureZIP: This product makes your e-mail messages and attachments secure against hackers. SecureZIP is compatible with Microsoft Outlook.
  3. Iron Key: Send encrypted files over the Internet when you use Iron Key. Version 1.3 works with Windows operating systems and can delete files after they’ve been encrypted.
  4. CryptoHeaven: This software program allows Mac users to "send and receive secure and anonymous email," instant messages, information on message boards, document folders and more.
  5. Email Encryption for the Lazy: Follow this guide to safely encrypt your email messages and attachments according to PGP.
  6. MessageGuard: This app works with Outlook, Outlook Express and Network Solutions email accounts. Users only have to click on the "Send Secure" button to have their messages sent as encrypted emails.
  7. PGP: Find different versions of the infamous PGP freeware here.

100 Best DIY Sites on the Web

Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 6:06pm by Site Administrator

DIY offers a great way to take on personal projects and make things your own. Although often DIY focuses primarily on home improvement, the DIY ethic expands out to arts, technology, and so much more. Check out these categories and more in our list of DIY sites that’s sure to get you inspired to get up and make something yourself.

Home Improvement

In these sites, you’ll find fun and useful projects to take on at home.

  1. DoItYourself: Check out this site’s featured projects for detailed DIY instructions.
  2. Mike Holigan’s How-To Library: On this site, you’ll find loads of information for home building and remodeling.
  3. DIY Homes: Learn about home improvement, repair and more from this site.
  4. Acme How to: Learn how to do just about anything in your home, from plumbing to pest control.
  5. HammerZone: Learn the art of handymanlyness on HammerZone.
  6. DIY Fix It: On this site, you’ll get access to loads of guides and answers to your DIY questions.
  7. HGTV: This site offers a great source for home improvement inspiration.
  8. Home Improvement: Learn how to buy materials, save money, and more with this site.
  9. Home Tips: Check out DIY projects for health and safety, plumbing, and so much more on Home Tips.
  10. Home Doctor: Find DIY tips and projects on this home improvement site.
  11. Hometime: Get step-by-step guides and more on this site.
  12. Ask the Builder: On this site, you’ll get tips from home improvement guru Tim Carter.
  13. HomeImprove: Find tips and ideas for home repair, remodeling, and more on this site.
  14. Easy2DIY: Check out this site for animated tutorials that walk you through each project.
  15. Bob Vila: Get DIY help from the master himself.
  16. Curbly: Find cool design ideas in this DIY design community.
  17. DIYnot: This DIY site is complete with a wiki, forum, and books.
  18. Ikea Hacker: Ikea Hacker offers great ideas for getting more out of your Ikea furniture.
  19. DIYonline: This site makes it easy to create your own design online.
  20. DIY Ideas: Get inspiration for your home and garden with this site.

Arts & Crafts

Whether you want to learn how to make your own macro lens, or just find a knitting pattern, these sites will have what you’re looking for.

  1. DIY Photography: Learn how to achieve looks and create your own studio gear with this site.
  2. Love You Deer: Check out DIY clothing, arts, and crafts on this site.
  3. Max is Now: Max is Now offers a great source for arts and DIY.
  4. DIY Design It Yourself: Use this site to design your own books, Tshirts, and more.
  5. Photojojo: Check out Photojojo to find fun photography hacks and DIY projects.
  6. We Make Money Not Art: Check out DIY art projects and much more on this site.
  7. Craftster: Find out what other crafters are up to in these forums.
  8. Craftform: Showcase your work and check out what others have done on Craftform.
  9. I-Craft: On this site, you can find your favorite crafts and save them in your craft box.
  10. wiseNeedle: Get yarn reviews, advice, and more for knitters here.
  11. Crafter’s Community: Find seasonal crafts, resources, and lots more on this site.
  12. Get Crafty: Get Crafty features forums, how-tos, guides, and more cool crafty stuff.
  13. Make Stuff: The crafts and projects on Make Stuff range from seasonal projects to gardening.
  14. Craftown: Visit this crafters resource center for loads of projects and illustrated lessons.
  15. Knitty: Check out Knitty for "little purls of wisdom."
  16. Craftzine: Figure out what to do with leftover Easter Peeps, plastic bags, and more.
  17. Chic Knits: This site offers knitting patterns for clothes that don’t look anything like your Grandma’s wardrobe.
  18. My Craft Book: Find easy and fun crafts on this site.

Tech

Find everything you want to know about hacking gadgets, electronics, and more from these sites.

  1. Makezine: Learn how to make your own fun electronic and tech toys with this site.
  2. Freedom to Tinker: Check out this site to learn how to modify and repair tech devices.
  3. Hack This Site!: Test your hacking skills on the challenges presented in this site.
  4. Popular Mechanics: This online magazine offers information on everything from green living to buying a car.
  5. I-Hacked: Find new and exciting ways to make technology work for you with I-Hacked.
  6. Gadget Hacks: Check out this site to get connected with all sorts of sites that offer hacking projects.
  7. Layada: Visit this site to find all sorts of fun tech hacks.
  8. Console Hacks: This site lists some of the best published hacks for consoles.
  9. Hacked Gadgets: Visit Hacked Gadgets to learn how to get more out of your gadgets.
  10. Inventgeek: This site celebrates reinvention, offering loads of fun and useful DIY projects.
  11. DIY:Happy: Hack gadgets, software and more with DIY:happy’s guides.
  12. Wired How-To Wiki: On this collaborative site, you’ll find tech projects, hacks, tricks, and tips.
  13. Hack a Day: This site features a new hack every day.
  14. MakeUseOf: Check out web apps, tools, and more on this DIY site.
  15. DIY Live: Learn how to create and do things with technology using DIY Live.
  16. Hack N Mod: Take on these awesome hacks, mods, and projects.
  17. Zedomax: Find super-cool DIYs, hacks, and more on Zedomax.

Lifehacking

These sites present great ways to apply the DIY principle to everyday life.

  1. Lifehackery: Check out Lifehackery to turn everyday objects into useful things.
  2. DIY Planner: This community likes to take productivity into their own hands.
  3. Productivity 101: Increase your personal productivity using tips and tools from this site.
  4. Instigator Blog: Make more out of your ideas with the help of this blog.
  5. 43 Folders: This blog, created by Merlin Mann, focuses on organization, productivity, and getting things done.
  6. Life Optimizer: Become more successful and productive with this site.
  7. Lifehacker: The Lifehacker blog offers lots of technology and productivity hacks designed to make your life easier.
  8. Ririan Project: Check out this personal development blog to find out how you can apply DIY principles to your life.
  9. Dumb Little Man: Here you’ll find loads of tips for productivity, projects, frugality, and more.
  10. Aim for Awesome!: Find tips for awesome personal development on this site.
  11. FlyLady: Aimed at housewives, FlyLady aims to help you get control of your home.
  12. Business Hackers: Here you’ll find loads of information on how you can get work done quickly.
  13. LifeDev: Take a DIY approach to life development using this site.
  14. The Next 45 Years: Visit The Next 45 Years to learn about Lifehacking for the future.
  15. HackCollege: HackCollege features all of the hacks a college student might want to know about-from "college drinking games to study skills."
  16. Get Rich Slowly: JD at Get Rich Slowly has lots of great ideas and advice for DIY frugality.
  17. The Optimized Life: Use the tips you’ll find on this site to make your life the best it can be.
  18. Frugal Hacks: This site turns DIY into frugality.
  19. Zen Habits: Hack your life to zen with this site.
  20. LifeClever: This site is always helpful, whether they’re teaching you to organize your workspace or just find cheap gas.
  21. Mind Hacks: Get a look at what’s going on inside your mind, and take it to the next level with this site.
  22. Write to Done: Learn how to hack writing with this incredibly helpful blog.
  23. Wise Bread: Follow this site for great tips on DIY frugality.
  24. Biz Plan Hacks: Use the tips from this site to make life as a business owner easier.
  25. Christian Lifehacking: This blog features lifehack tips and tools focused on Christianity.
  26. Lifehack: Lifehack’s posts focus on organization, inspiration, and productivity.
  27. Study Hacks: This site offers lifehack advice for students.

General

Check out these sites to find anything and everything DIY.

