Sep 19, 2018

My Coding Journey: Everything You Need to Know About Forming a Professional Support Network

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick

We're halfway through September and that means a brand new post in the My Coding Journey series. Lately we've been talking about networking with the Skillcrush 300 lessons. The next lesson is expanding on networking even further by looking at how to form a professional support network. Professional support networks are very helpful for freelancers and solopreneurs. As I continue along my coding journey, I'm always working on growing and improving my professional network.

Although the last lesson had lots of great networking tips to help you in any networking situation, forming a professional support network gets its own lesson since you'll be building different kind of relationship with your professionals than the ones you have with your clients. In this post, I will particularly be concentrating on how to building a relationship with other professionals instead of how to meet them. I'll touch on a few ways to meet other professionals, but most of this post is going to be about why you need a professional network along your career and how to start one.

This post may repeat things from the last post so I recommend revisiting the last post in the series if you are looking for tips on where to meet people, elevator pitches, and more. If you want to review any of the other lessons from Skillcrush 300, make sure you check out the Resources page for all the posts. You can also find other posts in the My Coding Journey series here as well so if you need to brush up on any of the tech skills in this series.

==> Click here to read the Newbie's Guide to Networking post!

So what does a professional support network look like?

Your professional support network are people who can help your career. Skillcrush's definition has the professional network being made up of your peers and people who do similar things like you do. However professional support networks can look differently for every freelancer. Some freelancers can expand this support network even further to have people who aren't in their industry but provide a skill that helps them with their online businesses.

One of my favorite examples of a professional support network in action is Shannon Mattern. Shannon is a WordPress web designer and solopreneur. Shannon often talks about her business in her online courses and blog posts. One of the reasons why her business is successful is due to members of her professional support network. This doesn't include talking to other developers and designers. She also talks about working with other professionals that can help grow her business.

==> Click here to learn more about Shannon Mattern!

Building a professional support network can sound intimidating, but it is much easier to do since you already have things in common with them. These similarities can be common goals, issues, and even successes. I felt lots of impostor syndrome when I was starting to build my support network in tech, but it became easier once I began talking to other developers. The conversations I had with other developers in Twitter chats, webinars, and Facebook groups made me realized they were there to help and most importantly understand the struggles I was facing along my coding journey.

The most successful professional network are like personal relationships you have. A good relationship needs both parties contributing to make it work. Remember the best freelancers focus more on giving to others than what they are getting. This might take some research, time, and putting yourself out there but many freelancers (including the ones that teach at Skillcrush) swear by this. So instead of thinking about what you want to get from other professionals, concentrate on what you can contribute.

Why do you need a professional support network?

There are many reasons why freelancers have a professional support network, but the common three reasons freelancers often use their professional networks for are problem-solving, profit, and friendship. If you still need some convincing, here's a list of benefits Skillcrush provides for students on why they need one for themselves.

Problem Solving

Need help with tricky client issues or negotiations? Your support network is a great place for tips on what to do or say. Other professionals are more likely to understand the struggles and challenges you are facing since chances are they have been in the same situations as well. The advice other professionals give you will be test and tried solutions they have used themselves when they were facing the same struggles.

Profit

Professional support networks open the doors for great for collaboration. Many freelancers use their networks to learn about projects. Experienced members of your network will be busy with their own projects and refer their clients to you. If you have a professional network, your connections can give you access to their network by referring you to people who are working on certain projects. Freelancers have specific sets of skills and many will subcontract with others that have skills they lack. I know many freelancers who subcontract with them in order to gain freelancing experiencing.

Friendship

Networking with other professionals doesn't have to be just all about solving problems and finding work. Having a great support network can be fun and just spending time with friends. Professional support network are a great way have rich conversations from talking about sharing ideas and strategies to just having small talk over what is happening in everyone's week. Having other professionals as friends has plenty more perks including having someone to attend events with.

Finding Professionals at Events

There are plenty of ways to start networking with other professionals. Many of these ways were described in last week's post. Other professionals are doing the same things so you'll be bound to meet others at these events. These ways are great ways to letting others recognize you in these professionals spaces and giving them ways to keep you top of mind.

Connecting with other professionals might sound intimidating. Even more so if you are an introvert. In order to keep yourself from adding tons of pressure on yourself, Skillcrush encourages students to set some connection goals and keep these goals very simple. Simple goals are going to make it easier for you to accomplish and feel more at ease. Plus completing simple can boost your confidence so you can step outside your comfort zone a little more each time.

Simple connection goals look differently for everyone, but one of easiest goals anyone can start with are just by focusing on what you have in common with others. Instead of trying to talk to every single person in the room, you can set yourself a goal to talk to a specific number of people to see what similarities you have in common. You might chat with a few people at these events to see what similarities you have instead of trying to talk to every person in the room.

Remember your goal isn't to sell your services. Instead you need to concentrate on presenting yourself as a friend and even potential partner to other freelancers. Networking is all about staying top of my mind and making yourself memorable to your connections. This is why giving to other freelancers is so important because it will help them remember you.

Another Skillcrush tip to help you connect with other professionals is the business card. These are especially important for in person networking events and meetups. When you connect with others, ask them for a business card. Don't forget to bring your own business cards just in case other professionals ask for one as well.

Finally, Skillcrush recommends skipping your elevator pitch when it comes to connecting with other professionals. Instead they encourage students to focus on what they are doing and how they can help others. This tip can be a bit controversial since some career experts suggest using this even among other professionals. Therefore, I'm going to leave it up you to decide. Your elevator pitch can work in some situations and others it might be best to go with the casual approach so you can use your best judgment there.

How to start building a connection with other professionals?

Now that you have found some events to attend, the next step is building your connection with each of the professionals you reach out to. Doing so will allow you to grow you relationship with these connections over time while expanding your own network in your process. In order to help their students begin building bonds with other freelancers, Skillcrush provides some tips on what they need to do to get started. Some of these tips include the following.
  • Thank everyone that helps and support you.
  • Offer to help more than asking for help
  • Congratulate others on small victories and accomplishments others have made. These victories can look like finishing a project or getting a job.
  • Inviting others to attend events you are going to.
  • Sharing resources
Once you've started reaching out to other professionals, wait and see who responds back to you. This is where patience is going to come in. Some won't respond to your messages right away and that is normal since everyone is busy. With this in mind, you can use this to your advantage and just keep your messages short and easy to read. Skillcrush recommend students match their message to the platform you are using so people can easily read it.

If you are struggling to find other professionals to connect with, start making more contributions on different platforms. Many Facebook groups, Twitter Chats, and Slack groups will have areas for new members to introduce themselves. These areas are very active and a great place for newbies to start. But if you don't know someone very well or know this person on a variety of platforms, feel free to send an e-mail.

