Entrepreneurs & Freelancers: Add More Value or Find Another Job

Posted by Harshad

Entrepreneurs & Freelancers: Add More Value or Find Another Job

Entrepreneurs & Freelancers: Add More Value or Find Another Job

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 07:01 AM PST

Everything changes. Change is the only constant in this Universe said Heraclitus of Ephesus. It’s funny how something talked about 2,500 years ago still isn’t understood by the majority of people. If you’re trying to succeed in business, whether you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur, your first objective is growth.

You can grow your business from nothing to something by making the one and only constant, change, work for you, not against you. When trying to take advantage of the ever-canging nature of the business world, the MEV factor is key. Each person you come in contact with has a Minimum Expected Value or MEV they want to gain from interacting with you.

Even if the person is unaware that he has this expectation, the factor is there. Being aware of each person's MEV factor is crucial. Here's why.

There is no job security

If you have a job, you’re in danger of losing it each and every day. No matter how your boss talks to you, no matter how great your team thinks you are, no matter how long you’ve been there. No matter how much value, money or clients you've brought to the company in the past. There is no such thing as a secure job. Don’t believe the hype.

In yesterday’s world, maybe. Today? Forget it. You’re only as valuable as your current work is to the company.

If you add more than your job’s MEV factor to your work, you're safe. Your boss will fight to keep you when the company is going through a rough time. As long as the entire ship i.e. the company, doesn’t somehow sink, you’ll be fine. Your job is secure.

So add more effort and quality to your work than your job description's MEV, and you'll have a secure job. Do more than is asked of you. That's how you get the universe (aka change) to work for you, not against you.

Or go find another job.

There is no client fidelization

Your client will cheat on you if you aren't satisfying them. Yup, you heard me right. There is no such thing as a faithful client. And there shouldn’t be. The world is too competitive for that.
If you’re a freelancer or running your own business and you're working with clients, understand this: the moment your work quality is equal to the client’s MEV factor, you’re in danger of losing that client.

Say you’re a mobile developer, working as a freelancer. You have a client with whom you’ve done business and developed a bunch of apps. You already know he’s very pleased with what you’re doing for him.

Tables Turn Quickly

However, if the next app is poorly coded, and starts to crash on certain devices, you’ll see yourself losing that client. If not on strike one, be sure that strike two will make him ask around for another developer.

Realistically speaking, once you set the bar to a certain point, you can’t go back. Ever. In business, your future is determined by what you are doing now. Your core client base can shrink in a matter of days if you stop bringing more than what those clients are expecting.

The key is adding more value to people’s lives. Offering more than is expected of you. Trying to go beyond your requirements. Pushing yourself harder than your client, your boss, your colleagues. Then you’ll be unstoppable.

The Shark Story

It's a shark-eat-shark world out there. It’s a know fact that some sharks (the obligate ram breathers) will die if they don’t keep swimming. The Great White Shark, the most well known of all 400 sharks species, is a good example. This guy would literally choke to death if he were to stop, because his breathing depends on him moving forward in the water.

If you are in business for yourself, either as a freelancer or as an entrepreneur, you are a shark. That is to say you will also "die" if you aren’t moving. There is no auto-pilot for this. Your business will die if you are not constantly growing it. Just keeping your current numbers for your business requires effort.

Growth has got to be your reflex. Adding more value to your clients is the result. Did you know that, probability-wise, you are more likely to be bitten by another person than a shark? It's a competitive jungle out there and adding more value to everyone is how you survive.

It’s also true and worth noting that there are some less evolved species of sharks, with inactive lifestyles, who just lie on the bottom of the ocean and breathe by buccal pumping. They can live by standing still, because they're already on the bottom. It's a sad shark’s life down there in the dark. Make sure you aren't a buccal pumping low-life.

becoming a Great White

So I've convinced you to add more value? Ok. Let’s take the mobile developer example again to showcase the growth principles required.

Constant improvement

You should read everything you can get your hands on. From mobile design tutorials to mobile JQuery implementation, just one new thing learned about your craft each day will put you in a secure place with your clients.

Constant research

Your scripts aren’t perfect. There is room for optimization of algorithms in any code, even human DNA. So don’t be too self-defensive about your work. If you have friends or colleagues who are experts in the same field, ask as many questions as possible about your work. Consult with anyone who knows what their are talking about.

Just one single improvement made to your skill from talking to a dozen people means you’ve grown.

Constant feedback

Interacting with clients is huge. Understanding their changing needs for each project. Have your clients complete surveys. Your work should be much like wine is – it grows better, every day.

Wrap Up

The 3 steps above apply to any sort of shark, whether an entrepreneur, a freelancer or just a free spirit currently working for somebody else. Do you think that these principles and the MEV factor apply only to business world or could these work in other areas of your life?


