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March 2022 - SEO TOP AGENCY

How to find well-paid freelance gigs

Freelancing is a great way to live a lifestyle you control. Whether you freelance full-time as your own boss or moonlight in the evenings, freelance jobs provide you with control over how you work.

One of the biggest challenges to freelancing is getting gigs. You might be great at writing, designing logos, or language translation. But selling and marketing? Not so much.

Here are some ways to get good freelance jobs.

bidding for freelancers

What to avoid

Major freelance marketplaces promise to make it easy to find jobs, but they might not be a good long-term source of work. Sites like UpWork and Fiverr have plenty of opportunities but in many ways might feel like a race to the bottom.

On these sites, you will often compete with other freelancers from countries where the dollar goes further. That’s great for them (it’s one of the ways the internet is helping people across the world), but it makes it challenging to earn a living wage if you are in an area with a high cost of living. The cost of living difference also makes it difficult to spend time sending proposals for jobs. If the cost of your time is higher, then the cost of making proposals is higher.

Many employers on these sites are hunting based on price rather than quality. Price is a central feature of the marketplaces use to attract people looking for help. In fact, one major freelance site advertises in its investor presentations how cheaply its customers got work done.

The net-net is that people can get work done cheaply through these marketplaces, but the quality of work is often lacking. If you care about your work and do a great job, it will be tough to succeed merely by taking jobs on these sites, and the projects may not be ones worth displaying on a portfolio.

Remember, Fiverr’s name was chosen because you could initially get work done on the site for five bucks. That should tell you something. So, while these marketplaces can be a good way to get your feet wet with freelancing, you’ll eventually want to find ways to source freelance jobs yourself.

Finding better freelance jobs

Getting better-paying jobs requires a bit of upfront work. But if you take the time you were spending responding to requests for proposals on marketplaces and spend it on other prospecting activities, you should be able to build a good client list of well-paying jobs.

Here are some ways to find clients without an intermediary, or at least one with workers’ goals in mind.

hedgehog using LinkedIn

Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the top social network for business. People use it to network with other people, find jobs, and find people to fill jobs – including freelance and part-time roles.

To get the most out of LinkedIn:

  • Refine your profile to focus on the type of work you do. If you’ve switched careers or industries, focus on the one that is most relevant to the work you’re trying to find.
  • Add a note at the top of your profile that says you are open to freelance opportunities.
  • Comment on posts other people make that are relevant to what you do. You shouldn’t directly promote your services unless people ask for a direct referral. Instead, try to add to the discussion by showing your expertise. If you impress people, they will click on your profile.
  • Add your own posts that display your expertise. It’s OK to post about work you’ve recently done (if your client agrees). You can also post commentary on articles about your industry, or write your own thoughts / opinions about your business topic. Tag other people or use hashtags in your original posts to get wider distribution.
hedgehog building a website

Create your own website

Potential clients will take you more seriously if you have a professional website. This is especially the case for web developers.

Thankfully, even people who aren’t web designers can easily create a website with tools like WordPress or the Namecheap SiteMaker.

If you’re a designer, upload examples of your work to a portfolio page on the site. Writers can add links to stories they’ve written. Basically, whatever you do, show off how great you are with your website!

Take a few minutes to add a testimonials page with comments from happy clients. This can go a long way in building your credibility.

Oh, and with your new website, make sure to add a professional email address using your domain. Clients will take you more seriously if you use professional email instead of a free service like Gmail or Hotmail.

graphic with stars for marketplaces

Use high-end marketplaces

While some freelance marketplaces are a race to the bottom, others focus on freelancer quality and higher pay.

For example, WordPress developers on codeable.io are screened by the marketplace. There are just over 500 developers on the platform, so you’re not competing with too many people. The platform sets expectations for $ 70- $ 120 hourly rates and explains to clients why it’s worth paying more for good developers.

Another service that focuses on quality of work (and higher pay) is Toptal. It screens each client with a phone call to determine what they are looking for and sets minimums for each project. It often places freelancers in longer-term relationships.

Ask for referrals

One of the best ways to build your client base is to ask your current and previous clients for referrals. Referrals from satisfied clients carry a lot of weight with prospective clients.

It can be hard to ask for referrals if you aren’t used to selling. Build the ask into your process. For example, send a satisfaction survey to your clients and add a question that says, “Would you recommend me to your friends or colleagues?”

