Page 3 of 8

FINALLY!!! Everything you ever wanted to know about the “rules” of freelancing in the UAE….

At Nabbesh we’ve been hearing many questions lately from our community members regarding the “rules” of setting-up as a freelancer in the UAE, and we have been listening to you!

Many of our community members in the UAE are expats who want to earn extra cash, but at the same time, want to make certain they are doing it legally!  Our Nabbesh community of nearly 30,000 come from many different backgrounds in the freelancing world, and although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for everyone, we compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to give you insights into the UAE’s rules on freelancing.

Frequently Asked Questions on Freelancing in the UAE

1. May I legally freelance in the UAE?   

Yes, you may freelance in the UAE!  However, it is important to distinguish between part-time work and freelancing.  Freelancing is working for yourself, where you are essentially a company made up of one person, which is perfectly legal as long as you are licensed to do so.

2. So, I need a license?

Yes you do!  You will need to secure a Trade License pertaining to your business activity from your selected Licensing Authority, and adhere to their stipulations.

3. What kind of license do I need?

The kind of license you need depends on the nature of the business you are looking to conduct.

There are two main ways of setting-up a business in Dubai and different license options for both, which a business setup specialist can explain in detail. The first is through the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the second is through one of the many Free Zones (e.g., Fujairah). 

a. Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) Business Setup

The main license types in the DED are:

1. Commercial (51% Emirati owned; 49% foreign owned), and; 

 2. Services/Professional/Consultancy (100% expat owned with a local Emirati service agent).  

b. Free Zone (FZ) Business Setup

For the free zones, both of the above license options apply, but the main differences are 1., an Emirati partner is not required, and 2., FZ businesses are 100% expat owned.

4. What are other benefits of setting-up through a Free Zone?

The general benefits of setting-up through a FZ are that companies can remain 100% foreign-owned and benefit from being “tax free” for 50 years, according to Article 15 of Law No. 1 of 2000 of the Emirate of Dubai.

Visas

5. If I’m not a resident, may I obtain a residency visa through one of these license options? 

Yes, you may!

6. May I freelance if I’m on my husband’s visa?

Yes, you may!  You would first need to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your husband as well as a labor card issued from the licensing authority/immigration office of the Emirate where the freelance company has been registered.

7. I’m working full-time but I’m interested in turning my hobby into a business.  May I obtain a license even if I’m sponsored by my employer?

Yes, you may!  Most (not all) licensing authorities would request you to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer in order for you to start your own freelancer company.

8. How long will it take to get a freelance license and setup my business?

On average the process can take anywhere from one week to ten days. 

9. Do I need to rent office space?

The majority of licensing authorities do require you to have some sort of office space within their jurisdiction, be it something minimal like a flexi-desk or a smart office, which is often already built into the price of the company setup package offered. These packages are typically catered to fit the needs of freelancers like yourselves. 

Some licensing authorities are even able to provide you with a Trade License without taking office space of any sort, however under this option you wouldn’t be able to secure any residency visas on the company, so this option is best suited to a freelancer who already has a residency visa be it through their spouse, parent or current employer.

10. Do I have to get a freelance license through a business setup specialist or can I do it myself?

You certainly can do it yourself, however most of our community members have testified that using a business setup specialist was a wiser, more sensible and efficient option, as setting up a company in the UAE can be a very time consuming and draining process.  

There are so many facets to consider when setting up a new business in the UAE, like obtaining your trade license, applying for your visa, getting business cards printed and setting up your bank account. The business setup specialist takes care of all the admin, allowing you to focus your attention on developing and growing your business.

To learn more about special licensing options and discounts available to Nabbesh users through our partners, e-mail us at support@Nabbesh.com

Disclaimer: The information contained within this blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.  The information contained here may not necessarily relay the most up-to-date regulations by the government of the UAE.  Nabbesh always recommends you check with your local authorities to make certain you are compliant with current regulations.

Update:

11 – Where Can I find freelance work?

Click here to browse freelance work opportunities on Nabbesh.

Freelance Designer in Dubai – What is it really like?

