Top 10 tips for first time freelancers

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I’ve been working freelance for about a year now and so far, it has been a rollercoaster of good and bad experiences. Right now, I am juggling freelancing and a part time job as an English teacher. At times it would prove to be difficult, but mostly, it’s very fulfilling. If ever you are not cut to be working under corporations, but still wants (and needs) to earn a pretty good income, freelancing may just be for you. Here are ten things that I have learned so far with working freelance:

  1. It’s okay to start small. First time freelancers with almost zero experience would find it difficult to get a client. I’ve got to be honest about how I used to accept job orders that are lower than my typical rates just so I could gather clients and build a portfolio for myself. Mind you, lowering your rate could lead to several negative effects, but doing so with caution with help you start up on your career as a freelancer.
  2. Build your contacts. Once you already have a handful of clients that you’ve worked with, remember to build good relationships with them. I’m not saying that you should befriend clients and rub elbows with them, but make sure that you are creating a good professional relationships between you and your clients. I have some clients who keep coming back for my services because they already know my skill set and are pretty much pleased with it. You can also ask your present clients to refer you to other prospect projects from different clients, but make sure that it would not sound as if you are begging them to vouch good reviews on your services. A simple “If you have any other projects available, just let me know so I could see what I can do,” would help tons in gathering new contacts.
  3. Have some respect. Being a freelancer does not mean you own your time, it just means that you have your time frame and you have got to stick with it by working on your own pace. Make sure you meet deadlines and respect the client’s time and efforts. This will help improve your professional image and provide you with a good review afterwards.
  4. Get some respect. Just because they are the clients, doesn’t mean they have all the rights to exploit you. If you feel that you are at the losing end in a deal, feel free to voice out your opinion and demand a higher compensation or a better time frame, etc. This will avoid abusive clients from debasing you and downright ripping you off.
  5. Be honest. Making sure that your clients know your capabilities and limitations could help improve your relationship with them. This will also set them with the right expectations and would make your job more comfortable for you. If you will not be able to meet deadlines for whatever reason, make sure to notify them at least 48 hours prior to the deadline, so they could work around with their own schedule as well. Remember we are all professionals in this field, so you need to act like one.
  6. It’s okay to say no. Even if they promise a very competitive compensation, when you know that it will jeopardize your own personal accounts (i.e. schedule and other freelancing stints), it is okay to decline the project. If you think that you are not going to be paid enough, it’s okay to turn down a job offer. If you think that you are not capable of what they are asking for or if you will have a hard time producing an output because you are not familiar with what they need, it’s alright to say no. If you are going to decline job orders, make sure  you do it before the project starts or at the earlier stage of the project (depending if you have contracts signed) and NEVER on the final days before the deadline. This will give your clients enough time to find a replacement and also this would not make you come up as complete asshole. (see number 4, 5, and 7)
  7. Know your value. You have to make sure that you know what your capabilities are. If you excel in one field in freelancing, and you know that you are performing very well with it, it’s okay to demand a higher compensation. You can also research and ask around fellow freelancers on their rates so you could have an idea on how much you should charge your clients. You also need to make sure that the clients know your limitations, so they would not ask you to produce anything beyond it, because failing to deliver what is expected of you could garner a negative effect to your reputation. As what was mentioned in number 5, honesty helps.
  8. Give your best, but leave some for yourself. When you get job orders, it is very important that you exhaust every possible resource that you have in order to give them the best output possible, but keep in mind that you have your breaking points too. Do not overwork on a project because that will only get you underpaid. Deliver what is asked, no more, but definitely no less.
  9. Freelance isn’t free. If you are starting to build your own contacts and portfolio, it is okay to take pro bono projects ONLY IF you know that this will help improve your career as a freelancer. Nevertheless, make sure that the demands are not as high that you will end up at the losing end of the deal. Same goes for paid transactions, demand what you think you are worthy of. Remember that it is not bad to ask for updates on your paycheck or schedules of payment because IT IS YOUR RIGHT. I’ve had experiences when I was scammed by scumbags who do not have any respect for human beings working with integrity, but these instances can be avoided if you will take precautions.
  10. Enjoy yourself. You know you have worked hard for your money so it is your right to enjoy it in whatever way possible, but make sure that you are using it wisely. You know that you chose this career path because it is most comfortable for you, so make sure that it will remain as comfortable as it is without sacrificing on quality outputs.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

How I quit smoking: From cravings to actually declining a puff

Stop-Smoking

In this blog entry, I will not bore you with statistics on how many people have died because of smoking, nor will I tell you the negative effects of this unhealthy habit because I’m sure you already know them pretty well through the thousands of anti-smoking ad campaigns present everywhere.  I will however tell you my story on how I quit smoking and decided to live healthier.

