Here’s my version of “My story of becoming a Freelancer”

What drives me to try working online?

It all started when I was so burned out with work. I was one of those call center agents who works at night while everyone else is either having a good night sleep or a night party with their friends. I worked as a tech support tier 2 for a cable company in the US. I’ve been there for almost four years. The first year is quiet exciting. I am learning a lot and the job is new to me. Until I become tenured. Working everyday is like a broken casette recorder who keeps on playing. It is so boring ang very tiring for the work schedule. I begin to have some negative effects on my body. For that long years of working in different schedule – 9pm, 12midnight, 3am, 5am – etc. yes I have tried all of them. worst if you’re shifting from an old time schedule to a new one. Im having a hard time adjusting. They said it’s because of the body clock. For me it is more on – sleeping during the day where everyone is busy, the sun is up and you’re there trying to sleep. It is true – you can’t sleep but you need to because you need the energy for work when you wake up. If you’re already asleep even if you don’t want to wake up yet,  you need to because you need go to work already.
..Until I became non-productive at work. I am a kind of person that gets bored of routinary work.. Same story as yesterday and tomorrow will be the same too. You can’t go beyond of what is given to you. So I get over breaks and lunches at work. Until my supervisor caught up my attention and given me a preventive suspension. That’s the time it’s enough for me. I was a different worker when I was still starting with my previous jobs. I was always excited. I always wanted to get attention of what I have done for the company. I got the best agent award during my first 6 months besting tenured agents and even my batch – the fact that I don’t speak English very well. If 99% of the agent have an American accent, I belong to the 1% because I speak too fast, I mumble. My accent is more like French, canadian mixed with Karay-a (local dialect from Antique).
My wife started working at home a year ahead of me. She got a stable company after 6months working at home or so. Until now, she is still working for them for about 3 years now. Her company is looking for tech support so I decided that’s my opportunity. During that time I was still working with this BPO. When I got a 1 month suspension last January 2012 because of those over-breaks and lunches, I decided to just resign. I feel I deserve a better job and get compensated better as well. I am an IT graduate and I think there is a better job opportunity for me out there.
I was correct.
It took about 2 months for my wife to get a job in oDesk. and she started at $1 writing job. We smile when we remembered those times she is starting but she is well compensated now. It pays off. Probably earning more than my operations manager in my previous BPO company. But anyway, let’s go back to my story. I got my first job 2 weeks after submitting those applications to potential employers. I didn’t stop and wait. I never stopped submitting applications. If I am not applying to a job, I am working with my online profiles and making sure I put all relevant info there. I was hired as an email tech support and then given the chance to work as a software tester and website QA. I was paid 15k a month. Not bad for a first time work-at-home job. The offer is a little bit smaller than my previous monthly salary in call center. But hey, I started at 13,500 when I first started as an agent. And I didn’t have to spend an hour commuting and another hour for unpaid lunch.
So everything is new to me. I didn’t expect there are so many things I need to learn but I didn’t complain. I worked very hard and few people get an opportunity to work in this type of job. I don’t have to spend an hour fixing my self and going for work. I just turn on my computer and there, my timer starts and I get paid right away. So I still have more time – probably looking for other part time jobs? And yes I did. I work as a software tester and QA for a year while working with part time job as VA (virtual assistant). I learned a lot working as as VA. It opens my mind of all the possibility and opportunity for other Pinoys to do the same kind of jobs as well. Seriously, if it’s your first time to get an online job, you should get a VA job. It lets you understand various web technologies you need for you to be able to  work online. So I started to learn these SaaS (Software as Service) applications, a lot of them.

Learning HTML and CSS.

While working full time online. I stumbled on this site – Village88. I was one of the pioneer student. They offer mentoring tutorial during that time for FREE. I think they are now called CodingDojo – teaching programming to students in Silicon valley. So I started learning online and was able to get the certificate. Yes. It requires a little bit of hard work and time. But in the end- its all worth it. The more skills you have, the better your opportunity to get more jobs with higher rates.
Then I tried jobs that include a little HTML and CSS customizations – combined with my customer service work history, it expands my job category from customer service to a much more complex technical support job that includes HTML and CSS skills. There comes a time that I get lots of job offers but I have so little time left for another job. Too many jobs so little time as what other freelancers would say. I even tried working 2 full time jobs and several part time jobs. It can be handled but wasn’t productive. So I just keep those with better compensation then have few small jobs.
It’s my 2 years working at home now and there are lots of things happened during that time. I learned a lot and will continue on learning. In fact my motto goes with it – “the more you learn, the more you earn”. I am happily working full time in a London-based company as a Support Analyt which is not an easy job to get into. I will talk about how I get this job in my next article -maybe provide some strategies for newbies in freelancing. Aside from working full time, I work part time as a Zendesk consultant – implementation, customization and building knowledge-based.
I’ve never been this contented with my career. I now consider myself a successful digital nomad. I can travel whenever and wherever I want. So long as I have my laptop and that Internet modem. Yes. I live in a province so wifi hotspot is not abundant in our area.
If people told me about my success working online – you’re are so lucky. I often replies with this quote from a Roman philosopher Seneca, ” luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I will not be what I am right now If didn’t acquired those skills.

How to Easily Share folders outside Copy using Shortcut

It’s been a long time I haven’t posted anything in my blog. I just don’t find an article worth sharing because everything seems to be in the Internet nowadays. I wanted my post to be unique in it’s own way. Lately, I have been collaborating with different people. With multiple projects I handled lately, sharing and collaborating files like PSD, Office documents, images, etc has been in demand in most of my jobs.

If you are into web design or development or even video production, or any other type of online jobs, there is always a need to collaborate your work with your team members or clients.