Has anyone sent you a message? If anyone sent you a message, don't forget to send them a response back. On specific platforms, you can see who follows you. You can follow them back or send them a quick message. This is why Twitter is popular for developers since people can follow each other, retweet comments, and have mini conversations within Twitter chat topics.

Finally, follow and reach out to professionals that inspires you. Don't be afraid to reach out to these individuals and let them know. Many appreciate these comments since it shows they are helping others. During Twitter chats, I will often mention other professionals that I admire and many have either liked the tweets I wrote. Some have even responded back thanking me for what I wrote.

Conclusion

You are now ready to start growing your professional support network! This post shares some tips from Skillcrush 300's latest lesson on why a professional support network is important to have. I have even reviewed what you can do to start building your very own.

Skillcrush 300 has one more lesson on networking. Next month's post is going to concentrate on improving the connections you've already made and maintaining these relationships in order to get the most from them. I'll even review ways to start reaching out to your top leads.

Notes

Blog graphic belongs to The Original BritishPandaChick.

Sep 12, 2018

Dimensions Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Felt Applique Ornament Kits

It is time for another craft kit! This week's post is highlighting another post from Needlework Kits. February was a very productive craft kit month with two kits being made. The latest post in Needlework Kits looks at the second Dimensions craft kit which is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Felt Applique ornaments.

I made this kit as soon as I finished with the Bumble Felt Applique kit. There are four ornaments in this kit based on the characters from the 1964 holiday special. This kit took me a few days, but you can see the progress I made on these kits via Instagram. To learn more about my experience and get some tips to making this kit, just visit the Needlework Kits blog to learn more.

==> Click here to read my review on the Dimensions Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Felt Applique Ornaments!

If there are any craft kits you'd like to see on the Needlework Kits blog, let me know in the comments section and I'll do my best to make it happen. Feel free to add your own thoughts and tips in the comments as well to help other crafters with these kits.

Sep 5, 2018

Triumph of Love 2001 Movie

Over the weekend, I watched the movie Triumph of Love. The movie originally was on SHOWTIME Family in July, but I recorded it on my DVR to watch later. This isn't the first time I've seen this movie. I originally saw this movie on DVD when I was in high school.

The Drama section was my favorite area of my local Blockbuster and I would always rent different movies I thought were interesting. I heard about this movie on Entertainment Tonight when it was being released in theaters and was intrigued by the story. During one weekend, I found the movie at my local Blockbuster and decided to rent it to see what it was like.

When I watched the movie years ago, I thought it was an entertaining movie. There were some clear problems with it, but it kept my attention enough so I could overlook these very problems. Now that I was older and time has passed since the movie was released, I decided to watch it again to see if it could still hold up now.

After watching the movie, I have to say the movie is still entertaining but in a different way than it was in the past. During this second viewing, I was able to look at the movie much more critically than my younger self and noticed new things that I didn't catch during that first viewing. It was hard getting through this movie this time around due to all the problems with this movie. However I think most of these problems are due to the original play the movie is based on than the movie's creative team.

Triumph of Love is most likely forgotten today, but this post is putting the spotlight back on this movie for today. Today's post isn't necessary a review but rather my way of analyzing the movie to see what the problems the movie inherited from the original stage play. I'll be particularly looking at the key elements such as the characters, look, and story for the movie.

Background Information

Triumph of Love is based on the French play by Pierre de Marviaux. Marviaux was an important writer for the time and was best known for his comedic plays. His play Le Triomphe de L'amour is one of his best known works. The play debuted March 12, 1732 in Paris at the Theatre Italien.

When the play debuted, the play wasn't well received. As a matter of fact, the play closed after six performances. But things started to change around 1912. At this time many theaters took interest in the show and revived the play, boosting its popularity. By 1997 a broadway musical version based on Marviaux's original play was released.
Copyright 2001 IMDB

The 2001 movie was directed by Clare Peploe. Peploe has done work screenwriting and producing as well as directing. She directed the short film Couples and Robbers in 1981. Peploe often collaborates with her husband Bernardo Bertolucci on films. Triumph of Love is one of their collaborations together with Bertolucci serving as a producer and one of the screenplay writers.

Triumph of Love stars Mira Sorvino, Ben Kingsley, Fiona Shaw, and Rachel Stirling. The movie was released September 6, 2001 in Italy at the Venice Film Festival. It was released in the United States April 17, 2018 for a limited release. The movie wasn't received well by critics and currently holds a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes today. The audience's reaction was much more mixed with a 51% rating for the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Plot Summary

The movie takes place in 18th Century Europe. Princess Leonide is traveling by coach with her maid Corine. While on the road, the women change their clothes and don disguises as young gentlemen scholars. As they walk on the road, Leonide sets up the plot of the movie by telling Corinne why they need to don disguises and where they are going.

Before the events of this story, Leonide's father took the throne from the royal family and committed several crimes against them. While the royal family was imprisoned, the queen gave birth to Agis, the rightful heir to the throne. Agis managed to be smuggled outside of the prison without the king's knowledge where he was hidden away in the countryside to live with the philosopher Hermocrates and his sister Leontine.While in hiding, Hermocrates taught Agis about the evils of romantic love and women. He especially teaches Agis to hate Leonide.

One day, Leonide learns from one of Hermocrates's former servants of how he is planning more uprising against her and goes with the servant to see what Hermocrates is up to. While she is observing Hermocrates plotting, she sees Agis bathing in the woods and immediately falls in love with him. However it becomes clear Agis is closely guarded by Hermocrates and Leontine, making it impossible for her to get close to him.

This is where Leonide's plan and the plot begins. In order to get Agis to fall in love with her, Leonide and Corinne must disguise themselves as a men in order to get inside Hermocrates's house so she can spend time with him. Things don't go quite to her plan since she needs to seduce Hermocrates and Leontine in order to keep them on her trail and get more time with Agis.

Reflections on Triumph of Love

I haven't read the original stage play which inspired this movie, but I have read summaries. After seeing this movie twice and reading the summary for the play, it is clear that the play's problems were inherited by the movie. Since this is an adaptation, the filmmakers were limited with how many things they could change in order to pay respect to the original material. While the changes they did make were just what the movie needed to make this play work, it was the things kept from the original play which held the movie back from being a good movie.

I get a sense that the writers had a fear of changing too much so they played things safe by trying to incorporate more elements from the original play instead of trying to add new content. While there re some additions and changes, most of the movie is meant to respect Marviaux's work. In the end, this created a movie that came off way too silly at moments and was extremely rushed to tell the story. While the creative team does have responsibility for making these decisions, I don't think its fair to blame them for all the problems since these are problems that it most likely took from Marviaux's play.

