Key takeaways from the Nabbesh Freelance Summit Dubai

We just held our first Freelance Summit in Dubai and were thrilled to engage with a full house at Shelter. The reasoning behind this gathering was fairly simple.  We know from our data that there is a big demand for different ways of working, our 14,000 registered users and over 250 job postings a month are testament to that, but we know there’s a big untapped market out there that can be addressed by starting an offline dialogue between the various stakeholders.

Image

That’s why we built an agenda bringing together freelancers to talk about their insights and advice, employers to talk about what they look for and common pitfalls to avoid, a law firm to tell us exactly what is legal regarding freelance and part time work and a business setup consultancy that told us how to incorporate freelancing activities into a proper registered business.  We even had a session talking about how freelancing can help achieve the UAE’s 2021 vision of a knowledge based economy!

Trevor gulf stat

The event was really successful, and there was definitely an appetite to hear more.  Nabbesh is hard at work building some great product features on the platform to make the experience even easier, but we also want to help people get the information they need.  We’ll be doing more events in the future based on the conversations we started last night, and of course your feedback.

Image

Let’s give you some highlights from the night:

We talked about the enhanced profile builder called Canvas which allows people to demonstrate their skills by linking to all their best work around the web.  Have a look at the profile below to see how much more engaging they are.

If you’ve already got a profile on Nabbesh, now is the time to use this tool to stand out from the crowd.

Image

(www.nabbesh.com/molham.bakir)

We also had some sneak peeks of upcoming product features. Want to be the first to test them out? Get on our mailing list!

The question on everybody’s mind was, is freelancing really legal?  How can I do it properly? Sara Khoja, Partner at Clyde & Co gave a helpful and succinct talk on what is now possible.  Some key takeaways:

  • You can hold a full time job and do work on the side with a “part time work permit” so long as you hold the necessary No Objection Certificates from your existing employer
  • Expats are able to act as official work sponsors for their dependents meaning that housewives and students can now take up part time work (with permissions from husbands / fathers)

There was a general consensus that freelancing was a good way to transition from being employed full time to becoming your own boss.  Thanks to the laws in the UAE allowing part time work, we should see more people take up freelancing in their spare time to build up their reputation in the market.

Another surprising piece of news from Creative Zone was that it is possible to incorporate your freelance activities into a proper business in the UAE, allowing you to have a corporate bank account and the ability to invoice in a company name as opposed to your personal name. Offering various license options, Creative Zone are happy to provide you with a free consultation to help you understand these options and advise on the best possible solution as per your requirements. If you want more on this, ping us in the form below with your Nabbesh profile URL and the subject “Freelance Business Licence”

Image

Many people think that freelancing as a work pattern is nothing but a pipe dream, available for only a few people, or those lucky enough to have a skill which is so rare that they can command extremely high prices for it.  Fortunately we had freelancers on the panel to dispel this myth. A few tips from them:

Image

  • It’s a competitive marketplace, you need to be proactive and show why you’re better than others
  • Talk to peers and network with others in the industry to ascertain benchmark rates
  • Start small and build your reputation through delivering quality work

The employer panel was equally fascinating as we heard exactly what it is that employers look for and we got a glimpse into the skills that are highly in demand right now:

Image

  • Have a sense of accountability, prove that you take the job as seriously as a full time employee
  • Demonstrating your work with an up to date portfolio means you have a better chance of standing out (top tip: use the Canvas profile builder to get employers to notice you quicker!)
  • Deliver good consistent work and aim to build reputation with your employer no matter what the project is

Some industry insights as to what’s missing in the market:

  • Arabic Content Development
  • Analytics
  • English writers who follow Arabic culture
  • Good Arabic screenplay writers, producers and directors

So you heard it here first! If you’re reading this and you’ve got these skills, or you know someone who does, get signed up on Nabbesh.com as soon as possible.

We’d like to thank The Shelter, Clyde & Co, Creative Zone and all our panelists for making the event a success.

We’ll continue doing these sessions to make sure everyone is empowered with the knowledge they need to freelance successfully.  All you have to do is bring your skills to the platform.  Whether you’re an individual or a business, hit us up in the form below to tell us more about what you want to know.

www.nabbesh.com – where talent meets opportunity.

5 Steps to be a Freelancer

(by Andy Bailey, CreativeZone.ae)

When you say the word freelancer out loud it has very powerful connotations. It speaks of freedom but responsibility, flexibility but with purpose. Moreover it says to the world that you are in charge of your own future.

Freelancing has long been the domain of journalists and photographers, artists and consultants.  Today it’s an option for everyone.  Anyone can be their own boss, decide their own working hours and pick and choose whom they want to work with.

It sounds perfect!  Where do I sign?

Actually, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Here in the UAE there is the small matter of a trade license.  UAE law dictates that in order to do business here you must be licensed to do so.  Furthermore your license states what activities you’re able to perform.

Thankfully there are companies out there who can assist you with obtaining the right license for what you want to do and where you want to do it.  The right license for one company may not be the right license for yours.  Which is why there are some important things to consider.

