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Posts from — January 2010

I, me and my life on my terms…

A few days back I met Ramya [Thanks Ramya :)] to discuss a social media tool, her company was working on among other things. More on the tool in another post; this post is about the rest of our talk.

I had met Ramya through my blog. We exchanged a few emails and decided to meet. Ramya had questions for me that a lot of others have asked on what I do, why I do it, how I live this life, etc… You get the drift. Talking to Ramya was a walk down memory lane and I wanted to take you along. :)

A bit about me – I am a freelancer, have a range of skills, I do my own thing on my own time, travel a fair bit, have all I need, do not work for a corporate company and yet enjoy every moment and live life on my terms. [This is as people see me :D, I do have my own low moments :) ]

Disclaimer: The walk starts now and may be a bit long so if want to turn back now, you can…

I have always been a bit of a rebel, from way back when I remember I wanted things a certain way and wouldn’t settle for less, I did the unacceptable as normal. I remember my first cycle – I wanted a boys cycle and my parents said no, I waited 2 years stubbornly before they relented (it helped that picking and dropping me off at school was getting tedious).

I didn’t want big things, I just wanted what I wanted big or small but mostly it was small. Small things make me happy, I don’t care so much for the quality or brand of stuff as long as it does the job, I don’t care much for money or tomorrow.

Then about 10 years back I started to learn some lessons (lessons to me that is). I realized the value of today, of now, of each moment. I figured that money had no value because it can’t buy happiness, peace or love. Ok no more gyan, I’m sure you have these answers too. :)

Anyway so going on, I caught the travel and biking bug in my early twenties almost about the same time. Then on I started to crave to be free, to not have to work, to do my own thing…. I was not happy with the way my life was and so I started to plan to start anew. I quit my job as a corporate trainer and with 30K in hand I set out to travel in 2006. The plan was to travel as long as possible and when I ran out of money come back. But what did happen was I got a travel writing job on the way and they paid me to travel, I met some great people who sponsored some food and stay, relatives & friends boarded me for months and some friends who even travelled along. What did happen was I travelled for 8 months before I finally came back home.

To most of my family what I had done was mad while I was doing it (later it was something to brag about) but they supported me. I met some amazing people who gave me insight into myself and the world around me. I had come back with a lot of data and numbers. I realized that I didn’t need a lot of money but wanted a lot of time; I became a freelancer.

I started out doing proofreading and language editing and soon moved on to writing scripts and storyboards for learning modules. Before long I was working on website content with a lot of research involved. Sounds like a lot of work? It was most times but I loved it, I also loved saying no when I wasn’t in a mood to work.

I worked with Spiti Ecosphere an NGO in Spiti in the Himalayas for 5 months and came back to continue as a freelancer. I had met the man who was ‘just right’ for me, and we fix like a puzzle. I got an opportunity to market BookBuzzr a free online book marketing tool. When I started out it was a challenge, I had in my travelling lost touch with the internet and had to learn a hell of a lot and let’s not mention marketing. So I did what I do best, learn new stuff. BTW social media is fun and amazingly challenging.

So this is where I am today…

Disclaimer – Here on there is gyan, you can turn away now if you want to :)

To be a freelancer, according to me these are needed.

– You need to find out what you want to do. This is the toughest but you also can do it by trial and error :)
– You should make sure you have no financial obligations or at least have enough saved for those.
– Be open to less money more time. There are no guarantees of jobs here.
– Tell all you know about what you do. Word of mouth is the best way to get jobs.
– Setup a blog and get a website.
– Learn and set yourself up. Build a reputation.
– Work ethic and conscience is very important as there will be distractions galore.
– And having a supportive family and friends is a plus.

I love my life and how I live it. True I haven’t got a plan for 5 years from now but am sure I’ll figure it out on the way. I don’t have a huge bank balance but I know that somewhere somehow I’ll make as much as I need. I live a somewhat minimalistic life, I question everything as ‘Do I need this?’ and act only when the answer is ‘yes’. Above all I have a great life-partner and family who understand me and what I want to do and love me enough to set me free.

Photo Credit: Chenthil

January 22, 2010   13 Comments

Review: Sendible – A Multi-Platform Social Media Scheduler

I am constantly on the lookout for good social media sites and here is my latest find.

Sendible helps you to connect with your friends, family, customers and co-workers by sending all types of messages from one place – now or in the future. I took a quick look around and liked what I saw though it still can do better.

