Using Mascots as Brand Advocates

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How would you introduce a never-before-seen product to the market? That was the challenge for businessman Scott Colwell when he first brought shaved snow, a popular Taiwanese dessert made of shaved ice, sprinkled with fruits and other toppings to the USA. He developed his own variant that would suit the American palette and called his brand “Chilly Ribbons”.

To help introduce the brand and company, Scott had the brilliant idea of creating mascots to represent his company. Some reasons why you should use a mascot to promote your business are:

Brand mascots have mass appeal. Different generations across the world grew up knowingKellogg’s Tony the Tiger. The Frosted Flakes mascot has actually gone through changes to appeal to each generation’s purchasing habits. People, whether children or adult, can relate with characters. Especially if your business targets families or children, having a mascot can work effectively well for your brand.

Brand mascots can effectively engage with your target audience. What’s fun about creating a mascot to represent your brand is coming up with the character’s persona. You can then use the mascot to connect with your audience on your social media sites and in events. By the way, have you checked out Mr.Clean and Energizer Bunny’s verified Twitter accounts?

Brand mascots can be profitable. One word: Merchandise! How many people across the world own a Mickey Mouse shirt? Countless! And so are the products Disney has come up with that has the most popular mouse on the planet’s face on it because people will buy it. You can create a mascot that becomes well-loved or one that can penetrate pop culture, and you can be sure people will want caps, tumblers and other items with your brand mascot on it.

Creating a character to represent your brand
Now that we got you thinking about having a mascot for your brand, you must be wondering how you can come up with one. Going back to Steve Colwell and shaved ice desserts, Steve found a talented artist on Freelancer.com to design a mascot for him and said,

“I found Gryphy, a freelancer whom my business partner and I felt had the imagination, talent, and experience that could help us create a memorable brand that would be loved by all.”

 

Thus, a yeti named Chilly Ribbons became Scott’s brand ambassador.

To date, Chilly Ribbons has 10 stores under development in California, a recently launched store in Ontario, Canada, and another one soon to open in Florida. It also has master franchise agreements for the Philippines and Kuwait. For a one year old company, it has done quite a lot!

Having a mascot designed on Freelancer.com
The best program for a mascot design is the Adobe Illustrator. Designs made with this program are vector based. That means, unlike raster graphics made with Adobe Photoshop, whether you resize the file for a flyer or enlarge it for a billboard print out, the design will retain its sharpness and quality. When posting a mascot design project under the Illustrator category, here are some tips to remember:

1. Do some research
Your mascot is a reflection of your business. Whether you’re going for a human or an animal representation, do some sufficient reading about which animal you prefer. Find out what people associate with these icons. Would you want your brand to be connected with that?

2. Prepare your concepts and ideas
Have a good idea of what you want for your mascot so that you can give clear directions to the freelancer. What persona do you want? Do you have any preferences for your mascot’s outfit? Where do you plan to use this design?

3. Choose the right freelancer
Check the freelancer’s portfolio. Do you like the freelancer’s style and taste and do you think you’d like that look for your company? Next is take a look at the freelancer’s reviews and feedbacks. That’s a good way to determine if working with the freelancer will be a breeze. Determine how the freelancer communicates. Can he understand your project and does he make valuable suggestions? Finally, ask for a quick sketch sample so you can gauge their skills and creativity aside from what you see from their portfolio.

Have you thought of a name for your mascot yet? Get started with creating a lasting brand advocate for your business by posting an Illustrator design project on Freelancer!

Lost in Translation No More

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The business landscape has changed significantly in the last decade. No longer content to be the best in the country in which they operate, businesses have set their sights overseas – hoping to become a global player. But to become a global player, one must go local!

You read it right. To become global, one must go local. Take for example, your website. Your corporate website may be in English, but if you check your analytics, your visitors don’t just come from English-speaking countries. You may find that 30% of your visitors come from Latin America. That figure alone indicates that you have a market in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking countries and it would be in your best interest to come up with a localized version of your site. And not just your site. You can have your marketing communication materials, documents, and other key information translated into the language of your market.

Translation has become a necessary business tool. Often, businesses neglect to see how translation will help your business. For one, localization helps build credibility. By speaking in their own language, you show that you understand, value and respect that country or region. It also boosts revenues. Among the findings of market research company Common Sense Advisory in its “Translation at Fortune 500 Companies” survey, it was revealed that companies that have used translation to keep ahead of competition were 2.04 times likely to increase their profits and 1.27 times more likely to generate augmented earnings per share. Customers are simply more comfortable in transacting with companies they can relate to!

