All posts tagged “Ways”

Freelancers: 7 Ways To Prevent Chargebacks From Clients

We all know the financial hardships freelancers face when finding new clients, preserving existing income sources, maintaining cash flow during slow times, figuring out income taxes and more. Unfortunately, there is another financial hurdle you could face as a freelancer: chargebacks.

via Fotolia

A chargeback is a forced credit card refund. Chargebacks are a form of consumer protection, originally created to protect people from fraud and unauthorized transactions. The merchant bears the burden of proof. All the cardholder (freelance client) has to do is contact the bank and ask for their money back.

If you accept credit card as a form of payment, even if you are in freelancing, credit card companies will deem you a merchant, which means that a freelance client can dispute a payment they’ve made to you. The money will be removed from the your bank account, without warning or your consent, and you will be left with an extra chargeback fee you’ll have to pay.

As you can see, chargebacks open the door for fraudsters which may include clients of questionable character looking to cheat the system.

Accepting Credit Cards As Payment

The first solution off the top of your head would probably be to just do away with the idea of accepting credit card as payment. But know that other forms of payment come with dangers too: check fraud, counterfeit and bouncing checks are a few unpleasant side effects of accepting checks as payment.

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies aren’t widely accepted yet, and wiring money or providing direct deposits are a risk many clients aren’t usually willing to take. In the end, credit card payments are usually the lesser evil. Chargebacks are unpleasant but with proper management, they are preventable. Taking manageable risks is the only way to ensure growth and success.

Best Ways To Prevent Chargebacks

A determined fraudster or a lazy client is bound to slip through the cracks on occasion but there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk of these unnecessary profit losses.

1. Consider Using A Moderator

Technically, you can find freelances jobs anywhere. It should also be noted that anyone can post these jobs. Unless there is a screening process of some sort, you could end up working with some real sketchy characters. Consider using freelance job coordinators like oDesk, Elance, or Guru.

In addition to facilitating work opportunities through the job board, these companies act as a payment moderator between the client and freelancer. There are checks and balances in place to help make the payment process as safe as possible. Some even go so far as to guarantee payment. Chargebacks are much less likely to occur in these "safe" environments.

2. Meticulously Research The Potential Client

Even if you do use one of these freelancing agencies – and especially if you don’t – it is important to do your own research. An honest client who has every intention of paying for quality work will have a better online reputation than a scammer who is determined to get something for free.

Go online and learn everything you can about a new or potential client.

  • Check out their website (the design can tell you a lot about the company’s legitimacy).
  • See if there are any reviews on the client’s Google+ account.
  • Be sure to check out scam websites like Ripoff Report.
  • If the company has brick-and-mortar presences, you can see how they stand with the Better Business Bureau.
  • In addition to your online research, conduct a phone or Skype interview.
  • Also, if the client does business in the "real world," stop in during business hours (if they are local).

3. Take Extra Precautions

Many chargebacks are filed because of unauthorized transactions. A fraudster could get a hold of credit card information and buy a design on someone else’s dollar. Make sure you really are working for the person who will be footing the bill.

If possible, ask for a photocopy (or scan) of both the face of the credit card and the client’s photo ID. Make sure the names match. A thief probably wouldn’t have access to both the credit card and ID. In fact, if the credit card account number has been hacked from somewhere, they might not even have access to the actual card. You can also compare the signature on the ID to the signature on the contract.

4. Address Payment Details In Writing

Your contract might be your best chargeback prevention tool. Disputing a chargeback is difficult – and rarely successful. The only way to prove your case (and get your money back) is to have written documentation supporting your claims.

Since a contract would act as this dispute proof, it also acts as a deterrent for anyone who might be looking for ways to cheat the system. So make sure you plug any holes from the get-go. This article on freelance contract clauses can help you draft a fail-proof contract; pay careful attention to the tips regarding rates, invoicing, kill fee, and deadlines. These will be most helpful in preventingt chargebacks.

5. Clearly Outline Copyright Ownership

Another important tip to note is copyright issues. Copyright laws are another valuable chargeback prevention tool. Imagine the following situation. You design a killer website for a client. He accepts the design. He pays you via credit card. Life goes on.