The Characters

Triumph of Love only has seven characters, but the movie spends the most time on three characters. Leonide, Hermocrates, and Leontine get most of the attention from the writers so in this review they'll get most of the attention. Corinne, Harlequin, Dimas, and even Agis serve as mostly minor characters who don't do enough to get the audience invested in their stories.

Corinne, Harlequin, and Dimas serve as supporting roles to the main characters. These characters are mostly used to help the princess with parts of her plan. Corinne does a little bit more than Harlequin and Dimas since she's often seen comforting the princess or giving her advice. It is clear the writers cut back on what these characters do in order to put the spotlight on the main characters (as well as bigger stars) for this movie.

Agis doesn't quite fit the minor character role since the entire plot of this movie is about him. Yet he doesn't do enough on screen for him to be classified as an important character the audience should care about. The writers do give him a little bit of character development, but it is the same amount of character development Disney gave the princes in some of the classic Disney movies. Since Agis is pretty much a period drama version of a Disney Prince, the writers give him a similar treatment with only a couple of scenes added to make him a important character for the story.

Hermocrates and Leontine aren't the best developed characters. They do have their goofy moments throughout the movie when they think they are in love. But these characters are the ones that I liked the most in the movie since I was able to connect with them the most out of the seven characters. Even though they have silly moments, they do show the most progression out of all the characters and actually change the most throughout the story. The audience can see them struggling with their emotions and trying to deal with their internal conflict before they realize what is happening then later learn from their experiences at the end of the movie.

This leaves Leonide and by far the worst character in the movie. The creative team was trying to show Leonide as being the total opposite of what Hermocrates and Agis think she is really like but this backfired on them. Instead of trying to make her connect with the audience, they made her into a character who seems fairly confident about her plan even when she doubts it and kind of a ruthless leader. Although she claims she's generous, she threatens three people during the movie that she can punish them if they go against her.

Overall the biggest problem all these characters have is that the audience isn't able to learn much about them. The characters don't do or say enough to give the audience an idea of who they are. Almost all the conversations in this movie are just the characters talking about how they feel or what love. It often feels that with these conversations all characters needed to do was say the word love and suddenly they are in love with someone the next scene.

The Look

While there are plenty of problems in this movie, one of the few things that the movie did right was the look. Since the movie is all about love, the entire look of this movie has an odd way of building this romantic atmosphere as well as bringing the world Marviaux wrote about to life. The creative team didn't have a large budget for this movie, but they made the most of what they had to work in order to create the best looking movie they possibly could.

The look of this movie isn't perfect. I would say the biggest criticism I have with the look for the movie is the statues. There are lots of shots of statues in this movie from characters standing near statues to close ups of statues. One of the oddest shots is after Agis and Leonide have a conversation since the camera moves from Agis watching Leonide leave to a close up of a statue nearby.

Since the movie is set at one location, the movie uses the opportunity to show as much as they can of this location. Scenes throughout the movie are set throughout various parts of the house and gardens. Peploe often does sweeping shots of the house and grounds throughout the movie to help set the stage for specific scenes in the movie. When Leonide and Corinne are being taken to the house, Peploe changes the camera angles to show how large and lavish Hermocrates's gardens are before introducing Dimas to the audience.

In period dramas, all the details help bring the time periods and worlds of these stories to life. Triumph of Love particularly does this with the little details such as the costumes and even the transportation. The score for this movie repeats throughout most of the movie, but it is often used to highlight specific emotional changes in the movie. When Leonide reveals her true identity to everyone, the music changes the minute her hand pops out of the carriage as a cue to the audience to let them know this was a key moment in the story.

The creative team wanted to make things clear that this movie was based on a stage play and this is largely seen in the look of the movie. Throughout the movie, there will be scenes showing chairs for the audience and framing the characters as if they are on a stage. It might not make sense at the beginning of the movie or for those that didn't know this was based on a play, but it comes together at the end of the movie when we see what Leontine's experiment she was working on does.

The Story

This is where the biggest problems for this movie come from. Everything in this story feels rushed. Since the entire story takes place over the course of one day, almost every aspect of this event feels like it is on speed dial just to get a happy resolution the audience wants. While rushing to get to the end, the writers had to sacrifice chances to explain and develop specific situations, preventing the characters from gradually forming realistic connections and leaving lots of unanswered questions.

Many of these questions come from the back story Leonide gives Corinne at the beginning of the story. These points from her explanation didn't make sense later in the story when she successfully seduces three people. As I was watching the movie, here are some of the questions I put down in my notes that didn't make sense or weren't addressed at all throughout the movie.
  • Why does Hermocrates reject love so much? Was there some kind of incident that made him swear off love completely? Perhaps there was a woman who broke his heart.
  • The princess never quite says that she is the ruler of the kingdom or not. The audience doesn't really know until the end who is really ruling over the kingdom. Until then, who is the ruler? Wouldn't that been her father the king or is he dead?
  • Hermocrates really hates Leonide. Why does he want to target her the most? Is she the ruler of the kingdom or does he just target her because of his hatred for women? Wouldn't it make better sense to put most of his hatred towards her father since he's the one that actually took the throne from the last king?
  • Wouldn't have Hermocrates recognized Leonide as the princess? She's a princess and public figure after all. Surely he would have known what she looks like in order to protect Agis from her.
  • What exactly is Hermocrates planning if he has spies all over the place? Does he actually intend on taking the crown back for Agis?
  • Wouldn't Agis know what love is since he was taught about the dangers of love? Hermocrates would have taught him what love is in order to establish why love is so dangerous. I'm sure a younger Agis would have asked him why so Hermocrates should have explained. Originally in the stage play, Agis does have a reason why he refuses to fall in love. But in the movie he doesn't have one except he's never going to be a lover.
Love is one of the themes in this movie, but it never fully is explained. Instead the characters just say "I love you" to each other and the next minute they are in love. They do say how they are feeling, but the audience is never completely told what this movie defines as love. After watching this movie again, it is clear the writers were trying to take the fairy tale approach for love. This is mainly love at first sight in the way two of the romances are depicted throughout the movie.

The dialogue was by far the hardest part to get through in this movie. It just repeats this seduction formula of the characters saying they are in love and talking about their feelings for most of the conversations. This became boring rather quickly. I ended up appreciating the scenes where the characters weren't talking about love since these moments showed how these characters are feeling vs actually telling us how they are feeling.

It is clear the story is where the creative team wanted to pay the most respect towards the original stage play. There were some changes made to make this story for as a movie and this was hands down the right direction for this movie. These changes included developing Leontine into a scientist as well as providing a couple more scenes for Leonide and Agis to be together. Yet despite these changes, the movie keeps large amounts of the original play.