But don’t just go for any translation. While machine translation is a possibility and perhaps could make it easier for you, it doesn’t replace human translation. Machine translation is not nearly as accurate as human translation as it often isn’t able to identify nuances or pick words or phrases more appropriate to your intended message. Skilled human translators do not just do this, but also ensure that the meaning of the information is not lost in translation.

Where do you get a good translator? You’re actually just a mouse click away. There are plenty of qualified translators with affordable rates on the world’s largest outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace, Freelancer.com. One employer, Michelle Diamond, was able to expand her content writing business (writingsense.com) to include translation services when she successfully found qualified freelancers on the site. “The translation process was seamless and the freelancer was outstanding,” she says. “The quality of work was superior.”

Starting a translation job on the site is as simple as posting a project and choosing the best among the freelance translators bidding to work with you.

To begin with, you have to create a very clear and specific project brief. You must know what you want, what you want to accomplish. State where the translation will be used (Is it an article? A website?), how many words, what language or languages you want it translated in, your deadline, and budget. Also note whether you are looking for native speakers or if you are open to other nationalities experienced in translating in the language you prefer. By knowing what you want in a translator, it can narrow your search considerably.

So, how do you choose your translator? You have to look at the following:

  • Quality. This should be your primary consideration as a mistake in your translation can mean big losses. It can also lead to customers losing confidence in you. Look at the translator’s experience and find out which areas he excels in.
  • Track record. Look at the translator’s past clients. This will give you a good idea of his performance.
  • Price. Decide on a budget for your project and choose the best person or agency that can work within your budget and your requirements.
  • Speed. Consider your deadline and the speed at which the translation can be accomplished. Professional translators should be able to complete the job on time and without excuses. Agree on a time frame before you begin your project.

All these you can check via the freelancer’s profile/portfolio and feedback, and for other details, Freelancer.com’s chat messaging system will facilitate any discussion you may have with the translator.

Freelancer.com has been a partner of many small and medium-scale businesses. Make it your own for your translation needs and go global.

Desktop App: Where You Strengthen Employee-Employer Trust

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Freelancers rejoice! Did you know that the Freelancer desktop app can track hourly progress on your projects, help you earn more, and ultimately build employee-employer trust? Our data analysis from April to June 2014 shows that freelancers who logged in with the desktop app and used it to track their working hours earned an average of 88% more than those who didn’t. That’s because the desktop app can efficiently monitor your work and allow your employer to verify it. As a result, establishing trust between you and your employer is quick and simple!

How exactly can the desktop app help you earn more?
Once you log in to the desktop app, it takes note of the time you started working until the time you stopped — an effective strategy in monitoring your work milestones. You don’t have to deal with manual timekeeping anymore and just focus on your work. Therefore, you get a higher chance of turning over high quality output and impressing your employers more because you are able to concentrate on your tasks rather than keep tabs on your work hours.

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Aside from that, the desktop app takes a screenshot of your work in specific time intervals, which your employer can easily access. This is tangible proof of your work milestones and it shows them where you are with regard to meeting work expectations. It’s very important to meet your employer’s work expectations because that helps them realize your value, and in the process, you gain their trust.

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The desktop app can solve trust issues
Trust. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Lack or absence of trust may be one of the major issues that can arise in the freelancing world. It can be very difficult to trust an employee to do his or her work if you don’t have the right verification tools. With the element of face-to-face interaction gone, employers need to come up with a strategy that can help them monitor their employees’ output.

Good thing the desktop app can solve this problem! The screenshots bridge the proximity gap between employer and employee. It eliminates trust issues and provides an efficient venue for employee-employer convergence. When you log in on the desktop app, trust is not just established between you and your employer, but you get the opportunity to maintain it too. By using the app and building employee-employer trust, the chance or probability of getting repeat work increases, ergo, you can count on more future projects!

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If you don’t have the desktop app yet, now is the perfect time to download it. Use it now to earn more money and build employee-employer trust! It is now available in Linux and was previously made available in Windows.

Living the Freelance Life: Avoiding Social Isolation

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Freelancing can be a lonely career path. When you’re a freelancer, you get jobs that are mostly autonomous. You don’t get to work in an office with people around. You rarely ever have meetings, and when you do, they’re usually held virtually. You don’t have access to an office water cooler or lunch room either, where people usually mingle around to exchange a word or two.