Later, you receive notice of a chargeback but your design is still on the client’s site. If you worded your contract right, you can go after the thieving client. How? Put the following phrase in your contract: copyright transfers to the client only upon payment in full. If the client filed a chargeback, he hasn’t paid you, and therefore is in violation of copyright laws by continuing to use your design.

If you threaten the client with a DMCA takedown, he is likely to cancel the chargeback real quick. If he doesn’t pay, follow through with the takedown. This action won’t get you your money back, but it will give you a little satisfaction!

6. Comply With All Deadlines

Not all chargebacks come from scammers. There is a real possibility the chargeback filed against you is valid and brought about by your own actions. There are tons of acceptable reasons why a cardholder would file a chargeback. For example, one chargeback reason code that could influence your freelance income is "services not provided."

If you don’t adhere to deadlines, it is understandable that a client might consider a chargeback. The client shouldn’t have to pay for something he didn’t receive. If there is a chance you’ll miss a deadline, let the client know as soon as possible and offer an alternate submission schedule.

Additionally, make sure you provide excellent customer service. Answer your client’s phone calls and emails promptly and professionally. If there is a lag in communication, the client might think you went MIA and pull the plug on payments that have already been rendered.

7. Do The Work, And Do It Well!

Chargebacks filed when services are "not as described or defective" is also a legitimate grievance. If your client hired you to do X and you delivered Y, isn’t it understandable that a chargeback could be in your near future?

One way to ensure the quality of your work is to limit the amount of projects you accept at a given time. If you are stretched too thin, it will show in the quality of your work. Take pride in your work. Deliver completed projects that represent your very best effort.

And there you have it. There is nothing to fear about chargebacks once you understand how to prevent or at least minimize the possibility of it happening on your watch. Don’t threaten the success of your design career by failing to take a few preventative steps before work begins.

Have you experienced a chargeback? Were you able to successfully dispute it? Did you change the way you interact with clients as a result?

Editor’s note: This post is written by Jessica Velasco for Hongkiat.com. Jessica loves unearthing the strangest, most outrageous tech ideas. You can follow her on Twitter.





hongkiat.com

5 Productive Ways to Spend Weekend for Your Good

Sometimes I am dreaming about another day off right when I wake up in the Monday morning. Does this happen to you too? Many of us spend our weekend with family, go for a trip, party, or do nothing lying in the bed and watching a movie.

5 Productive Ways to Spend Weekend for Your Good

Have you ever thought about making some use of weekends? Here I mean use for you as a personality or making good for others.

I hope these ideas will inspire you to change your life a bit even for the only one day.Spend your next weekend with use, grow your career and become a better person!

1. Start learning a foreign and/or programming language

Learning foreign languages is useful if you like travelling, and meeting new people. Even if no, learning languages is good for self-improvement and development. Learning a certain language teaches you the culture of a certain country. You may pick one of the most widespread languages in the world, like French or Spanish, or any rare and complex language as Maithili which is spoken in India and Nepal only.

Define your learning strategy first, this depends on the type of learner you are: visual, auditive or kinesthetic. You are a visual learner if the easiest way to remember the word is to read it. In case you remember words the best when you listen to them, you are an auditive learner. You are a kinesthetic learner if associations help you remember the words – feelings, memories, people, etc.

You need to learn a little of everything: pronunciation, spelling, grammar, punctuation. Start learning 10 words each day and little by little add the amount of words you can learn per day. Practice alphabet, and listen a lot: radio, audio books, educational audios with words, dialogues recorded by native speakers.

Look here for free resources to learn 48 new languages.

Programming can open new doors for you, because more and more modern careers are connected with this field. Coding knowledge can bring you both money and delight. Especially great programming is due to a variety of languages available. All these languages differ in complexity, and their usage.

Let us talk about the most widespread and popular coding languages. Java is a programming language developed in 1990s. It is used the most for making web plugins or mobile apps.

Phython is a multi-purpose programming language. Easy code readability allows even beginners learn this language.

PHP is a server-scripting language for web development. If to be more clear, this language was originally created for developing web pages, but now it became more versatile. You can mix PHP with HTMl code, and this is its huge benefit.

Ruby is an open source programming language characterized by simplicity of use and productivity. Ruby makes website creation process easier and faster.

Here you may start mastering one of the programming languages you like. If not for job, coding knowledge may be useful for self-improvement.