I can understand why the creative team would do this. Making too many changes would have made this movie distance itself completely from Marviaux's play. While it was important to stay true to Marviaux's play, it is clear this story needed more changes. It is clear the writers could see this and did make some changes, but seemed afraid of making many more. Instead of completely changing Marviaux's work, the writers should have slowed down the entire pace of this movie and found ways to expand on what the play already offers.

This would have made a huge difference to the story. The audience would have been able to learn more about these characters and creating a dynamic story that gets the audience invested. I did find a documentary about the making of this movie online to see how the creative team approached making this movie. It is clear that they wanted to make it clear this story was based on a French stage play, but they forgot about their audience along the way resulting in a movie that doesn't translate well for today's audience.

==> Click here to watch The Making of Triumph of Love movie documentary!

Conclusion

Triumph of Love is a beautiful looking movie, but has serious problems brewing underneath the surface. The most important elements of this movie suffered due to the elements kept from the original stage play. While these problems create a silly movie, it is still entertaining enough to check out at least once. If you are fan of period dramas or romantic comedies, this is a movie you might enjoy.

If you would like to watch this movie, your best best to finding this movie is through different streaming platforms. Amazon has the movie available stream. You can also search the Google Play Store and I-tunes to see if the movie is available. Finally, SHOWTIME will play this movie on some of their channels. Check your TV provider or visit the SHOWTIME website to stream the movie to your device.

What did you think of the movie Triumph of Love? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Notes

Image and video do not belong to me. Image belongs to IMDB. The video belongs Recorded Picture Company.

Aug 29, 2018

Food Network Magazine Perfect Pancakes

If I had to pick my least favorite food, it would be pancakes. The only times I ate pancakes are when I was sick or when my mom didn't want to do a lot of cooking for dinner. My mom likes to make the box mix kind and those always bland. I always end up putting lots of maple syrup and butter all over mine when I had to eat them just to make them taste a little bit better. It didn't work but only made my pancakes soggy with maple syrup.

Although I don't like pancakes, I wanted to give them a second chance. Especially since I often review recipes for this blog. In June, I made the perfect pancake recipe from the May issue of the Food Network Magazine.

Food Network Magazine often has a feature in their issues for perfect foods. This feature isn't in every magazine, but when it is in an issue it looks at a different food. The feature includes a basic version of the recipe readers can make. After the recipe, the feature goes into extra tips, decorations, and possible flavor combinations readers can try out when they make this recipe.

Today's Recipe

In May 2013, the issue's feature was all about making the perfect pancake. Food Network provided a basic pancake recipe as well as suggestions on different combinations readers can try with this recipe. They even included a fact on maple syrup to a little bit of food trivia. You can read this trivia fact and combinations in the online version of the recipe below.

==> Click here to see the recipe!

If you have any food allergies, feel free to adapt this recipe to fit your nutritional needs. As a matter of fact the recipe is kept very simple so readers could adapt it to fit their individual needs. It even allows readers room for creativity to try different flavor combinations or add different foods into the batter to make your own dream pancake.
Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick

I made the basic plain version of pancakes for this post, but feel free to experiment with other pancake flavors and combinations. My mom loves pancakes and always adds fresh fruit to her pancakes. One of her favorite fruits to add to pancakes is blueberries. If you have any favorite pancake flavors or ingredients your family enjoys, share them in the comments at the bottom of this post.

The only thing you need to be careful with is cooking the pancakes. The recipe says you will end up with 6-8 pancakes when you are done. When I was done cooking, I only ended up with 3-4 pancakes.

If you are making pancakes for your family or a large group of people, you will need to watch how many 1/4 cupfuls of batter you add to the skillet. I recommend using only 1-2 cupfuls to make one pancake. If you need make larger pancakes, you might want to double the recipe.

Another important thing to remember when making this recipe is the temperature. Medium-low heat doesn't always cook the same way on different stove models. When I made the first two pancakes, they cooked much faster than the recipe said it would. This led to some of the pancakes being burnt a bit on different sides.

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick
In order to truly make the perfect pancake, you want to use a similar approach often used to make crepes. Cook your first pancake according to the recipe, paying attention to how fast your stove top or griddle cooks. After you make the first pancake, make some adjustments to your temperature for the rest of your batter.

Decorating Pancakes!

Pancakes aren't all about flavor. Chances are you've seen videos all over YouTube for pancake art where different chefs and cooks create awesome designs with pancakes. There are plenty of pancake art videos on YouTube. Just search "pancake art" on YouTube and you'll see many videos of people doing awesome designs with pancake batter.

Another great place to see examples of pancake art is Pinterest. Search pancake art and you'll easily find tons of designs, tutorials, and more. You can also see other ways to decorate your pancakes to create different designs and shapes.

Below is a video from BuzzFeed's Tasty. This video features Jasmine from Get Cake doing some pancake art. She doesn't just describe how she learned how to do pancake art, but she provide some great tips to doing pancake art especially on the temperature as she demonstrates different pancake designs.


You can even see people doing the pancake art challenge. Rosanna Pansino has done several pancake art challenges on YouTube with other YouTubers. She's even done her own pancake art as part of Nerdy Nummies. Below is one of the episode for Nerdy Nummies which has Rosanna making Final Fantasy inspired pancake art.


If you do decide on doing pancake art, Rosanna recommends using a griddle since pancake art is much more advanced and you need to be careful managing the temperature than doing pancakes over the stove top.

Pancake art might be much more difficult, but you can still ways to do different designs with your pancakes. You can easily find pancake molds at your local kitchen store or online. There are tons of different designs and molds available. You can also search egg rings which can also function as pancake molds.

Don't have any molds? You can always use what you have to be creative with your pancakes. This BuzzFeed Tasty video shows how to make animal pancakes using fresh fruit. You can find more ideas like this on Google or Pinterest.



Conclusion

The perfect pancake recipe Food Network Magazine swears by may have flaws, but it is still a good recipe for those that might want to make homemade pancakes for their family on the weekends. It is also a good recipe parents can use to teach kids how to cook. It is also a great recipe for those that learning how to cook and need some basic recipes to get their feet wet. Pancakes are a great recipe to practice with and improve with the more you do it.

This recipe does not make me a pancake lover, but it is much better than any box mix I've ever had. Although the box mix is great for parents and home cooks who need to make pancakes in a rush, this is a recipe you can make ahead or make quickly in the morning. Have any pancake tips you'd like to share? Post your favorite ways to add flavor and decorate your pancakes in the comments.

Notes

All images belong to BritishPandaChick. Videos do not belong to me. The Tasty Animal Pancakes and Pancake Art with Get Cake video belongs to Tasty and BuzzFeed. Nerdy Nummies episode belongs to Rosanna Pansino.