According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report (which surveyed 1,491 freelancers in more than 50 different fields and professions), at least 2% of the respondents cited combating isolation as one of the challenges they face in freelancing. After all, it’s easy to find yourself isolated when you work alone, from home, and don’t have to deal with actual people to do your job.

When you feel the walls starting to close in, and you don’t know the sound of your own voice anymore, it’s time to find your way back to the outside world. Loneliness is not something to be taken lightly – it can bring your productivity down, make you lose interest in your job, and may even lead to more serious issues. Here’s how to avoid being lonely in this solitary profession.

Stick to a schedule. Having the utmost freedom and control over your own time is one of the great things about freelancing. However, it can also have you working on projects at all hours of the day and night. Set a time for work, and give yourself time to live after. Having a schedule will give you the space to be a part of the world – to touch base with people you care about, and, more importantly, yourself.

Remember to stay in touch. Just because you work virtually or from home doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in contact with your family and your real-life friends. Make the effort to stay in touch. Meet a friend for an afternoon coffee break. Have dinner with your parents or siblings once a week. Schedule regular date nights with your significant other. Go out and find new friends. Find people you already know on Freelancer and connect with them. It is tempting to stay cooped up in front of a computer day in and day out, but everyone needs human contact once in a while.

Consider co-working spaces. If you miss the feeling of working in an office, coworking spaces may be for you. These shared working spaces have sprouted all over, giving freelancers and road warriors the option to work on solo projects in an office setting, but with the company of kindred spirits. These places usually offer complete workspaces with computers, Internet, and even coffee, as well as the opportunity for social interaction and collaboration with like-minded people.

Make time for the fun stuff. After hours, give yourself a chance to unwind and relax. Take up a hobby or two. Read books. Cook up a storm. Play the guitar. Watch movies. Learn origami. Rediscover old interests and find new ones. Keep loneliness at bay by staying busy and having fun at the same time.

Go out and do things. Make it a point to venture out of the house from time to time. Work out at the gym. Window-shop at the mall. Sign up for a cooking class. Have a pint at the pub. A change of scenery can help awaken your senses and recharge your weary mind. If you’re getting tired of your house, pack up your laptop and work somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a library, a park, a café. If it helps you get work done, then it’s a good thing.

Freelance work doesn’t have to be lonely. Banish the blues with the right amount of activity, social interaction, and time management.

Why Your Business Needs a Killer Website

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If you have a business, then you should definitely have a website for it. Having a URL makes your business accessible to more people locally and worldwide. Another reason to go online is current consumer habits include doing Internet research for products and services prior to purchasing. Of course, you would want to be found by potential customers when they’re looking for information and turn those site visitors into regular clients.

But before jumping into creating a website, do you recall a time when you searched a product online and landed on a dubious looking site? There were no contact details, it lacked relevant information and to make things worse, the design was just bad – tacky, or too glitzy in every wrong way possible, just plain bad?

If there’s one thing worse than not having a website for your business, it’s having an ugly website for your business. What you want is to maximize the benefits of having a website – gain customers, generate online sales and revenues, address client-concerns and become easily accessible. But what an amature-looking website will do is drive visitors away, leaving a bad image of your business in their minds.

A crucial difference between a successful business and a staggering one is the website – and not just any website, but one that looks legit, functions well, and communicates competence.

Having a strong online presence

Founder and CEO of RemoteStylist.com, Kelly Fallis, was particular with the website for her online furniture platform.

“People shop differently because of the Internet; so my gut said it’s a space I wanted to be in,” Kelly recalls. She hired web designers on Freelancer.com who did an exceptional job with her website.

“I highly recommend that people people ditch the mindset that you need to be sitting next to someone to get work done, and explore,” she advises. “You’ll end up saving so much time and money utilizing a service like Freelancer.

To help guarantee a job well done in hiring a freelancer for your website, here are three tips for posting a web design project:

1. Before anything else, you should have a logo
Your logo will be a basis for your website’s theme, color scheme and design elements because the overall look of your website shouldn’t clash with the logo. When posting a web design project, prepare a psd / ai and jpeg file of your logo.

2. Collect design pegs
Look through websites and collect URLs or screen caps of design pegs that you like for your website. This will be a huge help in giving the web designer an idea of what look and feel you’re going for compared with just verbally describing it to the freelancer. Collaborate with the freelancer and since they are the design experts, consider their suggestions. In deciding the design for the website, clear communication is key.

