Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shooting Flip Video or Digital Photos? Get yourself in the shot with XShot!

Welcome Everyone

Phil Montaro has posted the following review post on his "The Anywhere Office" site.

If you want to do video (dosen't everyone?) and you are a crew of one, then this gadget is all you need to support you and you cam of choice.

Check it out...Thanks Phil!

Smiles :o)


Shooting Flip Video or Digital Photos? Get yourself in the shot with XShot!: "
Recently while using my Flip camera to shoot some video for this blog I came across a problem. I was shooting the post about “working outside your office” so I wanted to move around and decided to hold the camera so I could be mobile and not be stuck with the static shot I would get from using my tripod (like I normally do). There were two issues with this approach:

  1. My arms are only so long so I couldn’t hold the camera out far enough to get much of me and the background in the shot
  2. The camera shook a lot so the video jumped around a bit

As I always do when looking for the solution to a problem I searched Google and found a solution – the XShot 2.0 camera extender. This amazing device is only 9″ in length and weighs 5 ozs. when closed but folds out (like an antennae) to 37″ long and can hold a camera up to 1.25 lbs. It includes a standard tripod mount on the end that swivels up to 180 degrees so you can attach your point and shoot digital camera or your pocket camcorder (like the Flip video), simply extend it and get yourself and others in the shot! I was jonesing on trying it out so I contacted XShot and they were kind enough to send me one so I could give it a try and review it for you.

Watch this video below where I do a quick demo of how it works:

Ever since I’ve had a digital camera I’ve always done the single-arm stretch to take photos of myself and others without having to ask someone else to take the picture. These have been some of the best (and fun) photos I’ve taken – but the problem was always how close the camera was and you could only get 2 people in the shot. Not anymore thanks to the XShot! It’s solid, extremely light, and at full extension can get several people in the shot as well as the background. The swiveling camera mount on the end allows you to reach high spots in crowds and concerts, take photos from fun angles and in other places difficult to reach. I’m looking forward to trying some of these situations out and will post more photos and videos to the blog when I do.

The XShot makes it easy to take pictures and videos on the go to post on your blog or social networks and it’s great if you want to do video interviews at trade shows or other events where setting up a tripod is difficult. Best of all it fits in your pocket or camera bag so it’s a prefect tool for your Anywhere Office! It’s a great tool not only for travelers and photographers but also for bloggers, people involved in social media and entrepreneurs. It sells for $25 and along with my Joby Gorillapod and my Flip Video Camera will now be a permanent part of my mobile video setup.

For more info visit the XShot’s website. Check out their Gallery and Video pages to see some great examples of all the different creative ways people have used it – including video while skiing and paragliding!

I love a creative solution to a problem and XShot has certainly come up with one. Post a comment below and let me know what you think . . .


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You’re Not Worth Anything Right Now

You’re Not Worth Anything Right Now: "


Image by Great Beyond

“I’m worth far more than that!”, you might be thinking. But are you really?

This is a tough topic for me to write about. I’ve gone on record before saying how great things were in early 2009. A year ago, I was writing marketing plans for startup companies to take before million-dollar investors and getting paid $1,500 a pop for them. I was getting projects to the tune of $600-$700 every couple weeks. Money was flowing, my pen was flying (well, the cursor on my computer screen anyway – who uses a pen anymore?) and life was good.

And you know what? When I think of being Location Independent again, that’s what I think about – and I bet you do too…

It’s the dream life of many an aspiring entrepreneur: you set your own hours, work in your pajamas (or your boxers on a hot day) and collect plenty to live on and even buy some pretty things. You’re happy, your clients are happy and the work keeps you busy and generally in a great mood.

The big problem is so many aspiring entrepreneurs think they’ll be able to start right there, right at that point.

You want to storm into you boss, yell “I QUIT!”, photocopy your butts on the way out and be done with the office life forever. Then you pick up some steaks for dinner on the way home and you arrive to an inbox that is jam-packed with high-quality, agreeable clients who want to pay top-dollar for your services.

Yeah, that doesn’t really work that way.

You have to struggle, you have to claw. You have to – *shudder* – network. You have to kiss up to clients to get good feedback and half-decent testimonials that you can give to your next prospect. You have to take low-paying gigs just to get off the ground and you may have to hang around that office a little longer and laugh at your boss’s jokes.

Think of starting a business like losing weight – one pound at a time. You don’t start a diet and look fantastic the next day. Unfortunately, when it comes to lifestyle design & location independence, this can be the expectation.

In my case, I might as well be starting out all over again after four years of grinding it out. As a freelancer, just about all of my work was done through other marketing firms, meaning I have no access to past clients, the testimonials are for the firm, not me, and the clients’ names and credentials all belong to the firm.

As far as the world is concerned, I didn’t do a thing for four years but the firms I worked for sure have cranked out some quality work, apparently. I’m a nobody. I might as well have spent the last two years living in my parents’ basement alone because there’s no evidence that I even existed professionally. Lesson learned.

So I’m in the same boat all you other aspiring LIPs are in but the good news is that we have plenty of opportunity, we just need to go out & snag it. Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

We’re creating a killer portfolio…

It can be mock-ups or little jobs that you’ve done already. Doesn’t matter. You need to have something to prove your worth. Make up a bunch of companies if you really have to. Good, small clients see the talent through the lackluster credentials and will be willing to take a chance on you.

We’re starting a blog

Ah yes, the ultimate “me too” advice. Everybody tells you to start a blog. They’re right. A blog gives you a venue to showcase your talent. It gives you the psychological advantage of knowing you’re working on something, at least.

It also gives you the chance to network without having to attend 7:00am Chamber of Commerce breakfasts where everybody is trying to sell to everybody else and nothing gets done for 2 hours (been there, done that ).

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to start writing for the blog here at Location Independent Professionals. I built up a reputation and relationship with Lea (on Twitter, in fact) and used my own blog to establish some credibility. You can network with tons of people who might come across your blog and opportunities will start opening up because of this.

We’re hopping on a job board like Elance or Guru...

A big “thank you” goes to Sarah (my fellow blogger here) for emailing this suggestion. Ironically, I had already started using Elance before she emailed me but it’s still a great idea.

For bigger, more established professionals however, Elance looks awful. People see Elance as a place where bidders undercut each other for cheap, lousy work. Certainly that happens, but you know what? I’ve been undercut in the “big professional” world too. I’ve seen cheap, lousy work there too. Elance is full of big-time opportunities and so are other job boards.

The secret, in the beginning at least, is to take the smaller jobs first. For a writer, that may mean writing 35 content articles on horses (been there, too). Take the ones you hate but kick some major butt at them. Build up that profile, get that great feedback and the big dogs will be willing to listen to your bid on their monster project later on.

Most importantly, take whatever you can get. Check your standards at the door. While I wouldn’t advise you do anything you are morally against, in the beginning you do need to grab anything that comes your way. It may feel demeaning, but everybody has to pay their dues a little bit. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

The biggest point is that you prove your experience. You are only worth what your client perceives you to be worth. If they don’t think you’re worth $5 an hour, you’re not worth $5 an hour. Work your tail off and build up some experience. Then when you demand what you are worth, people will take notice.

Related posts:

  1. Potential LIP Businesses: Virtual Assistants

  2. Potential LIP Business: Freelance Writer