I started smoking back in second year high school. At first it was just a few trial drags from thin cigarette sticks which I was told were “lady” cigarettes. I wouldn’t deny that peer pressure was one of the major reasons I started smoking, although I will never ever let anyone blame my friends for making me develop such an awful habit. I was new in school, so I had to try and do anything to make friends and that included hanging out after school and doing supposedly cool things with them. I remember being told by my adviser back then that I had the potential if only I’d focus more on my studies.

In college, smoking started to become a habit. It started when I had to sneak out from my friends because I didn’t want them to know I smoke. The idea of them seeing me smoke terrified me. I smoked because I was stressed out with academics and extra curricular. I was very involved into theater and it occupied most of my time in my first two years in college. I was more comfortable smoking with my orgmates because smoking is more acceptable to them than with my friends. Then it started to become worse. I couldn’t last a day without finishing a stick or two and sometimes, when we go out drinking, I would finish a pack.  I would hangout at a nearby sari sari store to kill time by smoking with friends. At times, I would go to school a few hours early just to smoke a few sticks before class. I used to joke with my friends that I couldn’t breathe without smoking, which was somehow true because smoking was my way to remind myself to breathe easy. It has become a way for me to be able to take breaks all to myself. I found it more of a necessity than a luxury, a sure fire sign that I have developed a dependence to smoking.

To be honest, Blade was the one who encouraged me to stop smoking. He was very lenient at first knowing that it is not a habit I could immediately quit. I gradually tried to let go of it by having a stick a day, to three sticks a week, to none at all.

Initially I found it difficult to quit. Blade became strict when it comes to helping me quit. We even had an argument at one point when I tried to sneak puffing a stick while he was still asleep. I felt that it was a right Blade had taken away from me. I didn’t want to be within the vicinity of anyone smoking because I know I would be tempted to ask for a puff. There were even tears involved when I tried to beg Blade to allow me to smoke because I was too stressed out with the death of one of our cats. Smoking remained as something that will always be at the back of my head. At times, I would think of ways on how I could sneak in a puff or two, but then I would realize that doing so would only take me back to square one. The idea going back to my bad habit lingered in my mind for a while. It was when we tried hiking that made me realize how awfully weak my lungs were.

We set out to climb Mt. Pico de Loro in Batangas with Blade’s parkour team. At first I thought it would be just like a walk in the park because initially, the trail available only required walking. After a while it slowly progressed to steep rocks where we had to push ourselves up in order to overcome them. I was literally the last person from the group to reach the peak. They had to wait up for me and Blade had to stay behind taking short stops for me to catch my breathe. We reached the peak with me looking so pale and out of breathe, they even thought I would pass out any time soon. It was embarrassing, add to that the fact that I was also panicking due to my deathly fear of heights. That was when I promised myself that I would stop torturing my body with awful things and completely forget about smoking.

I can’t deny that I had grown bigger because of quitting. You see, smoking is a form of oral fixation, so instead of lighting a stick of cigarette, I would stuff myself with sweets or any food I could lay my hands on. Looking back, I saw how my heroin addict body built slowly became plump and rounded. Some of my friends were surprised by my weight gain because they have never pictured me chubby despite the fact that I eat like a construction worker. Naturally, my parents were happy about me quitting.

Now, I am trying to get back in shape. I’m not trying to achieve the unhealthy thin built I had before. Instead, I’m trying to attain a much stronger body and a promising endurance. I’m not against anyone smoking, but I would rather not be beside people when they smoke. The fumes from the cigarette had started to annoy me little by little and I could proudly say that I can confidently decline any offer of smoking. It’s never too late for improvement.