  1. DIY Life: Check out DIY Life for projects ranging from tech to home improvement.
  2. wikiHow: Visit wikiHow to make use of the world’s largest collaborative how-to manual.
  3. Instructables: Find out how to do projects from your peers on Instructables.
  4. Hackszine: On Hackszine, you’ll find everything from Facebook to food.
  5. Hints-n-Tips: Check out this site to find practical information for just about every topic out there.
  6. SoYouWanna: Learn what you want to do on this advice site.
  7. ReadyMade: On ReadyMade, you’ll learn how to make items for your home and more.
  8. Daily DIY: Make and modify everyday items to create something great on this site.
  9. Do It 101: Check out this site to learn about gardening, technology, health, and more.
  10. ElephantStaircase: ElephantStaircase boasts a wiki as well as a number of different project pages.
  11. How To Do Things: Learn how to do things ranging from raising earthworms to how to buy sod.
  12. DIY Chatroom: Although this forum primarily focuses on home improvement, you’ll find great tips for computer repairs and upgrades as well as automotive repairs.
  13. The Do-It-Yourself Channel: Visit Propeller’s DIY channel to find instructional information from around the web.
  14. How2pointoh: Check out this blog for projects ranging from magnetic potholders to time lapsing.
  15. Wikia DIY Culture: Find arts, crafts, games, and lots more in this source.
  16. DIY Network: Find products, advice, and more for DIY projects through this network.
  17. HowStuffWorks: Although it’s not exclusively a how-to site, HowStuffWorks will give you the insight you need to complete your DIY projects.
  18. eHow: On this site, you’ll find out how to do nearly anything you can imagine.

100 Tiny Tips to Create and Maintain Loyal Customers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 4:27pm by Site Administrator

The struggle to attract and retain key customers is a constant one, but business owners and freelancers have lots of tools and resources to help them when marketing themselves and their businesses. Web-based solutions produce hassle-free services and efficient communication options, while networking events and online opportunities are perfect for making new contacts. This list is full of ideas to improve your branding techniques, e-mail etiquette, website design and other hacks to help you figure out ways to keep customers from flirting with the competition.

Where to Find Them

You’ll never beef up your client roster if you don’t know where to find new customers. Maintaining a presence on select sites and at certain events will increase your profile too.

  1. Conventions: Get yourself an invite to conventions that market to your target audience. Everyone’s already in the mood to network anyway. Just don’t forget to bring your business cards.
  2. Airports: If you travel on a week day, you’ll probably notice that a good percentage of your fellow passengers are business travelers. Strike up a conversation with someone about their business, and you may find yourself gaining access to a whole new demographic, region or industry.
  3. Volunteer events: Whether you’ve got your eye on snagging the nonprofit as a future client or just want to meet people from a range of backgrounds while showing off your community efforts, volunteer events and fundraisers are a great way to meet customers.
  4. LinkedIn: This popular social networking site connects professionals and alumni to forge profitable relationships.
  5. Ryze: Ryze "helps you expand your business network."
  6. Xing: Xing is a sleek social networking site that offers professional contact management, a business accelerator and other cool apps.
  7. Facebook: Get on Facebook to market yourself to a particular demographic, keep track of customers and set up groups.
  8. MeetUp: Members of this site organize get togethers based on interest and location.
  9. Chamber of Commerce: Visit your chamber of commerce to gain access to their business mailing lists. You’ll have names and contact information for some of the leading professionals in your area.
  10. Industry-related seminars: Even though you might think you wouldn’t be able to learn anything new from a seminar, attend anyway so that you can meet your target audience and offer them supplemental advice and services.
  11. Guru: Guru is an online "marketplace" for freelancers. You might be able to find new customers willing to trade services or share mailing lists.
  12. Elance: Elance is another freelancer-oriented site that connects business professionals and jump starts new partnerships.

Networking Tips

Once you’ve met your target audience, you’ve got a small window of opportunity to make an impression. Check out these networking tips that will make you and your business more attractive.

  1. Business cards: Never leave home without your business cards. Visit this site to design some for free.
  2. Pass out coupons: Attach a coupon to your business card to encourage future contact.
  3. Stand out: This post from Freelance Switch gives freelancers plenty of quality ideas for standing out in a competitive field.
  4. Host your own networking event: Under the guise of bringing together your friends and business associates, plan a happy hour to meet new customers for yourself.
  5. Pass out free stuff: This tip works especially well if you’re hosting the event. Pass out promotional items that boast your logo as prizes or to put in goody bags.
  6. Sponsor a contest: Sponsor a contest in your community that awards the winner a temporary gig designing one of your products or an invite at an industry-related convention. Write up a press release for the paper and advertise at schools, churches, community centers and more.
  7. Engage others: Whether it’s by introducing yourself to the "loners" or starting up a group conversation, bring different groups together. You’ll be remembered as someone who’s inclusive and knows a lot of people (even if you really don’t.)
  8. Make notes: Make plenty of notes to help you remember the people you meet. You can jot down a few key words on the back of someone’s business card which will give you something personal to say when you follow up.
  9. Know your competition: If you don’t know your competition ahead of time, you may wind up handing out coupons or pitching a project to the wrong person.
  10. Follow up: In the world of networking, the follow up is key. Send an e-mail, a coupon or a handwritten note.

Website Tricks

Make sure your website is user-friendly and attractive otherwise your future clients will leave you for someone sleeker and more organized.

  1. Update your blog: Your business blog keeps customers in the know about upcoming projects and the daily grind at your office. Use this guide to ensure maximum blog usability.
  2. Create a simple navigation system: Designing a clear, simple navigation system will help customers find out information about your company easily and quickly.
  3. Write an "about" page: Don’t forget to publish a short bio about yourself and the history of the company. Your new customers will want to do a background check before they enlist your services, and it’s best if they hear the truth from you.
  4. Link with CSS: The website NetMechanic.com encourages Web designers to set up their links with CSS. Follow the tutorial to find out how.
  5. Make searching for information easy: Include a search box that allows visitors to search for information and archives on your site easily.
  6. Give customers access to their own account information: Let your customers have secure, online access to their account information, including billing statements, deadlines, services requested and more.
  7. Set up 24/7 support: A live chat software program will give customers online support anytime they need it.
  8. Link your homepage to your logo: This tip isn’t just about website usability: any action you can take to promote your logo is a smart move.
  9. Advertise security: If you want customers to buy products from your website, you need to convince them that your site is secure.
  10. Encourage feedback: Set up a feedback form on your site to let your customers know you care what they think and are dedicated to making improvements.

Spoiling Them

There’s no better way to keep your clients loyal than to spoil them. From sending out a birthday surprise to sharing your contacts, check out this list of fresh ideas.

  1. Celebrate their anniversary: When a customer has reached the one year mark of doing business with you, give them a break on their monthly invoice or attach a free service or coupons to their regular services.
  2. Host free clinics and workshops: Educate your clients by offering them clinics and workshops that teach them how to perform simple tasks that you normally do for free anyway. Just don’t give away your major secrets!
  3. Remember their birthday: Send a perky e-mail or have flowers delivered to a customer’s office on their birthday. Chances are, everyone else will be doing the same thing, and if you don’t, you’ll stand out: in a bad way.
  4. Send a thank you gift when a customer renews a contract: Don’t act like a renewed contract is expected. Even if it’s coming from one of your most loyal customers, make it a big deal and take them out to a special lunch.
  5. Allow them to pre-order new services: If you’re about to launch a new product that will undoubtedly sell out, give your loyal customers first dibs. Let them pre-order the item or hold on to a few to send as gifts.
  6. Share your mailing list: You may not want to give out your top secret contacts, but sharing a few key e-mail addresses and phone numbers from your Rolodex will make them feel special. They may even return the favor.
  7. Nominate them for awards: Nominate your top clients for community awards to show off their business talents and community spirit. They won’t be able to thank you enough for the personal gratification and free PR.
  8. Provide plenty of perks: The next time someone sends you free tickets to the symphony or a heavily discounted reservation at a bed and breakfast, consider passing them on to your best customers.
  9. Give them space: Your customers might feel too pressured or overwhelmed if you’re constantly throwing specials and reminders in their face.
  10. Get personal: Blogger Eric J. Adams suggests cultivating a personal relationship with your customers in order to inspire loyalty. Keep it simple, though: Adams cautions, "don’t expect too much from your newfound intimacy; two minutes of chitchat will only go so far."
  11. Gift giving Dos and Don’ts: Before you shower your customer with gifts during holiday time, read this post to anticipate appropriate gift ideas.
  12. Make house calls: No, we don’t mean showing up to your customer’s house in the middle of the night with a contract that needs to be signed, but making occasional trips to their office to deliver confidential agreements will earn you brownie points.
  13. Emphasize quality: Always pledge to do whatever it takes to deliver quality products and services to your client. They’ll move on to the competition if you start offering defective merchandise, hiring lazy employees or missing deadlines.

Being Attentive

Customers like to assume that they’re your number one priority. Even if you’re juggling a large client roster, make sure to check in on each customer every once in a while to give them the personal attention they expect.

