Tool of the Trade: Fiverr

FiverrWhat new tools and tricks have you found that help you get your job done quickly and efficiently — or your life to run more smoothly in some fashion? We haven’t had a Tool of the Trade feature in too long!

My latest find is Fiverr, which, admittedly, may have limited use if you’re working with proprietary documents and the like — but if not is my favorite tool for fixing software problems, PDF problems, and more. Here’s the premise:  Various freelancers (from all over the world) offer a variety of “gigs” for the starting price of — you guessed it! — $5.  I’ve had someone:

  • clean up a massive Excel chart that was wacky
  • type 10 pages of handwritten notes for me
  • create a 3D image of a book
  • merge a JPG and PDF into one doc
  • fix/correctly resize a million PDF pages so I could get a book printed at Lulu (I forget if their size requirements were wacky or if the PDF pages I had were wacky. Random backstory here: when I lost a ton of weight on Weight Watchers back in the day I had printed out all of my food journals and kept them all in a huge redweld, always intending to get them bound somehow (both to commemorate the achievement and to be able to refer to them again).  There must have been more than 400 pages!  I sweet-talked my husband into PDFing them for me (thank you, hunny!) and eventually decided to get them printed at Lulu.  The bound book was something like $27 and was SO much better than the velobinding I’d originally been intending.  I know: it sounds like a lame project but I’m actually really happy with the finished product, which is about 1/4 the size of the redweld (and way prettier).)
  • help with a Photoshop issue for a personal business card
  • fix a Photoshop/JPG issue with sharpening/color correcting a photo of my husband and me that just didn’t look right in Shutterfly no matter what I did

Seriously, any time that I think of something that needs to be done and is not something I’m eager to spend hours poking through Google pages and arcane software menus — and can outsource easily without sharing too many passwords/giving permissions — then I check on Fiverr and sure enough, someone is offering to fix it for $5.  (You can also hire a ton of freelancers through eLance and O-Desk, but I’ve had mixed success with some of the freelancers I’ve hired through those.  (But then, I’ve also looked for bigger jobs/more complicated tasks through those.)

Readers, have you tried to outsource any tasks (either personal or professional) to freelancers?  What tasks would you outsource? Has anyone had success with someone cleaning up their iTunes library (mine is a mess!) or editing/organizing/tagging old photos or anything like that?  

(L-0)

Guest Post: Women Breadwinners Can Level the Financial Playing Field

Women as Breadwinners | CorporetteWomen breadwinners is a topic we’ve touched on before: we answered a reader question about dating a guy who makes significantly less money, and a few breadwinning readers had some interesting comments on our recent Tales from the Wallet about managing your money after you get married. I was curious (and excited) to hear about an entire new book examining how relationship dynamics change when the woman is the breadwinner, and reached out to the author.  Please welcome Farnoosh Torabi, sharing an adapted excerpt from her book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women.  Kat

Evidently, if you make more than your man, you’re more likely to be the one in control of the money. My nationwide survey co-conducted with clinical psychologist Brad Klontz revealed that women who bring home the bigger paycheck are significantly more likely to be the primary decision makers on money matters and take charge of things like paying bills, budgeting, saving, and planning for retirement.

But while such an arrangement has its advantages, it could also be asking for trouble. It calls for a new rule.

A sense of equity between two committed people is important, even if there’s an income disparity. But to keep a man’s dignity and sense of engagement, he needs to feel like he plays an important role in the relationship and that he’s not completely isolated from the financial decisions. And for a woman to keep her sanity and sex drive alive, she shouldn’t have to do the equivalent of a CFO’s job after she’s gotten home from her 9 to 5 (or 7 to 11).

Consider this scenario: When Kyle lost his job in IT, his social worker wife Lynne suddenly became the breadwinner for their family of six. The Houston couple’s income shrank by 50 percent, but their bills continued to pour in. The stress was mounting, so Lynne took it upon herself to manage all of the family’s finances (i.e., paying bills, balancing the checkbook, managing the savings account), while Kyle buried himself in his job search. It felt like she was helping out — why saddle Kyle with more work when he could be polishing his resume and practicing his interview skills? But in taking over the finances, Lynne cut Kyle out of the decision-making process. Yes, she took care of the bills, bought the groceries, but she also did not appreciate when her husband used their discretionary money to buy, say, a new pair of golf shoes. And thus a vicious cycle was born: Kyle, grasping for some sense of autonomy and dignity, started making (and hiding) personal purchases outside of the budget. Lynne then clamped down tighter. Both started to lose respect for the other.

The challenge: How can men and women help each other not just feel, but be accountable for their finances when she makes more? From a practical standpoint, who pays for the mortgage, vacations, and everyday living expenses? From an emotional standpoint, how do you make him feel like a player and that his contributions — financial or otherwise — matter? What steps can a couple take to reach financial fairness? Although he may not make as much, how can he feel as involved with and connected to their shared financial life as she is? The answer lies in the following When She Makes More rule: Level the Financial Playing Field. In every relationship the solutions are different and no one way is necessarily right or wrong, as long as both of you are on the same page and agree to these simple protocols:

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Guest Post: Finding Time to Exercise

Finding Time to Exercise | CorporetteA regular exercise regimen and an intense job are not easy things to reconcile – so how do you fit exercise into a busy day? We’ve talked about midday workouts, some of my favorite exercise DVDs, and generally talked about how to find time to exercise, but not in a while — so I’m thrilled to welcome today’s guest poster, the blogger behind Sweet Hot Justice, who is doing the impossible and balancing a busy job as in-house counsel with a pretty awesome exercise routine. I’ve known of her since we both started anonymous blogs Way Back in ’08 — but we only just recently met in real life, and she’s every bit as awesome as her hilarious writing would make you think she might be. Please welcome Maria de Cesare of Sweet Hot Justice, giving her own excellent pointers for fitting workouts into your busy schedule! – Kat.