Some tips to help you quit:

  • Don’t force yourself to stop, but have the discipline to actually stick to your decision of quitting.
  • Start gradually, like what I did. Limit yourself to a stick per day to 5 sticks a week, and so on. I personally used to treat smoking as a reward, something to look forward to at one point of the day, but NEVER deviate from your goal.
  • It is important to get some support from other people. In my case, Blade helped me with self discipline by monitoring my cravings.
  • Trying out some exercises could help. Mind you, it would be extremely tough at first to the point that you would want to quit, but exercising actually helps you release some of the toxins in your body that has been accumulated from smoking. Start with light workout routines you could do at home until you are confident enough to be able to push yourself to your limit. This will also make you realize how much your lungs are weak and would eventually encourage you to smoke less and less
  • Stay away from people who smoke. I don’t have anything against smokers. I still have friends who have no intentions of quitting and I respect that, but as much as possible I try to stay away from them when they smoke. Initially, it would be because it would serve as temptation for you to go back to your unhealthy habit, but as time goes by, it would be because you wouldn’t want to inhale second hand smoke (which would be worse than smoking).
  • Stay motivated. Set short term goals like limiting the number of sticks you consume in a day, a week, or a month. Apps like LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach and Quit Smoking could help you manage your nicotine intake, but don’t rely too much on them because self discipline is the most important thing that you need to develop in order to stop smoking

If you are a quitter reading this story, congratulations to us! May we live a long and healthy life. If you’re a smoker who plans on quitting, don’t be so hard on yourself. It would be very hard at first but once you get the hang of it, you will be so happy and proud about this life achievement. Good luck!

Life Update: 06.20.2015

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We would like to apologize for the unannounced hiatus. We have been so busy the past few months that we almost forgot about our little space here on the internet. Anyway, a lot of things have happened while we were away and we would love to share it with you!

  • Our quest for exploring more of the Philippines has finally progressed. So far, we have climbed Mt. Pico de Loro in Batangas, swam in the wonderful waters of Baler, and roamed around Ilocos!
  • Blade had graduated from college and Misty couldn’t be more proud. (A little side story: I thought I was going to miss Blade’s graduation program because of work appointments, but to my luck, it was cancelled at the last minute! YASSS! -M)
  • We now have different jobs unlike before when we used to go to the same office. It was not a bad thing because quitting from the dead end jobs we previously had opened up bigger opportunities for each of us. 🙂
  • Blade has been busy with different parkour projects. He had a huge project with a razor company back in April and May, and a few photo shoots here and there
  • Misty, with the help of Blade, has been training to get more fit. She’s yet to improve her balance and body control, but she’s getting there little by little!
  • We tried out a lot of things during our out of town adventures! We tried surfing and cliff diving (at least Blade did) in Baler, archery and target shooting in Ilocos, and Mt. Pico de Loro was our first climb ever. (We will be blogging about these soon, so stay tuned!)
  • We celebrated our first anniversary last May! Here’s to more adventures together!

Right now, we have a few projects still on the process of development and we’re crossing our fingers for their success. Stay tuned for more posts coming up 🙂

The Sunday Currently: 04.05.15


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R E A D I N G

Him: A thread I posted on how I will market the new domain I purchased.

Her: Spark Notes (I know, I’m sorry) about Early Middle Ages.  I need to get as much info as I could for me to be able to finish this article

W R I T I N G

Him: The HTML and CSS code for our new website

Her: This 2000-word article about the medieval period. So far, I’m still 1,700 words short. Yikes.

L I S T E N I N G

Him: To the sound of silence. Well, to the whirring sound of the electric fan. It’s white noise to me.

Her: The Monster High movie my siblings are watching in the living room.

T H I N K I N G

Him:  About marketing strategies and niches.

Her: How much time do I have to spare? I really want to watch Detective Conan with Blade. He introduced the anime to me as it is his favorite and I’m hooked!

S M E L L I N G

Him: I haven’t taken a shower today, so I smell like a real man!

Her:  This instant yakisoba I’m eating.

W I S H I N G

Him: That our new site will go boom! Not really for it to explode or anything, what I meant was for it to succeed.

