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Become an Envato Meetup Host

Inspired by your enthusiasm and support for Envato meetups over the years, and our desire to solve the one grumble about them (“Why can’t one be held in my town?”), we’re excited to announce the Envato Global meetup program, something everyone in the community can get involved in.

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Business Lessons from a Housecleaner

My mom was chief nurse in an exclusive spa in Brazil and her 3-month stint for quick cash in the United States turned into a very profitable 11-year housecleaning career in that country.  I learned a lot from my mom about being an independent worker but trained through higher education, I perceived freelancing as an option for those who couldn’t handle the challenges of full-time, “serious” work.  I know better now of course and since becoming a freelancer last year, I’m constantly referring to my mother’s strategies and ethics, which won her some very satisfied clients.  I figured I’d share a few lessons, especially with those who are just starting out. Continue reading…

The Health Benefits of Having Pets in Your Home Office

Credit: Lifeonwhite on Photodune

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?

Credit: Sharon Mollerus on Flickr

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

Credit: freeparking on Flickr

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

Credit: Ken Hawkins on Flickr

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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