10 WhatsApp Tips And Tricks That You Should Know

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 05:01 AM PST

When Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1 billion, the media went nuts. But that was nothing compared to what Facebook bought Whatsapp for – a whooping $19 billion. This breaking news came in days after Viber was reported to have been bought by Japanese online retailer, Rakuten for a fraction of the price tag: $900 million. And to think that we were scratching our heads over Snapchat turning down Facebook’s $3 billion offer. That’s a lot of zeros.

WhatsApp Tips And Tricks

Whatsapp, one of the most popular mobile messaging app, faced fierce competition from the likes of WeChat (which is huge in China and the Asia pacific region) and Line (which has its own theme park) but held its ground with its many features that ensure users have a secure, dependable and practical messaging experience. With that in mind, here are a few tips, tricks and apps to get more out of Whatsapp.

1. Hide "Last Seen" Timestamp

By default, WhatsApp shows a "last seen" timestamp, telling other users the last time you were on WhatsApp. Some of you may want to disable this timestamp, for privacy reasons. You can disable this timestamp on both iOS and Android.

If you’re an iOS user, you’re in luck, since all you need to do is go into Settings > Chat Settings > Advanced and set Last Seen Timestamp to Off.

Disable Last Seen Timestamp

If you’re an Android user, you won’t have access to this setting from the app itself. Instead, you’re going to have to rely on a third party app such as Hide WhatsApp Status. The app disables your WiFi and data connection when you open WhatsApp.

Once you exit the app, your WiFi and data connections are reactivated, WhatsApp will sync, and your messages will be sent.

2. Backup And Restore WhatsApp Chats

WhatsApp makes automatic backups of your chats, but you can also make a manual backup. On iOS, it’s Settings > Chat Settings > Chat Backup, then tap Back Up Now.

On Android, just go into Settings > Chat settings and tap Backup conversations to create a backup. This won’t backup your media, so you’ll need to use a file manager to copy the media folders in /sdcard/WhatsApp/Media.

Backup And Restore WhatsApp Chats

There’s no way to restore chats directly from WhatsApp, so if you want to restore a backup you’re going to have to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp. When you start WhatsApp after the reinstall, you should be prompted to restore your most recent backup. Just follow the procedure and your chats should all be back.

3. Lock Your WhatsApp

Everyone, at some point or another, has probably had to deal with friends or family taking a sneak peek at their WhatsApp messages. Thankfully, if you’re using WhatsApp on Android or BlackBerry, there are apps that can help secure your WhatsApp from prying eyes.

If you’re using Android, there’s WhatsApp Lock, while BlackBerry users will want to check out Lock for WhatsApp.

Lock Your WhatsApp

Basically, both of these apps work similarly: when you use them, WhatsApp will be protected by a PIN (in the case of WhatsLock) or a password (in the case of Lock for WhatsApp). Either way, once you have things set up, the people around you shouldn’t be able to take a sneak peek at your WhatsApp any longer.

4. Create Shortcuts For Important Contacts

Want to speed up your WhatsApp communication? How about creating a shortcut to your favorite Whatsapp contact or group straight from your homescreen?

On Android, this is as simple as long pressing on the group or contact you want to create a shortcut for. When the menu pops up, just tap on Add conversation shortcut. This will create a shortcut to the contact or group you have chosen right on your homescreen.

Add Conversation Shortcuts

This behaviour isn’t available on WhatsApp for iOS, but you can use a third-party app such as 1TapWA to have similar functionality on your iPhone. Since it’s an app, 1TapWA also has some extra features such as an image editor and an action scheduler.

5. Stop WhatsApp Images from Appearing In Gallery Or Camera Roll

Having WhatsApp images in your Gallery or Camera Roll can be very annoying; maybe the images are somewhat private, or you just don’t like having these images clutter up your Gallery or Camera Roll. You can fix this on both iOS and Android.

On iOS, it’s pretty simple; just go to Settings > Privacy > Photos and then turn the WhatsApp switch off.

Stop WhatsApp Images From Appearing In Camera Roll

On Android, you have to create a .nomedia file in WhatsApp’s images or video directories. To do this, you need a file explorer such as ES File Explorer. Navigate to the images or video folders. Tap the New button in the lower left, pick File and create a file named .nomedia. This will stop the Gallery from scanning the folder.

6. Change Your WhatsApp Phone Number

If you’ve changed phone numbers but kept the same phone, you don’t need to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp just to change numbers. There’s a setting within WhatsApp that will let you migrate your WhatsApp account to a different phone number.

