What 4,000 Freelance Jobs Teach Us About Hiring In 24 hours Or Less

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Our goal is to help you get your work done more efficiently by connecting you with freelance talent online.  We have broken a few records along the way with our rapid job fulfillment rates: most are filled within 24 hours!  Time is money, so to help you get the most out of hiring through Nabbesh, we’re sharing our observations from reading over 4,000 of our freelance job listings.  It turns out hiring the perfect freelancer starts with a great freelance job post.  Here are a few tips to help you write up the job post that will get your work done even faster!

8 notable features in the best job postings:

1. An interesting job title which captures the essence of your job and any special characteristics you are looking for!  For example, “Creative Mobile Web Developer” is better than “Web Developer.”  The more descriptive you are and the more key words you hone in on, the better Nabbesh can help match you to a suitable candidate.

2. Required Skills: What skills or technical competencies are required to complete your job?  Make sure you select a few of the skills that best describe the skills you need to complete your freelance job.

3. Job Description: Know and state your key outcomes for this freelance job and what your key deliverables will be.  For example, you may be looking to hire a photographer to take pictures of your upcoming party.  A key piece of information would be the date of the party and what pictures you would like captured at this party.

4. Samples of work: Nabbesh allows applicants to attach samples of their work to their applications on the Workflow form.  We recommend you ask for samples of their work especially since this can be one of the best indicators of whether you like someone’s style of writing (for example).

screenshot post a job

5. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!  We cannot stress this enough.  Make sure you list your specific timeframe.  If your job must be done by June 1st, put that in the description.  Also, if your job requires multiple deliverables, you should also put those in the job description.  Being specific with your expectations will eliminate candidates from applying to your job who cannot meet your deadlines,thus saving you time!

6. Budget: Be very specific when it comes to your budget.  Nabbesh offers two types of contracts: hourly rate and fixed-price contracts. There are benefits to both, depending upon the budget and scope of the project, but the clearer you are up front with your budget constraints, the more time you save since xpectations will be managed up-front.  You don’t want someone applying who charges an hourly rate 50% higher than your budget allows.

7. Flex work, online or on-site?  State whether your job requires the freelancer to work on-site (and where) or whether it can be done online or flexibly.

8. Start-date:  We know you probably wanted someone to finish your job yesterday, but let us help you find someone today!  Make sure you input the start date so the freelancer will know whether or not to apply to your job based upon their schedule or commitments.   

Final thoughts: The more specific you are, the greater your chances for a successful match and the less time you will spend explaining your specific requirements to each applicant before they can submit a proposal for your job.  And remember, our owls are always here to help!  If you need more help posting a freelance job on Nabbesh, just give us a shout at: support@nabbesh.com or tweet to us @nabbeshtweets 

If you are really short on time, we offer bespoke hiring services to fill your job requirements.  Enquire about Nabbesh’s Talent Management Solutions directly at +971-52-787-1114.

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

Joe Akkawi: We’ve had over 10 jobs completed through Nabbesh!

Freelancers help businesses grow and expand. And in this new series on our blog we are sitting together with employers who are actively using Nabbesh to find out how that is done.

We are happy to launch it with an interview with Joe Akkawi, the Managing Partner of Paz Marketing  to find out how their agency has integrated freelancers within their DNA. Paz Marketing  is a MENA based integrated solutions agency for public relations, events, and social media to help brands connect with the correct audiences.

 

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1-      How has working with Freelancers helped you build Paz Marketing?

Freelancers have helped us fill certain gaps that extend beyond our core product offering. Sometimes the key to winning a business is offering a full communication package to our clients and there are certain proficiencies that we might lack internally. Nothing a good reliable freelancer can’t solve!

2-      How has your personal experience as an employee turned  freelancer turned entrepreneur helped you hire better freelancers?

It has helped me most with understanding how to manage timelines. Freelancers sometimes over commit to multiple projects due to need of income while we need to take necessary steps to manage clients expectations. Giving promises based on timelines you can’t control is dangerous and being a freelancer in the past has helped me project and estimate how much time a project might need.

3-      What are your top 3 tips for hiring freelancers?

  1. Take your time. Plenty of talent around. Pick the one that suits you best
  2. Never keep the relationship over email. It’s never personal and meeting the freelancer can give you insight about them and where they can help you more.
  3. Hold on to talent you’ve worked with before. Variety is nice but solid results are better.

4-      In which areas is hiring a freelancer better than a full-timer?

When a service needed is not a core offering of your business. It doesn’t make sense to hire someone for a role that will not generate business or revenue for your company

5-      In your opinion what role do freelancers play in the advertising & communications industry? 

Freelancers are seen as both an asset and a threat. As an asset freelancers can play multiple roles from design to consulting and development. It’s a very wide talent pool and can contribute to any part of the communication process. Yet freelancers pose a threat to agencies that lose clients to freelancers who offer humble services for more affordable fees. This has been on the rise in the UAE in the fields of web design, PR, and social media.  Everyone’s always looking to save. It’s the human condition.

6-      What UAE regulatory issues can one encounter when hiring freelancers?

There are two main issues:

a. Having a freelancer work in your office can lead to trouble if you get inspection on site and they don’t have a labor card.

b.   For companies that audit their finances, freelancers who don’t have correctly marked invoices are a nightmare for finance to work with.

 

7- We’d love to hear about your experience hiring freelancers through Nabbesh! What are your insights? 