  1. Encourage partnerships: Put your clients in touch with each other and encourage them to make partnerships of their own. They’ll see you as a leader in your field and a "go to" person for meeting new people and starting up projects.
  2. Hand out your cell phone number: This isn’t always a smart idea, so make sure you give out your cell phone number to very close customers only. They’ll feel honored to have gotten such a sacred number.
  3. Send handwritten notes: Quick e-mails are okay, but if you really want to spoil your clients, send them a handwritten note as a follow up or to thank them for their business.
  4. Send out holiday greetings: Whether it’s a well-designed e-mail at Thanksgiving or a funny card for St. Patrick’s Day, show your clients that you care all year round.
  5. Follow up after a service call: After a customer receives a service from your company, make a phone call, send an e-mail or mail them a feedback form to find out if they’re satisfied with the results.
  6. Give them plenty of notice: If you’re going to be out of town or unavailable, let your clients know way ahead of time. Give them alternative contact numbers in case they have an emergency when you’re gone, and make sure they’re well taken care of before you take a vacation.
  7. Hire interns: If you can’t afford to hire a full-time employee to write thank you notes and monitor customer satisfaction, hire an intern to do the grunt work instead of failing to do it altogether.
  8. Design effective e-mail campaigns: Periodically send out well-designed e-mail campaigns to touch base with your customers, update them on specials and introduce them to new hires.
  9. Show them how current events affect their services: If the economy is bad, let your customers know how gas prices will affect your business or if you expect to cut back on certain goods and services. Giving your customers insight into how your business works will make them feel included.
  10. Communicate during a project: Give your customers updates regarding their project, especially if you think you might need more time on a deadline. They’ll be more understanding if you talk to them ahead of time than if you wait until you’re already behind schedule.
  11. Train employees to be customer service professionals: Even if you don’t have a separate customer service department, take the time to train your employees to work with your customers in a variety of crisis management situations and phone skills.
  12. Don’t go into hiding when a problem erupts: If you’re approached with a client problem, don’t stop answering the phones. Tackle the issue head on and take responsibility when necessary.
  13. Continue to make improvements: Asking for feedback isn’t any good if you don’t actually make improvements and listen to your customer’s complaints. Showing them results means showing them you care.
  14. Prioritize: Use a smart Web-based system like Neptune to help you prioritize and keep track of how much time you spend on each customer.

Exclusive Specials

Give your customers exclusive access to specials and deals they wouldn’t receive with any other business.

  1. Throw an annual party for your regulars: Everyone loves a party. Gather all your regular customers together and treat them to a special dinner. Better yet, invite them over to your home for a more intimate party.
  2. Go above and beyond: If you’re in the print making business and find out that your loyal customer’s daughter needs a sign for her softball championship, see if you can offer a discounted price for the job, or even design one for free.
  3. Give your customers VIP online access: When customers shop online, give them a special promo code or discount.
  4. Sign on specials: Award new customers with "sign on specials" after they make their first purchase. Give them a free gift or a discounted price for the first few months.
  5. Reward your best customers: Try out these ideas from Starbucks customer Ron Lieber, who suggests throwing members-only parties and offering free coffee.
  6. Customized gifts: Don’t limit yourself to creating promotional products for your business only. With a program like Qoop, you can create stickers, posters, keychains, calendars and more for your customers, featuring their business logo or photos from company events and fundraisers.
  7. Free upgrades: Whether or not it’s a special occasion, periodically reward special clients with free upgrades, like same day shipping or including bonus products.
  8. Offer reduced cost shipping: Give your frequent customers a break when it comes to shipping prices. E-mail them a members only code to enter into the online shopping register at checkout.
  9. Free samples: Free samples not only make your customers feel spoiled, they also promote a new product.

Hassle-Free Services

Making things easy for your customers will keep them coming back for more. From interactive calendars to quick and easy accounting software, these tools will make your business transactions run more smoothly.

  1. MOO: MOO lets you design promotional items and print images that will come in handy when you want to advertise a new product or send a greeting card.
  2. Harvest: This time tracking tool will help ensure that you don’t overcharge clients.
  3. Escrow: If you sell products from your website, use this program to protect yourself and your clients from fraud.
  4. Box: Keep all of your customers’ files safe by working with this Web-based file sharing system. You won’t have to worry about misplacing important documents or losing contracts anymore.
  5. BillMyClients.com: This user-friendly bill pay system sends invoices through e-mail or the USPS quickly and securely.
  6. FreshBooks: This popular online invoicing and time tracking system will help you manage your finances more accurately.
  7. Spongecell Calendar: Create and share a Web-based calendar so that you customers have easy access to your schedule.
  8. LogMeIn: Business owners can stay connected to their work and their customers by managing files, conducting online meetings and more with LogMeIn.
  9. PunchyTime: This time tracker offers an easy, fun way to keep track of your employee’s time as they network with clients, work on projects and even do business after hours.
  10. Breeze: Another way to keep in touch is to update your clients with e-mail campaigns designed with Breeze.
  11. Dimewise: This economical, remote access financial solution will allow you to organize invoices and reports securely and accurately.
  12. Veetro Help Desk Software: Set up your own help desk to assist customers with technical problems.
  13. Backpack: Backpack helps you "organize your business and share information with your team," including anxious customers who want up-to-date info. on their latest projects.
  14. Vstore: This free software gives business owners the tools they need to set up shop online. You can customize different designs to reflect your website’s theme and online store.
  15. Veetro Management Reports: This smart software program helps business owners create reports with "real-time statistical reporting on all aspects of…business performance." Your customers will love being able to access organized, accurate information about their accounts and your company.
  16. Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts so that you’ll be notified whenever one of your customers is featured in a story online. You can send them the link or congratulate them on the new press.

Effective, Convenient Communication

Keep your customers engaged by promoting effective, convenient communication. This list features Web conferencing tools, project management software and more.

  1. TokBox: Use this live video chat application to talk to your customers in real-time without having to drive to meetings.
  2. HyperOffice: Share files and receive customer input on special projects when you work with HyperOffice.
  3. activeCollab: This program helps you "eliminate stress" and "manage success." You’ll be able to involve your customers in whatever project you’re working on through customizable design options, website integration and more.
  4. ShareItNow 4.9.02: Use ShareItNow to share items on your desktop with clients for easy project management and collaboration.
  5. Zoho Web Conferencing: Instead of zooming all over town for different meetings, encourage your customers to use this simple Web conferencing solution.
  6. Campfire: Campfire is an application that features Web-based group chats, fire sharing and image sharing, so that you can work with customers online anytime.
  7. EyeOS: This open source tool goes beyond project management. Open up your operating system to customers and vendors, so that you can conduct meetings, design presentations and access all your files from any computer with an Internet connection.
  8. Skype: This popular online voice messaging service is great for quick communiques with customers.
  9. Meebo: Meebo combines your buddy lists from instant messaging services like AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk and others. You can log onto your account anywhere, not just your home computer.
  10. Basecamp: This popular application organizes all kinds of information and communication histories within your company and client list. It’s password protected, ensuring a secure system.
  11. Wikis: Set up a community portal for information sharing and open communication by creating wikis on your company website.
  12. Userplane: This collection of online communication applications includes a Webchat services, Mediaplayer and more, allowing you to chat via text, voice or video.
  13. Google Talk: This very simple instant communications solution is a popular Google app that has file transfer capabilities, Gmail notifications and more.
  14. Communication tips for the technology age: Review this post titled "Is it Time to Consider New Ways to Communicate?" to come up with cutting edge communication techniques for savvy customers.
  15. Don’t disappear on the weekends: If you’re the owner of a business, customers expect you to put in more time than your regular employees. Freelance Switch encourages you to "communicate promptly, even on the weekend."
  16. Brush up on e-mail etiquette: E-mail is becoming the official way to communicate in professional circles, and even if you think you have perfect grammar and plenty of tech savvy, your e-mail etiquette could need a makeover. Check here for tips.

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. Work@Home 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.

100 Niche Job Boards for Web Workers

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 6:26pm by Site Administrator

Looking for a job today is a frustrating, lonely process, even if you’ve got in-demand skills like Web design or networking capabilities. To make your job search a little less complicated, we’ve compiled this list of the top 100 niche job boards that will direct you to the best Web jobs out there. Online forums, staffing services, and government boards are just some of the resources that follow. Online Specific Boards

Your dream job could be just a click away! These websites are devoted to helping programmers, networkers, designers, system administrators, and other Web workers land the perfect job.

