What can 80,000 applications teach us about landing that freelance job on Nabbesh?

With hundreds of applications being processed through Nabbesh on a daily basis, you can say that our community owls have seen it all! In this blog post, we will share some of our learning over the past year in 5 condensed tips to help every talented freelancer stand out vis-a-vis his or her peers and land that freelance job through Nabbesh!


1 – First impressions are crucial! Build an impressive profile page.
Invest in a professional head shot. Let’s face it, our first impression of people whether online or in person, is based on how they present themselves. You want a picture that portrays your character as well as your professionalism. Take your time and fill in all fields in the Nabbesh platform and add any work samples where you can, we provide you with the tools. The more information you include about yourself, the more confidence you give the client. Be sure to add several skills, provided of course, that you are in fact experienced in those areas. Finally make sure to include a short biography that encapsulates the essence of you and your skills! See below two examples:

Example of an average biography:

I am a graphic designer and I am very good at using Adobe tools. I have 5 years experience working with an advertising agency.

Example of one that really says “Look at me…I’m pretty awesome”

Master of Arts with a technical mind. I love to learn and grow with every project I deliver. Graphic design is my passion and combined with 5 years of experience, I became a great problem solver and able to find creative solutions for every brief!

2 – Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
Don’t give the client an excuse to eliminate you as a possible contender.  Make sure your replies are 100% free of grammatical errors — especially if it’s a writing job such a blogger or content writer. This is a sure way to be purged almost instantly. In sorting through many applications, clients generally want to go through their inbox and quickly eliminate many of the applicants. Don’t give them an excuse to reject you!

3 – Getting a job takes time. Stay on it.
Set some time apart each day to check the job listings. Be sure to read through and apply early to the ones that you are invited to apply for, since they have been matched by either Nabbesh admin or by the client. You need to invest time to get the rate of return you are looking for. The more jobs you apply for, the more you increase your chances of getting your first one. Do not give up!  Be confident in the skills you have to offer and that the right match will come along. Someone out there needs your skills and may be waiting to find you!

4 – Follow Instructions.
If a job post contains specific requests be sure to comply, whether it is your CV or work samples. Not following simple requests may weed you out, rightfully so. Clients often say that if a person cannot follow basic instructions in a job posting, they most likely are not able to do so on the job. Pay close attention! It only takes a few minutes to read the job description and craft a good application that answers the job requirements. Finally remember, that clients are human beings, so make sure to be friendly in your application and make sure to avoid “copying and pasting” the same application note to different clients, they will certainly pick up on that and they will not be impressed!

5 – Understand the requirements.
Before sending a proposal to a client, make sure you get a clear understanding of the scope of work and what is needed. Ask the right questions and be genuine about what you can and cannot do.  Do not over promise either. We have provided several options within Nabbesh to send proposals that are split by milestones, by day, month, etc. Make sure to use these tools to your advantage and only when you are confident that the scope of work is clear and the deliverables are doable, can you commit to sending a proposal and starting the work!

We leave you with some great examples of complete Nabbesh profiles. Notes that we are deliberately not highlighting the name & biography of these freelancers:

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A profile that belongs to a Graphic Designer on Nabbesh
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A profile that belongs to a Photographer on Nabbesh

We hope that the above tips are helpful in submitting a high quality application and landing freelance jobs on Nabbesh! If you have other tips that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to add them in the comment section below.


Announcing the Launch of Nabbesh’s Payment Services


A message from Nabbesh Founders to all our Friends & Owls.

Nabbesh is very proud to announce the launch of our new payment services, bringing us one step closer to providing our community of nearly 30,000 freelancers all the tools you need to work your way — and get paid!  At Nabbesh, our vision is to be the preeminent platform for every independent worker and freelancer in the MENA region, providing you with a simple, easy to use, one-stop platform, to bring you more work opportunities and financial prosperity.

Our Vision: To connect every freelancer in the MENA region with a job!

When we started Nabbesh, we began with only a vision and the determination to make that vision a reality by improving the way MENA’s men, women, and youth work.  Our goal is to create a virtual marketplace for people looking to break out of the confines of outdated work models.  Technology has already revolutionized the ways we connect with friends, search for music, and now the way we search for, find, and get paid for project-based work!

One of our community members, Tariq Mehmood, was able to showcase his work to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, all because of Nabbesh.  Nabbesh is truly a marketplace that provides unlimited exposure and merit based opportunities for our community, no matter where they live.

freelance work dubai

Nabbesh also prides itself on listening and quickly adapting to the needs of our highly-skilled community.  In a recent study, Nabbesh found that 30% of our freelancers have had a client who never paid them!  For us, that number was too high, and we personally know the negative impact that not getting paid can have on your daily lives.  So we worked hard to provide a solution to this problem!

 Getting Paid Just Got Easier

We know that there are risks associated with working for someone across borders, or online, and we also know that not everyone can commute to an office or work in more traditional ways.  But we see the potential in you, and we have harnessed technology to make getting paid securely online simple. Our new payment system now allows you to send a work proposal, a deposit request or an invoice, while providing an escrow service, giving you more peace of mind.

What does this mean exactly?  It means that people like Ameera in Jordan can work for people like Sami in Dubai, negotiate a work proposal on Nabbesh, and Ameera can actually see the deposit that Sami makes online through Nabbesh before she even begins her work.  And with our credit card payment options and our options to receive payments through bank transfer, we have improved the way you hire, pay, and receive money for your work.  No bank account?  No problem!  Nabbesh also offers simple payments through money transfer services (i.e., Western Union).  We are taking the headache out of freelancing in this region.

Benefits of Nabbesh’s New Services:

-No need for paperwork. Send proposals, deposit requests & invoices via Nabbesh

-Transparency & convenience through secure online payments

-Freelancers can receive payments via bank or money transfer services (i.e., Western Union)

-Track project history, agreements, milestone changes, all in one place on Nabbesh

-A two way rating system which helps you build a reputation and improve your visibility

We hope you like the new and improved Nabbesh!  Work your way and try it today!

Loulou Khazen Baz & Rima Al Sheikh

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!