If they say yes, send a follow-up email and ask for referrals.

In the end, build your own book of clients

When looking for freelance clients, relying on marketplaces or other platforms for all of your work might seem easier. But getting clients directly, and nurturing those relationships, will pay larger dividends in the long run.

Put the ideas in this post into motion and you should start seeing results in short order. Building a full book of business takes time, but finding clients yourself rather than depending on marketplaces is a great long-term goal.

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wpadmin March 29, 2022 0 Comments

Staking your cryptocurrency securely in 2022

It’s 2022, and the crypto community is staking – but what is cryptocurrency staking, and how can you stake securely?

Staking is a simple way to turn your crypto into passive income, especially if the cryptocurrency offers high-interest rates. However, it’s important to understand how staking works before you start earning rewards.

Some people are reluctant to stake their crypto because they don’t know how it works. But staking is easy to do with a little know-how.

But given crypto’s volatility, you’ll need to stake your crypto securely. Otherwise, you risk losing your investment.

Bitcoin and a tablet

Staking crypto allows you to make money by holding onto your coins. It’s a form of passive income, which means you don’t have to work to earn money. Rental yields and stock dividends are ways of making cash investments work for you.

With inflation rising, investors are looking for new ways to boost their income online.

When you stake your crypto, the blockchain network will use your holdings to create new blocks and validate them.

By allowing your crypto to become validators on its network, the blockchain will reward your staking activity with extra coins.

By following a few easy steps, you can earn 5%, 10%, or more by staking your crypto.

  1. Choose a cryptocurrency that offers staking

If you want to stake, you’ll need to hold a proof-of-stake (PoS) cryptocurrency such as Cosmos (ATOM), Cardano (ADA), or Solana (SOL).

Do your own research and pick one that has good business fundamentals and try not to be seduced by projects offering huge rewards.

  1. Buy crypto on an exchange

You can buy cryptocurrencies in multiple exchanges with Binance, Coinbase, and Crypto.com being the most popular.

Each of them enables users to stake some of their PoS cryptocurrencies in just a few taps.

The more you hold, the more you can earn. It’s that simple.

  1. Stake your cryptocurrency securely

Remember to stake with a virtual private network (VPN). When crypto investing, it’s important you take the right security precautions because no one else will do it for you.

The responsibility for your coins falls upon you, and you alone.

Crypto staking usually earns a specified interest rate, anything from 3% to 10%, depending on how long and how much crypto you own.

If you withdraw your money early, you might face a penalty. Also, each exchange and platform will have different rules for different coins – most require a minimum staking investment to receive rewards.

Staking means you must lock-in your crypto for a specified time period, affecting your ability to sell or trade when the market dips.

Your coins are still in your possession when you stake them, however. You’re putting them to work, and you’re free to unstake them if you change your mind.

Crypto is a volatile trade, and prices can drop quickly. If your staked tokens suffer from a significant price drop, it could offset any interest you’ve earned on them.

Selling and holding cryptocurrency is a speculative trade and involves a substantial degree of risk.

illustration of PoW vs PoS

You may have come across “proof-of-work” and “proof-of-stake” on crypto websites. They are two leading consensus protocols that use cryptocurrencies to verify new transactions and create new tokens.

A consensus protocol is a set of instructions that approves new transactions and records them on a blockchain network.

Proof-of-work uses mining to achieve these goals, while proof-of-stake uses staking instead.

Proof-of-work (PoW)

Bitcoin uses proof-of-work, and it requires miners to solve mathematical equations to add new blocks.

Miners that update the Bitcoin blockchain first will receive rewards through newly minted coins and transaction fees. With Bitcoin, each new block has a specific “hash” (a long string of numbers and letters).

A miner needs to create a matching target hash for a new block to be accepted. The goal is to be the first miner to find the target hash.

Finding the target hash is like solving a puzzle and requires enormous computing power to succeed. PoW cryptocurrencies are popular for their security, but their environmental impact has been criticized, given their energy demands.

Proof-of-stake (PoS)

The proof-of-stake protocol adds new blocks to the blockchain through staking, where “validators” use your coins, selected at random to create a new block.

Users that stake larger amounts will have a greater chance of being chosen as the next block validator, encouraging you to own more.

  • Validators – Validators are randomly selected to confirm transactions and create new blocks in the blockchain, rewarding you with more coins.
  • Delegators – Delegating means donating coins to other validators, so your staking can be completed passively.

