Page 2 of 2

Freelancing, its what we do best

You’ve probably been hearing the word Freelance a lot recently.  We’re happy about that. When it comes to working anything other than 9 – 5, we’ve got you covered at

From our constantly evolving skills platform, to resources helping you monetize your skills, we’ve got everything you need to start taking control of your own career.  Keep up with the latest developments on our social channels (to the right of this post) and register on today to find freelance work that suits you.

Nabbesh_new_logo – Disrupting the future of work

Freelance and be your own boss

We’ve finally seen mainstream media catch on to what we’ve been saying all along, freelancing is a viable working option for those who want to be their own boss.  All the data supports it. Over 65% of MENA professionals believe that freelancing offers a better work life balance, allows you to do what you love and gives you more control over your career.  7 out of 10 people would consider freelancing. has been helping thousands of freelancers and employers connect for over a year now. Whether you’re already in full time employment and want to earn money from your skills after hours, or you’re a mompreneur who needs a work schedule on your terms, find an opportunity for you on

Nabbesh_new_logo – empowering people to do what they love from anywhere

7 out of 10 people in MENA would freelance

7 out of 10 professionals in the MENA region would consider freelancing

Here’s why:


Over 50% of companies outsource work to freelancers

Here’s why:

Image is the premier destination for freelance, part time and contract based work.  With over 15,000 registered users and growing, both individuals and employers can take advantage of dynamic resourcing to get the job done quicker and more efficiently than ever before.

Want even MORE info? Check out what happened at our Freelance Summit in Dubai here 


(data taken from )

5 Steps to be a Freelancer

(by Andy Bailey,

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


    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


    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


    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 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

Tips for Getting Freelancing Work

By: Kathy Shalhoub


You’ve made the leap into freelancing and the jobs have started to trickle in. But you need more work, how do you go about finding it? The general structure is as follows: You need a website that shows your product, you need a product, you need traffic, and you need conversion of that traffic into earnings. I will tackle each of these topics in future posts, but for now, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. First and foremost, you need to have a place online where people can learn about you and your work. Having an excellent website that showcases your work and your potential in a clear, simple and easy to navigate style is one way. Link to it from specialized websites such as nabbesh for maximum exposure. If you’re just starting out and still have nothing to show, then go to step 2.
  2. Keep your profiles (and your portfolios) updated on the different networking sites you use. Nothing is more of a turn off to potential clients than seeing that your last posted project was 3 years ago. Their first thought will be that you’re washed up. I’ve looked at some of your profiles on nabbesh and work needs to be done! Put a photograph (if not of you then of something you worked on, admire or like), link to websites (either yours or companies you’ve worked for, try to be specific), write an interesting bio that gives insight on who you are as a person. How can a client tell if you’re any good or not? How can they tell what you do and if you’re serious about it?
  3. Be active online. Network using social media and websites like nabbesh. Join free online competitions to get yourself noticed. Follow people and clients that you’re interested in working for on Facebook and Twitter. They will often mention when they’re looking for help or input, and this can be your chance to offer your services.
  4. Call or meet with agencies, potential clients and contacts. This takes some guts but believe me, emails can easily be ignored, accidentally deleted or completely forgotten in somebody’s inbox. Speaking to someone in person has a much greater impact and allows you to better understand what they are looking for or to offer alternatives for a project. Be prepared for this kind of approach and have a one liner that describes who you are and what you do well rehearsed and ready to go for the occasion.
  5. Promote yourself in ways that are new, interesting and unique to your style. For example:
    1. Create folded posters that show a new piece of your work with every fold.
    2. Send customized goodies as a promotional pack to clients. No matter how prevalent social media is, there’s nothing more exciting to a person than receiving a personalized envelope in the mail.
    3. Invest in branded chocolates, cupcakes, or anything funky you can think of for existing clients. Show me a stressed out client who won’t appreciate a good shot of sugar when it counts! Don’t feel like pushing sugar? Think coffee, tea, or a funky herbal mix. Or anything else that you think would be appreciated! Keeping your clients and having them spread the word about you is key.

      NOTE: Keep the value of your branded items low. This is not meant to be a bribe; it is simply a token that showcases your talent!

    4. Consider branded merchandise. Forget about postcards and paper. Can you have your illustrations or designs printed onto scarves, t-shirts or pillowcases? How about notebooks, shopping bags and towels? Even if a meeting leads to nothing today, leaving a piece of your work behind in the form of a small gift can set you apart from the rest.

If you think this advice only applies to creatives (e.g. illustrators, designers, photographers), think again. Clients are looking for motivated, hard working and dedicated people and are constantly being bombarded with potential hires. Set yourself apart!

In my case for example, when I wanted to work at an oceanography institute in the U.S., I applied for a summer program and didn’t get accepted but I didn’t let that stop me. I then contacted some of the scientists working there and offered my engineering services for free for the summer. Who could resist? I was hired immediately and offered room and board with the summer students in exchange for my efforts. What did I get out of it? Work experience in the immediate, and years later, because I had kept up my contacts, I was offered a job and a work permit in the U.S!

When I wanted to get into MIT for engineering, I printed copies of an article I had written as an undergrad, copies of my CV, copies of my senior design robotics project, and a clear concise introductory letter explaining my desire to go to MIT. I made an envelope for every single professor in the Ocean Engineering department and mailed them all. Two weeks later I followed up with phone calls and tried to arrange meetings. Most ignored my letter, I met with three professors only and I ended up getting a full scholarship with one of them who was interested in robotics. Seeing the effort I went to in differentiating myself from all other applicants, and meeting me in person made all the difference.

Showcase the skills you’re selling in whatever way you can think of! It really does matter.

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.