We wanted to give you a peek inside the life of an expat freelancer in the UAE. Danny Ammounah is the CEO and Creative Director of The Design Hat, he is originally from the UK and has settled in the UAE since the 90’s.He started his own agency after working as a designer with agencies such as Fitch and retail art pioneers Gallery One for over 5 years.  And his guest post tells you why he took the plunge and how has his life changed as a freelancer. 

freelance designer in dubai

Every freelancer has his own history that led him to his true passion, which then turned into a dream job. This is a little insight into my brief experiences as a self-employed web and graphic designer. The life of a freelancer might seem somewhat idealistic, but in reality its hard work and your work ethic, and your willpower needs to remain strong in order to ultimately succeed. Prior to becoming self-employed I had a pretty regular working lifestyle. I worked all day 9 till 6, came home and usually had more work to do then. This was my life for a good five and a half years. Working for some of the largest design agencies in the UAE, this was an important time and life experience for me as it taught me the basic fundamentals of which I rely so heavily on today.

However, it started to get a little tiring and I saw freelancing as a way of easing up this hectic work schedule and starting a new chapter in my career. I mean why not? I had gathered all the necessary skills and know how over the years, why shouldn’t I take a slice of the cake? The thought of running my own business really excited me but also posed a great challenge as well. Not only would I need to do the actual design work, but there’s also the need to manage the finances, prepare the proposals, find the clients & also get those deals sealed. This is a lot to take on when you are used to having multiple resources and man power available to help collaborate on a project. Now it was just going to be me. It’s a frightening thought but as I found out it’s all about time management and adapting strong organisational skills to your everyday routine. In a way, I find this is the most enjoyable aspect of freelancing.

Being self-employed I have a strong responsibility to ensure that each piece of work I undertake is completed on time. How I manage that time is entirely up to me. If I want to leave my desk and got to the pool, I can. If that means making up the time by working into the early hours, that’s fine. As long as the deadline is clearly set, completed and delivered by then, who is to argue? Mostly, I have been trying to stick to a fairly standard 9 till 6 routine, mainly so that my life doesn’t completely go out of sync with others around me. The freedom to choose when and how much work I do is a fantastic feeling and that’s what really sold this gig to me.

However…

There is one minor downside that I have noticed. Freelancing can usher you into quite a lonely everyday working environment. Generally I’m very happy with my business and don’t get fed up easily, but being on your own Sunday – Thursday can start to test your ability to maintain sanity. To help alleviate this, I often head out to my local coffee shop or business hub and treat this like my mobile office. This a great way to meet other freelancers, take meetings and a puts you in a more creative and buzzing environment than that of your bedroom. One of the greatest surprises when I decided to go freelance was the fantastic support I received. Before I decided to go freelance, I did take the time to asses my options and really examine if this really was the correct move for me. I wasn’t sure at first and it’s never easy leaving a secure working environment for something somewhat unknown and usually risky. But after I took the plunge and the support I received through family, friends, emails and work referrals, I was in no doubt it was the correct decision for me.

If you can relate to Danny’s story, connect with him on twitter, or hire him as a freelance graphic designer via Nabbesh

You won’t pay me?! Nabbesh freelancers reveal the top 10 excuses used by clients to avoid payment.

Many of our Nabbesh guest bloggers have spoken about the challenges of freelancing particularly in the Middle East. The fact that we lack a mature marketplace, proper regulations to protect freelancers as well as a lack of best practices may deter many people from venturing into the freelance world.

At Nabbesh, we have made it our mission to enable freelancing via the creation of a transparent marketplace as well as learning from our community to establish a set of best practices for freelancers, regardless of their type of skill, to provide their services to clients and more importantly get paid for their work.

During September 2013, we surveyed our 25,000 freelancers from across the Middle East, with a majority in the UAE, Lebanon and Jordan to find out about their attitudes towards freelancing.

The survey has revealed that whilst freelancers are accustomed to doing free jobs for friends and family, volunteering or offering sample work to improve their portfolio, a whopping 30% of freelancers have come across a non-paying client in their career.

Here are the top 10 reasons and the story-lines behind them :

 

Middle East Freelancers not getting paid

– He/ she was not happy with the quality of work

– We had a disagreement on the fees that should be paid

– Client kept delaying and postponing and then ignoring follow up

– Client was deceitful – It turned out to be a scam

– Client simply doesn’t like to pay anyone, I found out he did the same to many other freelancers

– Client claimed they weren’t making enough money to pay me

– Client did not understand the amount of work that was put in providing the service

– I was too young to put proper agreements in place and they took advantage of that

– Client had a cashflow problem or company (startup) closed

– Company management put the project on hold and decided not to pay

– There was a requirement, deliverable and communication gap

Call it occupational hazard, freelancers are prone to these types of clients and need to protect themselves at all times and have the ability to pick up the warning signs.

