Page 2 of 4

Empowering youth – the freelance way

There are multiple ways going freelance can empower young people. Whether you are looking to fill up your free time with a couple of challenging tasks or break the routine that has been dictating your life, a challenging freelance project can make for an exciting experience whose lessons could stay with you forever.

The financial benefit

I don’t blame you if when you say, see, hear or read the word “job”, the first thing you think of is “how much?” We all work to make money—at least the vast majority of people. The flexible nature of student freeancerfreelance work and the fact that most projects are short-term could lead to a freelancer being paid higher rates than those a full-timer would be receiving for doing the same exact job. Looking for freelance work might be your best option if you’re a university student looking to make some pocket money while still having some extra time to do homework, read, or go out with friends. While some worry that freelance might not be a stable prospect in the long run, a bigger number of clients—and more projects—can ensure an almost-stable flow of income. Perhaps one of the best advantages of being a freelancer is the fact that you usually don’t have too many expenses — make sure to inform the client beforehand if you need to go to the field, travel, or buy material, and make sure to make sure they will cover the expenses. Starting to make money at a young age leads to financial independence, and the latter not only liberates you, but also empowers you.

Developing skills before you hit the marketplace

Although you might choose to go exclusively freelance and never have to spend time in an office ever again, you might also decide to accept a full-time job offer at a certain point. Regardless of the professional direction you deem fit, it is crucial that you start working on acquiring and developing basic skills so that when you hit the marketplace, you do so running. Freelance work can complement your studies in a way that classes and professors can only talk about—theoretically, for the most part. Marketing yourself as the right person for the job, agreeing with clients on the terms and conditions of a task, delivering, reviewing and finding quick, effective solutions to overcome daily obstacles are all activities you would have to do on an almost-daily basis while freelancing your way through the pre-career phase of your life. More know-how and a set of social skills is bound to empower you, maybe not overnight, but most definitely somewhere down the line.

Staying ahead of the curve

Competition is fierce out there. It’s a cut-throat job hunt that could leave many scarred for life, especially if you’re one of those people who get their hopes a bit too high a bit too fast. Although you will most probably be scanning the market for entry-level positions upon graduating from university (or high school if you’re too eager), all employers will ask you to submit both a CV and a cover letter, and they usually expect neither to be blank. Being a freelancer is in many ways similar to doing an internship at home. Only difference is: you would actually be doing work! By the time you decide to apply for more senior, higher-paying positions, you would have managed to learn and achieve more than your peers of the same age.


The Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers

Several Fortune 500 corporations hire remotely. They’re the likes of Walmart, Nintendo, Time Warner Cable, Bloomberg, GoPro and more. They understand the cost benefits of hiring remote workers and its direct consequences in their HR departments. Remote recruitment open room for payroll cuts, lower job turnover and more engagement.

Workers may choose remote jobs and communications for a multitude of reasons. Remote workers can attest to higher levels of productivity, life/work balance and a higher job satisfaction.

Hiring remotely is not a new phenomena. In fact, you’re pretty late to the game! In the U.S. alone,

remote work opportunities have increased 800 percent since 2005. A 2012 SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) survey indicates that the main reasons for remote recruitment are global expansion and boosting productivity (53% and  49 % percent of all respondents respectively).

Cut your payroll!

The global job market is now accessible through remote job marketplaces such as UpWork (North America), (Middle East) or Freelancer (Australia). These marketplaces are highly competitive. You can hire qualified workers within your budget who will do the same exact job as any other nine-to-fivers among your local talent pool. You will also pay less overheads by having less people in the main office. You will save a ton in office rent, significantly in rent-hike cities such as Dubai, Cairo, London, San Francisco and several other cities around the world.

Remote workers have helped redefine working hours from a regular 9 to 5 to a delivery time that starts at “assignment” and ends at “due date.” Save on wages by hiring workers who can deliver work outside of traditional office hours. Don’t pay them for idle hours spent at the office. They don’t want the money.

Scale your talent pool on demand

Chances are you’re in a city that makes sense for your business, but doesn’t provide enough new talent for your company’s sustainability. This is typical for smaller cities with small dwelling population or universities. You can hire the finest workers outside of your immediate locality either in your country or overseas. Remote work is a great option for talented workers who do not wish to move to new cities big or small alike for  many reasons. The news is – you don’t have to comprise on skills anymore. Moms are a chief example of remote workers who can’t always change locations because of family commitments.