Codecademy

2. Experience new software/product/gadget

Technologies are changing fast, and you should keep up with times not to become isolated from the world you live in. For this, you may use a kind of new software, product, plugin, app, etc. from time to time. This will help you to know more, to learn something new, to improve yourself, and then share your experience with others. For example, have you heard about iPassport? Many people lose their wallets or documents every day. This biometric locking device was created to protect your personal information and identity. Why not to read about it more at weekends, and maybe you will decide to have one?

Experience new software/product/gadget

3. Create a website

You may make a website for your personal needs, just for interest or for making money. Such experience won’t be useless anyway. To start with, you can use any website building platform you have heard about from friends, ads or the first one in the search. There paid tools like MotoCMS, or free like Wix. They differ not in price only, but in functionality, terms of use and design. While Wix seems to be a free platform, you will need to pay for a few extra features for your website anyway. MotoCMS is a tool with a very simple interface which offers you to create a website in a few hours and it has a huge and really amazing templates’ collection. Within a good website builder you can have a ready website design along with a possibility to customize it. I think making your own website is a perfect idea to spend weekend.

Create a website

4. Attend a conference

Attending conferences has a huge amount of benefits. First of all, many people attend conferences to learn from the leading experts in their field. You can learn from people who started their business the same as you, and succeeded greatly. Also, you can make connections with all these ‘big’ people in your industry and keep in touch with them after the conference. Everyone has his own reasons to take part in the conference either as listener or as speaker. Here I am listing a few conferences related to digital world, design, marketing, sports and health, social science for year 2015, maybe you will be interested in one of them.

Mobile Trends Conference
  • When: February 11-13, 2015
  • Where: Krakow, Poland
  • Who attends: developers, marketers

Conference Details

TOCA ME Design Conference
  • When: February 21, 2015
  • Where: Munich, Germany
  • Who attends: creative technologists, designers, developers

Conference Details

Social Media Marketing World
  • When: March 25- 27, 2015
  • Where: San Diego, California
  • Who attends: CEOs, website publishers, marketers, social media strategists, content marketers

Conference Details

Pubcon Social Media Marketing Gathering
  • When: October 5 – 9, 2015
  • Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Who attends: site owners, web designers, developers, programmers, sales executives, creative directors

Conference Details

ClickZ Live for Digital Marketers
  • When: March 30 – April 1, 2015
  • Where: New York Marriott Marquis
  • Who attends: link building strategists, SEO experts, digital marketers, CEOs, site owners

Conference Details

Kerning International Conference on Typography
  • When: June 3-5, 2015
  • Where: Faenza, Italy
  • Who attends: developers, designers, managers

Conference Details

Webinale Web Conference
  • When: June 7-11, 2015
  • Where: Berlin, Germany
  • Who attends: digital professionals, designers, usability consultants, web developers

Conference Details

UX Scotland for UX Service Design and Digital Communities
  • When: June 10-12, 2015
  • Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Who attends: UX designers, usability experts, digital professionals

Conference Details

International Conference on Sports and Medicine
  • When: March 23-15, 2015
  • Where: Chicago, USA
  • Who attends: professors, researchers, scientists, physicians, trainers, students

Conference Details

Stress Management Summit
  • When: July 13-15, 2015
  • Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Who attends: psychiatrists, scientists, professors, researchers

Conference Details

International Conference on Weight Loss and Fitness Expo
  • When: July 13-15, 2015
  • Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Who attends: experts in the field of obesity, weight management, fitness experts, bariatric surgeons, exercise physicians, yoga practitioners

Conference Details

5. Administer charity

Be tolerant to other humans, and be empathic. There are many children without families, ill people who need help to survive, people who have no place to stay overnight, and unfortunately this list is very long. If some of you think that you can’t help because you are not rich, and there are many millionaires who have to help others – you are not right. There is no need to spend more than you can, and I suppose nothing will happen to you if you spend $ 10 or $ 20 dollars on charity. There are many charitable organizations and projects where help is needed every time. You can spend one of your days off helping one of such and for this no money is required. I am sure the chance to help is around us all the time – just have a wish.

Charity Water

Charity Water

This project is aimed at helping people from developing countries who have no access to clean water. That is why many people fall ill and even die. Donating $ 20 you give an access to water to one person – you save a life, you give this person a chance to go to school or work, and be happy.