3. Prepare major texts for the site
It’s important for you to see how a font will go with the rest of the site so make sure that you got at least most of your important texts ready, especially for the ‘home’ and ‘about’ pages of your website. Check if the fonts are easily readable and not too fancy to the point of looking unprofessional. Do not go crazy with too many different kinds of fonts. As a rule of thumb, stick with one to two different kinds of fonts. Three is forgivable depending on the design, but anything beyond that is way too much.

Don’t waste a minute and start making your presence known online with an awesome, killer website to boost your business growth and revenue. Apply these tips when you post a web design project!

Business Success Strategies: Handling Pre-Startup Jitters

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Officially calling your business a business is difficult. Even more difficult is actually starting one. There will be fears that what you offer may not succeed. There will be doubts on the viability of the venture. There will be worries about the many challenges that you will surely encounter along the way. Starting any business takes a lot of courage. You just need to know how to handle the jitters.

First Hurdle: Yourself
Throughout your business planning you would encounter at least one person who would say “this is not going to work” and how “this is bound to fail.” Yes, in everything new there will be fears, there will be struggles, and there will always be the lingering feeling of doom and failure. There will be unknowns that you cannot control completely, and there will be surprises after every turn. Before holding back, ask yourself why you are so afraid. Then, determine what actions and safety nets you could cast should your fears come into realisation. Don’t listen to the naysayers and just prepare for all the possible outcomes that may come your way.

Should your struggle seem dire, just think of this: “That’s what I’ve been preparing for.” Keep pushing forward. All you can do as a startup is to prepare — be ready for anything, and then go with the flow. Beginning from scratch will entail the need to be very flexible in solving problems and speedbumps. This doesn’t mean to aim blindly, but rather, to simply be strategic with all the decisions you have to make.

Second Hurdle: Your Environment
Safe zones are called such for a reason. A safe zone is an indestructible bubble of safety, warmth, and good memories. If you are one who always has a foot inside this zone, then a change in lifestyle will be needed for your business to gain traction. Being comfortable with change is key to generating new ideas for your startup.

The idea is to break out of your shell and start talking to potential clients and partners big or small. Compare business models, ask for tips, question methods and strategies to gain a better understanding of how businesses became successful. Don’t forget to also ask those who failed — they have the best lessons on what to avoid and prepare for. This behavior can further be enforced through changing your daily habits — try a new dish you’ve been meaning to taste, get into an extreme sport, or join a book club — anything to get you to step out of your comfort zone.

Final Hurdle: Support Group
Before finally showcasing your startup in crowdfunding site or telling investors how your product or services can best benefit the good of society, try tossing the idea around with friends and family members to try and get insights from different backgrounds. The objective here is to be able to refine the idea and improve on the draft, plus gain encouragement and support from those you draw inspiration from.

Telling people about that next great thing helps with pitching to clients and investors. You will eventually need to adjust to different levels of understanding when it comes to discussing technicalities. Explaining your idea clearly solves the question of whether you will gain backing of those that can get you started.

Finally
Starting up will be challenging. More often than not, veering away from actualizing ideas is borne from some sort of fear. Fears will always be present, no matter the cause and level of complexity. The goal is not to overcome them but to keep them in check. It is very humbling to be reminded of these once in a while.

After taking that big leap, you will realize that there was nothing to be afraid of. Many have tried and succeeded. Who’s to say that you won’t?

7 Free Collaboration Tools for Your Business

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Collaboration plays an integral role in every business. It is key to the success of every team-driven project and initiative. It enables employees to come up with results faster and more efficiently. It encourages departments to communicate better. It also lets teams bounce ideas off each other and be more creative.

Teamwork can quickly spiral out of control however. Keeping track of tasks, scheduling meetings, contacting team members, and even just getting ideas organized can easily become problems. Collaboration tools can help you and your team work together in the most organized way possible. Here are seven free collaboration tools for your business.

Co-op
Co-op functions like a status update page for teams. Each status update lets the team track time and share agendas with each other. Co-workers can use it to ask and answer questions, view each other’s status, and even to simply say hello.

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Freelancer Desktop App
The Freelancer Desktop App makes tracking projects a piece of cake. It automatically logs in project hours and lets employers verify the information in real time. This nifty tool takes screenshots of work being done and generates invoices with a single click.

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Padlet
Padlet provides teams with a virtual blank wall to scribble ideas on. Files, images, links, and plain text can all be uploaded and pasted up on the wall for team members to share and comment on. One click is all it takes to create a wall.