Grow your business faster

There are a few tech companies that are 50+ percent remote. This means that more than half of their employees are distributed across several regions and several times zones. An internationally distributed team is able to work around the clock. Remote workers are a great resource for rapid-growth companies who wish to expand to new markets. Hiring locally will cost you less than opening a new office and sending expatriate supervisors to oversee work. Local (remote) workers are proficient in the local language, culture, and business customs. You won’t be lost in translation.

concept of the coworking center, business meeting

Keep your employees motivated

Remote workers exhibit a higher work motivation than regular on-site workers. If you think about it, remote workers don’t have to deal with daily commutes or traditionally confined work spaces. Plus, despite the new trend, remote jobs are not abundant. If your new recruit professes their desire not only to work at your company, but to do so remotely, they are probably not going to leave you any time soon for their old nine to five job. Remote workers stick longer if the work conditions you provide are ideal for them. Higher job retention will help you save money on new recruitment and will ultimately lead to better work and service to your customers.

The author of this article is a remote worker. You can hire Ahmed for your job by inviting him to send a proposal.

Never stop learning

This a guest post from Adnan Karimjee, an Entrepreneur in Dubai and a Client Relationship Manager at inkMASH

“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.” – Eric Hoffe

When I left university I was overjoyed. No more lectures, no more earning, no more deadlines, no more stress! Now to start my career path and start making some money! Well that notion worked for a while until the recession hi
t and realising that if you are not working you have a lot of time on your hands. Stories floated around about people returning to university or taking on various training courses. In theory it was a great idea. The thinking being that the more knowledge you have the better advantage you have over the next candidate. However, for me personally I saw 2 problems with this:

1. Money: Courses are expensive no matter how you look at it.

2. Geography: In my part of the world, finding educational institutes that offered short/flexible courses was not that easy and with again going to point 1, was quite expensive.

Related post : Top Four Skills That Will Never Fail You

However, one thing I realised was the above was just excuses – especially if you consider the wealth of information available online. From podcasts to online courses, there was quite literarily no stopping you from learning anything you wanted. With so many choices you are in quite a labyrinth of what to learn and what is right for you.

“one of the keys to maximising your life is to keep the brain learning”

It can be quite daunting but from what I have experienced, anything you do come across and take up, even if it may not seem right for you at the moment can still have an impact. My love of photography came from stumbling across a course on light photography.

Never stop learning - StartupTalk to your peers and mentors and find out if they have any recommendations or if there is a particular topic you should be looking into. You can also use the following resources as a guide:

  • Coursea is a fantastic tool to find free online courses.
  • Khan Academy (With a library of over 3000 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice).
  • Life Hacker U (more about skills and tech related but still really good)
  • TedX videos on YouTube (if you have been lucky to have attended a TedX event you will know how insightful this is)
  • Itunes U
  • If you are always on the move or drive a lot then don’t overlook the power of podcasts. They can be quite entertaining and a great source to kill time. Plus it is always with you.

This is barely the tip on the iceberg but it just shows how much of an opportunity we have to strengthen our skills and to develop new ones. There are while communities geared to this and who knows who you will meet or what you will learn.

3 Lessons I Learnt While Working For Startups

This a guest post from Adnan Karimjee, an Entrepreneur in Dubai and a Client Relationship Manager at inkMASH

Startups aren’t for everyone. It is not your typical 8 hour, 5 days a week job. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions that will take you on some lows and some frequent highs – but yet, the rewards are phenomenal. But before you go sending your CV to the latest and greatest start-ups, have a read on the lessons I have learnt while working for a startup.

1. Leave Your Pride At The Door

One of my duties every morning would be to water the plants before getting down to work. You have to be completely comfortable doing all sorts of tasks which in larger company may have help to cover. Making coffee while between sales calls or picking up lunch for the rest of the team are just some of the random tasks you can be expected to do in startups.

Related post : The Terrible Truth About Pessimism

2. Expect the Unexpected

From ever changing HR policies to a one off events where you are thrown off your comfort zone. You should prepare yourself to deal with the unexpected but embrace it as much as you can. There is a great learning curve in startups and you should definitely take advantage of any situation. But remember, no more matter the circumstance, always be positive.

Related post: The War for Talent: Why HR professionals will focus on Freelancers

3. Maintain a mixed wardrobe

I remember the first day at my first experience with a startup I was wearing a suit. Within 3 months (and the onslaught of summer) had myself in shorts. Obviously you need to keep your suit pressed for meetings and exhibitions but you should keep a mixed wardrobe. It is definitely refreshing and in my opinion helped nurture a more creative work environment.