Some went as far as calling it an attribute to the Middle Eastern culture as highlighted by one of the respondents: “I did not get paid by clients more than once. I blame the lack of professionalism in the Middle East. Now I don’t even lift a pencil without a non-refundable down-payment.”

We do not agree with the notion that “professionalism” is lacking in the Middle East. We believe that in the presence of a marketplace, both parties will be required to be respectful and ethical in the way they treat each other and it is the marketplace that will reward freelancers and clients who honor their agreements and deliver quality work.

We highly recommend that freelancers put together agreements (like this sample agreement from the Freelancers Union)  with their clients detailing a concrete scope of work and a milestone-based payment. Another common practice is to ask for a deposit before starting the work. Lastly, ensure you agree on the method of payment and make sure to understand the various charges for the money transfers, for example, a bank may charge up to 30$ for a transfer.

In order to be enablers for freelancing, Nabbesh is launching an online payment facility where clients are required to pay upfront for services, in the form of a deposit that Nabbesh holds in Escrow, while freelancers are bound to the work they agreed to deliver. Freelancers will get paid once the project or task has been completed.

While it may not be a panacea for the freelancing woes, we believe that a marketplace can create a layer of trust, which protects its participants and enables a healthy environment. 88% of our survey respondents confirmed that they will be managing their payments through Nabbesh in order to get paid in a timely manner and have a strong mediator in the event of conflict.

As we prepare for this major step in Nabbesh’s development we look forward to more feedback from you, to help you get better freelance gigs and we hope that our tips will help you stay vigilant!

Note: The full survey will be shared as soon as the data compiling is complete!

How I Stumbled Into Freelancing as a Résumé Stylist

We are interested in learning about how people choose the freelance journey. This is a guest post by Yvette Ali who is currently a Résumé Stylist by night and homemaker and part-time student by day. Her exhaustive career spans over a period of 20 years in everything from sales, marketing, management, operations to small business. Originally from the United States Virgin Islands, she has worked and served clients both in the USA and the UAE. 

Yvette Freelance writer nabbesh

After years of working the 9 to 5 lifestyle, I felt stifled. At day’s end, there did not seem like much room for creativity left in the corporate world. Rumors of company cutbacks pushed me to start thinking what if I lost my job? That in addition to the fact that I needed some extra cash to pay for my college classes pushed me to a brown study mode where I began to identify my marketable skill-sets. I had done a few résumés for my colleagues and students with great reviews and feedback – until one day someone offered to pay me to do theirs. Hence, my ah-ha moment!

I began on a small-scale and grew my clientele base over time via word-of-mouth and eventually social media. Although, this has never been a full-time gig for me, it has allowed me to work whenever I need to and make some extra income. There have been times, I’ve had to turn clients away. But I did not become a great resume-writer overnight, which is my key takeaway here: you must maintain a solid grasp of the latest developments in your area of expertise and focus on selling or marketing one skill that you have truly mastered. Clients looking for freelancers do not want a jack of all trades.

My advice to those who want to become freelancers is to take a close look at all of your current skills and interests to see if any of them can be turned into a freelancing career. This can be just about anything you’re really good at, have good knowledge of, and most importantly really enjoy doing. The possibilities are endless and can run from copywriting, business writing, and audio production to catering, cartooning, researching, social media virtual assistant, photography, proofreading, language translation, medical transcription, tutoring, voice-overs and dog training. The potentials are well worth looking into. Best of all, it’s a business you can run out of your own home right from your kitchen table, although I highly recommend establishing a home office free of distraction. You can establish your own hours and take it to any level you desire! Most  importantly, pursue a path that you REALLY are good at, otherwise you will find yourself pushed outside the door by your more qualified peers.

 

Interested in connecting to Yvette? You can reach her on twitter or via Nabbesh

Nabbesh freelancers! Here are 5 tips to land a job via Nabbesh.

We have recently been on a hiring spree to grow the Nabbesh team by recruiting expert freelancers from across the Middle East to work on specific tasks or even manage certain business areas.

Our needs range from technology related jobs, to data analysis tasks to business development and community management! So of course we put Nabbesh to the test!

We were not able to fill all the positions yet, however we thought we’d share with you our top 5 tips to land a job via Nabbesh. Quite frankly, these tips are built into our selection criteria!

1 – Be professional

No matter how friendly or casual a job description may seem, make sure your application is professional. Do not use jokes, caps, shorthand or inappropriate language. Before you submit your application, make sure it is free of typos or major grammatical errors; it can be a turn off for employers. Make sure you spell the employer or the company’s name correctly. If English is not your first language then clearly mention it in your application in order to set the expectations, employers will respect you for that.