Her: This long weekend would prolong. I really miss those days when I could just lie in bed and watch some series the whole day.

H O P I N G

Him: That things will go as planned

Her: All our plans for the next couple months would pull through. So much work and effort has been put to it and I’m really excited about it.

W E A R I N G

Him: An old shirt with cut up sleeves (Misty did it) and a pair of boxers.

Her: An orange tank top (that Blade owns. heehee), and a pair of boxers, which is what I usually wear at home.

L O V I N G

Him: Working at home, as usual.

Her: Detective Conan! Heehee.

W A N T I N G

Him: To launch the new site, but there are lot of things to consider before launching it.

Her: Greenwich’s seven cheese pizza. Blade and I tried it yesterday and it was divine!! It’s super cheap, but really good.  God, thinking about it makes me hungry.

N E E D I N G

Him: Starbucks’ Caramel Frappe with 9 pumps of caramel and a lot of caramel drizzle. Blended whip please!  <3

Her: More time. Mom got some groceries for me to prepare dinner later, (which is totally unplanned) and I’m not even halfway done with my article. Huhuhu.

F E E L I N G

Him: Productive

Her:  Lazy, but anxious. I’m not really in the mood to work, but I need to. Yeah, it sucks. LOL

C L I C K I N G

Him:  Some bitcoin faucets. Refer to here.

Her: Nothing in particular. I’ve closed up all social media site for me to be able to focus on my writing, but it’s not working. HALP.

10 Cheap beauty hacks

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Let’s face it, we have searched high and low on the internet for beauty hacks that would make our lives easier, only to find out that most items in those lists aren’t really things that you can find lying around in your household. So you go out and buy those ~necessary~ products and you end up spending more than actually saving money.

Most beauty hacks we find in websites like Buzzfeed, Pinterest, and even those we watch on beauty channels on Youtube cater to non-Filipino audience. Products featured in those articles are things you most commonly find in Western households.

I’m no beauty expert (trust me, I’m still trying to learn how to groom my brows properly), but I’ve discovered some tricks that actually work! (at least for me) So let’s get started:

beauty11. Sugar – Be it white or brown, organic or regular, it does not really matter. Mix sugar with a bit of oil and you got yourself something to use for skin exfoliation. Now get a table spoon of sugar, add a few drops of honey, a dash of cinnamon, apply it on your lips in a circular motion and voila, extra soft puckers! Fuller lips too!

2. Calamansi – Most Filipinas are obsessed about whitening products, most especially to products you can use in whitening your underarms, elbows, and knees. I’ve learned this trick from my late grandmother, and at first I thought it was ridiculous until I’ve actually tried it. Slice a calamansi in half and rub it on your armpit/elbow/knee. Leave it for two minutes and then go hit the shower. I did it at least once a week and I can say with much confidence that it’s very effective.

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3. Baking soda – Many are aspiring to get those perfect pearly whites, but didn’t exactly have enough budget to attain them. Who knew that baking soda was the answer to their dilemma?  Add two heaping teaspoons of baking soda with a few drops of lemon (or calamansi, if you don’t have lemons lying around), mix it until it reaches a paste-like consistency, and brush your teeth with the mixture. Do this at least twice every week before you actually brush your teeth and you’re on your way to that sparkly, white teeth you’ve always wanted.

4. Baby powder – There are plenty of ways to maximize the use of baby powder , and one of them is using it to set your lipstick. After applying a generous coat of lipstick, cover your lips with tissue and dust same baby powder over it. This process will help your lipstick last longer.

Another use of baby powder is for eyelash extension. After applying the first coat of mascara, put some baby powder on the tips of your lashes and then apply another coat of mascara. Repeat this process until you’re happy with the length of your eyelashes. Talk about instant eyelash extensions!

The last baby powder trick is a bit unusual, I’ve learned this from a friend of mine in college. Whenever your hair comes out greasy, dust some baby powder on your scalp then brush your hair until no powder is visible, and you got yourself an inexpensive alternative to dry shampoo.

