5 Financial Mistakes New Freelancers Make

This is a guest post by Deborah Dera. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Let’s be honest from the start, shall we? I’ve been freelancing for 5 years and have been working independently for the past 2 years. If I knew 2 years ago what I know now, I might have waited longer before quitting my full-time job to make it on my own. That said, I’m still alive and kicking and I’d like to share some of the mistakes I and others have made in the hopes that you’ll be able to launch your own freelance career without as much financial strain.


Ignoring Your Savings
One of the worst things you can do as you prepare to embark on your career as a freelancer is to ignore your savings. Most financial experts recommend always having a buffer of at least 6 months in savings in case of financial emergency. Having that kind of a financial safety-net before starting your freelance career might be niche but isn’t always possible. The truth, however, is that you should have some money in savings to help you cover your rent, utilities, and grocery bill while you search for new clients. Make sure you have a month or two in reserve and don’t forget to continue adding to your savings as you begin earning more.

Living Beyond Your Means
Let’s say you’re working a 9-5 job in corporate America. You’re probably used to buying a cup of hot coffee on your way to work in the morning and you might buy your lunch every day. When you first start freelancing you’ll need to be more careful about your expenses – every penny will count. That $5 cup of gourmet coffee, while nice, may add up to the amount of money you need to pay your electric bill. Your lifestyle will change as you grow your business, but it is important to recognize that you may not be as well off in the beginning as you hope to be.

Not Adjust Your Expenses
We often take our day-to-day expenses (or lack thereof) for granted. Your office job probably gave you access to long-distance telephone calls, fax machines, and copy machines – whether you should have been utilizing them for personal reasons or not. Now you’ll have to pay for these and other expenses on your own and they can quickly add up. Adjust your cell or home phone calling plan to include long distance, invest in an online faxing service, and look for some all-in-one office equipment (printer/copier). The more you can do in-house, the more you’ll save and have available to grow your business.

Not Tracking Your Expenses
As a freelancer, almost every single penny you spend will count as a tax deduction. Keep track of expenses – from office supplies to medical appointments – and organize your receipts accordingly. Your accountant will be able to help you determine what you can legally write-off when tax time rolls around – and you may just be surprised at how much you’re able to save.

Redefine Trust
For me, the hardest part about launching my freelance career was redefining my definition of trust. I was suddenly on my own and wanted to trust everyone who recommended a product or service that would make my business better. I subscribed to blog feeds, read countless newsletters, and subjected myself to “shiny new object syndrome.” I bought product after product, trusting their promoters and believing each would help me to grow. I would buy one thing and then purchase the next before I had finished with the first. This type of spending will eat into your profits and, if you aren’t careful, cause you to quickly build up a significant amount of debt.

As a freelancer you’ll want to gain control of your financial situation from the very beginning. Take your time and build your business slowly. Don’t waste your money on things you don’t need and make future investments wisely. Treading carefully, especially in today’s economy, will ensure you’re always able to put food on the table!

Deborah Dera is a full-time professional writer specializing in personal finance, credit repair, bad credit loans, bankruptcy, blogging, search engine optimization, and PLR content creation.

5 Feature-packed Shopping Carts

This is a guest post by James Adams. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

The shopping cart which you choose needs to have plenty of features. It needs to be scalable to your needs, offering many categories and products. Shopping cart software is great for providing your customers with a full virtual storefront. Here are five great shopping cart solutions.

buy sell online: Shopping Cart

1. BigCommerce
BigCommerce is feature packed, stuffed with everything from premium hosting to single-click reordering. This is one of the most fully customizable shopping cart applications on the market today. This program fully supports electronic goods for direct downloads, 12 shopping methods, more than 50 payment methods, affiliate programs, and more. You can truly automate your store with email notifications when your stock is running low, a newsletter, and a complete return system. The plans are fully scalable to the size of your business.

Pricing: $49.95 setup, plans starting at $24.95 per month for 100 products

2. Volusion
Volusion prides itself on the security features that it offers to customers. It offers 128-bit SSL security, complete disaster planning, and proactive protection against hackers. Volusion can be integrated with QuickBooks and Endicia. This software fully embraces affiliate programs with a 5 tier affiliate system, discounts and coupons. You can build a socially networked store with the Social Store Builder, so you can sell your products directly to customers on MySpace and Facebook. Everything within Volusion is customizable, including the product descriptions, keywords, and website.

Pricing: $49 setup, plans starting at $29 per month for 100 products

3. Fortune3
Fortune3 makes establishing a full store simple. You do not need to have a volume of HTML knowledge under your belt to capitalize on the features of this application. You can sell downloadable products, establish custom pricing and bulk discounts. Checkout and style templates are available. Modify your cart button styles and store design with the touch of a button. Fortune3 supports multiple sales tax options, shipping costs, and shipping calculation. There is automated SEO and an automated affiliate program. If you have any problems, this shopping cart offers unlimited email and telephone support as well as live chat.