2 – Read the job description

There is nothing more off-putting to employers than someone responding in a generic way for a specific job description. For example “I am interested” or “I can do the job” which can signal to the employer that you did not make any effort to address his or her needs. Take the time to read the job post, understand the requirements and address them in your application. Highlight key strengths that you may have in relation to the job like relevant industry or market experience, refer to your skills listed on your Nabbesh profile page as well as highlight your portfolio on Nabbesh.

3 – Be specific in your application

Employers have a short attention span and they quickly scan for relevant information with respect to their job post. Be brief, make sure you get the employer’s attention but not necessarily tell them your life story. Do not by any shape or form copy and paste your CV into the job application as this will certainly lead to your application being ignored. From our experience, CVs are secondary to how you phrase your job application and how you convince the employer that you are the person for the job!

4 – Show your enthusiasm

It is quite nice when you end your application with comforting notes like how much you would love to work for the employer, that you are willing to provide the employer with additional information if needed, that you are available to start immediately and that this is an opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss! Flattery goes a long way.

5- Follow up

Employers may be busy and may forget to respond, or they may have several applicants that they are interviewing or several proposals to go through. If you follow the above tips, we are almost 100% sure that you will get a response. In case you don’t, it is always beneficial to drop the employer a gentle reminder mentioning that you are looking forward to hear from them and always offer additional information if needed to further emphasize why you are perfect for the job!

We wish you good luck! And we are still taking applications for the jobs on Nabbesh. To apply please visit http://www.nabbesh.com/careers

Top Five Tips from One Freelancer to the Other

This is a guest post by Zainab Mansoor, a freelancer journalist and contributor to various local and international publications. She is an equally doting mom and strives to strike a perfect balance every day.

Contrary to popular belief, freelancing or the freelance industry is a comprehensive order. There are clear do’s and don’ts in the business that should adhered to, but it differs from person to person, experience to experience. Below are a few of my personal tips to all freelancers out there, pitching for work or otherwise.

1- Let not your missives speak. Written letter with tall orders are so clichéd these days – Avoid them completely. Share your profile, portfolio and your list of strengths in which you excel or wish to excel. Instead of words, be dexterous in work.

2- Association is key. Keep contact with your previous clients. Stay in touch through social mediums for repeat work or referrals.

3- Avoid baring your desperation. If there is a dearth of projects up your sleeve, look at alternate avenues for work. Desperation can make people go all funny and do things they may regret a while later. Don’t under-rate your work or its value by offering work at substantial rates. Offering reasonable pricing for repeat clients make sense but ridiculing your profile is a different game altogether.

4- Respect thy privacy. Projects may or may not contain confidential company and employee information. Irrespective, avoid discussing project or work related details with associates, family or friends. Let the details stay locked on a workstation.

5- Sense of Humor, hold on tight. Do not let circumstances get to you! There may be white and black days, highs and lows, pleasant and not so pleasant criticism. Hang in there and lay supine, facing the sky. Crack a joke or two while you’re at it!

Have you found these tips useful? Let Zainab know and make sure to follow her on twitter  @zzainabmansoor!

How to Keep Up Your Morale as a Freelance Writer

This is a Guest Post by  Anne John, a software engineer who switched careers to follow her passion for the written word. Currently she works as a web content manager with an online women’s magazine and moonlights as a freelance writer and editor. 

Anne John

Freelancing comes with many perks such as the ability to choose your work assignments and work flexibility. However, it has its downside as well. A common problem that most newbie freelancer writers face is keeping up your morale as you kick-start your freelance writing career. Trust me, I’ve been there. As a beginner, you haven’t built up a strong portfolio yet and with every pitch you send out, your hopes go soaring, only to fizzle out a week later. Rejection is hard to face and we freelance writers voluntarily expose ourselves to rejection over and over again. One of the hardest things to do when starting out as a freelance writer is keeping up your morale in the face of continuous disappointments. Here are 3 tips that helped me keep my chin up – and will hopefully help you too:

 

1. Learn to feel good about yourself: Although it is very difficult to believe in yourself when you keep getting rejection letters from editors, it is also exactly the time to give yourself some love. I save every good comment or appreciative feedback that I ever got for my writing. It could be from family, friends or total strangers. It could be on one of your published articles or even on your blog. Build a database of all the positive comments that your writing has ever garnered – you could print out the comments and save them in a folder or simply bookmark them on your computer. When you are feeling particularly uncharitable towards yourself, revisit them. Surely, all those people would not be wrong about you? This will help nip negativity in the bud, cheer you up, build your confidence and restore your faith in your work.