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5. Dish-washing liquid  – I’ve looked up for ways on how to clean make up brushes only to get results asking me to buy make up removers and brush cleaners, which are totally expensive for daily use. Dish-washing liquids can help clean your brushes without drilling holes on your pocket. On a clean dish, pour some dish-washing liquid, add some olive oil so as not to dry the brush hair (if olive oil isn’t available, you can use coconut oil or baby oil), then sweep your brush over the mixture in a circular motion. You can instantly see all the dirt and make up that are being removed from your brush. Rinse your brush with running water and let it dry.

Tip:

  • Use anti bacterial dish-washing liquid to help fight germs and bacteria trapped in your make up brush.
  • Dry your brush downwards, never side wards nor with the brush hair up. That way, water would drip down from your brush and would not sit on the brush handle to ruin the glue that puts the brush together.

6. Baby oil – Oil based make up removers are probably the most effective and skin-friendly way to remove make up. Unfortunately, oil based make up removers often come with a hefty price. Baby oil can be a cheaper alternative those kinds of removers. Pour some on a cotton pad, cover it on your eye, press, and hold for a few seconds. The oil melts away hard to remove make up like waterproof mascara and eyeliner.

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7. Petroleum jelly – When you run out of lip balm, you can use petroleum jelly as an alternative. If you want new lip colors, melt a stick of your desired non toxic crayon together with a few scoops of petroleum jelly, and you have yourself a new lip color! If you have cracked heals from wearing those foxy stilettos to work, apply some petroleum jelly on your heals, put on some socks, then leave it over night. In the morning, you will be surprised how soft your feet have become.

8. Old beauty cream pots – Don’t just throw away those empty pots of beauty cream! After using up all those products, wash their containers and dry them properly. You can use these as travel containers for other creams, shampoo, or conditioner. If your favorite lipstick is almost running out that you can’t quite reach the product anymore, get a toothpick and scoop out the remaining product then transfer them to your empty beauty cream pots. This way, you can maximize the use of your make up product up to the last bit! (This could work for stick concealers too)

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9. Coconut oil – Going out and getting a hot oil treatment every week could be very expensive. Instead of spending thousands of pesos on salon hot oil treatments, cover your hair with coconut oil and wrap it with a plastic bag or use a shower cap. Leave this for at least thirty minutes, rinse thoroughly and blow dry.

10. Cotton shirt – Using a towel to dry your hair could leave it dull. Instead, use a cotton shirt to squeeze out the excess water from your hair. Cotton shirts are far more absorbent than towels and using them would save your hair from the friction produced by rubbing the towel against your hair causing it to become dry and brittle.

There you have it, ten (or even more) beauty hacks you can do using everyday products you find at home. If you have any more suggestions and comments, let us know! We can even trade some tips and ticks! 🙂

 

Lazy boy: Ways to earn money online

lazy-boyDo you want to earn money online but are too lazy to think and exert any effort? Well, here is the solution to your problem! I will teach you how to earn money by doing practically nothing.

  • Gomez Peer – Gomez PEER is a secure java application that runs in the background of your PC and leverages your system’s idle resources (such as unused processing power, RAM, and bandwidth) to test the performance of many of the world’s most popular websites. Using this method you can earn $5 to $7 a month while doing nothing and they use paypal as payment gateway.

Introducing Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet which is distributed worldwide. It is today’s decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever unlike traditional currencies we use in different countries. In other words, there is no government, company, bank, or any institution in charge of Bitcoin.

1BTC = $235.26 (Value is always changing to check the latest value check it here)

To start using bitcoin you must first create your wallet. Click Here

After creating a wallet, you will get your personal bitcoin address where your payment will be sent. An example of bitcoin wallet is  1HiMgPzcwH1Bix1PyukeWc6gpkipow41e7 (my address)

Note: Don’t forget your email, password or the paraphrase the site has given to you or else you can’t recover your wallet in case you forget your password.

Earning money using bitcoin.

What are bitcoin faucets? Bitcoin faucetsare sites that give free satoshi (smallest fraction of a Bitcoin that can currently be sent. example: 0.00000001 BTC). To check the value of satoshi click here.