  1. 37signals: Employers such as The New York Times and American Express post Web jobs on this site.
  2. Google Directory: Google is now dipping into the job search industry. You can browse through job listings, job fairs, staffing services, or even brush up on your interview skills by reading tips from their team of experts.
  3. FreshWebJobs.com: Find full time, part time, or freelance work in Web design, development, or analysis.
  4. Read/Write Web Jobs: Search for Web jobs all over the world.
  5. Jobpile: Jobpile searches several other job boards for you, and then lists all the announcements that match your search.
  6. Authentic Jobs: Find full time or freelance job openings all over the country when you use this site.
  7. Krop.com: Krop’s simple layout makes finding a job easy, whether you’re looking in London, New York, or LA.
  8. MeFi Jobs: This online community allows members to share tips about new Web job openings, so you always get the inside scoop!
  9. Slashdot Jobs: New Web jobs are posted almost daily. Search by category or location to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  10. CSS Beauty: This job board is a partner of CSS Monster, which "was created to help bring Web Developers/Designers and employers together." This easy-to-navigate site features great jobs in North America and Europe.
  11. Coroflot: Coroflot posts tons of new jobs each day. Check back often or sign up to receive job alerts that will notify you when the type of job you’re looking for pops up.
  12. MinistryCamp Job Board: This job board is designed to help Web workers find job opportunities with churches and othe Christian organizations.
  13. Python Job Board: Detailed posts give information about each job description, the company, and contact directions.
  14. CrunchBoard: Excellent engineering, networking, and other Web job opportunities are posted daily on this site.
  15. GeekUp: Find jobs in "the UK’s Northwest" on this job board.
  16. Dice: Known as the "career hub for tech insiders," Dice lets you search for jobs based on location, skill, and keywords.
  17. ComputerJobs.com: Search hundreds of tech jobs all over the United States. This site also features an IT Resource page, where you can find links to special training programs, relocation info, and more.
  18. DevBistro: Search through directories that post tons of Web jobs daily.

Brick and Mortar Firms

These firms feature job boards posted on their Web sites but also have actual locations outside of cyberspace.

  1. EDI Specialists: This company is based in Massachusetts, but its online job board posts jobs all over the country.
  2. Web Analytics Association: This professional organization, headquarted in D.C., is a valuable source for job seekers.
  3. Winebego Inc.: Winebego, Inc. is located in New York City and has a large department dedicated to finding jobs and maintaining contacts in the technology industry.
  4. Reaction Search International: RSI has locations all over the world. Use their superior services to coordinate an efficient and effective job search.
  5. Bristol Associates, Inc. A large firm specializing in many different areas, Bristol Associates features many high profile jobs in the Web industry.
  6. Kelly Services: This global staffing agency has multiple offices on each continent.
  7. Design Group: Based in Canada, this firm’s website is a great resource for job seekers everywhere. Find engineering and design jobs in permanent or contract positions.
  8. Allyis: This company specializes in finding technology personnel and projects. Based in Washington State, they’re a great resource for anyone in the Northwest.
  9. AdJob.com Located in Ohio, this firm promises to find your specialty and match you with a great job.
  10. Systems Personnel Group, Inc. Multiple offices are located in Western New York, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Use this company to take advantage of their contacts with IT and other computer type businesses.
  11. GCS Recruitment: If you’re looking for an IT job in Europe, contact one of the GCS Recruitment offices to ensure a professional search.
  12. TekJobs.com Computer Recruiters: This California firm posts a wealth of Web jobs on its website, including employment opportunities for data and system administrators, software engineers, technical analysts, developers, and security specialists.
  13. Going Ware, Inc. If you’re looking for a job in Santa Cruz, CA, this is a great site to visit. Its computer industry index features employers and job opportunities in the following fields: programming, technical support, Web design, network administration, and more.
  14. SearchFirm.com: This website has its headquarters in New York City, but it connects searchers with jobs and firms all over the world.
  15. The Riley Guide: This Maryland-based search firm provides job seekers with a salary guide and a "how to" tutorial on job searching, as well as a comprehensive job board.

Job Boards Found on Blogs

Bloggers can earn extra cash by posting legitimate jobs on their site. Keep an eye on these blogs to get updates on new job announcements.

  1. Recruiting.com: This site posts articles and sponsors forums about all things related to the job search. Find Web-specific jobs on their job board.
  2. Australian Microsoft Recruitment Web Log: Even if you’re not looking to relocate to Australia, this blog gives readers insight into the recruitment process at Microsoft.
  3. Web Based Recruitment: Several online recruitment blogs are available to job seekers, or you can start your own to post your resume, reveal job openings, or connect with potential employers.
  4. Info World Blogs: This blog features IT and computer news and gossip, but it also has a section devoted to career information.
  5. Tech Crunch: This blog has forums and articles about the computer and technology worlds, but you should visit to check up on their job postings.
  6. Blog Job Board: Read about job boards and search employment opportunities in the Web industry.
  7. Job Board Link: This site hosts links to other job boards, making it an easy reference for job searching.
  8. Online Recruitment – The Bigger Picture: Otherwise known as "Tim’s Blog," this Web site discusses all aspects of online recruitment. Look for links to potential employers or recruitment agencies for personalized help with your search.
  9. Problogger: This blog features one of the most effective job boards on the Web. Browse through listings, which are updated nearly everyday.

Staffing Services and Recruiting Firms

Enlisting a little extra help from the experts is a smart move. Check out this list to see if any of the following staffing services have what you’re looking for.

  1. Web Analytics Demystified: This firm offers staffing support for the brightest Web workers, whether you’re just breaking into the industry or are a veteran looking for a change.
  2. Aquent:This staffing firm has a huge directory of jobs, including those in the Web industry.
  3. CyberCoders: This firm provides great support for Web workers looking for employment.
  4. CyberScientific: CyberScientific is affiliated with CyberCoders. Check out their site for even more postings and resources.
  5. Computer Management, Inc. The recruiters at Computer Management, Inc. "specialize in recruiting for database administration, network administrator and Web development placement."
  6. Spherion: This company boasts years of experience, making them one of the top go-to agencies for job searchers.
  7. Link Staffing Services: Find a job, improve your resume, and more, all on this helpful website.
  8. Executives on the Web: This "award winning global executive job board" supports job seekers all over the world. Check out their special IT department, which posts tons of technology jobs.
  9. Net-Job: Find Web and Internet jobs in the U.K. when you search the posts on this site.
  10. Datascope: This is another recruiting agency based in the United Kingdom. They find jobs in game programming and management, as well as in the internet and new media industries.
  11. Jobabode.com: Jobabode.com directs you to all kinds of Internet and IT jobs.
  12. Sampoorna Computer People: Search the job board to find some of the best IT jobs in India.
  13. Tech-Centric: Computer and other tech jobs are posted nearly every day on this website. Save appealing jobs in your own folder, post your resume, and register for automatic job alerts.
  14. Resumegator.com: This online recruiting agency connects job seekers with IT and computer jobs, as well as lets you take personality tests to find out what IT niche is the best fit for you.
  15. AllEmploymentAgencies.com: Specify your location and browse through the directory to find a multitude of employment agencies in your area.

Government Resources

Whether you’re looking for a job with the government or just want a little help from an agency you trust, these resources provide valuable information for job seekers.

  1. U.S. Dept. of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Learn what you can expect by pursuing a job in the Web industry. This site discusses working conditions, salary information, and the overall job outlook based on the current economy.
  2. GovJobs.com: Search for jobs with the government while you take advantage of relocation information, disability programs, and more.
  3. Military Connection: Research what it would be like to be a Web programmer for the United States military. Browse job opportunities with the navy, army, air force, coast guard, or marines.
  4. Government Job Search: This website posts lots of jobs in the IT field. Search by category or by state.
  5. Government Job Listings: This site will connect you to government jobs all over the country.
  6. Jobs in Government: Read this article to learn what to expect when you work for the government.
  7. The Book of U.S. Government Jobs: Read this book to find job listings and descriptions of Web industry job opportunities with the government.
  8. FedWorld.gov: This site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Find out where to search for jobs with the government, no matter where you are.
  9. "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government – 2007:" Read this article from U.S. News and World Report to discover where you might want to consider looking for a Web job.
  10. DisabilityInfo.gov: Learn about your rights as an employee with a disability.
  11. StudentJobs.gov: If you’re still in or just out of college, consider working as an intern for one of these high profile government agencies.
  12. Careers in Government: This site is an excellent resource for those who wish to puruse a career with the United States government.
  13. GovernmentJobs.com: Browse government jobs at the state and local level.
  14. GovernmentBids.com: Figure out how you, as a freelancer, can bid on government projects.

General Job Boards

These job boards post employment opportunities in many different industries, but their attention to Web-specific jobs is so extensive, we felt that we had to include them somewhere on our list!