4 Ways to Pump UP Your Creativity

By: Kathy Shalhoub for blog

There’s no arguing about it, whether it’s in arts or sciences some people are exceptionally creative and shine above the rest of us. But does that mean we aren’t or can’t be creative?

While it’s still not clear in what proportions of genetic, social, economic and luck ingredients the creative soup is made of, scientists have picked out some key elements that have been proven to boost creativity.

  1. Keep an open mind:

    When I say an open mind, I mean one that is guided by the least amount of rules, inhibited by the least amount of restrictions, and confined by the least mental constraints. If you’re looking for a creative solution to a problem, try to suspend your knowledge and experience momentarily and look at your problem from the perspective of a novice, you just might surprise yourself.

  2. Thought Control:

    This is the second critical stage of creative thought when you have all your new and interesting and crazy ideas on the table and you’re not sure which ones will work. This is the phase where you want all systems on and ready to go. Now you need to put what you know in practice for the evaluation process.

  3. Mental push-ups:

    We’ve all heard it, creativity is like a muscle, and the more it works the stronger it gets. Before you need to get creative, try some of these useful mental pushups:

    • Think of 6 alternative ways to use common objects in a few minutes.
    • Describe objects in unusual ways that are not relating to their function.
    • Perform common tasks in the wrong order.
    • Deliberately let your mind wander to completely unrelated things.
  4. Keep your distance:

    Funnily enough, thinking about the physical place of a problem can help or stop you from solving it! Imagining a problem or a challenge far away from you in space (put your problems in Australia!) or in time (send them to the year 2098) can actually promote innovation and problem solving.

Being creative is great, but psychologist Evangelia Chrysikou of the University of Kansas affirms that no matter how creative and innovative your thoughts are, the most important factor inhibiting success, the one that stops you the most from capitalizing on your creative potential is the fear of risk, “People tend toward safe routes, yet safety is not conducive to radical new solutions.”

It’s been said: The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail. –Edwin Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation

These tips have been inspired by Evangelia Chrysikou’s ‘Your Creative Brain at work” article in the July/August edition of Scientific American Brain. Love that magazine!; Empowering people to do what they love, from anywhere.

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.

True Management is Self Management

By: Kathy Shalhoub

Managers. Everyone wants to be one, right? Especially in the Middle East. But what does a manager really mean? How come some people are great at managing themselves, people and events around them while others are just OK or fail dismally?

It’s because either by accident or by design, the successful ones have the key qualities that really make a manager. There are roughly eight main capabilities that need to exist in you to make you a truly respected and effective manager.

  1. Decisiveness/ self-confidence:

    Not just knowing what your gut says to you, but having the confidence to act on it without hesitation, can be learned through experiences, through success and failure, through people believing in you and through you believing in yourself. Jack Welch said that self-confident people will take initiative, while insecure people won’t.

  2. Motivation:

    My 9-year-old niece was telling me that in her school when they have races, it doesn’t matter who wins because everybody gets a medal. While that approach may avoid any hard feelings among the class, it doesn’t equip these children, who later become adults, with the necessary tools they need in life. It takes away the satisfaction of a win, or the drive to do better after a loss. You must have a competitive spirit if you want to win in a business environment or if you want to improve yourself. Being cool is good but if you are someone who wants to succeed, you need that passion to win.

  3. Influence:

    Influence works when it’s about others and not about you! Meaning that if you are in a position of power, helping others to grow, to succeed, and to move to the next level will only push you to the next level as well.  Because you now have a loyal team who believes that you have their best interest at heart, they will back you fully. Having that emotional commitment from the people around you is what gives them the motivation to follow your lead. Emotion is what moves people before all else.

  4. Adaptability: 

    In a crisis, losing it is what will serve you least. Being flexible and adapting to what is thrown at you, is what will serve you the most. If you can deal with ambiguity and can forge a path forward when things are unclear, you are a leader. Adapt your thoughts, your approach, your style, stretch your capacity, expand your comfort zone to a greater dimension… if you can’t do it your way, do it their way.

  5. Conscientiousness: 

    Knowing what your values are is extremely important; they are your lighthouse in the storm and will guide you when you are lost. What are your non-negotiable principles? Be guided by them and live by them every moment of the day, with every decision you make. Maintain high personal standards and lead those around you to them as well.

  6. Empathy: 

    It’s about sensing what the people around you feel and how they may react to different situations. Knowing this allows you to adjust your words and actions according to context, people and situations. What people feel is a signal that gives you feedback on how you are operating. Connecting with people and generating rapport is a fundamental aspect of maintaining balance between supporting people and getting the results you want.