Aug 22, 2018

My Coding Journey: The Newbie's Guide to Networking

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick

The Original BritishPandaChick blog is back! 

Today's post is returning with a brand new post in the My Coding Journey series. The series is still reviewing Skillcrush 300's lessons. The next lesson in the course is all about networking. Networking is an important part of finding any job or clients today. Many people credit networking as the way they land their first job or make a career change into another job.

One includes Kelly Hoey, one of the speakers during the Skillcrush Land Your Dream Job webinar. I shared some of the important takeaways from her webinar in a previous post in the My Coding Journey. Click the link below to get even more tips on networking especially ones that she uses.

==> Click here to read some of the takeaways from Kelly’s webinar!

In this post, I'm going to focus on some of Skillcrush's tips and recommendations to start building your network. By the end of this post, you'll know what networking is and how to find events near you. I'll review some of Skillcrush's tips for attending your first event and explain what goes into a good elevator pitch.

During the break, I updated the resources page and a brand new page to the navigation bar just for the My Coding Journey series. If you need to review any of the topics in this series, check out this page first to see all the blog posts with the links provided. I'll be adding this one to the page after I publish each new post. Let me know in the comments if you'd like summaries and I can put some together for the page.

The last post in the My Coding Journey series was all about finding clients online. I described the reasons why freelancers love online networks and provided some suggestions where to look to find ones to join. I even reviewed some of Skillcrush's tips for how to find just the right clients online. Click the link below to review this post or go check out the post in the My Coding Journey series tab.

==> Click here to read How to Navigate the Web to Find Clients!

What exactly is networking?

Networking can be a very scary word for professionals. For many freelancers, networking is by far one of their least favorite things to do and in some cases the scariest part of their jobs. You can often hear about these fears on podcasts and webinars where guests make no secret that networking is often one of the areas they are constantly working to get better at.

Networking sounds scary because of its own definition. Skillcrush defines networking as establishing connections with others in a short amount of time. When most people think of networking, chances are they think about only the negative things. These reasons might be the expenses, how much time it takes, and even the food.

This is the wrong impression of networking! I know since I assumed networking was always an event where people just went to in order to try and meet people. But just like Kelly stated in her talk, networking is something we do every day and don't realize it. Remember every human interaction is networking and it something we can control. Luckily there are many ways to network these days.

The many ways to expand your network!

Before I start, keep in mind it important all these work so it is important to try them all if possible. The goal of this section is to show you that there are ways to network for every person's life style and budget. So feel free to try them all or just try a few that best fit your lifestyle now.

In person events are still the networking method of choice for many freelancers and professionals. These events include local meetups to conferences in different parts of the world. Meetups and conferences will sometimes have time for networking built into part of their schedule, but you can always arrive early for these events or even volunteer. In person events are great for meeting other professionals in your industry, but they can be expensive. Many will often discounts and scholarships for those that need help with the cost.

Two of the best places to find any meetups in your area are Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com. Both platforms are similar which show local meetup groups and events. Lots of freelancers and people in tech swear by these methods. Many organizations will often post their events on these sites.

==> Click here to find events on Meetup.com!
==> Click here to find events on Eventbrite.com!

Now these events don't mean just attending ones that match your industry. You can attend events that match your niche. Many local areas will host talks for specific niche speakers and communities. The best places to find these events are your local Chamber of Commerce or going to your local library. Some schools especially colleges and universities might host specific niche related talks that you can go to.

Volunteering is a great way to networking and getting your name out there. It allows you to be helpful to organizations and causes you care about while getting valuable experience needed for your portfolio. Quite a few developers talk about their experiences volunteering when they were starting out in tech and how they build their networks due to the work they did during these experiences.

Now networking doesn't have to always be in person. 

This won't always be possible if you don't have a lot of money to attend a conference, have a full time job, or just have to take care of a family. Enter online networking events. These events can be done online at times that are best for you and in sweatpants if you like.

First, there are online events. Online events are webinars, virtual summits, and even workshops. These events often feature presentations, but the comments section allows people to network in the comments and talk to each other as well as ask questions to the speakers. Remember the Skillcrush webinars? Those are great examples of online networking events since it encourages human interaction as well as giving valuable information.

Next, there is Twitter chats. Twitter chats are quite popular with freelancers since its just talking to other professionals about different topics on Twitter. There are chats for everything so make sure you do a Google search to see what Twitter chats might be good for your brand.

Finally, there is Slack and Facebook groups. These groups are great ways to promote your brand, get advice from other professionals, and chat with others on related industry topics. Just search your niche in the search bar and click the groups tab. You'll see a list of groups that are similar.

Be careful! It is easy to spend hours a day searching for events. Skillcrush recommends looking events passively as well as actively. This way you can still find events and learn what is happening that fits with your schedule. Some of the ways to passively find events are setting up notifications and updates to alert you when events are being held or signing up for newsletters. Skillcrush even recommends following people in these groups on social media since many will often post events on their own feeds.

Successful Networking at work!

There isn't a right or wrong way to network. The goal of networking isn't to leave the event with a brand new client or have a job interview lined up. As a matter of fact, your goal isn't to even think this way. Instead, you want to focus on building a connection with others and trying to be helpful to others.

Many of the problems with networking often come from the amount of pressure people put on themselves. People put a lot of of pressure and expectations on themselves that they forget they need to be themselves and act like a regular person. This pressure can come out at these events if a person isn't careful and can be sensed by others at these events.

So how do you keep the pressure down? Skillcrush advises students to set small goals for you to achieve. These goals might be talking to a specific number people at an event or just setting a certain amount of time to stay at the event. Most importantly, don’t assume you have to connect with the most important person in the room. All the connections you make will provide value and in sometimes in ways you never expected.

Remember the goal is to be helpful and offering to help others. One of the best examples to see this in action is watching your parents or grandparents. They understood the power of networking and used it to help them along their career paths.

For example my mom is a school principal and networking is an important part of her career. The key to my mom’s networking approach is the fact she’s building relationships. She’s taught at several districts and has made a ton of connections. She doesn't put a lot of pressure on herself and insead focuses on being as helpful as she can. This might be giving advice to a question another administrator asks about or providing research based articles for her staff to read to help them with them achieve better academic results with their students.

In my mom's case, being helpful has helped her stay top of mind with people in her network. So when my mom does need help or clarification on a specific issue, people are willing to help her. My mom doesn't know all the answers all the time, but she lets people who ask her for help know that and then go search for the answer through her network or books. Once she finds the answer, she always get back to the person who asked the question to let them know what she found out.

Communication tips a la Skillcrush!

