December Hack Night

It seems that I have found some consistency posting to this blog during Hack Night at the Reno Collective. A lot of people ask me what I do at the Reno Collective. I pretty much do the same thing I would do at home–I work. I am more productive at the collective because I am removed from a number of side-projects, books, chores, games, and toys that I have in my apartment. As a freelancer/entrepreneur/creative, I have learned to classify work using three categories: things I need to do, things I should do, and things I can do. When I work from home, I complete those tasks I need to do and then work on things I should do until I get bored or distracted. I never really get to the work that I can do unless I decide to work on the weekend. When I am at a coworking space, I complete what I need to do, finish most of what I should do, and then start looking at the other things that I can do.

The reason for enhanced productivity while coworking is not only that I am removed from my most common distractions, but also because I am surrounded by others who are being industrious and getting shit done. I feel like I am part of a community while I am here, and a primary characteristic of that community is working diligently.

This community is especially important to me during the seasons of less daylight because I find it difficult to remain productive after dark. Working 12-16 hours during the summer is easy when it stays light until after 8 o’clock, but for some reason, I feel like I am operating at ~<60% of optimal when it is dark by 5pm.

If you work from home and want to be a part of a community, join a coworking space. It’s the future of work!

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Craig–Friend to Freelancers

Happy Freelance Friday Friends!

A valuable tool that I use as a freelancer and an entrepreneur is Craigslist.

I’m no wizard at using Craigslist, but I am learning quickly. I’m probably better than most. I wish they would put some R&D into User Experience and update their platform. Maybe a nice Public API regulated by the GNU Community would help to clean the site up and get rid of some of the 50% that is scammers and schemers.

This post is about my experience on Craigslist. I would love to read about experiences from other people if they’re willing to read mine and give me some notes on it.

Posting an article on my blog helps to start the conversation with myself. Then I start researching and reading about whatever topic I’m writing about. In this case, I just posted 2 more ads on Craigslist before I finished writing that last sentence.

CL is a great way to organically connect with the local community to make deals with strangers. The site uses old school, simple technology to replicate the old school, simple industry it replaced–newspaper classifieds. The main competitors for CL are thrift stores and eBay. Earlier this week, I sold an old Vizio tablet through CL. I did a factory reset on the device, met the guy at the library, he checked it out and gave me my full asking price–CASH!

If you have a side gig or do a freelance business, you should always be posting ads on Craigslist. It doesn’t cost you anything, you can post ads in any city you want, and the more clever you are when writing your ads, the more people you’ll get to respond.

What’s your Craigslist experience?

Freelance Friday

I wanted to use this Friday to give a shout-out to all the freelancers out there. I know it’s tough and dirty sometimes. Freedom is worth it! Freedom to chose the gigs you sign up for. Freedom to chose the projects you want to work on. Freedom to learn and grow towards what you think is interesting in this ┬áincredible industry of the Internet.

I have been doing freelance tech work exclusively for the past three years. I have been doing it on the side for the past ten, and did it exclusively for a year at the end of high school into college.

Being a Freelance Tech Consultant is not so glamorous as some people may think. Doing the dirt work is exactly that–dirty! After a few years experience, some people find the more desirable jobs like c-panel management, content curation and distribution, web development, consulting, etc. The good tech work is out there, but most freelancers spend a few years at the bottom and know what I’m talking about.

Here is a List of My 8 Favorite Things about being a Freelance Tech Guy

    1. Crawling under dirty desks and through the dirty cable nests behind PC towers.
    2. Smokey, dingy home offices filled with pet hair, dust, ancient technology, and stacks of useless papers.
    3. Working in the dirty basements, attics, and crawlspaces where the network cabling is.
    4. The endless, mindless clicking and captchas of Amazon Mechanical Turk to make rent.
    5. Virtual Windows XP environments that run legacy software managing ancient databases.
    6. Graveyard and swing shift to bring down systems and servers after hours.
    7. Opening and sorting hundreds of computer boxes before running initial setup and software configuration.
    8. Running initial setup and software configuration on hundreds of computers. (One or two or more always fail right near the end so you have to restart the process and wait after everything else is already finished!)

There are also platforms like www.elance.com and www.fiverr.com to add extra revenue sources, but I don’t have any experience with those sites yet.

Happy Friday! Keep up the good work and remember–It’s all about the user!