  7. Resilience: 

    People who haven’t been protected, who have had to deal with failure and defeat and have learned to come back fighting are resilient. How you build resilience determines how far you go. Think about how many losses Olympic athletes have had to sustain in order to win gold?

  8. Self-awareness 

    Is seeing yourself as other see you. Understanding why people react to you the way they do allows you to adjustment your words and deeds in order to get the response you want. For example, if you realize that when you don’t share enough information with person X they become suspicious and anxious, you adjust the level of information you share with them allaying their fears and putting them at ease. This changes your relationship with person X into a more positive one.

Being intelligent about how we manage our emotions changes our relationships with other people and consequently our ability to realize our goals and aspirations.

Ultimately successful management is about successfully managing your self!

References: The concepts in this article are related to the Emotions and Behaviors at Work Profile developed by Brentfield Consultancy, UK and supported by ‘What Makes a Leader?’, an interview by Daniel Goleman with Jack and Suzy Welch. 

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.

Body over Mind this Ramadan

By: Tori Leckie

The holy month is here which means many Muslims, throughout the world, are fasting.  It’s a common misconception to cut back on all exercise during this time when in reality, whether fasting or not, it’s still important to keep healthy, maintain energy levels and to remain active. Continuing to exercise will help you to maintain mizan or balance which is achieved when the physical, mental and spiritual lives work in unison.

Here’s my advice to keep you on the right track when making food, exercise and wellness choices.

Exercise is Good!

Contrary to popular belief, if you are fasting exercise is in fact good for you; it is both energizing and revitalizing and can also help to distract you from thinking constantly about food and drink.

Furthermore, many people find they gain weight during Ramadan as once the fast is broken in the evening, food is consumed in abundance and then sleep overtakes you, causing your body to slow down.

To avoid weight gain and to keep up with your routine, follow these top tips:

  • Adjust your fitness goals – if fasting, you will have less energy so don’t commit to over ambitious fitness goals.  Strive instead, to maintain your current level of fitness
  • Yoga, pilates and swimming are great choices as they won’t lead to excessive sweating and dehydration
  • Reduce the intensity of your workouts – this will put less stress on your body and help you to remain consistent throughout the month
  • If you wish to weight-train, do so after breaking your fast and then consume a protein-shake immediately afterwards. This will encourage your body to lose fat and not muscle
  • Work out your work outs – adapt your exercise plans to fit in with your Ramadan schedule.  Plan to exercise when you have the most energy or a few hours before breaking your fast, when you know you can soon re-fuel
  • Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too far.  If you feel light-headed, stop whatever you are doing

Smart Choices for a Healthy Iftar

Iftars need not necessarily be associated with over-consumption, heartburn and indigestion. Instead, load up on these healthy options:

  • Dates and dried fruits are a fantastic choice when fasting; they are absorbed quickly and are high in carbs, therefore giving you energy, iron, to help combat anaemia, and vitamins B & D
  • Juices help correct water balance in the body and the sugars provide a quick shot of energy
  • Soup has similar benefits to juices although avoid rich, creamy options and choose clear soups, which are easy to digest.  Lentil soup is an all-time Ramadan favourite and is full of healthy ingredients
  • Yoghurt is known for its cleansing properties and also has great digestion benefits
  • Fuul takes pride on both Iftar and suhour tables and it’s easy to see why. It is inexpensive, high in protein filing and most importantly very energizing
  • Fruits and vegetables are fiber-rich and slow to digest so should not be forgotten. If you think you might not be getting enough, a comprehensive multi-vitamin is a good idea
  • Nuts need not be entirely avoided. The body needs fats and nuts have the unsaturated (healthy) fats.  Almonds and walnuts are the best options as they have the most positive effect on balancing blood cholesterol which is a big problem here in the UAE

Follow this advice and stay in shape.  An entire month of inactivity will only cause a great setback to your strength, fitness and endurance levels, not to mention the loss of motivation and commitment that is lost without consistency. Make this Ramadan the perfect opportunity to exercise discipline and self-restraint and to detox your body, kick a bad habit or shed a few pounds.

Have a great week!


Tori Leckie is a writer, a runner, a blogger and an adidas athlete. She travels alot, plays hard, works a little and makes every day a grand adventure. Heard of Tim Ferriss’s much acclaimed book, the 4-Hour Work Week?  Well, Tori is a living, breathing Dubai-based example of this.  She’s designed her own life to make every day a gift and is now helping the nabbesh community do same. Visit her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook (Fit chicks & fast women) and enjoy her winning words!

What’s In Your Blind Spot?