I hate working out. Not “I hate working out” as in “Gyms aren’t my thing but I cherish my daily 5-mile jog.” No. I mean “I hate working out” as in “After working 60-hour weeks, I’d rather do almost any other thing in the universe, including sitting in a room and staring at my hands, than work out.” Also… I’m not exactly what you’d call an athlete. I have a job that involves lots of aggressive sitting. I hate sweating. You’ll never hear “Oh my god, Soul Cycle is the best thing on Sunday mornings!” come out of my mouth. You know what’s the best thing on Sunday mornings? A three-hour champagne brunch followed by not going to Soul Cycle.

So, why in the world should you listen to me for tips about how to make fitness fit into your life? Well, because if I can make it happen, believe me, you can make it happen. A few years ago, after leaving a Big Law job and ignoring my personal fitness for years, my body just felt off. My back always hurt. My clothes didn’t fit the way I wished they did. I just felt like a weak, disconnected mess.

But now, after stumbling through a few fits and starts and finally finding a fitness routine that works for me, I feel stronger and more in sync with my body than I ever have. And now, even when I’m tired and cranky and absolutely dreading the idea of schlepping to the gym, I know that I’ll feel 100% better after I do — and that keeps me coming back.

So, I know that you don’t have time to work out, I know that there are a million other things you’d rather do with your all-too-precious time and money — believe me, I’m right there with you. But, if you’re looking to jump on the fitness rainbow, keep these general thoughts in mind:

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Tales from the Wallet: Should You Get an MBA?

should you get an MBAShould you get an MBA? If you’ve ever pondered getting your MBA but wondered if it was worth the investment of time and money, today’s guest post is for you. We’ve talked about how to prepare your finances for grad school, as well as the pros and cons of changing careers, but we truly haven’t talked about this — so I’m thrilled to welcome the personal finance blogger behind Well Heeled Blog, a young woman who just finished her MBA. Welcome to Corporette! – Kat.  (Pictured: Ted Baker London ‘Neon’ Leather Card Wallet, $55 at Nordstrom.)

I recently graduated from a 2-year, full-time MBA program at one of the “15 schools that make up the Top 10 MBA.” I once heard a dean use that phrase and think it’s a humorously apt way to describe the way schools jockey for that much-vaunted “top 10.” designation.

Once you include the money I spent out of pocket and the opportunity cost of two years of foregone earnings and benefits (minus the living expenses I would have had to spend, MBA or not), this degree cost me at least $250,000. That’s enough for a house in many parts of the country, and a hefty down payment in even the priciest areas such as San Francisco or New York City.

Was my MBA worth it? I’m a long-time Corporette reader and occasional commenter, and I’ve seen several questions on MBAs and finances. The decision to pursue an MBA isn’t solely about the ROI in dollars and cents–there are plenty of non-financial benefits such as a grounding in business education, a wider and deeper network, and the opportunity to devote two years to furthering your professional and personal growth. Still, the fact remains that an MBA is an expensive proposition for most people, and this proposition can expand your career horizon while at the same time limiting your future financial choices. Here are my thoughts about the financial implications of an MBA now that I have completed my degree–what I would (and have) told friends who are thinking about pursuing an MBA, especially through a full-time program:

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Summer Associate Series: Business Lunch Etiquette

The Best Business Lunch Etiquette Tips for Interns | CorporetteThis week, in our Summer Associate Series*: what are some of the best business lunch etiquette tips that interns should know about — for business lunches, office cocktail parties, and more?  Readers already working: what are the biggest dining etiquette tips you wish interns and SAs knew? Which are the biggest blunders you see (from both the guys and the gals)? Summer associates and interns: what are your biggest areas of confusion?

(*Name aside, we hope this series will be helpful to ANY intern, whether you’re a law student or another woman interning in a conservative office for the summer.) Check out our previous post on general summer associate style, what to wear for the creative summer associate events, and general business etiquette tips.

Here are some of the best dining etiquette questions we’ve covered in the past — readers, what have we missed?

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Guest Post: Packing for a One-Day Business Trip

Packing for a One-Day Business Trip | CorporetteHow do you pack for a day trip in another city?  Today I’m excited to welcome back guest poster and blogger extraordinaire Road Warriorette, who’s been nice enough to give us helpful tips on traveling with coworkers and professional but small suitcases.  We actually just met IRL not too long ago for a lovely dinner.  :) Today, she answers Reader A’s question about packing for one-day business trips. Welcome back, Road Warriorette!

Reader A wonders:

Do you or your readers have suggestions for how to pack for a day trip in another city? I am going to start a new job that will require frequent day trips where I will fly to another city in the morning and fly back at night. I prefer not to take too much stuff, but I do want to be prepared in the event that I get stuck overnight. I need my laptop for the trip and am on the hunt for an appropriate bag for day trips and for client visits in my own city.

People who never travel for work are always surprised at the number of day trips I take. On the one hand, it makes sense — if you are only doing one day’s worth of business, why pay for a hotel room? On the other hand, they are often exhausting, 18-20 hour marathons. It seems I am always on the last flight out, and a few times have gotten stuck spending the night somewhere unexpectedly.

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