  1. JobHuntersBible.com: Browse through a multitude of jobs, and get valuable tips on interviewing and resume writing.
  2. Creative Hotlist: This comprehensive job search site allows you to browse job postings by location and industry.
  3. Career.com: According to the homepage, Career.com is "the world’s first recruitment site." Apply for hundreds of Web-related jobs each day.
  4. Job Databases: This resource provides you with all the tools you need during your job search: job boards, links to employment agencies, and other tips to help you land your dream job.
  5. Job Central: Post your resume and wait for employers to contact you, or you can search jobs by U.S. state, metro area, or company name.
  6. Yahoo Hot Jobs: This popular site is bursting with technology job postings, resume tips, and other useful information.
  7. Monster.com: Organize your job search tools by setting up an account in which you can file away your favorite jobs and custom designed resumes.
  8. America’s Job Bank: This site is a great resource for finding websites, staffing agencies, and employers based on location.
  9. USA Jobs: Search IT and computer jobs on this website while reading articles about the different aspects of the hiring process.
  10. WSJ Career Journal: This "executive career site" is full of tools, tips, and job boards that will help you find the job you’ve been wanting. Take advantage of the salary search and career columnists pages.
  11. Craigslist: This famed site is great for finding jobs and housing all over the world.
  12. New York Times Job search: Search the extensive directory on the New York Times directory to find IT and other Web-related jobs.
  13. Jobs.Internet.com: Find tons of tech jobs that "you won’t find anywhere else."
  14. Business.com Job Directory: Click through the directory at Business.com to find internet jobs.
  15. Internet Job Store.com: This site is designed to help you easily and quickly search for jobs in the Web industry.
  16. TrueCareers.com: Post your resume, search for jobs by state, or catch up on industry news, all at TrueCareers.com.
  17. CareerSite.com: Find the jobs you want when you use this Web site for searching.
  18. Internet Career Connection: This site allows visitors to search for jobs and seek general career advice from experts.
  19. Top USA Jobs: "Where Top USA Talent Finds Top USA Jobs."
  20. WebReference.com: The job search directory is listed in alphabetical order, allowing you to search different job boards quickly.

Just for Freelancers

If you’d rather be your own boss, check out these job boards which cater exclusively to the freelance crowd.

  1. All Freelance: Find everything you need to know to be a successful freelancer. Browse jobs, read articles about tax law, and more.
  2. Go Freelance: Learn about freelancing marketing strategy and post your resume online.
  3. Elance: Elance is a great site for finding Web-related freelance jobs.
  4. Workaholics4Hire.com: Search jobs and read articles on evaluating your freelancing abilities.
  5. FreelanceSwitch: This networking community supports freelancers by posting writing, design, and programming jobs.
  6. "How to Win Contracts:" Read this article to improve your branding, marketing, and pitching skills.
  7. Guru.com: This Web site is great for freelancers looking to land top gigs.
  8. CSS Juice: This site provides links to other job boards, allowing you to compare and contrast easily.
  9. FreelanceJobSearch.com: Search by state to find loads of Web-related jobs.

This list will put you in contact with all the right resources during your job search. Link up with staffing services, check out recruitment blogs, or browse job postings on any one of these great sites.

100 Weird Facts About the Human Body

Friday, April 2, 2010 at 5:23pm by Site Administrator

The human body is an incredibly complex and intricate system, one that still baffles doctors and researchers on a regular basis despite thousands of years of medical knowledge. As a result, it shouldn’t be any surprise that even body parts and functions we deal with every day have bizarre or unexpected facts and explanations behind them. From sneezes to fingernail growth, here are 100 weird, wacky, and interesting facts about the human body.

The Brain

The human brain is the most complex and least understood part of the human anatomy. There may be a lot we don’t know, but here are a few interesting facts that we’ve got covered.

  1. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. Ever wonder how you can react so fast to things around you or why that stubbed toe hurts right away? It’s due to the super-speedy movement of nerve impulses from your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa, bringing reactions at the speed of a high powered luxury sports car.
  2. The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb. The cartoon image of a light bulb over your head when a great thought occurs isn’t too far off the mark. Your brain generates as much energy as a small light bulb even when you’re sleeping.
  3. The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. The National Archives of Britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.
  4. Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen that enters your bloodstream. The brain only makes up about 2% of our body mass, yet consumes more oxygen than any other organ in the body, making it extremely susceptible to damage related to oxygen deprivation. So breathe deep to keep your brain happy and swimming in oxygenated cells.
  5. The brain is much more active at night than during the day. Logically, you would think that all the moving around, complicated calculations and tasks and general interaction we do on a daily basis during our working hours would take a lot more brain power than, say, lying in bed. Turns out, the opposite is true. When you turn off your brain turns on. Scientists don’t yet know why this is but you can thank the hard work of your brain while you sleep for all those pleasant dreams.
  6. Scientists say the higher your I.Q. the more you dream. While this may be true, don’t take it as a sign you’re mentally lacking if you can’t recall your dreams. Most of us don’t remember many of our dreams and the average length of most dreams is only 2-3 seconds–barely long enough to register.
  7. Neurons continue to grow throughout human life. For years scientists and doctors thought that brain and neural tissue couldn’t grow or regenerate. While it doesn’t act in the same manner as tissues in many other parts of the body, neurons can and do grow throughout your life, adding a whole new dimension to the study of the brain and the illnesses that affect it.
  8. Information travels at different speeds within different types of neurons. Not all neurons are the same. There are a few different types within the body and transmission along these different kinds can be as slow as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec.
  9. The brain itself cannot feel pain. While the brain might be the pain center when you cut your finger or burn yourself, the brain itself does not have pain receptors and cannot feel pain. That doesn’t mean your head can’t hurt. The brain is surrounded by loads of tissues, nerves and blood vessels that are plenty receptive to pain and can give you a pounding headache.
  10. 80% of the brain is water. Your brain isn’t the firm, gray mass you’ve seen on TV. Living brain tissue is a squishy, pink and jelly-like organ thanks to the loads of blood and high water content of the tissue. So the next time you’re feeling dehydrated get a drink to keep your brain hydrated.

Hair and Nails

While they’re not a living part of your body, most people spend a good amount of time caring for their hair and nails. The next time you’re heading in for a haircut or manicure, think of these facts.

  1. Facial hair grows faster than any other hair on the body. If you’ve ever had a covering of stubble on your face as you’re clocking out at 5 o’clock you’re probably pretty familiar with this. In fact, if the average man never shaved his beard it would grow to over 30 feet during his lifetime, longer than a killer whale.
  2. Every day the average person loses 60-100 strands of hair. Unless you’re already bald, chances are good that you’re shedding pretty heavily on a daily basis. Your hair loss will vary in accordance with the season, pregnancy, illness, diet and age.
  3. Women’s hair is about half the diameter of men’s hair. While it might sound strange, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that men’s hair should be coarser than that of women. Hair diameter also varies on average between races, making hair plugs on some men look especially obvious.
  4. One human hair can support 3.5 ounces. That’s about the weight of two full size candy bars, and with hundreds of thousands of hairs on the human head, makes the tale of Rapunzel much more plausible.
  5. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger. And the nail on the middle finger of your dominant hand will grow the fastest of all. Why is not entirely known, but nail growth is related to the length of the finger, with the longest fingers growing nails the fastest and shortest the slowest.
  6. There are as many hairs per square inch on your body as a chimpanzee. Humans are not quite the naked apes that we’re made out to be. We have lots of hair, but on most of us it’s not obvious as a majority of the hairs are too fine or light to be seen.
  7. Blondes have more hair. They’re said to have more fun, and they definitely have more hair. Hair color determines how dense the hair on your head is. The average human has 100,000 hair follicles, each of which is capable of producing 20 individual hairs during a person’s lifetime. Blondes average 146,000 follicles while people with black hair tend to have about 110,000 follicles. Those with brown hair fit the average with 100,000 follicles and redheads have the least dense hair, with about 86,000 follicles.
  8. Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails. If you notice that you’re trimming your fingernails much more frequently than your toenails you’re not just imagining it. The nails that get the most exposure and are used most frequently grow the fastest. On average, nails on both the toes and fingers grow about one-tenth of an inch each month.
  9. The lifespan of a human hair is 3 to 7 years on average. While you quite a few hairs each day, your hairs actually have a pretty long life providing they aren’t subject to any trauma. Your hairs will likely get to see several different haircuts, styles, and even possibly decades before they fall out on their own.
  10. You must lose over 50% of your scalp hairs before it is apparent to anyone. You lose hundreds of hairs a day but you’ll have to lose a lot more before you or anyone else will notice. Half of the hairs on your pretty little head will have to disappear before your impending baldness will become obvious to all those around you.
  11. Human hair is virtually indestructible. Aside from it’s flammability, human hair decays at such a slow rate that it is practically non-disintegrative. If you’ve ever wondered how your how clogs up your pipes so quick consider this: hair cannot be destroyed by cold, change of climate, water, or other natural forces and it is resistant to many kinds of acids and corrosive chemicals.

Internal Organs

Though we may not give them much thought unless they’re bothering us, our internal organs are what allow us to go on eating, breathing and walking around. Here are some things to consider the next time you hear your stomach growl.