The hardest thing about networking is the conversation. Communication can be tricky when it comes to networking since people try to be natural as possible but being prepared so they taken be taken seriously by others in the room. It is important to be prepared before you attend any networking event on what to say, but too much preparation can be too obvious and make you seem like a robot.

In order to be natural and well prepared, Skillcrush has a few communication tips they encourage their students to use at any networking event. These tips will help beginners keep in mind the ultimate goal of building relationships while making them feel comfortable to tackle any situation that might come up as they talk to other professionals.


1. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

The best advice you can follow is the Kingsman motto. Manners maketh the man. It might sound like common sense, but this is something that we can quickly forget and the most important thing for building any connection. Before you attend these events, think about how you'd want to be treated at these events. Then go out there and treat to others in this manner. This will give people a good impression of you and your brand, keeping you top of mind.

Remember first impressions can be made in a matter of seconds and it only takes one thing to set a bad first impression. I once had a supervisor in college who clearly didn't think I was smart or didn't understand English so she would make me repeat every single thing she said back to her. She thought she was being super cute while I was completely offended, resulting in a very negative opinion of her. Even though I told her to stop, she didn't listen and instead kept doing it more, not realizing how rude she was acting.

As your network grows, people will be spreading the word about you so it will become easier. Skillcrush reminds students in these situations they need to give these people a big thank you. Many of the Skillcrush instructors and teaching assistants encourage students to concentrate on doing good work and being pleasant with. These are what make clients remember you and recommend you to others.

2. Focus on the other person.

The best conversations are well balanced. Each person gets a chance to talk and listen. This might seem like a challenge for introverts, but the best way to focus on another person is asking follow up questions on something they might have said or about something casual. Casual questions can be ones about the event to how long they have been in the industry. Once you ask a question, let the other person respond and actively listen.

Pay attention to what the other is saying. It isn't just to be polite and respectful towards the other person. Often times you learn great tips and advice from others this way. Actively listening is how many freelancers learn what each others needs are and help each other.

Watch this clip from the movie How to Be Single. This clip shows Alice attending a network event where she meets David. Although this scene is meant to start building a romantic relationship between these characters, it shows a natural networking conversation in action. Alice and David use the business cards as a way to start their conversation before talking about what their jobs are. As they talk, they both take turns talking and listening. David asking Alice about the building she works at as a way to show he was listening to her conversation and as a way to let Alice know what his job is.

 

3. Know your elevator pitch and have it ready!

Elevator pitches are the answer to the question "Tell me about yourself". A good elevator pitch is a short summary of who you are, what you do, and what you'd like to do. Think of them as the professional version of a movie trailer. Elevator pitches need to grab a person's attention but give enough of the important details to know what you are all about.

Every freelancer and career expert has different opinions on what elements make a good elevator pitch. Despite these differences, there are a few similarities in these recommendations. Skillcrush has narrowed down these similarities for their tips so students can write up their own version of an elevator pitch and begin practicing it so they know exactly what to say when they get asked this question.

Elevator pitches need to be short so Skillcrush recommends keeping an elevator pitch around 30 seconds since that is the same amount of time an elevator ride takes. Some of the elements all professionals and Skillcrush recommend for a good elevator pitch are the following. Students are encouraged to use these as a place to start when forming their elevator pitches.
  • Types of projects you want to work on
  • Your ideal client
  • How you help your clients
  • How to ask for what you are looking for
Feeling bold? As you put together your elevator pitch, you can throw in something that can grab their attention. These hooks function the same way writers use attention getters in essays and articles. Possible attention getters for an elevator pitch can be something that helps people remember you or a question. For example, BritishPandaChick has served as my hook which grabs people’s attention and is how many remember me after the events.

Things to Remember Before You Go

It is the day of the event. Regardless if it is online or in person, Skillcrush offers some final tips to help students be ready for the event.
  • Check the RSVP list. Looking at the RSVP list will give you an idea of who is attending the events especially those hosting or managing the event. It also a way to check and see if you are the only one signed up for the event.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring a friend if you don’t like going alone to networking events.
  • Volunteer at the event! This is one of the things Kelly Hoey did when she was making a career change. This allows you to meet new people in a less awkward way and helps you get know the organizers.
  • Share what you learned on social media or through blogs. It helps everyone from you, the people at the event, and even your readers.
If you would like even more Skillcrush networking tips, make sure you check out the Skillcrush blog. They often have blog posts with different networking tips as well as a guide on networking. Click the link below to learn how you can get their networking guide.

==> Click here to learn more about Skillcrush's Networking Guide!

Conclusion

That’s a wrap on this lesson! Now you know how to network like a boss with all the tips from Skillcrush 300. You now know the secrets to get the most out of networking events and what you can do to get started. This includes knowing where to find events to developing an elevator pitch that will help you stay top of mind with others.

The My Coding Journey is ready for another break. Starting now, posts in the My Coding Journey series will be once a month. The remaining lessons in Skillcrush 300 are going to give you more time to do some of the tasks such as networking, working with clients, and more. This new schedule will also allow me to dedicate time on other series on this blog as well as make more additions to the blog itself such as the summaries for the My Coding Journey page.

Next month's topic is going to be a bit more specific on networking. This lesson is all about building a professional network. Having a professional support network is just as important as a network for clients. This lesson might be a review of some of the networking topics already on this post, but this post will be focused on networking with other professionals in your industry and why they are important especially in tech.

Notes

Blog graphic belongs to The Original BritishPandaChick. How to Be Single clip belongs to Warner Bros. UK.

Jun 27, 2018

My Coding Journey: How to Navigate the Web To Find Clients

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

Today’s post is continues the search for your first client in the next lesson of Skillcrush 300. This lesson is about finding clients online. Many freelancers often rely on the internet to maintain a regular flow of clients. This is often done through social media, online communities, freelancing sites, and more. Although freelancers might mix-match different resources online, everything they use helps them get closer to finding their ideal clients by expanding the branding they use or online presence.

Skillcrush instructors, teaching assistants, webinar guests, and even Skillcrush alumni all use online communities and freelancing sites to help them find their first clients. The internet has made it possible for people to connect from all over the world, making it much easier to find potential clients in the everyone else circle I talked about in the last post. If you'd like to learn more about this circle or the other circles in Skillcrush's fast track formula, click the link below to learn more.

==> Click here to learn more about Skillcrush’s fast track formula!

During this review, I will be reviewing some of the important information Skillcrush advises studnets on regarding freelance websites and online communities. This post is going to cover creating a profile on these sites, what criteria you can use to evaluate which communities you can join, and even some online communities you can start using to look for clients. I'll be sharing ones Skillcrush recommends as well as ones I use regularly to network and meet potential clients.

Why do freelancers love online networks?