Give India

Give India

Here you can choose the cause to donate for. This website is a compilation of 200 Indian charitable organizations. You can spend any amount of money to help mentally challenged children, or provide children with required medicine.

 

These were my suggestions for you to spend productive weekend. Hope you liked any of these ideas and will make use of it. Don’t hesitate to share your own creative ideas on spending weekend with us in the comments’ section. And don’t forget to tell us about your achievements!

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8 Ways Twitter Bots Are Actually Helping Us

Depending on your experience on Twitter, you may have encountered your fair share of annoying and spammy Twitter bots that keep following you. And unfollowing you when you don’t follow back. That said, not all Twitter bots are the ones that you normally find selling questionable goods or sending you suspicious links.

These ones are normally made by programmers playing around with code and algorithms. Some even call themselves Internet artists like Darius Kazemi who comes up with strange and interesting bots. Out of these experiments, actual helpful Twitter bots have emerged. So we scoured the Twitterverse to compile and categorize 8 things Twitter bots can do.

Natural Disaster Alert

Perhaps one of the most useful bots, these accounts tweet natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis as they happen. They normally draw their information from an official source like the earthquake one below which gets its data from the US Geological Survey. The bot is further programmed to tweet earthquakes that are at 5.0 and above on the Richter scale.

Some go a step further by being interactive such as Wave Glider Holoholo. The account is linked to a robot that collects data from the ocean around the Big Island of Hawaii. By asking it certain questions, it can tell you the weather report which can help you prepare for the weather.

Online Conversations/Debates

Twitter bots can also be made to pose as humans. No, we’re not talking about the bot that just followed you because you tweeted about eating pizza. What we are referring to is Olivia Taters, the bot who tweets uncannily like a teenage girl. So life-like is she that other Twitter users end up talking to her without realizing she’s a bot.

How the bot works is that the algorithm picks words used around the Twitterverse. Using that same premise, DevOps engineer Randi Harper built a bot that helps her debate with GamerGate supporters when she got tired of them harrassing her on the microblogging site. The bot does this by plucking randomly assembled phrases from her main account.

Monitoring Censors

When MH17 was shot out of the sky, many pointed fingers at the Ukrainian pro-separatist group and the Russians. Suspicions were further raised when reports of the exchanges between the leader were revealed. But what really sealed the deal that the proceedings were fishy was when Twitter bot @RuGovEdits exposed that the Russian government has been editing Wikipedia.

It even has an English version for the rest of us who can’t read Russian.

The bot works by tracking Wikipedia anonymous edits made by Russian government IPs. It is not the first of its kind as the US counterpart @congressedits came before it and there are others like the UK’s @parliamentedits. All these bots however aim to do the same thing which is to keep the government in check and inform them that the people are watching them too.

Generate Poetry

It’s amazing that despite the 140 character limit Twitter imposes, users are creatively coming up with short stories and poetry. Even bots are getting in on the game with their algorithms searching high and low the Twitterspace to retweet tweets accidentally written in iambic pentameter which is what @pentametron does.

Or even like this account that finds tweets that were accidentally (or coincidentally) written in haiku structure.

Generate Art

Twitter bots don’t just dabble in poetry, they make pieces of artwork too. These bots are pretty interactive as well as their algorithms will transform any image you tweet to it. Take for example @a_quilt_bot which turns your images into quilt or as quilt-like as it can.

Then there’s @pixelsorter which sorts a line of pixel from an image to generate abstract fuzzy images.

Sometimes, the various bots interact with one another whether by programming or by direct manipulation from their creators like this incident where @pixelsorter and @badpng were pitted against each other. The bots continuously mesh the images over and over before the creator stepped in to stop the never-ending exchange.

Teach English/Educate

The Internet needs more of these bots with the amount of grammar and spelling faux pas it always commits. These bots save the day (and irritate the offenders) by correcting their English like the now defunct @StealthMountain which tweets back at people who misspelled the phrase “sneak peek”. However @_grammar_ goes one step further by personally correcting improper grammar in tweets.

Some are relatively simple although no less uninformative such as the ever-celebrated @everyword which tweets a word from the dictionary everyday. It recently completed its cycle on June 7, 2014 after faithfully performing its task for 7 years. I’m puzzled why this is the last word though.