  1. The largest internal organ is the small intestine. Despite being called the smaller of the two intestines, your small intestine is actually four times as long as the average adult is tall. If it weren’t looped back and forth upon itself it wouldn’t fit inside the abdominal cavity.
  2. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. No wonder you can feel your heartbeat so easily. Pumping blood through your body quickly and efficiently takes quite a bit of pressure resulting in the strong contractions of the heart and the thick walls of the ventricles which push blood to the body.
  3. The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razorblades. While you certainly shouldn’t test the fortitude of your stomach by eating a razorblade or any other metal object for that matter, the acids that digest the food you eat aren’t to be taken lightly. Hydrochloric acid, the type found in your stomach, is not only good at dissolving the pizza you had for dinner but can also eat through many types of metal.
  4. The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels. To put that in perspective, the distance around the earth is about 25,000 miles, making the distance your blood vessels could travel if laid end to end more than two times around the earth.
  5. You get a new stomach lining every three to four days. The mucus-like cells lining the walls of the stomach would soon dissolve due to the strong digestive acids in your stomach if they weren’t constantly replaced. Those with ulcers know how painful it can be when stomach acid takes its toll on the lining of your stomach.
  6. The surface area of a human lung is equal to a tennis court. In order to more efficiently oxygenate the blood, the lungs are filled with thousands of branching bronchi and tiny, grape-like alveoli. These are filled with microscopic capillaries which oxygen and carbon dioxide. The large amount of surface area makes it easier for this exchange to take place, and makes sure you stay properly oxygenated at all times.
  7. Women’s hearts beat faster than men’s.The main reason for this is simply that on average women tend to be smaller than men and have less mass to pump blood to. But women’s and men’s hearts can actually act quite differently, especially when experiencing trauma like a heart attack, and many treatments that work for men must be adjusted or changed entirely to work for women.
  8. Scientists have counted over 500 different liver functions. You may not think much about your liver except after a long night of drinking, but the liver is one of the body’s hardest working, largest and busiest organs. Some of the functions your liver performs are: production of bile, decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, and detoxification.
  9. The aorta is nearly the diameter of a garden hose. The average adult heart is about the size of two fists, making the size of the aorta quite impressive. The artery needs to be so large as it is the main supplier of rich, oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
  10. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart. For most people, if they were asked to draw a picture of what the lungs look like they would draw both looking roughly the same size. While the lungs are fairly similar in size, the human heart, though located fairly centrally, is tilted slightly to the left making it take up more room on that side of the body and crowding out that poor left lung.
  11. You could remove a large part of your internal organs and survive. The human body may appear fragile but it’s possible to survive even with the removal of the stomach, the spleen, 75 percent of the liver, 80 percent of the intestines, one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from the pelvic and groin area. You might not feel too great, but the missing organs wouldn’t kill you.
  12. The adrenal glands change size throughout life. The adrenal glands, lying right above the kidneys, are responsible for releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In the seventh month of a fetus’ development, the glands are roughly the same size as the kidneys. At birth, the glands have shrunk slightly and will continue to do so throughout life. In fact, by the time a person reaches old age, the glands are so small they can hardly be seen.

Bodily Functions

We may not always like to talk about them, but everyone has to deal with bodily functions on a daily basis. These are a few facts about the involuntary and sometimes unpleasant actions of our bodies.

  1. Sneezes regularly exceed 100 mph. There’s a good reason why you can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze–that sneeze is rocketing out of your body at close to 100 mph. This is, of course, a good reason to cover your mouth when you sneeze.
  2. Coughs clock in at about 60 mph. Viruses and colds get spread around the office and the classroom quickly during cold and flu season. With 60 mph coughs spraying germs far and wide, it’s no wonder.
  3. Women blink twice as many times as men do. That’s a lot of blinking every day. The average person, man or woman, blinks about 13 times a minute.
  4. A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball. No wonder you have to run to bathroom when you feel the call of the wild. The average bladder holds about 400-800 cc of fluid but most people will feel the urge to go long before that at 250 to 300 cc.
  5. Approximately 75% of human waste is made of water. While we might typically think that urine is the liquid part of human waste products, the truth is that what we consider solid waste is actually mostly water as well. You should be thankful that most waste is fairly water-filled, as drier harder stools are what cause constipation and are much harder and sometimes painful to pass.
  6. Feet have 500,000 sweat glands and can produce more than a pint of sweat a day. With that kind of sweat-producing power it’s no wonder that your gym shoes have a stench that can peel paint. Additionally, men usually have much more active sweat glands than women.
  7. During your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools. Saliva plays an important part in beginning the digestive process and keeping the mouth lubricated, and your mouth produces quite a bit of it on a daily basis.
  8. The average person expels flatulence 14 times each day. Even if you’d like to think you’re too dignified to pass gas, the reality is that almost everyone will at least a few times a day. Digestion causes the body to release gases which can be painful if trapped in the abdomen and not released.
  9. Earwax production is necessary for good ear health. While many people find earwax to be disgusting, it’s actually a very important part of your ear’s defense system. It protects the delicate inner ear from bacteria, fungus, dirt and even insects. It also cleans and lubricates the ear canal.

Sex and Reproduction

As taboo as it may be in some places, sex is an important part of human life as a facet of relationships and the means to reproduce. Here are a few things you might not have known.

  1. On any given day, sexual intercourse takes place 120 million times on earth. Humans are a quickly proliferating species, and with about 4% of the world’s population having sex on any given day, it’s no wonder that birth rates continue to increase in many places all over the world.
  2. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. While you can’t see skin cells or muscle cells, the ovum is typically large enough to be seen with the naked eye with a diameter of about a millimeter. The sperm cell, on the other hand, is tiny, consisting of little more than nucleus.
  3. The three things pregnant women dream most of during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings, cravings and many other unexpected changes. Oddly enough, hormones can often affect the types of dreams women have and their vividness. The most common are these three types, but many women also dream of water, giving birth or even have violent or sexually charged dreams.
  4. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born. While few babies are born with teeth in place, the teeth that will eventually push through the gums of young children are formed long before the child even leaves the womb. At 9 to 12 weeks the fetus starts to form the teeth buds that will turn into baby teeth.
  5. Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason behind this is the pigment melanin. The melanin in a newborn’s eyes often needs time after birth to be fully deposited or to be darkened by exposure to ultraviolet light, later revealing the baby’s true eye color.
  6. Babies are, pound for pound, stronger than an ox. While a baby certainly couldn’t pull a covered wagon at its present size, if the child were the size of an oxen it just might very well be able to. Babies have especially strong and powerful legs for such tiny creatures, so watch out for those kicks.
  7. One out of every 2,000 newborn infants has a tooth when they are born. Nursing mothers may cringe at this fact. Sometimes the tooth is a regular baby tooth that has already erupted and sometimes it is an extra tooth that will fall out before the other set of choppers comes in.
  8. A fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months. When only a small fraction of the way through its development, a fetus will have already developed one of the most unique human traits: fingerprints. At only 6-13 weeks of development, the whorls of what will be fingerprints have already developed. Oddly enough, those fingerprints will not change throughout the person’s life and will be one of the last things to disappear after death.
  9. Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell. All life has to begin somewhere, and even the largest humans spent a short part of their lives as a single celled organism when sperm and egg cells first combine. Shortly afterward, the cells begin rapidly dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.
  10. Most men have erections every hour to hour and a half during sleep. Most people’s bodies and minds are much more active when they’re sleeping than they think. The combination of blood circulation and testosterone production can cause erections during sleep and they’re often a normal and necessary part of REM sleep.

Senses

The primary means by which we interact with the world around us is through our senses. Here are some interesting facts about these five sensory abilities.

  1. After eating too much, your hearing is less sharp. If you’re heading to a concert or a musical after a big meal you may be doing yourself a disservice. Try eating a smaller meal if you need to keep your hearing pitch perfect.
  2. About one third of the human race has 20-20 vision. Glasses and contact wearers are hardly alone in a world where two thirds of the population have less than perfect vision. The amount of people with perfect vision decreases further as they age.
  3. If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it. In order for foods, or anything else, to have a taste, chemicals from the substance must be dissolved by saliva. If you don’t believe it, try drying off your tongue before tasting something.
  4. Women are born better smellers than men and remain better smellers over life. Studies have shown that women are more able to correctly pinpoint just what a smell is. Women were better able to identify citrus, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee smells. While women are overall better smellers, there is an unfortunate 2% of the population with no sense of smell at all.
  5. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents. While a bloodhound’s nose may be a million times more sensitive than a human’s, that doesn’t mean that the human sense of smell is useless. Humans can identify a wide variety of scents and many are strongly tied to memories.
  6. Even small noises cause the pupils of the eyes to dilate. It is believed that this is why surgeons, watchmakers and others who perform delicate manual operations are so bothered by uninvited noise. The sound causes their pupils to change focus and blur their vision, making it harder to do their job well.
  7. Everyone has a unique smell, except for identical twins. Newborns are able to recognize the smell of their mothers and many of us can pinpoint the smell of our significant others and those we are close to. Part of that smell is determined by genetics, but it’s also largely do to environment, diet and personal hygiene products that create a unique chemistry for each person.