We'll be talking more about networking later, but online networks are favorites with many freelancers. Many freelancers from different webinars and podcasts often talk about how valuable a online network is to helping them find clients. This is due to the fact the internet has made it possible to keep expanding their circles with people all over the world.

Building an online network is similar to building any network. It takes time, lots of work, and serious amount of discipline. As long as you keep at it, each little bit you do will help you pay off in the end. Skillcrush likes to think of this as planting a tree. With a little help, a seed can grow into a tree.

Online networks will help grow your circles over time and allow you to be active in your ideal client's favorite places from the comfort of your own home. This is especially beneficial for those that can't attend many in-person events or don't have a lot of time.

Why does building an online network take lots of time, hard work, and discipline? 

Building an online network isn't just about joining the sites and communities your ideal clients might like to spend time on. Although it may sound easy, it actually takes more work than people realize. Freelancers have to find the right groups to join, create good profiles that will get an client's attention, and interacting with clients. This means reading posts, writing thoughtful responses, and waiting to hear back from a potential lead.

If this process might sound familiar, it is the same process people do when they are doing online dating. It doesn't matter if it is an online dating site or a dating app. People using these tools do the same freelancers do by looking at profiles/posts, creating a good profile, writing responses, and even thinking about the right sites to best meet the type of people they are interested in. It takes a lot of work, but for several people this pays off with them getting dates.

Online communities and freelancing sites aren't just a tool you use only once. Freelancers heavily rely on these tools because this helps them ensure they are always making money. They are human and they are going to be concerned about work gaps as well as where their next job is coming from. This is a constant worry on any freelancer's mind from newbies to those with over years of experience. Therefore they constantly balance working on projects with building their online network in order to prepare for any work gaps that might happen.

As you build your online network, you want to use the same approach about building your online presence. This means being visible, proactive, and transparent. You want to be seen as helpful, not obnoxious. In the 1947 holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, Macy's and Gimbels demonstrate how the helpful approach won over customers and increased their business profits vs. an obnoxious one that pressured customers.

You can apply this in real life by sharing what you learned or providing value to a potential lead. This might be an answer to the question, solving a technical issue they are having, or giving feedback on a design. You can even share what you learned from writing a blog post or just sharing on social media your thoughts on a book you read. Many developers have taken this a step further by creating coding challenges, online courses, and tutorials which all provide value to others learning how to code.

Finding the Right Online Communities

The internet is a huge place with tons of online communities for everything you might think of. Joining the right online communities will help you maintain consistent stream of clients. Since there are lots of places online to find clients, freelancers have to put themselves in their clients' shoes. Where would their ideal clients go to solve a problem or get advice? Thinking like your clients is key to helping you finding them quicker.

It might be tempting to just join every online community you come across. However I don't recommend doing this since it is very hard to keep track of over time. It can also make things overwhelming for you. I'm very guilty of this since I often join communities I think are interesting then forget to participate in them. If you are just starting, I recommend joining a couple of online communities to start with then add more communities gradually over time.

As you look for different online communities, feel free to reach out to others in your network to see what they use. I recommend attending webinars and listening to podcasts since many of these speakers will shout out different communities, tools, and resources they use. Many of the communities I join and participate in are ones I heard about in webinars or on podcasts.

Before you begin joining any communities . . .

First, read any of the group rules before you start posting. Many of these groups often have rules all members need to follow before they post any content as well as describing what the group is all about. As you start searching for communities to join, read the about descriptions you find on these groups. This will help you evaluate if this group is a place your ideal client might use and one you'll be able to use regularly.

Once you join your communities, remember you need to be helpful vs. spammy. No one likes seeing members spam the group regularly posting their services every chance they get. Chances are you've been annoyed when you've seen these posts so you don't want to do that either. Instead focus on answering people's questions, giving feedback, or even figuring out a solution a member might be having.

The ultimate goal of these online communities is to build your credibility with your ideal clients and show them you are the right one for the position. This will show you are an expert and begin building trust with potential leads. Many of these groups will feature opportunities to do small jobs.

In order to get these jobs, Skillcrush recommends students use this approach. First, you offer to help someone for free from advice, feedback, to finding a solution to an issue they are having. Next, you follow up with your potential lead and do an upsell if you like. An upsell is a freelancer's way of offering a special low-cost project to interested in clients. Be careful with this approach since it won't be appropriate for all clients.

In this lesson, Skillcrush shares three types of groups their students can use to start building their virtual network in the tech community. They include a brief description of each, how to find communities to join in each of these groups, how they work, and much more. Below I've summarized the important information about these specific types of groups. I've even included some communities I regularly use to give you some ideas if you need them.

Slack

Slack is a popular communication tool in the tech community. This tool allows for remote communication. This tool isn’t just used to create online communities. Slack is a tool many companies are using and expect candidates to use. Think of Slack as a professional form of instant messenger.

There are ton of Slack groups on different skills and niches so you’ll need to take some time to see what groups you should join. I recommend talking to other freelancers to see what Slack groups they use and send an invite request to join the group. There are some groups that do charge a fee to join, but there are other ones that are for free. Skillcrush recommends joining the free Slack groups first so you can become more familiar with how the tool works. Once you feel ready, join some of the paid membership groups that interest you.

Slack is one of the tools I check as regularly as my e-mail. I’ve signed up for several Slack groups, but I found that the larger the group, the more noise you’ll have on all the channels. This will make it harder to keep up or even ask questions since one question can easily get lost in the crowd if everyone is writing messages at the same time. Once you enter in a Slack workspace, join the channels that you are interested in then mute some of the larger channels like #general or #random. This way you can focus on smaller communities you’re interested in and don’t get overwhelmed with the Slack conversations.

Some of the Slack groups I’m a member of are Skillcrush Alumni, Grow with Google Nanodegree, KeepCo, and CodeNewbie. I just joined a Slack group which is meant for other techies around where I live. I am also active on my mastermind’s group new Slack. We originally started as a channel on Skillcrush Alumni Slack, but we made the decision recently to start our own Slack so we can customize everything with our own plugins as well as grow our mastermind group with more members.

Facebook

Many freelancers swear to finding clients in Facebook groups. Facebook groups serve as a way for clients and freelancers to find each other. These groups are very niche based so they are easy to target people specifically in these groups. You can find general freelance groups as well, but you will want to look for niche specific groups to join.

Skillcrush recommends searching Facebook using keywords your ideal client might use to find a group to join. Once the search results pop up, select groups from the top navigation bar to see what communities are available. I rarely do this. Instead I follow Skillcrush’s other suggestion which is getting recommendations from others in the tech community. I also learn about different Facebook groups through e-mail newsletters and what others post on social media.

