The Health Benefits of Having Pets in Your Home Office

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Those of us with a cat or dog know that our pets are like a member of the family. And, like the important members of your family, you just feel better with them around.

My chihuahua is never far from me when I’m on my laptop. As I’m writing this post, he laying on my outstretched legs. In the U.S., three out of every five homes have a pet. And these pets are more than just camaraderie—pets have been shown to have health benefits for humans.

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Is Talent a Myth?

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For as much as it seems that talent is a real driving force that allows people to excel at certain things I am equally convinced that it is totally overrated. Sure, some people have developed a knack for certain types of things. In my opinion anyone can learn to do anything and in reality talent is irrelevant and a myth.

If you happen to be pursuing something you feel you don’t have a talent for then you will likely find this perspective encouraging. I for one have come to make a living off of writing; something I most definitely don’t have a talent for. As such, I can’t help but consider how it is that I have succeeded at it, and ultimately what the real formula for success might be.

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Envato Studio Affiliate Program

Introducing the Envato Studio Affiliate Program

Introducing the Envato Studio Affiliate Program

Envato’s mission is to help people learn and earn online.  With that in mind, we’re happy to launch the Envato Studio Affiliate Program. The affiliate program is a great way for us to incentivise and reward the community for promoting Envato Studio. It also helps us extend our reach, which should drive additional sales for our community of Service Providers.

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How to Take a Vacation, Freelance Style

vacation

I took a vacation not too long ago, though it wasn’t much like a typical vacation — and not just because I packed my laptop. I worked (although not quite as much as I do most days) on a trip that was supposed to be more about relaxation than anything else. I know I’m not alone on this one. Many of my fellow freelancers can’t quite disconnect, a situation made worse by the mindset that we can work from anywhere.

There are a few benefits, of course. We don’t have to tell our clients we’re going on vacation, and risk them turning to another freelancer. We can make sure that we keep income coming in, making it easier to actually take a vacation. But there are also some drawbacks: How relaxing is a vacation where you’re still on call, after all?

I’ve got another trip coming up later this year and I’m set on making it a true vacation. With a little planning in advance, I think I can pull off actually leaving the laptop at home. My plan has several steps, which should let me take a real vacation.

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4 Steps to Creating a Freelance Schedule

Freelancing is all about flexibility. It’s one of the main reasons I hear that people are thinking about making the switch to freelancing. But what a lot of people with no freelance experience don’t really seem to notice is that most of us have set schedules. Without them, it’s pretty much impossible to get all of our work done in a timely fashion. Of course, those schedules may not have any similarity to the standard 9-to-5 — but there is some reason behind the times we do work.

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11 Lessons Web Designers Should Learn from Painting Portraits

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Many designers stumble into the web industry from a fine arts background. Working commercially is a natural progression for artists – not only does it make for a reliable income, but you have the pleasure of making something useful for a wide audience. Furthermore, both art and design draw on many of the same concepts and we artist/designers are often able to incorporate our art skills into designs and illustrations.

Sometimes, however, the inspiration behind creating original artwork is missing from the design process, especially when cranking out content-managed websites or banner campaigns. A return to artistic roots often becomes an unavoidable want, and for me, such an instinct meant deciding to paint thirty portraits in three weeks during a trip back home. What surprised me was how much I discovered portrait painting could actually make me a better graphic designer.

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Evaluating the Benefits and Drawbacks of Coworking

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One of the great problems of being a freelancer is the solitude. It’s difficult at times to sit in front of your keyboard and do what you’ve got to do without any human interaction. There’s no water cooler to talk around, no office gossip to catch up on and no one else to fill you in on what happened on last night’s episode of The Family Guy. The other issue is that renting a traditional office space is expensive, but without one, some clients may think that your business is unprofessional.

The solution to both problems is a coworking facility. The concept is pretty simple: Put together a group of people who all freelance, rent out a desk for a low price, put in shared facilities such as a conference room and receptionist, and you’re good to go. This keeps the costs down for renters, gives you a professional environment to meet clients and provides human interaction. It’s the best of all worlds, right?

For the most part, yes, there are many benefits to coworking. But just like Luke and the Force, there is also a dark side to coworking, which is something you should be aware of before entering into any agreement. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the good and the bad components of coworking.
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Choosing a Business Name that Acts as a Marketing Tool

Do you want an artistic freelance business name? Or an effective freelance business name?

Naming a business is an exciting proposition, full of promise and possibility. But before choosing The Stardust Corporation to christen your freelance business, the savvy freelancer should follow proven tips before heating up the branding iron.

Your freelance business identity may well be the most important marketing tool that you have. It is certainly the first (and possibly the only) point of contact for prospective clients. It is up to you to select a name that creates opportunities rather than eliminates them. Continue reading…

The Minimalist Guide to Freelancing

When I hear the term minimalist, I think of zen and balance, as well as simplicity.

As you develop your freelancing portfolio and career, one of the keys of long-term success is simply to keep a balanced lifestyle, which often boils down to a minimalist approach to life and work.

Within the context of freelancing, minimalism is removing distractions; clearing the desk (and mind) of anything that isn’t needed to get the job done.

After enough time in the industry, it’s easy to pick up activities and habits that simply take away time from meaningful activities. The following is a guide to minimalist freelancing and your start to a more balanced career. Continue reading…

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Continuous Deployment

At Envato Studio we have to ensure we’re always moving fast. It helps us support our community of service providers and continually optimise their opportunity to earn online. To do that we use the agile software development principles, ensuring we are able to react quickly and make the changes we need with a minimum of fuss.

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Proofreading – An Essential Skill for ALL Freelancers

Thanks to the internet, reaching prospective clients has never been easier.

Whether you are a freelance web designer, writer or international mountain guide, you are likely to have a website, twitter account, LinkedIn profile and blog – and so you should. Without these tools, most of us would be lost.

The trouble with the internet is that it makes publishing and communication dangerously easy. With the ‘publish’, ‘send’, ‘tweet’ or ‘share’ button ever present at the top of your screen, online business communications – and that is what they are – are often shared prematurely.

No matter what business you are in, for freelancers, first impressions are crucial. Continue reading…