Aging and Death

From the very young to the very old, aging is a necessary and unavoidable part of life. Learn about the process with these interesting, if somewhat strange facts.

  1. The ashes of a cremated person average about 9 pounds. A big part of what gives the human body weight is the water trapped in our cells. Once cremated, that water and a majority of our tissues are destroyed, leaving little behind.
  2. Nails and hair do not continue to grow after we die. They do appear longer when we die, however, as the skin dehydrates and pulls back from the nail beds and scalp.
  3. By the age of 60, most people will have lost about half their taste buds. Perhaps you shouldn’t trust your grandma’s cooking as much as you do. Older individuals tend to lose their ability to taste, and many find that they need much more intense flavoring in order to be able to fully appreciate a dish.
  4. Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing. When babies look up at you with those big eyes, they’re the same size that they’ll be carrying around in their bodies for the rest of their lives. Their ears and nose, however, will grow throughout their lives and research has shown that growth peaks in seven year cycles.
  5. By 60 years of age, 60-percent of men and 40-percent of women will snore. If you’ve ever been kept awake by a snoring loved one you know the sound can be deafening. Normal snores average around 60 decibels, the noise level of normal speech, intense snores can reach more than 80 decibels, the approximate level caused by a jackhammer breaking up concrete.
  6. A baby’s head is one-quarter of it’s total length, but by age 25 will only be one-eighth of its total length. As it turns out, our adorably oversized baby heads won’t change size as drastically as the rest of our body. The legs and torso will lengthen, but the head won’t get much longer.

Disease and Injury

Most of us will get injured or sick at some point in our lives. Here are some facts on how the human body reacts to the stresses and dangers from the outside world.

  1. Monday is the day of the week when the risk of heart attack is greatest. Yet another reason to loathe Mondays! A ten year study in Scotland found that 20% more people die of heart attacks on Mondays than any other day of the week. Researchers theorize that it’s a combination of too much fun over the weekend with the stress of going back to work that causes the increase.
  2. Humans can make do longer without food than sleep. While you might feel better prepared to stay up all night partying than to give up eating, that feeling will be relatively short lived. Provided there is water, the average human could survive a month to two months without food depending on their body fat and other factors. Sleep deprived people, however, start experiencing radical personality and psychological changes after only a few sleepless days. The longest recorded time anyone has ever gone without sleep is 11 days, at the end of which the experimenter was awake, but stumbled over words, hallucinated and frequently forgot what he was doing.
  3. A simple, moderately severe sunburn damages the blood vessels extensively. How extensively? Studies have shown that it can take four to fifteen months for them to return to their normal condition. Consider that the next time you’re feeling too lazy to apply sunscreen before heading outside.
  4. Over 90% of diseases are caused or complicated by stress. That high stress job you have could be doing more than just wearing you down each day. It could also be increasing your chances of having a variety of serious medical conditions like depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  5. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it is been decapitated. While it might be gross to think about, the blood in the head may be enough to keep someone alive and conscious for a few seconds after the head has been separated from the body, though reports as to the accuracy of this are widely varying.

Muscles and Bones

Muscles and Bones provide the framework for our bodies and allow us to jump, run or just lie on the couch. Here are a few facts to ponder the next time you’re lying around.

  1. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Unless you’re trying to give your face a bit of a workout, smiling is a much easier option for most of us. Anyone who’s ever scowled, squinted or frowned for a long period of time knows how it tires out the face which doesn’t do a thing to improve your mood.
  2. Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood the number is reduced to 206. The reason for this is that many of the bones of children are composed of smaller component bones that are not yet fused like those in the skull. This makes it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal. The bones harden and fuse as the children grow.
  3. We are about 1 cm taller in the morning than in the evening. The cartilage between our bones gets compressed by standing, sitting and other daily activities as the day goes on, making us just a little shorter at the end of the day than at the beginning.
  4. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue. While you may not be able to bench press much with your tongue, it is in fact the strongest muscle in your body in proportion to its size. If you think about it, every time you eat, swallow or talk you use your tongue, ensuring it gets quite a workout throughout the day.
  5. The hardest bone in the human body is the jawbone. The next time someone suggests you take it on the chin, you might be well advised to take their advice as the jawbone is one of the most durable and hard to break bones in the body.
  6. You use 200 muscles to take one step. Depending on how you divide up muscle groups, just to take a single step you use somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 muscles. That’s a lot of work for the muscles considering most of us take about 10,000 steps a day.
  7. The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself. If you’ve ever chipped a tooth you know just how sadly true this one is. The outer layer of the tooth is enamel which is not a living tissue. Since it’s not alive, it can’t repair itself, leaving your dentist to do the work instead.
  8. It takes twice as long to lose new muscle if you stop working out than it did to gain it. Lazy people out there shouldn’t use this as motivation to not work out, however. It’s relatively easy to build new muscle tissue and get your muscles in shape, so if anything, this fact should be motivation to get off the couch and get moving.
  9. Bone is stronger than some steel. This doesn’t mean your bones can’t break of course, as they are much less dense than steel. Bone has been found to have a tensile strength of 20,000 psi while steel is much higher at 70,000 psi. Steel is much heavier than bone, however, and pound for pound bone is the stronger material.
  10. The feet account for one quarter of all the human body’s bones. You may not give your feet much thought but they are home to more bones than any other part of your body. How many? Of the two hundred or so bones in the body, the feet contain a whopping 52 of them.

Microscopic Level

Much of what takes place in our bodies happens at a level that we simply can’t see with the naked eye. These facts will show you that sometimes that might be for the best.

  1. About 32 million bacteria call every inch of your skin home. Germaphobes don’t need to worry however, as a majority of these are entirely harmless and some are even helpful in maintaining a healthy body.
  2. Humans shed and regrow outer skin cells about every 27 days. Skin protects your delicate internal organs from the elements and as such, dries and flakes off completely about once a month so that it can maintain its strength. Chances are that last month’s skin is still hanging around your house in the form of the dust on your bookshelf or under the couch.
  3. Three hundred million cells die in the human body every minute. While that sounds like a lot, it’s really just a small fraction of the cells that are in the human body. Estimates have placed the total number of cells in the body at 10-50 trillion so you can afford to lose a few hundred million without a hitch.
  4. Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour. You may not think much about losing skin if yours isn’t dry or flaky or peeling from a sunburn, but your skin is constantly renewing itself and shedding dead cells.
  5. Every day an adult body produces 300 billion new cells. Your body not only needs energy to keep your organs up and running but also to constantly repair and build new cells to form the building blocks of your body itself.
  6. Every tongue print is unique. If you’re planning on committing a crime, don’t think you’ll get away with leaving a tongue print behind. Each tongue is different and yours could be unique enough to finger you as the culprit.
  7. Your body has enough iron in it to make a nail 3 inches long. Anyone who has ever tasted blood knows that it has a slightly metallic taste. This is due to the high levels of iron in the blood. If you were to take all of this iron out of the body, you’d have enough to make a small nail and very severe anemia.
  8. The most common blood type in the world is Type O. Blood banks find it valuable as it can be given to those with both type A and B blood. The rarest blood type, A-H or Bombay blood due to the location of its discovery, has been found in less than hundred people since it was discovered.
  9. Human lips have a reddish color because of the great concentration of tiny capillaries just below the skin. The blood in these capillaries is normally highly oxygenated and therefore quite red. This explains why the lips appear pale when a person is anemic or has lost a great deal of blood. It also explains why the lips turn blue in very cold weather. Cold causes the capillaries to constrict, and the blood loses oxygen and changes to a darker color.

Miscellaneous

Here are a few things you might not have known about all different parts of your anatomy.

