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.

 

Nabbesh’s Top 5 Tips For A Successful Freelancing Life!

Freelancing is a way of life! It starts with the yearning for independence and the drive to pursue one’s passion. Ultimately it’s a different way of thinking about work beyond the traditional 9-5 model.
Globally, independent work is becoming more popular, according to the 2012 US Freelancer’s Union; nearly 1 in 3 Americans are now freelancers.  In a 2014, Deloitte Millennial Survey (Millennials will represent 75% of the total global workforce by 2025), 70% of Millennials want to work independently at some point in their lives versus working in a traditional organisation. Times are changing!

 

way of work

 

Here Nabbesh offers the top 5 tips for becoming a successful freelancer:

1) Be honest with yourself. Start with an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.  Are your skills “freelanceable?”  For example, it may be much easier to get into freelancing if you are a copywriter or a photographer than if you are a civil engineer or an oil & gas operations person. Continue with an assessment of your communication skills. Succeeding as a freelancer means becoming an expert at “selling” your services, dealing with difficult clients, being assertive when it comes to scope of work and being an impeccable communicator. Do you have what it takes?

2) Networking is key. In the early days of freelancing, who you know can help open doors to get you those first few gigs! Platforms like Nabbesh can give you exposure to thousands of clients from across the region which instantly increases your chances of finding suitable projects & getting paid for your work. Whether you do it online or offline, networking is vital to getting you started and to your ultimate success!

3) Guard your reputation. Work on building your personal brand as a freelancer.  Use social media to position yourself as an expert in your field and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Above all make sure that you treat your clients like royalty!  Always under promise and over deliver. Take pride in what you do and deliver quality work. Take responsibility if your client is not satisfied and be honest about your capabilities. Reputation is paramount and one mistake may cost you clients, or even, your freelance career.

4) Patience is a virtue. Building a freelance career means you’re in it for the long haul. Success requires perseverance and patience. Both are needed to build a solid portfolio of clients, a steady flow of income and projects.  Don’t give up quickly if things don’t work out as quickly as you had expected!

5) Work smart, not just hard.  As a freelancer, getting the right opportunities is more critical to your success than just getting opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to offer “sample” work or give a discount to “land” a strategic client.  Do your research and carefully seek out the clients you would like to work with.  Look for opportunities to connect with them and check what your peers are doing as well and how they are presenting themselves.  This will provide you with some insight on pricing your services at the right level and make you competitive in the market. Most importantly, make sure to enjoy your work and then everything else will fall into place!

 

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 Jobs in Over 100 Middle Eastern Cities on Nabbesh

Nabbesh has launched in June 2012 in Dubai and ever since we have been working really hard to cultivate the freelance movement in the region and be the platform that empowers freelancers to showcase their skills, gain exposure and connect with clients. Whilst many of you may think that we are a job site catering to the UAE, the truth is we have grown a lot since our launch to become the “go to” marketplace for professional service providers or freelancers in the region and we wanted our community to know about that.

 

Locations5

Looking through the 2,000+ freelance projects that have been posted on Nabbesh since the beginning of the 2013, we are proud to assure freelancers everywhere in the Middle East – there’s an employer out there who needs YOU.  So far we have had jobs from employers in over 100 Cities in the Middle East & North Africa, and even some from the US and Europe. How’s that?

Month on month, over 300 jobs are posted from various cities. Aside from the UAE, the majority of freelance gigs on Nabbesh are originating from Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. We are also proud to have an increasing number of jobs from Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. A recent survey done by Nabbesh in September 2013 highlighted that 35% of employers registered on Nabbesh are open to hire freelancers residing in a geographic location different to their own, this truly emphasises Nabbesh’s unique position to be the regional marketplace where people connect & sell their services.

If you are a freelancer or a supporter of the freelance movement, and if you want to help talent in the Middle East find work opportunities, then we have a modest request! Please share this post on the interwebs to spread the word so we can build a vibrant regional marketplace and create more wealth to our Nabbesh community.

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

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.