Pricing: $39.95 setup, plans starting at $29.95 per month for 30 products, transaction fees starting at .95%

4. Shopify
Set up your shopping cart quickly and easily with Shopify. You can track your inventory, receive email notifications, and receive fully integrated fulfillment through Amazon. Shopify is a simple fully featured shopping cart program. Your administration screens are managed through a single panel and the interface is streamlined for easier use. Tailor discount programs and coupon codes to your specifications. The software is PCI compliant and built on constantly improving open-source software. Shopify does not handle money or ship your packages, but it does integrate with services that can perform those functions.

Pricing: Plans start at $24 per month for 100 products. Transaction fees starting at 2%

5. SunShop
With SunShop, you receive a full service shopping cart without the monthly fee. Set up your store in very little time using their installation wizard. SunShop offers a fully customizable storefront, newsletter support, email templates and website templates. There are unlimited categories and support for multiple product images and options. You can establish on-site promotions, upselling, affiliate programs and referral programs. With SunShop, you can checkout without having an account and receive live order tracking for all of your purchases. The software is fully compliant with all standard security protocols.

Pricing: $249.99 purchases a single license and 60 days of support

If you wish to establish an online store, it is essential to have shopping cart software which can suit your needs. The program you choose needs to grow with your business.

James Adams works at Cartridge Save, a top ink supplies specialist based in the UK.

How Green are ISPs?

This is a guest post by Bailey Digger. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

It’s an issue that’s as sensitive as the world that it seeks to protect – without a mass effort to create a greener planet and adopt environment friendly ways to live, we risk losing the only home we know. Future generations are in danger of struggling with life in a harsh world, a planet that is retaliating because of how horribly we have treated her through these centuries. So the more people follow green measures, the better for our planet. With the Internet, it’s easier to raise awareness and get people to start thinking about saving the earth before it’s too late, and it’s not surprising that ISPs are setting an example for the rest of the world. So how green are the green measures being taken by Internet Service Providers the world over?


1. Many of them are adapting to solar power which is a source of renewable energy – we’re already hearing claims of data centers being 100 percent solar powered.
2. Data centers and ISPs are also investing in servers and other equipment that are energy efficient and which use less than half the energy needed by and generate less than half the heat emitted by traditional equipment.
3. There are a few ISPs who are also tapping wind energy to become 100 percent wind powered data centers.
4. Others are focusing on the carbon footprint they leave behind and are conscious about how they use energy; they are committed to recycling and reusing energy and resources and also reducing wastage of water and power.
5. Some ISPs promise to plant one tree for every customer who signs up with them. So they’re not only growing their business, they’re also growing trees. Besides, they encourage their clients to become aware of and contribute to the green movement.
6. A few ISPs take their social responsibilities very seriously and work towards improving the way their community fosters the environment.
7. Some even follow the policy of using only public transport to and from work because they don’t want to increase pollution by using their own cars.

Besides these conventional ways to foster a greener planet, ISPs are also working with wireless service providers to clean up the mobile Internet and make the environment greener. They’re working on technology that will stop spam, fraud, and viruses and other malware, and which will also prevent the origination and spread of bad information. With more and more people taking to the air waves with 3G and EDGE, ISPs have moved their ant-spam and ant-malware technology to the mobile Web in the hope of making it a cleaner place.

This guest post is contributed by Bailey Digger, she writes on the topic of web design degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: baileydigger189(@)gmail(.)com.

9 Weird Facts About Printer Ink

This is a guest post by James Adams. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Most homes have an inkjet printer or laserjet printer to print the family photos, papers for school, or even book drafts. As a result, millions upon millions of consumable cartridges are created, many of which end up in the garbage heap. Here are some quick facts about the cartridges that you use every single day.

1. In the UK alone, more than 30 million inkjet cartridges are dumped each year into landfills. This is the equivalent weight of 18 blue whales. If placed end to end, unrecycled cartridges could circle the Earth.

2. There are specialty markets which you can purchase edible inkjet ink for your printer. In fact, there is a restaurant in Chicago which uses edible ink and paper to print out its delicious sushi entrees. The chef, Homaro Cantu, prints out delightful concoctions using a Canon i560 inkjet printer.

3. Nearly a gallon of oil goes into the production of one laser cartridge. Several ounces of oil go into the creation of an inkjet cartridge. Less oil in energy is used when a laser printer cartridge is remanufactured, though very few cartridges are reused, remanufactured, or recycled.

4. Water makes up at least 50% of an inkjet ink cartridge. The other ingredients to the cartridges are pigments and chemicals which keep the ink from evaporating. This ink is precisely manufactured to make sure that the ink doesn’t evaporate, bugs don’t enter the ink, the cartridge itself is durable, and will not corrode.

5. In the US, it is estimated that over 375 million inkjet cartridges are disposed of every year. The weight of these cartridges is equivalent to over 112,000 Volkswagen Beetles or 67,000 Ford Explorers. Purchasing remanufactured cartridges saves you oil as well as around 3.5 pounds of waste. We currently recycle only around 25% of the inkjet cartridges that are used.