If you’re staking crypto, you’ll need to take precautions. Unlike legacy banks, you have few safeguards in place to retrieve your assets if it’s stolen, so you can potentially lose all of your crypto and receive no compensation.

Using a virtual private network (VPN) is a must when staking crypto as it forms a privacy shield over your Internet connection.

  • A VPN hides your IP address preventing third parties from tracking you online ensuring your crypto staking is anonymous.
  • Paid VPNs don’t store your activity logs. They also have a Kill Switch feature, which boosts your security and anonymity.

Several crypto exchanges have lost funds due to nefarious activities. With these evolving threats, you can protect your Internet freedom with FastVPN and conceal your location.

Remember, if hackers access your funds, there is currently no regulatory body that’ll help you. So if someone manages to steal your crypto, you’ll never see it again, let alone stake it.

With a VPN offering an additional layer of security, you can stake your crypto securely with a centralized exchange or hot wallet.

In return for staking cryptocurrency, you can receive rewards on what you’ve staked, like earning interest in a savings account. The difference is that interest rates are low right now, while you can make up to 10% with staking.

Each PoS cryptocurrency has its staking methods, so before deciding on which coin (s) you want to stake, make sure you research its proof-of-stake protocol and protect your investment with a VPN.

If you want to protect your Internet freedom while staking crypto, you can use FastVPN free for one month. We accept Bitcoinin addition to PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

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wpadmin March 28, 2022 0 Comments

[NEWS] Protesting within open source software

With the war in Ukraine, a new form of activism has appeared on the Internet.

Opponents of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are inserting messages and code snippets into widely-used open-source software. In the majority of cases so far, this code, dubbed ‘protestware’, has stood to messages in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, but there have been instances of malicious code intended to impact users in Russia and Belarus.

To date, at least two dozen open source projects have added code in protest of Russian actions.

As an example of the new strategy to protest the war, the Krebs On Security blog shared a bit of code from the ES5-ext library on GitHub, as translated with Google:

Most of the protestware so far has been similarly benign, but there have been exceptions. In one significant case, Ars Technica reported that a popular open-source project called node.ipc, with millions of downloads each week, was modified to take action against people based on location. While the code displayed a “message of peace” to all users, if the software detected by the user had an IP address locating them in Russia or Belarus, it wiped files on the user’s computer.

The MIT Technology Review describes how this impacted an American NGO with a server in Belarus that was collecting evidence on war crimes. The organization, which was unnamed, posted on GitHub that 30,000 messages are likely gone forever.

Fortunately, that malicious code was quickly removed in less than a day.

The problem with this new protestware is that it undermines the very nature of open-source software, which is a critical part of what makes the Internet work. Open source projects like WordPress help people build individual websites, while code libraries and other open-source projects help to keep online infrastructure running.

Such code is often built by thousands of volunteers worldwide, who regularly develop new code and fix bugs, uploading their changes to GitHub or other platforms. Project administrators in theory then review the code and push it out to all users of that software. However, the sheer size of code uploaded to some of the libraries means manual review and testing is not always feasible, especially when bugs or security vulnerabilities require rapid action.

In order for this system to work, a great deal of trust must be established among the coders working on the project (generally, contributors subscribe to a ‘do no harm’ ethos) and then between the contributors and the end-users. People who use the software or code libraries need to trust that the latest versions will continue to work as expected and any major changes that might break things will be communicated in advance.

With this new protestware, however, this trust may be eroding. As Ars Technica pointed out, the nature of open source projects “means an update from a single individual has the potential to throw a wrench in an untold number of downstream applications.” And if more people turn to adding malicious code, it could undermine the Internet as we know it.

GitHub user NM17 pointed out that with the advent of protestware, “the Pandora’s box is now open.” They suggested that “the trust factor of open source, which was based on the goodwill of the developers is now practically gone.”

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a warning:

… Remaking fundamental internet infrastructure protocols — like disconnecting Russia from the internet by revoking its top level domain names or revoking IP addresses — to protest a war will likely lead to a host of dangerous and long-lasting consequences. It will deprive people of a powerful tool for sharing information when they need it most, compromise security and privacy, and undermine trust in the global communications infrastructures we all rely on. ”

Unfortunately, it appears that the good intentions behind protestware may have far-reaching consequences for anyone who uses the Internet, whether we interact with code directly or not.