Keep Up Your Morale
Photo credit: Jennifer (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

 

2. Don’t take it personally: Don’t take every rejection as a personal attack on your writing skills. Perhaps, the pitch was not suited to that particular publication at that point in time or perhaps they carried a similar piece quite recently or maybe the editor simply missed seeing your mail. You have no clue and there is no need to be offended. Train yourself to let it go. If the editor gives you any explanation for turning down your pitch, view it as constructive criticism and see what you can learn from it.

 

3. Keep writing for yourself: Most freelance writers start out because of their love and passion for writing. However, we often have to alter our writing to suit the editors’ or readers’ tastes and requirements. Soon, many writers get disillusioned with the whole process and writing begins to lose its charm. To prevent this, keep writing for yourself too. Maintain a blog or a journal where you can give free reign to your pen without worrying about word limits and house style. Simply savor expressing yourself and keep the magic of writing alive. I hope these pointers will help keep your morale up on your freelance journey! All the best!

 

Don’t forget to connect with Anne via her profile on Nabbesh and follow @annejwrites on twitter.

How to prepare for a Freelance Project

 not what but how

Freelancers need to remember that they are active members of a marketplace.  Unlike full time work where they are shielded from supply and demand effects, you need to constantly promote yourself, seek good reviews and price accordingly.

Before embarking on any project, it’s worth spending time to ascertain exactly what the client’s needs are.  It might turn out that what the client really needs is a different skillset altogether.  If you don’t clarify this at the early stages, you’ll suffer from frustration, lower pay and bad reviews.

Be upfront and honest about what you can provide.  That includes not just skills but also price.  You may have an hourly rate in which case you should make that known straight away.  You might be able to provide a rate based on the description of the project.

Employers use freelancers because it’s a quick and efficient way of getting work done, they don’t want to spend a lot of time finding out information that should be immediately obvious, so try to think about the decision making process in the employers mind.  What would they need to know to pick you?

A few top tips:

  • Clearly state your expertise, and provide examples of past work, outlining what you did.
  • Identify an hourly rate or any other unit of measurement.  EG Copywriting $10 / hour.  Translation $0.05 / word.
  • If the client isn’t sure what they want, ask them what problem they’re trying to solve
  • Commit to a delivery date of work and don’t be late.
  • If you are unable to meet a deadline, tell the client as far in advance as possible to keep the communication lines open
  • Don’t use generic selling points such as “I believe I will be an asset”  or “I enjoy doing this work”, if 100 other freelancers are saying the same thing you won’t differentiate yourself
  • Browse the latest jobs and start applying at www.nabbesh.com

 

www.facebook.com/nabbesh  www.twitter.com/nabbeshtweets

A post for the Graphic Designers

annoying-book-cover_custom-s6-c30

 

 

We posted a job for a part time graphic designer, thanks to all of you who responded so far

Its great to see all the work and portfolios, Community Owl has been getting in with those of you who haven’t linked your behance / dribbble work to your Nabbesh profile.

This is going to be really important for Nabbesh 3.0 to be released very shortly. Simply take the URL for an individual piece of work (from any other platform) and link it in the relevant place in the toolbox. You’ll end up with a more visual profile that looks something like this.  Getting a quick view of all your work in one place is really important for employers.  They prioritize ease of decision making

We’re also doing this exercise to help the hundreds of other people that want to employ graphic designers, but aren’t sure how to go about it. We’ve spent time thinking about exactly what we want done in detail, and allocated a certain number of hours for each task then added a buffer.

We’re trying to find out hourly rates as well, some of you will have received messages about this, not because we want to find the least expensive option, but because we want to know approximate ranges.  We won’t make these public

We know that to make your job easier, information is important.  And we’ll be sharing best practice with future employers so that they can get the job done quicker, and you can work more efficiently.

If you are a graphic designer or you know someone who is, get them signed up on www.nabbesh.com today and please link your work to your profile so we can all see and share your work. And of course, apply for our job!

Earn more online using Nabbesh

There’s only one way to legitimately earn money online and that’s by using your skills.  Nabbesh.com has built a platform that allows you to list your skills,  and find someone who’ll pay for them.  Freelance, part time or task based jobs are our specialty. The more you know, the more you earn.

Find out how thousands of other freelancers are doing it by visiting www.nabbesh.com and registering today.

Nabbesh_new_logo

 

 

www.nabbesh.com – Turn your skills into cash