  1. The colder the room you sleep in, the better the chances are that you’ll have a bad dream. It isn’t entirely clear to scientists why this is the case, but if you are opposed to having nightmares you might want to keep yourself a little toastier at night.
  2. Tears and mucus contain an enzyme (lysozyme) that breaks down the cell wall of many bacteria. This is to your advantage, as the mucus that lines your nose and throat, as well as the tears that wet your eyes are helping to prevent bacteria from infecting those areas and making you sick.
  3. Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil. If you’ve seen the Matrix you are aware of the energy potentially generated by the human body. Our bodies expend a large amount of calories keeping us at a steady 98.6 degrees, enough to boil water or even cook pasta.
  4. Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. The chemicals and hormones released when you are afraid could be having unseen effects on your body in the form of earwax. Studies have suggested that fear causes the ears to produce more of the sticky substance, though the reasons are not yet clear.
  5. It is not possible to tickle yourself. Even the most ticklish among us do not have the ability to tickle ourselves. The reason behind this is that your brain predicts the tickle from information it already has, like how your fingers are moving. Because it knows and can feel where the tickle is coming from, your brain doesn’t respond in the same way as it would if someone else was doing the tickling.
  6. The width of your armspan stretched out is the length of your whole body. While not exact down to the last millimeter, your armspan is a pretty good estimator of your height.
  7. Humans are the only animals to produce emotional tears. In the animal world, humans are the biggest crybabies, being the only animals who cry because they’ve had a bad day, lost a loved one, or just don’t feel good.
  8. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. This doesn’t have a genetic basis, but is largely due to the fact that a majority of the machines and tools we use on a daily basis are designed for those who are right handed, making them somewhat dangerous for lefties to use and resulting in thousands of accidents and deaths each year.
  9. Women burn fat more slowly than men, by a rate of about 50 calories a day. Most men have a much easier time burning fat than women. Women, because of their reproductive role, generally require a higher basic body fat proportion than men, and as a result their bodies don’t get rid of excess fat at the same rate as men.
  10. Koalas and primates are the only animals with unique fingerprints. Humans, apes and koalas are unique in the animal kingdom due to the tiny prints on the fingers of their hands. Studies on primates have suggested that even cloned individuals have unique fingerprints.
  11. The indentation in the middle of the area between the nose and the upper lip has a name. It is called the philtrum. Scientists have yet to figure out what purpose this indentation serves, though the ancient Greeks thought it to be one of the most erogenous places on the body.
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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.

50 Professional Networks for Freelancers

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 3:39pm by Site Administrator

When you’re going it alone, it’s vitally important that you get support. The best way to do that in business is to join a professional network. Whether you’re a writer or an accountant, you’re sure to find help in these groups.

Business

If your freelance work relies on business, get connected in these networks.

  1. AccountantsWorld: Freelance accountants can get great deals, news, and lots more from this organization.
  2. Association of Executive Search Consultants: If you’re an executive search freelancer, check out this association.
  3. Direct Marketing Association: Stay relevant and successful with this association.
  4. Association for Financial Professionals: If you’re a freelancer in treasury and cash management or corporate finance, this is the place for you.
  5. United Professional Sales Association: With this network, you’ll get education, a great community, and more.
  6. Institute of Chartered Accountants: Accountants in England and Wales can enjoy this association’s professional development, referrals, and more.
  7. AIPMM: International product marketers should join this network for education, connections, and more.

Technology

The technologically-inclined will fit in great with these networks.

  1. AIGA: Join this professional association to get access to ideas, information, education, and so much more.
  2. Mediabistro: Find jobs, education, news, and lots more on mediabistro.
  3. Association for Computing Machinery: This association offers publications, career resources, and more for freelancers in the advanced computing profession.
  4. The Usability Professionals’ Association: Check out this network’s job bank, exhibits, and more.
  5. Six Apart: Learn how to get more out of your Six Apart blogging platforms and more in this network.
  6. leniche Digital Media: Find tutorials, jobs, and more with this freelance community.
  7. Acoustical Society of America: This acoustics society represents professionals in engineering, robotics, music, psychology, and more.
  8. National Association of Science Writers: Get help with contracts, query letters, and more with this association.
  9. IEEE: This leading technology association offers conferences, publications, education, career assistance and more to freelance technology professionals.
  10. Association of Information Technology Professionals: If you’re an IT professional, be sure to check out this group.
  11. TalkFreelance: In this web development community, you can take advantage of their marketplace, get help, and more.
  12. Graphic Artists Guild: Check out this guild to learn, get jobs, and more.
  13. British Computer Society: British IT Professionals can join this organization for qualifications, development, and more.
  14. Digital Media Association: Stay on top of issues, events, and much more with this community.

Arts

Whether you’re an artist of language or canvas, these groups are great for networking.

  1. International Freelance Photographers Organization: Register with IFPO for credentials, education, and assignments.
  2. The Association of Illustrators: Freelance illustrators should check out this organization for resources, news, and more.
  3. Jewelry Design Professionals’ Network: Share ideas, interaction, and more with this network for professional jewelry designers.
  4. Wedding and Portrait Photographers International: Here you’ll get access to programs, services and more aimed at wedding and portrait photographers.
  5. Writers-Editors Network: Get resources, inspiration, work, and more from this network.
  6. TEFL: Use this network of English language teaching professionals to find a job, guidance, and more.
  7. The Illustrators’ Partnership of America: Join this partnership to get great resources and more.
  8. Photo Marketing Association International: Look to PMAI for conventions, news, and much more.
  9. Society of Professional Journalists: Get in this network’s directory, use their tools, and connect with others.
  10. Freelance Business and Technology Writers Association: Stay on top of news, resources, and more with this association.
  11. Freelance Artists Network: In this network, you’ll join the ranks of talented freelance artists in the fields of portraiture, fine arts, and more.
  12. Editorial Freelancers Association: This network is full of resources, jobs, and more.
  13. Professional Photographers of America: One of the largest professional photography associations, this group will help you find resources, education, and more.

General

These networks are open to just about any freelancer who will join them.

  1. Freelancers.net: Find jobs and more on this UK-centric freelancing network.
  2. LinkedIn: This professional networking site is great for freelancers in any field.
  3. Freelancers Union: Get connected, take action, and even get insurance from this union.
  4. Orkut: Connect with business contacts and more on this networking site.
  5. Minority Professional Network: This network offers a connection for job seeking, promotion, and more.
  6. Freelance Nation: Here you’ll find jobs, business management resources, and much more.
  7. Freelance Community of Interest: Check out this freelancing community for court reporters.
  8. IMDiversity: This professional network for minorities will help you get connected with opportunities.
  9. Ecademy: On Ecademy, you’ll meet new contacts, get business support, and more.
  10. FreelanceSwitch: Get advice, community support, and more from this network and blog.
  11. Freelance Mom Network: Join this community of mothers and entrepreneurs for guidance and more.
  12. Business Know-How: Network, find suppliers, and more in this small business network.
  13. iHispano: Get tools for finding opportunities and more with this network.
  14. Xing: Join this network to put the six degrees of separation theory into practice.
  15. Ryze: Reconnect with friends and business acquaintances with this network.
  16. Your local chamber of commerce: When you’re trying to establish yourself in your local area, perhaps the best network is the one in your own backyard.

10 Resources to Help you Find and Purchase Blood-Free Diamonds

Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 6:29pm by Site Administrator

These days, diamond buyers have another "C" to add to cut, color, clarity, and carat. The fifth "C" centers on conflict, a detail that relates to the sale of diamonds sold to fund conflict or war. These resources offer lots of information, ranging from overviews to specific questions you can ask, as well as reputable jewelers that support conflict-free diamond trade.

  1. What is a Conflict Diamond?: This resource from Stop Blood Diamonds gives a general introduction to the world of blood diamonds. You’ll find out exactly where the money goes and get a quick background about the steps being taken to stop the sale of blood diamonds.
  2. A Shopping Guide on Conflict Diamonds: This guide offers an overview of conflict diamonds, efforts to stop the trade, and what you can do to avoid buying a blood diamond yourself.
  3. Stop Blood Diamonds Registered Members: Through this directory, you can find a number of diamond service members that are against blood diamonds. They support the Kimberley Process and provide clear information regarding a diamond’s history. These include sellers, appraisers, cutters, and more.
  4. Kimberley Process FAQs: One of the best ways to avoid buying a conflict diamond is to familiarize yourself with the Kimberley Process. This document explains the process and offers questions that reputable jewelers should be able to answer with regard to their diamonds.
  5. Stop Blood Diamonds: This resource describes a few of the things you should look for in a reputable jeweler. It also offers a couple of important questions to ask. Additionally, it offers a link to a brochure with even more helpful information.
  6. How to Avoid Buying a Conflict Diamond: This guide highlights Canadian diamonds as one alternative to blood diamonds.
  7. Brilliant Earth: This retailer sells only conflict-free diamonds from Canada. They even donate 5% of their profits to African communities affected by conflict diamonds. Additionally, Brilliant Earth makes an effort to use renewed gold, which protects the earth from destructive gold mining.
  8. Amnesty International Diamond Buyers Guide: Check out this guide to buying a conflict-free diamond from Amnesty International. You’ll find interesting statistics, questions to ask, and links to more resources.
  9. Man-made Diamonds: A Girl’s New Best Friend?: This article discusses the entry of man-made diamonds into the market. These diamonds are real, but grown in labs in just a few days rather than mined. This is achieved by recreating the conditions that mined diamonds are created in. These diamonds sell for about 30% less than mined diamonds, and can be color or size matched. And obviously, you know they haven’t supported war or terrorism on the other side of the world.
  10. Leber Jeweler: Leber Jeweler sells socially-conscious and eco-friendly pieces of jewelry. Their repertoire includes Canadian diamonds, fair trade gemstones, and recycled metals. Each diamond is etched and comes with a certificate stating its origin.
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