Change WhatsApp Phone Number

Go to Settings > Account > Change number. Enter your old phone number in the top field and then your new phone number in the bottom field. Then press Done. Verify your new phone number, and all your chat history, groups and so on will be migrated to the new number.

7. Install WhatsApp On An Android Tablet

WhatsApp is built for phones and is intelligent enough to know when you’re trying to run it on a tablet, but there are ways around this. Firstly, you need to grab the latest version of the WhatsApp .apk. Visit the official site with Chrome or Firefox and request the desktop version of the site, which will allow you to download the .apk directly.

Then download SRT AppGuard. Install both.

WhatsApp On Android Tablet

Run AppGuard first. Select WhatsApp from the Dashboard then press Monitor. Once AppGuard is done setting up the monitoring, scroll down and disable read phone status and identity under Phone calls. WhatsApp should now run on your tablet. To activate WhatsApp, you can just use your landline and have WhatsApp call you with the three-digit verification code.

8. WhatsApp Chat Heads On Android

One of the best things about Facebook Messenger is its chat heads functionality. We’ve talked about bringing chat heads features to SMS before, but now you can also have chat heads for your WhatsApp conversations too, using WhatsApp Chat Heads. As the name suggests, the app works alongside WhatsApp to add chat heads for your conversations.

WhatsApp Chat Heads

The chat heads are somewhat customizable, and you can have specific LED colors, notification sounds and chat head colors for each of your contacts. One thing to be aware of, though, is that the app requires root access. Plus, it’s also still in beta, so you may encounter some small issues here and there.

9. Get Messaging Statistics On Android

This will definitely interest you if you’re a statistics geek, or simply someone who’s interested in finding out you and your friends’ WhatsApp habits. WhatStat provides information for metrics such as your top friends, friends’ and groups’ most active times of the day as well as message distribution for both one-on-one and group chats.

WhatsApp Statistics

WhatStat presents all this information in easy-to-understand visualisations that will make perfect sense to anyone. No more having to pay specific attention to who initiates conversations or what a good time to message someone is; WhatStat will do that all for you.

10. Get WhatsApp notifications On Desktop

If you’ve ever missed a WhatsApp message while working on your desktop, you’ll know how annoying it can be. If you’re using Android, there are a few ways to make sure that you never miss a WhatsApp message again. You can use Pushbullet, which includes notification mirroring alongside a lot of other features, but if all you want is notifications on your computer, check out Desktop Notifications.

WhatsApp Desktop Notification

Just install Desktop Notifications on your Android phone, then install either the Chrome or Firefox extensions depending on your choice of browser. Link the extension to the app using the code provided and you’re good to go; you’ll now get WhatsApp (and more) notifications on your desktop.


16 Video Tutorials To Learn Photoshop CC’s New Features

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 02:01 AM PST

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Jo Sabin, community manager, and Tara Hornor, freelance editor at DesignCrowd, a leading online graphic design jobs marketplace.

The most recent version of Adobe products, called Creative Cloud (CC), was released in summer 2013, but is available only as a monthly subscription. As such, not everyone has been thrilled with the new release. However, one nice benefit of a monthly subscription is the ability to subscribe to just Photoshop for a lower fee than to the entire kit and caboodle. But is it switch from CS6 to CC worth it?

Photoshop CC actually has a good handful of exciting new features, mainly, in the filters department. So, if you find that you use filters quite a bit, switching to CC is probably worth the monthly payment. If the extra filter features are something you can live without, then you are probably fine sticking with CS6. Take a look at the 16 videos below, though, to help you better decide which move is best for you.

And if you have already committed to CC, then have fun trying out the tutorials and honing your Photoshop CC skills!

Adobe Photoshop CC – My Top 5 Favorite Features by Terry White
Learn quickly about some of the best features of Photoshop CC from Terry White, a worldwide design evangelist for Adobe systems.

What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CC by Everyday HDR
This video takes a quick look at the best new features in Photoshop CC. An excellent way to very easily see what the new version has to offer.

Photoshop CC Tutorials by Photoshop Training Channel
If you are completely new to Photoshop CC, then this tutorial is an excellent place to start. It gives an excellent overview of the new features, showing step-by-step how to use each.

Camera RAW as a Photoshop Filter and Playlist by FocalOnline
This first video in the playlist by Martin Evening shows how to use Camera RAW as a filter. See more videos on the Adobe Photoshop CC Tutorials playlist to learn more about the new features in Photoshop CC, including more Camera RAW functionalities, Shake Reduction, and more.

Camera RAW Retouching Improvements by PSDTuts+
This tutorial takes you through more than just using Camera RAW as a filter; it also shows how to use Spot Removal as a paint brush and Visualize Spots to find dust spots from the camera lens.

