13 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Are a Freelancer

American flag

There is a good chance that by 2020 you will be self-employed.

An old Intuit report estimated that by that time nearly 40 percent of Americans will make their living as temporary workers — that is, as freelancers, business owners, or independent workers.

This could be good news.

Those who are not freelancers often look at those who are with a trace of envy. From the cubicle, the grass certainly looks greener. It is the life that you could have. And should have.

If only.

[ Continue Reading… ]

Google Glass Offers a First-Mover Advantage You Shouldn’t Overlook

close-up of an eye wearing Google Glass

Have you ever wondered what the subreddit “ShittyBattleStations,” hammerhead sharks, and the Internet have in common?

Yeah, me neither.

But I recently discovered that the three seemingly unconnected entities all stretch my sense of nostalgia.

ShittyBattleStations is a subreddit where people share photographs of their gaming environments. Imagine bad camera angles of a bean bag chair, milk crate, high-powered computer, and a gallon of water.

It’s a place for snapshots of a subculture interested in avoiding the complex world — a subculture that reminds me of my own sad attempts as an adolescent to master Donkey Kong, since people scared the daylights out of me.

And I’ve been a fan of hammerhead sharks ever since Momaw Nadon’s cameo in the original Star Wars.

The Internet? Well, in the beginning, only a select few were entertained by slow-loading, grainy information and pixelated images. I stood aloof, fearful.

“You mean, like, I could talk to a stranger in Singapore?”

“Yes.”

“I do believe that is terrible.”

It’s safe to say I’ve gotten over that anxiety, but a recent development has caused some of it to reemerge …

[ Continue Reading… ]

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Writer? Answer This Question to Find Out …

Image of Walt Whitman

Let’s say this:

You’ve been a graphic designer since high school, went to college, and got a degree in computer science. During that time you’ve dabbled in writing. You have a blog. You don’t publish frequently, but when you do, you get traction.

Or how about this:

You are middle-aged woman who’s been a successful CPA with a large firm for 10 years. While the pay is divine, you are not entirely happy. In fact, if pushed, you’d probably say you hate your job. You’ve been breaking out the journal before bed each night.

Here’s another one:

You own a business. It’s septic tank installation. One you inherited from your father. Septic tank installing is all you’ve ever known. But a little over two years ago you were involved in a tragic accident. And you think the story needs to be told.

Each scenario above is based upon a real-life conversation I’ve had with someone. I’ve changed the details to protect privacy, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you understand what I’m trying to do.

At some point in the conversation these people ask me: “Should I become a writer? Do I have what it takes?”

[ Continue Reading… ]

How Often Should You Change an Advertising Message? (Way Less Than You Think)

image of a row of Absolut vodka bottles

In 1996, Richard W. Lewis, New York City ad man and executive at TWBA, wrote in his best-selling book The Absolut Book:

The Absolut Vodka advertising campaign has been running nonstop for 15 years, since 1981. This is remarkable because in the advertising business, campaigns can change as often as every year, as marketers attempt to keep their brands’ personalities fresh.”

More than likely you’ve run into one of these ads.

Absolut Clarity used a magnifying glass over the words “Made in Sweden” to bring attention to the fact that, unlike other imported vodkas, Absolut was not made in Russia.

Absolut D.C. was a bottle wrapped in red tape, because, you know, bureaucracy sucks, and Absolut is a great way to cope with that suckiness.

And Absolut Perfection displayed a glowing halo hovering over an Absolut bottle.

The ads made an impact.

[ Continue Reading… ]

Master This Copywriting Formula to Dominate Any Social Media Platform

image of a man at a chalkboard with a long pointer

When you master copywriting fundamentals you acquire skills that you can take anywhere.

Take the Problem-Agitate-Solve formula for example.

The formula works like this:

  • Identify a problem
  • Agitate that problem
  • Trot out the solution

Its applications are endless.

[ Continue Reading… ]

Easy Design Tricks That Will Lift Your Web Sales

Image of a desk with laptop

Advice about web design, as a rule, either concerns itself with established conventions like “design for humans” or arcane tips such as creating responsive images with the “srcset” attribute.

Tricks of conversion, however, don’t typically appear in the ordinary design presentation …

You know, those little design secrets that make all the difference between something beautiful and something beautiful and profitable.

[ Continue Reading… ]