By: Kathy Shalhoub

Have you ever wondered why some people are cut out for management and some aren’t? The answer is simple: those people are usually better managers. Why? Because they have an important essential quality that most good managers have: self-awareness.

Whether you’re managing your self or others, self-awareness translates into having a good relationship with your self first and foremost.

My mom, a business management consultant was giving a seminar about emotional intelligence and the role it plays in your success to a huge group of businesspeople. Her first question to them was: How many of you would benefit from having a better relationship with the people around you?

A few hands went up.

Then she asked: How many of you would benefit from having a better relationship with your selves?

ALL hands went up.

We all want to have better relationships and funnily enough, our relationships with other people are only as good as the relationship we have with our selves. We judge other people and we respond to them in a way that is directly related to how we feel about ourselves.

So how do we develop a better relationship with our selves?

There’s this cool little model called The Johari Window Model that I think is a pretty descent tool for increasing self-awareness, for personal and group development and for understanding relationships. The model is based on 4 windows that grow or shrink depending on who you are relating to and the quality of that relationship.

The four windows of the Johari Model are:

  1. The open self (Arena): This is the part of your self that you know about and are comfortable with, and that others know about and are comfortable with.
  2. The blind self (Blind Spot): This is the area where all the things others know about you but you don’t know or ignore about your self exist. This is your blind spot.
  3. The hidden self (Façade): This area is where you put everything that you know about yourself but no one else knows about you. Feelings, information, fears, secrets, hidden agendas, etc… all go here.
  4. The unknown self (Unknown): This area contains information, feelings, abilities, behaviors, and attitudes that neither you nor anyone else know about.
  5. </ol?

    For today, I’m just going to focus on the ‘blind self’. To know what’s in your blind spot, you need to ask others for feedback. And by thinking about the feedback that you consistently get from people around you and opening yourself to the possibility that what they are saying may be true, you are increasing your self-awareness.

    To increase your self-awareness, you must open yourself to criticism, not by taking it as a simple truth but by looking for patterns that recur and translating them into something meaningful to you. For example, I used to hear the critique ‘You’re too argumentative” ALL the time but I never agreed with it. “No I’m not! I’m just trying to get the facts straight.” But over time and age, I started to realize that if everyone thought I was too argumentative, then, ahem, perhaps I was?

    The language we use in our self-talk is critical in how we take this feedback. Feedback is neutral and we can translate it into positive or negative meanings so it’s important that we consciously replace the words we use so that they feel constructive and not destructive. Instead of telling myself to stop arguing, I tell myself to listen more.

    Second, you must understand the subtle difference between a reaction and a response. A reaction is simply that: an instinct taking over. A response is infinitely more emotionally intelligent, because you are taking a split second to make a decision: do I argue my point or do I try to be a better listener? Aha, now I have become aware of my behavior and can take a moment to change it, I have become self-aware!

    Figuring out what’s in our blind spot is truly how we develop a better relationship with the person we call ‘me’.

    Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.

Are You A Success?

By: Kathy Shalhoub

When you aim for success, what is it that you imagine in your mind? Money in the bank, fame, recognition, winning first prize, a parade of suitors?

What exactly does success mean and does achieving it lead to a sense of satisfaction? So many people out there have no idea exactly what that ‘success’ is that they’re trying so hard to find!

When it comes to success, so many of us pick a description or a goal – based on what we see and hear and think is good – and we race towards that destination thinking that if only we could get there our lives will be transformed and when we get there, we suddenly feel empty, unsure where to go next, what to do, or why exactly we went down this road in the first place.

When it comes to success, there are the two extremes, on the one hand there are those who aim single-mindedly for an objective, and on the other hand, you have the people who are completely afraid of success.

And in the middle, you have all those people who have no idea what they’re looking for, or have found a form of success that is addictive, a success that everybody envies them for but them. Think Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson,… the list is endless. What were they looking for? Any why was the success they had just not good enough?

The problem with many of the measures of success that we use for ourselves is that they are fragile, they can break.

Made a bad investment and lost your money? Popularity is going down? A criticism to your looks, sports accomplishments, achievements? Those are all potentially broken successes.

Achieving personal fulfillment and satisfaction is perhaps the ultimate success because nothing can shake it. Is it any wonder then that self-actualization is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Is it a surprise that in Anthony Robbins’ human needs psychology, the two basic needs of the human spirit are growth and contribution?

Realizing your potential (who you were meant to be), developing your self and making a contribution to the world in a way that is meaningful to you is what will ultimately bring you fulfillment, and it is that sense of fulfillment that ultimately brings you the unshakable feeling of success that will carry you confidently and optimistically through life.

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.