Here are the faucet sites I recommend:

  • Icebitcoin – To start earning using this you need to login using your bitcoin wallet and solve the captcha.  You can get 200, 300, 500, 1000, 1500 and 10000 satoshi from this faucet every hour.
  • Mezzabank – Using your address as a login you can get 450, 650, 900 and 2500 satoshi from this faucet every hour.
  • BTCfaucetlist – You can get 500, 750, 1000 and 10000 satoshi from this faucet every hour.
  • CMmonitor – You can get 212, 319, 425, 531 and 1062 satoshi every 10 minutes.

To know the current amount of the satoshi you got check it here.

To convert your btc into dollars you can sell them to BTC-E. From that website, you can sell your curated bitcoins to dollars, which you can redeemed through wire transfer or paypal.

This method takes a lot of time than what you would think, but a little bit of patience isn’t going to make you sweat. Stay tuned to this post while I get back to you with updates on how to earn more bitcoin/$$$$ online.


Update as of April 12, 2015

Payment Proof

GOMEZ PEER:

gomezpeer

BTC FAUCETS:

BTC profit

 

 

How to get your Postal ID

 

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Having an identification card is very crucial especially if you are, like us, starting up with life like getting a new job or putting up a new savings account.

Just recently, Blade got hired for his first job ever. (yay!) Getting the job you wanted marks the start of being more responsible. Usually, your first task is to procure the very stressful pre-employment requirements. This may include an NBI clearance, a valid ID, your birth certificate, etc.

One of the easiest and fastest government issued ID that you can get here in the Philippines would be the postal ID, so Blade and I decided to get them for ourselves. Much to our disappointment when we went to our local post office and were told that we would be able to get it only after ten working days! Blade and I were kind of in a hurry because we wanted to finish all his requirements before the year ends. We’ve been told that January is not a good time to work on your government requirements since most people do it during the first month of the year. Add to that the fact that almost everyone is busy doing their holiday shopping to bother themselves with government requirements, meaning there would be lesser people in line.

Philpost, the Philippines’ official posting service is now upgrading their information data base from the very old fashioned log books and laminated ID cards to plastic cards with encrypted QR codes and computerized information database. This is the reason why application for a postal ID will take you longer than expected, but since we really needed our ID’s on the day itself, we opted to have ours made using the old version.

However, not all Philpost outlets are offering this service. From what the nice lady from the Philpost office told us, only the FTI branch and the Quezon city branch are issuing the old version of the IDs. In addition, the old version would cost a bit more than the newer version.

Now what are the requirements for your postal ID?

  • NSO issued birth certificate or a Local Civil Registrar issued birth certificate. 
  • Barangay clearance which you could get from your local barangay office when you pass your cedula and a copy of your birth certificate. You could get your cedula from the city hall. Note that some barangays may ask for a charge or donation and some would also ask for a proof of residency (any bill with your current address in it) especially when you are getting your barangay certificate from a different area that is not written on your birth certificate. If you do not have one, you could present any valid ID to prove that you are residing in that barangay ( some barangays would prefer if you present them your voter’s ID registered to that barangay)
  • Two 2×2 photos with white background
  • For married women, you need to bring you marriage certificate to substantiate the change of name from your birth certificate.
  • A valid ID

Where can you get your postal ID?

You can get your Postal ID at any Philpost office. Usually, postal offices are located near city halls.

How much do I need for a postal ID?

Now this part would be a rough estimate since prices may vary depending on your area. If you will opt for the older version, you need to pay the office a good Php 450-475 and you can claim your ID within the day itself. If you are not in a hurry and can wait up to ten working days, you need to pay Php 315-375.

How long will it take for me to get my postal ID?

If you are getting the older version, you can claim your ID on the day that you filed you application, but if you are going to get the new version, it would take 7-10 working days before you could claim your ID.

What will happen if the newer version is fully implemented and I got the older version of the postal ID?

The older version will still be considered a valid ID even if the the newer version is already fully implemented, so as long as your postal ID hasn’t expired.

Other pointers:

  • As much as possible, go to your local post office early to avoid lines if there will will be any.
  • Bring an alcohol or a wet tissue since you will be asked for your thumb mark (for the older version)
  • The older version will not be issued any more by January 2015, so better have your IDs made before the year ends!