Hiring through Nabbesh is organized, quick and efficient. We’ve had over 10 jobs completed through Nabbesh.com in the fields of SEO, SEM, Social, Consulting, Design and Artwork. We even build an affiliation with someone we hired for a job and he now consults on all our business.

The entire experience has been solid but on a general note, the region is struggling to find good Arabic speaking, writing talent. You might have to do some Arabic legwork yourself to get some projects off the ground.

Additionally with new pay-through-the-website feature coming soon, a lot of pressure on sorting out payments with freelancers will be alleviated. I’m also looking forward to a mobile app.

 

We would love to take this conversation further! Let us know your thoughts in the comments and connect with us on twitter

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.

Freelance PR and Marketing – Kellie Whitehead

Kellie Whitehead

Kellie Whitehead has been freelancing since 2005 across the UK and UAE, and is the engine behind www.mamaknowsdubai.com.  With 14 years of marketing and PR experience, she has rich industry experience coupled with a strong insight into the female, family and ‘mum’ demographic that is particularly hard to find within the region and much sought after by brands. It was this specialist expertise that was the catalyst for forming her UAE registered company Mama Media FZ.

Kellie works on a retainer basis with many agency clients, and directly with brands. As a working mother, freelancing was the only employment option when balancing her love of the industry with her family commitments.  Her knowledge of the social media space has contributed greatly to finding work through the various platforms but recently she is finding Nabbesh very useful for leads.

Through Mama Media she works with some of the biggest global names such as Samsung, Unilever and Philips helping them reach out through social media, events and content creation to their target demographic. A highlight of Kellie’s career was pitching against larger network agencies last year to win her biggest client to date, testament to her deep knowledge in the sector. Kellie thinks agencies can benefit from using freelancers more as they bring unique skillsets and specialisms that a full time employee may not have. This trend is apparent on Nabbesh with many people asking for content creators specializing in automotive, cooking, fashion and beauty products.

She identifies an interesting angle on networking and generating repeat business; which is that account managers do change agencies quite often but they tend to take their contacts with them.  Having a readily available and organized pool of freelancers to tap into can make an account manager’s work much easier, and she thinks Nabbesh is a useful platform to keep these connections alive. It also helps freelancers build a reputation as being able to show examples of work and get feedback from people is important in generating tomorrow’s business.

Get in touch with Kellie on her Nabbesh profile here http://www.nabbesh.com/DubaiWriter

Freelance Film Making – Hind Shoufani

Hind Shoufani

Hind Shoufani is a freelance filmmaker and published poet.  Her first freelance job was at the Daily Star in Lebanon at the age of 18 when she walked into the office and demanded a writing gig.  Her freelance career has been in part determined by her nationality (a Jordanian in Lebanon would have found it difficult to get the right paperwork for a full time job) and her dislike for office based corporate work.  Whilst in New York studying for her MFA she used Craigslist to find freelance jobs ranging from voiceovers to translation to directing.

When she came to the UAE at the beginning of 2009 she used her old university contacts to land her first two assignments and soon got introduced to another producer that continued working with her for a while.  She has produced and directed videos for Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Arts, Zayed Book Award, Saadiyat island and more.  She also directed 8 webisodes for the award winning Hiroshi and Osama campaign by Chevrolet.

Having freelanced for so long,  Hind states that freelancers often have more than one skill and shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves,  its also important to make sure you have examples of work ready to show potential clients.  Choosing this style of work might be off putting for many people but Hind encourages more people to try it.  She finds this is the best way to support herself as an artist.  She is currently in post production for her latest film, and is working on another book of poetry along with a novel.

Like most people, she says network effects are vital here when finding work.  The industry is small, most people in the audiovisual world know each other, and this can often be useful to reduce the search for jobs.  However, from the company side, the SME sector, companies who generate the most volume of work, don’t have visibility into freelance talent.  Additionally these companies don’t have the budget to hire agencies, who themselves hire freelancers.  Using a middle man can solve some problems but adds unnecessary cost to the project.. Hind thinks a platform like Nabbesh is a useful way to democratize access to freelancers so clients can meet producers and video editors directly.

Freelance Copywriting – Nigel Holt

nigel holt

Nigel Holt has been in the UAE for 16 years, freelancing part time for 4 years, and now a full time freelancer since 1 year with his company Stylus Copywriting.  His clients have been global automotive brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover, and well known local companies such as Al Gurg and Al Masa.  In addition several media agencies have used his services.

Nigel is an English copywriter, a published poet and an ex headteacher.  Nigel finds work through advertising in the local media, but most of his work comes through referrals from BNI International, a referral network, or from previous clients, and these days through Nabbesh.  Nigel’s motivation for freelancing came from confidence in his own abilities, the observation that there was a gap in the market with agencies not producing enough quality work and a desire to be his own boss.  He thinks that agencies should use more freelancers although the law is not completely transparent in that area.

Nigel says freelancers bring a unique set of skills to the table often having different specialisations and perspectives, especially if they have lived here for some time. On the move to full time freelancing Nigel says that the initial six months were tight, but through BNI and sites like Nabbesh, his exposure has been radically expanded. Growth has been exponential, and is continuing apace. When billing clients, Nigel like many others, asks for 50% of the fee as a down payment.  He hasn’t experienced trouble with commercial clients thus far.  He is confident that the market in Dubai is only likely to become stronger, and that his reputation will continue to grow. His advice is to focus on quality and to be able to demonstrate your work.

Contact Nigel on his Nabbesh profile here http://www.nabbesh.com/nigel.holt