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Trello
This popular tool creates team boards that show tasks, ideas, and files as cards. The cards can be organized into lists and each board can be customized depending on project specifics. Members can comment on each other’s cards and check on each other’s due dates as well.

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Kollaborate.io
Kollaborate specializes in one-click meetings. It allows team members to get access to the same whiteboard and hold meetings from virtually anywhere. The tool does webcam meetings and provides HD video and voice. Meetings can be scheduled in advanced, are automatically encrypted, and are archived for future use.

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Stormboard
Stormboard functions like a whiteboard with sticky notes. This brainstorming tool lets users post photos, videos, and text; jot down ideas; and vote and comment on each other’s posts. The best thing about it is that it generates innovation reports and exports boards into spreadsheets.

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Azendoo
Azendoo is a project management tool that brings everything a team needs together. It organizes tasks; integrates productivity apps like Evernote, Dropbox, and Skype; and lets team members have conversations in real time. Certain projects can be made private for sensitive data too.

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Top Three Tips for Freelancers

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1. Maximize use of cloud-based storage for your ideas
When push comes to shove, freelancers probably have 6 deadlines per month on a good run. Yes, it can be easy to grab the nearest pad and scratch in your ideas in a blur of words, but experienced freelancers use one notebook with the title “IDEAS” in big bold fonts on the front page. For those of you who are the on-the-run type and can’t have everything written down in physical form though, there are plenty of cloud-based digital notebooks like Evernote or Google Keep that you can use to jot down the light bulbs that flicked on while commuting. Best of all, they’re free!

2. Fit in some personal time in between projects.
Freelancing means that you take in jobs and plan ahead weeks at a time — if not months — to maintain steady income. While overcoming deadlines, you can easily fail to recognize that you’re already burning yourself out. Schedule a vacation in advance while maintaining your current productivity to ensure that you won’t hit a wall coming up with that next great idea. It doesn’t need to be out of the country — visiting your local beach, taking a stroll in the park, or even a having warm bubble bath once in a while helps ease your mind into focusing again. It doesn’t matter what kind of break you need — just schedule it into your calendar and give your brain some much needed rest.

3. Target steady and reliable clients to mix in with your new employers.
Being strategic about the projects you sign-up for will pay off well in the long run. If possible, try to land a part-time stint or lock in ongoing work with a regular client to make sure a steady flow of income is available in case projects are not rolling in. Having trusted clients in your calendar will help make sure you have funds to pay the bills!

Got more tips? Tell us all about it in the comment box.

3D Gives Businesses a Boost

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These days, 2D just isn’t enough. You don’t have to look any further than your local cinema. Movies now most likely have a bunch of computer-generated imagery to execute some edge-of-your-seat action sequences and even characters from out of this world. And the audience just digs it.

This wanting for realism in a 3D medium is not limited to movies. 3D, more specifically 3D modeling, is used in engineering, game development, commercial advertising, architecture, and many more. Computer-generated 3D models are often displayed as 2D images via a process called 3D rendering, which results in photorealistic versions of an object, and can be physically brought to life through 3D printing.

There are several advantages in using 3D for business. It can help you:

  • Identify production flaws. By producing a prototype, you will see where the design errors are and quickly address them. Prototyping each iteration can minimize unnecessary costs and save construction time.
  • Better communicate with your clients. Clients have expectations and when these are not met, misunderstandings that affect the project will ensue. That is often the problem behind, say, architectural plans where many details are left out from the line drawings. By showing your client a photorealistic version, he gains a better appreciation of the structure and can better express his wants or his vision for his desired home.
  • Gain competitive advantage. When it comes to production, 3D printing is your best bet in hastening your time to market. Whereas before a prototype can take days to produce, now it takes just a matter of hours. This is particularly useful in product launches. Customers love to see, touch, play with physical models and by showing a prototype you get immediate feedback. Prototypes are also instrumental in winning bids or gaining approval to proceed with final production. For real estate developers, showing a 3D render to prospective buyers increases the marketability of the proposed structure.
  • Lower manufacturing costs. Huge companies, such as Converse and Alessi, have been able to save up to 70% in production costs by replacing some of its traditional manufacturing methods with 3D printing. The decline in cost was due to the reduction in shipping and packaging costs related to parts acquisition from overseas suppliers, less human resource involvement, and cheaper but more reliable raw materials.

There is a common perception that only big, commercial corporations can avail of 3D services due to the investment involved in acquiring sophisticated software and/or equipment. But, small and medium-scale enterprises also stand to benefit and it won’t create a big dent in their budget. The solution: Freelancer.com, the world’s largest crowdsourcing and outsourcing marketplace.