Smart Sharpen Improvements in Photoshop CC by PSDTuts+
Learn how to use the improved Smart Sharpen tool to clarify images and get rid of unwanted halos and noise.

Camera RAW Filter for Skin Smoothing by Whole Cloth Productions
Learn the benefits of using Camera RAW Filter for smoothing out skin in Photoshop CC, along with step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

Camera Shake Reduction by PSDTuts+
This is an excellent, well-done video showing how to best use the new Camera Shake Reduction feature in Photoshop CC.

Gauging the Best Sharpening Settings by Lynda.com
In this tutorial, you will learn how to decide on the best settings for sharpening an image in Photoshop CC. More free videos from this series are available on Lynda’s Photoshop CC video list, or with membership, gain access to the entire series.

Photoshop Air Brushing Tutorial by Roberto Blake
In this tutorial, Roberto shows how to create smooth skin undestructively using the right tools in Photoshop CC.

Photoshop CC Masking Tutorial by Roberto Blake
With this step-by-step tutorial, learn how to mask a model’s hair using Photoshop CC.

Photoshop Neon Glowing Lines Tutorial by Roberto Blake
First learn how to create glowing lines in Photoshop CC, and then follow some final steps for further enhancing the glow.

Masking with Pen Tool by Roberto Blake
Blake teaches you how to mask hard edges using the Pen Tool to make selections in Photoshop CC.

Black Diamond Text Effect by Ch-Ch-Checkit
Using Photoshop CC, learn how to create an incredible text effect based on the Black Diamond Speed Art text effect from DutchArtFX in 2010.

Rock Text Effect by Photoshop Training Channel
Learn how to create a realistic rock text effect in Photoshop CC using a rock texture and enhancing with effects.

Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop Using Cell Phone Videos by Photoshop Training Channel
In this extensive video, you will learn how to use Photoshop to edit videos using such features as adjustment layers and the timeline panel.


Covering Event In Real-time With Liveblog In WordPress

Posted: 19 Feb 2014 11:01 PM PST

Liveblogging is a popular way to cover an event in real-time – it is similar to a Twitter feed, only it happens on your own site. If you like to follow major key events like the Apple WWDC, you may find some tech blogs and news sites liveblogging to cover the event in real-time.

Some of the advantages of using liveblog is that the journalists can publish updates easily, while the readers can get the updates quickly. In addition, Liveblogging also allows for multiple writers, or journalists to contribute at the same time. If you want to also cover events on your site using Liveblog, we will show you how in this post.

The Liveblog Plugin

In WordPress, you can enable liveblog with the Liveblog plugin from Automattic – the guys behind WordPress. This plugin was exclusively released for WordPress VIP: it is a premium service in WordPress.com. Now, you can install and use it on your self-hosted sites.

Once activated, you can create a new post, and enable liveblog for it, like so.

Publish and view the post, and you will find a posting tool where you can publish updates right from the front-end of the post. We can also preview the post before publishing it.

To post an image, you can drag-and-drop the image from your folder onto the input field. It will automatically upload the image and put the image URL within the posting tool.

You can also embed a tweet or a Youtube video by simply putting in the link, like so.

If you want to make the post bold, italic, or add a link, you can wrap it in HTML Markup.

When the event ends, you can click the Archive button to put the Liveblog in Archive. This way the readers will still be able to read the contents, even after the posting tool has been disabled.

That’s it. You can give this plugin a try if you want to try liveblogging on your site. I hope you find this tip useful.


How To Permanently Disable Windows 8.1 Help Tips [QuickTip]

Posted: 19 Feb 2014 09:01 PM PST

When updating to Windows 8.1 for the very first time, users will get help tips pop-ups. These pop-ups help first time users learn Metro UI so they won’t be confused. These pop-ups normally stop appearing after users have finished the tutorial.

Windows 8.1 Help Tips

However, some users have complained that these pop-ups will stick around even after the tutorial is over. If you have this problem, here’s an easy fix for that hidden deep within the settings. Here’s how you can permanently disable the Windows 8.1 Help Tips.

Navigating To The Settings

First, you’ll have to navigate to the settings to disable this feature. Type in gpedit.msc in Metro Search and press Enter to launch the Local Group Policy Editor.


In the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components and click on Edge UI.

Edge UI

Once you’ve clicked on Edge UI, double-click on Disable help tips on the right panel of that window. Another window will pop up. Click on Enabled and then click on OK.

Disable Help Tips

Once this is done, you shouldn’t receive any more help tips from Windows. Do note that disabling the help tips means it’s gone for good, there is no turning it back on. But if you are happier that it is gone rather than annoying you constantly, this tip will greatly help you.



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