In other news

  • Atlantis in Yorkshire? That’s Odd. Like Atlantis and Lionesse, there are myths and legends aplenty of ancient lands lost to the seas. But now Yorkshire, England, could have its very own tale to tell. Founded in 1235, the town of Ravenser Odd may not have been a civilization resplendent with treasures, but it was a working port later destroyed in the ‘Grote Mandrenke’ storm of 1362. Daniel Parsons, a Geoscientist at Hull University leading a survey of sediments in the Humber estuary, hopes will uncover the remains of the town. He also hopes that studies like his can explain more about coastal erosion and how environments are changing faster than we realize.
  • A breakthrough in robo-speed. With a top running speed of 18 mph, the robotic Cheetah may be a long way off the actual cheetah, which travels at fastest between 70 and 80 mph, but this is still a new record for a robotic quadruped. The Cheetah was developed by researchers at MIT who have applied AI-powered simulations that enable the Cheetah to improve its own technique. Every time it meets with new terrain, the bot can learn and alter its movements automatically. The Cheetah may be one speedy bot, but it still doesn’t reach the human record of 27.5 mph, set by Usain Bolt. Even so, it can outrun most of us!
  • New bill to limit big tech. The Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act (PAMA) is out to do just what it sounds like: prohibit mergers that could negatively impact competition. It would disallow mergers worth more than $ 5 billion, as well as those that result in shares over 33% for sellers or 25% for employers. In the US Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Mondaire Jones is sponsoring the bill, which is intended to increase competition and improve conditions for small businesses, employees, and minority communities. However, for the bill to pass it will need complete support from sitting Democrats, as there are currently no Republican co-sponsors.
  • Netflix to test charging fees to password-sharing customers. Is this the end of an era? Although Netflix has long been lax about users sharing passwords with friends and family, the media streaming giant may soon put its foot down. Business Insider reports that it will launch a test to crack down on password sharing outside a user’s household. Netflix claims that confusion over how and when the service can be shared has impacted its ability to invest in new TV shows and films for its members. The test will begin in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru over the coming weeks.
  • Apple services experience outages due to DNS issues. On Monday, March 21, Apple experienced an outage of rare magnitude for the tech giant, which impacted apps and internal services alike. According to Gizmodo, it affected apps and services such as Apple Music, the App Store, Siri, and even iMessage. Bloomberg reports that it also prevented retail workers and staff from working from home. The outage was resolved by the late afternoon without any detailed public announcement from Apple, but internal communications indicate that it was due to DNS problems. In this familiar sounds, Facebook experienced a similar outage last year.
  • Hackers target authentication firm Okta. Okta, an authentication service used by major corporations such as FedEx and Moody’s Corp to access their networks, had a recent security breach. Okra Chief Security Officer David Bradbury revealed that hackers accessed the computer of a customer support engineer working for a third-party contractor over five days in mid-January, Reuters reports. The company maintains that the impact on customers is limited and it is identifying and contacting those affected. According to Wired, the Lapsus $ digital extortion gang claimed responsibility for the hack via a screenshot posted on its Telegram channel. The screenshot purports to show Lapsus $ logged in to the Okta administrative or “super user” account. In the same set of posts, the gang shared what they claim is source code from Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Bing Maps, and Cortana virtual assistant software.

    Then in a late-breaking twist no one saw coming, Bloomberg reports that the mastermind behind the Lapsus $ hack may be a 16-year-old living with his mother in Oxford, England. According to the report, the Lapsus $ group employed poor operational security, giving out details that allowed cybersecurity officials to track them down. So far no charges have been filed, but it’s certainly a story to watch.

Tip of the week

After Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, many people wonder what they can do to help, even when strapped for cash. Fortunately, many companies are chiming in with financial support, meaning users who do business with these brands indirectly support Ukrainians in their fight.

Epic Games announced this week that it would donate all proceeds accumulated from online gamers through Fortnite from March 20 thru April 3 to organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations World Food Program, and the UNHCR. Other brands, such as LensDirect, are taking a percentage of all revenue from online shoppers and sending it to support Ukraine.

Grammarly, with offices in Kyiv, New York City, and Vancouver, has committed $ 5 million, equivalent to the net revenue from their product sales in Russia and Belarus since 2014 — to organizations and funds supporting resistance efforts. So writers who use Grammarly (like us) can help just by continuing their subscriptions.

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wpadmin March 25, 2022 0 Comments