Just search the site for 3D design, 3D modeling, 3D rendering, and you’ll come up with a list of freelancers who are experts in the field. To help you find the perfect partner for the job, be clear and specific in your project brief. Describe your project in detail. Provide supporting documents and sample inspiration pieces so that they can get a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve. Be clear about deadlines and set up a timetable so that you could check on the progress of the job at hand, especially if it would take several days to do.

On Freelancer, you are guaranteed to reap the savings and at the same time get quality output. Richard Delorme, a tabletop wargaming aficionado, created a new miniature line for the Hive Queen and Country universe and paid US$2,500 for 25 3D designs of highly detailed alien bugs that will be 3D printed and used as prototypes to gain funding for the game. Brandon Braswell converted 2D sketches of his 10 “9 to 5 Warriors” cartoon characters to 3D models for only US$555, which is such a huge savings compared to the US$2,400 quote by a local for one character only. “I had been contacting a lot of independent 3D studios and toy production companies. Every time I sent them the exact same photos and exact same work description I was always given an extremely high estimate and usually less than ‘personal’ response,” he says. “With Freelancer.com, I had quotes within my budget flying in and more importantly, people generally interested in working on the project and eager to learn more.”

Still another, Edgar Khachatryan spent less than 5% of the US$2,500 local quote on a 3D photo of his dream house. The local quote he received was only for the façade, but the amount he paid on Freelancer.com included even a 3D animation of the entire house. “I was absolutely blown away,” he says, “both by the vast amount of services and choice of freelancers on Freelancer.com and the superb quality which I didn’t expect.”

Whether you are a large corporation looking at cost savings or a small and medium enterprise on the hunt for an affordable 3D service provider, Freelancer.com is the right business partner for you.

Tips for Writers: 5 No-Nonsense Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block

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Writer’s block is the bane of most wordsmiths. It afflicts those who put pen to paper, and frustrates even the most prolific of authors. It’s a condition that stops the flow of words and brings writing to a grinding halt.

When you’re a writer – especially one on a deadline – the sudden onset of writer’s block can easily cause a feeling of dread. An empty white screen or a blank piece of paper can mean all the difference between keeping a job and losing it. If you’re feeling that your well of ideas is starting to dry up, don’t panic. Here are some no-nonsense tips for dealing with writer’s block.

1. Just get started. Most times, writer’s block strikes right at the beginning of a project. Titles, headlines, leads, and introductions are often the hardest to figure out. Instead of getting derailed straightaway, skip to a part of the project that you already know. Start on the body and come back to the head later. The important thing is to get the gears turning.

2. Set a schedule. Writers have creative minds that don’t want to be tied down by things like timeframes and deadlines. Don’t let a set writing schedule intimidate you. It can actually help you nudge your brain into being productive by giving it a routine to go by.

In an interview with Neil Gaiman, Stephen King talked about how having an everyday writing schedule keeps him happy as a writer. “I sit down maybe at quarter past eight in the morning and I work until quarter to twelve and for that period of time, everything is real.   And then it just clicks off. I think I probably write about 1200 to 1500 words. It’s six pages. I want to get six pages into hardcopy,” he said.

3. Find the best writing conditions for you. Every writer is different. Some need peace and quiet to write, while some like to listen to loud rock music when typing up words. Find what works for you and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you like writing in a comfortable nook, or you need a cup of tea to think. If it helps you write, do it.

Take a cue from JK Rowling, who wrote Harry Potter in a café. “It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think.”

4. Don’t let stumbling blocks defeat you. There are times when you’ve reached the middle of an article and a dilemma presents itself. Instead of getting discouraged and letting your project go to waste, look at it as a challenge. Find ways around the issue rather than force it aside. Be flexible. Sometimes, letting things take an unexpected turn could be the best thing to happen to your work.

5. Go easy on yourself. Don’t let insecurity get the best of you. Giving in to a bout of self-doubt can hinder the writing process. Just write what you feel like writing. When you’re done, that’s when you let your editor, or your client, or yourself snip, cut, and reword anything.

John Green deletes about 90% of his drafts. “I just give myself permission to suck,” he said.

Writer’s block can be a hurdle, but it’s not a curse. Use it as motivation to work even harder and make your writing even better. Neil Gaiman put it best when he said, “But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.”

Ready to start writing? Check out Freelancer.com’s Writing & Content projects and show writer’s block who’s boss.