I have been using different types of cloud storage services – Dropbox, SugarSync, Box, Google Drive, etc.

If you are using a FREE account, almost all of them has two features in common I always wanted to improve or have without upgrading to a monthly fee subscription.

1. Different Folder Locations. Most of them in order for you to sync or share files and folder, you need to put those folders in one location. Sometimes this is quite annoying when you don’t want to duplicate the files or move it to the application installed folder just to sync the files.

2. Limited FREE space. they started at mostly 2GB or 5GB and like Dropbox can go up to 22GB. I think that’s enough if you’re not a heavy user like me.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the new Cloud Storage I discovered – Copy.com by Barracuda Networks. The initial signup FREE storage is 15GB and you will get an extra GB more to start 20GB free online storage if you use the referral link below.

 https://copy.com?r=oiCbrU

You need to install the software in your computer OR your mobile phone to get the 5GB additional. This will be the same process if you are planning to extend your free ONLINE storage space by using your own referral link. The maximum FREE storage can give you up to 250GB for FREE. This is enough to upload videos, high quality images and PSDs right? Too good to be true? We’ll it’s up to you to believe it or not. I’m just here giving you the good news. As of writing this post I already have 150GB as you can see in the screenshot below and yes I already uploaded 20GB of files. Sweet right?

Copy storage

So the problem number 2 is solved! Let’s go to the number 1. And I think this is the main purpose of this post, sharing your files without moving or copying your files to the Cloud Storage folder.

I assume you already have Copy installed in your machine. Come’on do you really need a tutorial for this? So let’s get started!

In this example, I will be sharing my folder named Test Folder with test.txt inside it as a sample file.

This folder is located in my drive D:\Upload to Copy\Test Folder. Again this is just a random folder located in a random location in my hard drive. Oh and I am using Win 8. This will be applicable for Win 7 too.

1. Create a shortcut

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Locate the folder you wanted sync. Right click on it and select Create shortcut. For OSX users, the equivalent command will be “Make Alias”

2. Move the Shortcut Folder to Copy

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Now that you have created the shortcut folder, move it to the Copy folder by selecting it and pressing CTRL+X for Cut and CTRL+V to paste it.

3. Wait to sync

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Copy will automatically sync the associated files in the shortcut folder. This time you don’t have to do anything. Just wait until it sync successfully.

4. Rename the file

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Now you can rename the shortcut folder to the match the name of the original folder.

5. Done

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That’s it! your folder is in sync and you are ready to share it any time you want.

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WAMP server turned ORANGE after installation

WAMP orange system trayHi guys! I spent hours  fixing my newly installed WAMP Server v2.2E. So I created this article to help you out. My WAMP icon stuck to colored orange after starting WAMP. Meaning it’s offline or not working.

So here’s the quick step to save your time browsing different solutions in the web.

Before you changed any settings from other application like Skype as others might have suggested it. Let’s first find out the reason why some applications are conflicting with WAMP server.

WAMP is a package of services that run on your computer. These services run on certain ports. If those ports are already used by other services, WAMP won’t be able to start its services and it will warn you with the orange or red icon.

First important thing to remember, during the installation of your newly downloaded WAMP, it may asks you to install Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package. Please INSTALL it. Because your WAMP will not work without these components. I have provided the links for you below:

For Windows 32 : Be sure that you have installed the Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package x86: VC10 SP1 vcredist_x86.exe >>http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=8328

For Windows 64 : Be sure that you have installed the Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package x64: VC10 SP1 vcredist_x64.exe >>http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=13523 

Step 1. Check for the applications using the port 80. WAMP server runs through the PORT 80. So we will make sure no other applications are using it.

a. To check, click on the WAMP icon in your system tray. Click on Apache, go to Service and click on Test Port 80.

Test port 80

b. This will open your command prompt and will give you the name of the program currently using the PORT 80.

This is what I get in my end: Microsoft-IIS (Internet Information Services) /7.5

Microsoft IIS running port 80

After I pulled up my localhost, I am getting the Microsoft IIS page instead of the WAMP server page.

Step 2. To disable the Microsoft-IIS, pull-up your Control Panel, select uninstall a program under Programs and Features, then click on Turn Windows feature on or off. Now you can uncheck the box where it says Internet Information Services.

Step 3. Disable port 80 in Skype. Just in case you will see SKYPE in the command line, which by the way never happened to my port test yet, open your Skype, click on Tools and select Connection options…

Uncheck the option where it says, Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections.

After disabling Microsoft-IIS, I restarted my computer and test port 80 again. This is what I am getting now:

Step 4. Disable Microsoft Web Deployment Agent Service. So I checked my list of programs and I installed Microsoft SQL Server and MS Visual Studio. Well, I am not ready to uninstall these programs yet. Even if I do so, I am not sure if this will work.

So here’s the solution:

a. Click on the Windows Start button, then type in services.msc in the search box and hit Enter.

b.  Find Web Deployment Agent Service in the list as you see below:

c. Double-click to open it. Under Startup Type, select Disable. Click the Stop button if its enabled then click on OK.…and bwala! my WAMP server icon is now GREEN. And after I pulled up the localhost. I am getting the correct page.

Step 5. Most important of all, if you have tried all above mentioned, make sure that your local host 127.0.0.1 is enabled.

a. To find your host file, follow this path: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

b. Open the host file with your text editor. I suggest you open it with wordpad. Un-comment the local host by removing the # sign or you can just copy and paste this text at the bottom: 127.0.0.1 localhost

If all the above steps won’t work check all other applications that uses port 80 by using the WAMP tool mentioned in Step 1 . Most programs that uses port 80 are web related services and apps like remote access tools and security software.

Let me know if this post helped you by leaving your comments below.

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