6. Cartridge manufacturers inflate the prices of their inkjet cartridges. They will use the tactic of selling the inkjet printers themselves for at or below cost so they can sell their proprietary inkjet cartridges for a significant profit. This is in contrast to laser printer manufacturers, who will sell their laser printers for high prices, knowing that consumables will not be bought as often.

7. The retail cost of ink itself costs more than most liquids on the planet, including oil, liquor, milk, and space shuttle fuel. The HP 20 black ink cartridge has 28 ml of ink and costs an average of $40 per cartridge. In order to get a liter of ink, one must have around 36 ink cartridges. The cost of a single liter of HP ink is $1,440.

8. Lexmark has a single-use policy written on its cartridges. The company won a lawsuit in 2005 which allows it to prosecute individuals for refilling their cartridges. Those cartridges which aren’t labeled with the single-use markings have to be returned to the company for refilling.

9. There is a computer chip in each inkjet cartridge which informs the printer of the levels of toner within. Since manufacturers stand to win when cartridges are empty, there is the inclination to prematurely signal the depletion of a cartridge. There are a few especially annoying printers which will not print black and white when only a single color has been depleted.

Inkjet printer ink is one of the most valuable liquids on the planet, yet it is used at an alarming rate. Laser printer cartridges are almost as expensive, if one considers the resources which go into the production of a single cartridge. Whether in the UK or the US, recycling inkjet and laser printer cartridges is important.

James Adams is a regular contributor of guest articles to blogs around the web. He works for Cartridge Save, a popular supplier of printer ink based in the UK.

8 Best WordPress Caching Plugins

This is a guest post by Kip. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Slow page loads cause visitors to leave your site and go somewhere else, leaving you without sales and without subscribers. Slow page loads can also prompt Google to downgrade your page rank, causing you even more lost revenue. WordPress pages can be slow because of the large number of files and database calls the system must process while the visitor waits to see it. By saving these dynamic pages as static HTML after they are viewed, subsequent page views are served much faster. Fortunately, adding caching to WordPress is as easy as adding a couple files to your server. Here are the 8 best WordPress caching plugins you can use to make your Web site more responsive and profitable.

1. WP-Cache is one of the first WordPress cache solutions ever to be created. With this plugin installed, WordPress can serve up hundreds more pages per second. This reduced server load accommodates hundreds or even thousands more visitors to your blog without any noticeable performance degradation. Although this is not the fastest cache plugin, it remains one of the most popular.

2. WP Super Cache uses three methods to cache data (Mod_Rewrite, PHP, and Legacy Caching) to make your content display quickly to your visitors even when your server is under a heavy load. With its recommended settings, WP_Super Cache will compress pages and cache PHP code while serving original pages to known users. The makers of the plug-in say that 99% of your visitors will see static pages, suggesting that search engines and visitors will all have a good experience on your site.

3. DB Cache is a WordPress plugin that professes to speed WordPress beyond traditional HTML caching to make it the fastest cache solution that is available. With DB Cache installed your WordPress cache takes less space and your server deals with a lighter load than with other cache plugins.

4. WP Widget Cache will cache WordPress widgets to make your blog go even faster than it does with a page cache only This is especially important for bloggers who have an above average number of widgets in use. Since widgets are found on most pages, this plugin can speed up every page (including unpopular pages) so users and search engines will have positive feelings about your blog.

5. Hyper Cache is a WordPress cache pluigin designed for installations on minimal hosting providers. This is important because the average low resource Web host doesn’t have the space and the horsepower to support a full blown hosting solution. This plugin serves cached pages without any database access and minimizes cached storage space to so that even low-end packages can host speedy WordPress blogs.

6. DB Cache Reloaded is a WordPress cache plugin that branched off of the original DB Cache after the original author didn’t promptly update the plugin for newer WordPress versions. This cache will work with the most recent versions of WordPress.

7. 1 Blog Cacher is an ultra lightweight cache that is gaining in popularity even though virtually all of its configuration options are set in a single PHP file. This is an HTML cache, meaning that dynamic pages are saved as HTML for future visitors. Because of its low profile, this plugin caches only GET requests on the server. The plugin also supports the ability to define the length of time before pages expire.

8. W3 Total Cache Is billed as one of the most robust caching plugins available. It offers impressive speed gains “out of box” with plenty of options to tweak it for your particular preferences. Several options for caching for pages and databases, minifying, and content delivery networks makes this an attractive option for experienced bloggers.

Try one or more of the 8 best WordPress caching plugins listed here to improve your page loading speeds. Your effort will be rewarded with more satisfied customers, better search engine ranking, and a bigger bottom line.

Kip is a tech writer for BroadbandCompare.com.au, an Australian website where you can compare broadband plans and deals from the best broadband providers.