The sign-up was pretty easy and clean. Had to wait a while though for the confirmatory email. The welcome page has a listing of all the sites you can schedule on, and there are quite a few. You can post on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter among others. You can also schedule Blogs, Email and even Flickr.
sendible12 Before being able to use any of the services, you will have to enter details of the networks you want to use. You can connect not only to your Facebook profile but also your Facebook pages. That’s a nice touch!

You can import your contacts from most emails services. Sendible supports Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo or you can use a .csv file. The process is simple and easy and you also have the option of selecting which contacts to import. The Address book is well spaced out and easy to navigate.

The email setup is easy to use and even lets you blind copy everyone if you are mass mailing. The Multi Message allows you to send/schedule on multiple platforms and when scheduling you can also make messages recurring to act as reminders, however the scheduler right now only lets you go upto 30 hours. Hope they soon include days, weeks and months.

The sms scheduler allows only 160 characters and lets you get all replies to your sms as an email. A great marketing tool! However you have to buy credits to use the sms feature, hence not free :(

Sendible seems to be the only tool I have come across recently that allows multi-social network scheduling/posting for free. (I use SocialOomph quite a bit and I hate the fact that Facebook scheduling is not free). When scheduling status updates you can include URL’s and images too!

Sendible also lets you setup reminders for yourself by email or sms. Though am not so kicked by this as I can do this on my phone or outlook as reminders anyway.

On repeat login you will get to your homepage which is quite nifty. At a glance you can see scheduled messages, tasks and birthdays. You can also send out quick emails and status messages.

Something to note is that all messages will have ads in them unless you have a Sendible Pro account. The paid service also offers an newsletter sign-up widget for your blog. The widget adds the customer data to your Sendible list and so you can schedule and send out your newsletter right from here. You can even customize your newsletter and send them to select groups.

On the whole a great social media scheduler! It caters to almost everyone’s needs.

Photo Credit – Sendible

January 21, 2010   1 Comment

What do you think Ganga should do?

question-mark Here’s a situation that I heard all about this morning. Please read through and tell me what your advise would be?

Ganga is a 20 year old and she has a 4 year old son. When her husband had left her she was 2 months pregnant. Since then she has been staying with her parents.

She blames her parents for marrying her off to a boy she didn’t even have a chance to meet. When she came back to them after he left, she says they didn’t let her abort the child she didn’t want. And now she says they constantly complain about her son and her being a burden.

She nows wants to leave her parents and marry a boy she has met. He is still studying and is expected to finish in two months and get a job. That puts his age at about 21-22. He is a Teluguite and she is a Nepali. They plan to speak to his parents but intend to marry even if they don’t agree. The boy wants to marry her and adopt her son too.

Do you have any advise for Ganga? What do you think she should do? Should she think of her son before herself? Should she consider how young the boy is when making her decision? After all he’s still studying and is yet to get a job. Or should she just go ahead, because after all if it doesn’t work out she will be back to being single/divorced and that where she is right now. So she has nothing to lose but gets the bonus of a father for her son.

What do you think – should she marry or should she wait to assess further?

January 12, 2010   5 Comments

Who and why do I follow on Twitter…

Twitter BirdUntil a few weeks ago I had an auto-follow set-up, and I would randomly check and weed-out from these auto-follows. (Auto-follow is offered by many twitter apps and what it does is blindly follow those who follow you)

Then one day I decided to get off it and see what happens. I had chosen to auto-follow not because I was trying to get more followers but because I was lazy. So it was easy to get off that wagon. Ok, not that easy :)

Now that am going to choose who to follow manually, I’ve been giving some thought to what am looking for when following people.

This makes a huge difference I have realized, following authentic people helps connect better, prevents spam and on the whole makes twitter a much better experience.

Here are the things I am going to look out for, (did I miss something, pls add-in).

1. A photo – of a person and not some inanimate object. It so much better to know people by face rather than just an ‘@’ ID.
2. A bio – Helps me get to know the person and also understand what they are about.
3. Last tweet – I want to follow active people, if someone hasn’t posted for more than 3 months – hey! Whats the point.
4. Non-Spammers – I am sick of those spammy direct messages.
5. No-Bots – No place here for robots. I don’t care and don’t want to hear what they say.
6. Connectors – Most importantly people who connect with me or talk to me… People who want to genuinely be friends and not just hit on me…

What do you look for on twitter? Why do you connect with or follow tweeple?

Photo Credit – www.bijusubhash.com

January 8, 2010   1 Comment