Send Notifications

Similar to the weather Twitter bots and the ones monitoring Wiki edits, these bots can be used for any basic alerts that would make life easier. One good example is the Netflix account. Yes, it is a bot and it tells you when a show is available for viewing. You know, when you are expecting that latest episode or for your binge watching needs.

Now that may seem like a relatively simple bot but sometimes the simplest of things are the most useful. Such as this bot which sends out announcements on whether a school is closed or delayed in Central Ohio. No more frustrations for parents and students!

Respond

Much like the Wave Glider Holoholo, these bots are interactive. The best example would be @DearAssistant which answers questions that you direct at it. It is considered as a “mini version of Siri” by its creator as it is based on the same data source.

There are various less complex bots that merely respond to a certain catchphrases or key words like @Betelgeuse_3 (it’ll respond if you type Beetlejuice 3 times) and @DBZNappa (which tweets back “WHAT?! NINE THOUSAND?!” anytime someone tweets “over 9000″). @RedScareBot however responds to any tweet that contains the word “socialist” or “communist” in the spirit of Joseph McCarthy because politics.

Have you come across other interesting Twitter bots? Let us know in the comments below!





hongkiat.com

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6 Ways Social Media Has Changed Christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly as #Christmas is here! Obviously a lot has changed in the ways we celebrate the holidays, with the continual rise of smartphones, social media, and selfies – just try and stop your Christmas dinner from showing up on Instagram. Rather than send Christmas cards via post or invite friends over for the Christmas party with a call, we now drop emails and invite them via Facebook Events.

While you may bemoan over how technology has changed the traditional Christmas spirit (curses!), it is time to observe the change of time. So in lieu of this festive season, we present to you 6 ways social media has changed the way we celebrate Christmas.

Spruce Up Your Accounts

If you have the time, the first thing to do to get into the festivities is to dress up your accounts. Like updating your Facebook cover picture with a Christmassy wallpaper or giving your Twitter display photo a Santa hat.

And why stop at one social network when you have multiple? Change your Tumblr theme colors and take a new selfie for Instagram; update them all!

Construct Your Wishlist

Because sometimes (or most times) people just don’t know what to get you for presents and end up giving you the boring old mug to add to your collection. It ends this Christmas and with the power of technology.

It can be as simple as a Facebook status with a picture of the object of your desire or an entire Pinterest board with everything you want in it. Complete your not-so-subtle hints with the hashtag #ChristmasWishlist or #IWantThis.

Send Season’s Greetings

With 1000+ followers/friends, ain’t nobody got time to wish them all. So a festive tweet would have to do when the clock strikes midnight and you take a little more time to craft a touching and thankful Facebook status because you are #deep.

Then you spend the next hour or so refreshing and going back and forth between social media to reply, retweet, and check for likes.

Oh and you can’t forget to mass WhatsApp your contact list. Or LINE them. Or send them a KakaoTalk. Or WeChat. And then there’s that Skype call you have to make…

Document The Festivities

You put in a lot of effort wrapping that present for your bestie by customizing the wrapping paper and carefully tying the ribbon with add-ons. It’s a piece of art (!) so you Instagram it. Heaven knows how much time you took to put up tinsel and baubles and lights all around the house and the Christmas tree. You stand back to admire your handiwork and Instagram it.

Your mom spent close to 8 hours cooking up the Christmas feast that now sits on the dining table. Before anyone could dig in, you take a picture and Instagram it. And hashtag your post with #foodporn, #Christmasdinner, #turkey and #blessed.

A photo posted by Anna Aromin (@seldabelda) on

Just Take All The Photos/Videos

Vines are the new family videos. Vine the carollers who stop by your front door with their sweet voices. Vine everyone’s reactions when they open their presents. And when you run out of moments, do it (read: make some up) for the Vine.

Besides, you can send a couple of the decent ones as Season’s Greetings to far off relatives who are “joining” the festivities via WhatsApp.


Count Down Till Midnight

…to be the first to wish/tweet all your followers Season’s Greetings and have a Happy New Year. Hey, it’s much more comfortable doing it in your warm house and in your jammies than counting down out in the streets and in the cold with too many people singing too loudly for your liking.

But if you’re out there because life is too short to stay holed up at home and because YOLO, you have got to take that selfie.

Have a #MerryChristmas!





hongkiat.com

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