There are tons of Facebook groups depending on what your skills and niche are, but I recommend joining ones that you are interested in. This means you should just join ones that are just professional related. I have a mix of different Facebook groups I’m a member of. Some of the groups I’m a member of are:
  • CodeNewbie
  • Tech Ladies
  • Newbie Coder Warehouse
  • Moms Can: CODE
  • Ambitionista
  • WP BFFs
This year I also help start a Facebook group with the members of my mastermind group. Our group isn’t very active right now, but we are planning on adding more content and making the group active over time.

Building a virtual network isn't just about joining professional groups. You can meet your ideal clients in surprising places. Don't be afraid to join groups that might be interesting to you. I joined a online tutoring Facebook group and have been offering feedback occasionally on other tutors' websites. This led to me scheduling a free consultation one of my first potential leads on ways she can best improve her website.

Niche Communities

Skillcrush thinks these are the best communities to join since they will give you a greater chance of finding your ideal client since they are niche specific. When it comes to searching for communities that will maintain your stream of clients, Skillcrush encourages students to look for a few things so you really need to think like your ideal client with niche communities. It is very likely your ideal client is a member of these communities so you will want to join ones that will give you the best chance of finding them.

Freelancers don't join niche communities because of their clients. Freelancers like these groups since it lets them be active in groups that focus on specific skills you offer. If you like to design branding, there are niche specific groups which concentrate on offering only branding to interested clients.

In addition, there are general relevant groups that fit under these niche communities such as freelancers or small business owners. Online niche communities aren't always about skills. These groups are great way to connect with local businesses and niche communities in your area.

Freelancing Marketplaces

Online communities aren’t the only way to find clients. Freelancers use freelance marketplaces and job boards to help find work online. A freelance marketplace is similar to how a marketplace looks like in real life. This is a platform businesses can post jobs on. Freelancers create profiles then bid on those projects as well as showing off their portfolios to attract clients.

Freelance marketplaces take time and work than job boards since you must be a member to apply for jobs. This means creating a profile as well as building a reputation so clients will consider you for jobs. Although these platforms require members to do lots of set up, this will pay off later by making it easier to connect and find potential clients.

A lot of freelancers have mixed feelings about freelance marketplaces. Many encourage freelancers to avoid these like a plague since there is a lot of competition while others recommend using these sites. There have been many reasons why some freelancers tend to stay away from these platforms, but for many the pay is often the biggest reason. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are very competitive over available jobs and many freelancers often try bidding the lowest price to get picked for jobs. This means freelancers often compromise their rates to find work.

My advice is to just try these websites and see if you like them. If you like them and regularly get clients from them, keep using these sites. If you don’t, that is ok and try something else. Freelancing is similar to trying on clothes. If one platform doesn’t work, just move onto the next one to see which one is the right fit for you.

Freelance Job Boards

Did you know that there are specific job boards just for freelancers? Freelance job boards are similar to other job boards such as Indeed and Monster. While the freelance marketplaces can be seen as job boards, the ones that fit this category are much more niche specific. For example, there are several job boards just dedicated for freelancers in the tech industry. Check out the link to a Skillcrush blog post below which lists 25 sites to find freelance jobs.

==> Click here to see the 25 top sites for finding freelance jobs!

Freelancers can use different filters to find specific jobs and positions. You don't need to be a member to use these sites so don't worry about needing a profile to apply for these jobs. All you need is just time and an idea of what you are looking for.

The problem with job board websites is that these are often easy to apply to. This means you can bet on lots of people applying for the job. In order to have an edge over the competition, many freelancers recommend finding a connection to the company and asking them to be a referral. A fellow developer once told me that referrals will boost your chances of being offered an interview since companies will often interview the ones with referrals from people in the company.

Finding the Right Clients

It is a universal truth that every client is going to be different. There are good clients you'll want to work with and ones that you should avoid. Therefore, freelancers have to make quick decisions to decide which ones are the good ones and which ones you should avoid. This might sound tougher than it looks, but Skillcrush has a few tips to help you decide which clients are the best for you to work with.

1. Does this client fit with your niche?

If high paying clients had to chose, many would chose specialists over a freelancer that can do everything. So if you aren't quite sure if this is the right client for you, ask yourself if this client fits with your niche. Your niche is always going to be a guide in these situations. As you gain more experience, it will get easier to find clients you can trust.

2. Read ads very closely!

You can tell a lot about a potential freelance job just by the ad posted on job boards or ones sent via e-mail. As you freelance, you'll begin learning how to read these ads closely to see which ones are real or scams. To help you get started, Skillcrush offers students a few clues to help them spot an warning signs.
  • Ads with lots of grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Promises of “exposure” in exchange for your hard work. This is just a fancy way of saying they aren’t going to pay you.
  • Payment structure that is not a guarantee. You might see this payment as companies happening to make money off your work.
If you want even more warning signs, I recommend talking to other freelancers to their their tips. You can also learn more tips by checking out different freelancing resources such as blogs, podcasts, or even attending webinars. Most importantly, listen and act on your gut. If your gut gets a bad feeling from this post, don't be afraid to turn down a job.

3. Follow the directions.

Job postings will often have lots of people applying or bidding. This means clients are going to be always pick the ones that follow their directions completely. You also want to read the directions in order to help guide you with tailoring your pitch and getting a sense if you can do this job in the timeline the posting requires.

Conclusion

That’s a wrap for this week’s topic. Now you know some of Skillcrush's secrets to finding clients online. I reviewed over some of the best places online to look for clients as well as ones I use myself. Finally, I talked about how you can use freelance job boards and marketplaces to find clients.

The Original BritishPandaChick is taking a brief hiatus so there won't be any blog posts for awhile. Instead of new content, I'll be focused on getting a lot of my previous posts updated and updating the resource page. New posts for the blog will resume on August 22.

This post will be all about Skillcrush's lesson on networking. You'll learn about how to network, finding the right events, and creating a good elevator pitch.

Jun 20, 2018

Dimensions Bumble Felt Applique Kit

Today's post is featuring another blog post from Needlework Kits. This post reviews one of the needlecraft kits I've been working on. This is one of the three craft kits I got for Christmas last year. It also marks the first Dimensions craft kit. I managed to complete this needlecraft kit in February. You can see a few pictures on my Instagram.

This blog post shares my experience making this kit and some of the struggles I encountered putting Bumble together. Just click the link below to read my full review. If there are any needlecraft kits you would like to see me review, let me know in the comments. I'll do my best to make it happen.

==> Click here to read the full post on Bumble Felt Applique Kit on Needlework Kits!

My Coding Journey: Everything You Need to Know About Forming a Professional Support Network

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick We're halfway through September and that means a brand new post in the My Coding Journey series. ...