Here to help you on your way are Creative Zone’s 5 steps to establishing yourself as a freelancer.

  • STEP 1

    research

    Do some research and choose your industry carefully. If things go well this could be what you do for the rest of your working life!  It’s not enough to just want to do something.  Choose an activity or skill that you enjoy and that you can talk about to others with passion and pride.  Remember, most people set up their own business because they want to be their own boss, have financial freedom and have flexibility.  If you don’t enjoy what you do you may find it hard to motivate yourself later down the line – especially when the only person you have to answer to is yourself!

    It’s important to know what market you will be competing in, and make no mistake it is competitive in all markets these days.  Find out what other companies are doing.  Can you do it better?  If so, how?  Can you do it cheaper?  Money is a huge motivator and business is often won or lost based on the cost.  Entering into a new market blindly is as good as not entering it at all.  You have to know where your clients will come from, and more importantly how you will keep them as clients.  Think long-term if you want to succeed.

  • STEP 2

    business-plan

    Create a business plan. Although it is not always a requirement to do a business plan in order to get your license, it’s still one of the most vital planning tools for a new company.  A business plan is more than just a forecast on where you’ll be in a year, 3 years or 5 years.  It also allows you to see things in black and white, and be able to compare your performance later against your predictions.  Successful business owners will revise their business plan every year to factor in changes in costs, legislations and budgets.  Remember the age old saying; “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”  It’s also worth remembering that most banks will insist on a business plan should you ever need to apply for certain facilities such as business loans, credit cards or card-reading machines.

  • STEP 3

    company name

    Choose your company name. So you know your market and you know how you’re going to do business.  You can already picture yourself sipping cocktails on the beach after a hard days work right?  Well, almost!  It’s time to get creative.  Your company name speaks volumes about who you are and what you do.  A company name should be catchy but not trivial, memorable and relatively short.  Some experts recommend not having more than 10 letters to the name.  Don’t be tempted to use words like ‘Elite’ as it gives the impression that your services will be expensive, likewise words like ‘budget’ or ‘discount’ should be avoided for the opposite reasons.

  • STEP 4

    trade licence

    Get a license.  This is often the most daunting aspect of setting up your own business.  It is not uncommon for people to delay setting up their company because they don’t want to tackle this problem.  Thankfully help is at hand!  Creative Zone is able to offer many different set up solutions based entirely on your circumstances, requirements and budget.  Whether you are a Consultancy or a General Trading company, there are packages to suit everyone.  One of the biggest advantages of setting up your business with Creative Zone is that we already have a panel of experts in place who would be more than happy to help.  Whether it’s accounting or law, immigration or labor laws you can get the help and advice you need to assist you in moving your business forward.  The best part about it is that once you’ve discussed what you want and what you need, you can sit back and let the experts do all the hard work for you.   For Nabbesh users, we are offering a discount on business setup. Have a look here for further details

  • STEP 5

    experts

    Surround yourself with experts.  No matter how much you know you can always learn more.  It’s always useful to be able to ask an expert when you come up against a tough question or decision.  You can use Nabbesh.com to find people with the skills that you need who are experts in their field.   Our business development and networking events will put you in touch not only with business owners who are happy to share their past experiences, but also professionals in a range of industries ready to provide ongoing support.  You should never be afraid or too proud to ask for help.   One day you could be the one giving out the advice!

Establishing yourself as a freelancer has never been so easy.  All you need is desire, determination and the 5 steps above.

Can you really freelance in the UAE?

Yes you can! There are a few ways.

For companies registered in some Free Zones for example they can hire a freelancer for as long as they need using a “non sponsored employee ID card” which costs 720 AED (TECOM), 800 AED (Dubai Silicon Oasis) and 860 AED (Trakhees Zone)

This is suitable when the freelancer is already on their relative or spouse’s visa.  The paperwork required is fairly straightforward, and involves the usual application forms, the company’s trade licence and passport copy of the sponsor showing residence visa along with a No Objection Letter from the sponsor.

What if you don’t have a spouse or relative to sponsor your visa?

Dubai Media City  is an example of a zone which offers a Freelance Permit which identifies an individual as a sole practitioner and enables him/her to carry out business in his/her own birth name as opposed to a company or brand name.  However, because you cannot open a company account at a bank without a registered company licence, it can be quite tricky to invoice as an individual freelancer.

More useful is the freelance license offered through Fujairah Free Zone.  With this type of licence you can choose a company name, can have one or more shareholders on the license, appoint someone as person in charge, the license has up to 3 visa allocations (available at an additional cost) and most importantly, you can upgrade this license to a ‘Baby Business’ license if you need to expand your business in the future.

The Ajman Free Zone Professional Licence comes with a 2 visa allocation without the need to take an office in the free zone (unless you have more than 2 employees).  For a faster processing of licence and visa, and for freelancers who trade in goods, a licence from Ajman is what you need

Starting at AED 17, 500 with the option of monthly payments, you can be running your own business in no time!

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