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.

 

Joe_1

 

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

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.

6 reasons why you haven’t got the job on Nabbesh

no_responses

A few of you have been getting in touch to ask why you haven’t heard back from freelance jobs you applied for on Nabbesh. Similarly some employers are finding it difficult to get exactly the right skill set and find the freelancer they need.  This doesn’t mean you should give up trying! Here are a few tips:

  1. What would an employer want to see?

    First, put yourself in the shoes of a potential hirer.  What would you want to see on a persons profile that would make you say yes, i want to work with that person?  Have you given enough description to your skill sets? If you’re only putting a title and an indication of years of experience, this isn’t going to differentiate you from other freelancers trying to get the job.

  2. Attention to detail

    Second, read the job post very carefully.  Many employers try to filter out applicants by putting in a secret code in there to ensure the applicant has really understood the requirements.  These can range from instructions such as “please reply to the job post with the subject xxxxx”  or “if you can find the hidden mistake in this text, mail us the answer”.

  3. Be specific

    Third, try to avoid generic sentences in your reply such as “i will provide value to your organization”  and “I am confident I will be an asset to any firm…”  People posting jobs are looking for a very specific skill and type of person, so be specific.  Try to indicate why you are the right person for the job.  For example: if a job is requesting a video animator, and they have indicated they are a startup, you should let them know you understand what they want to achieve.

    You might want to try: “Whilst my skills as a video editor are unsurpassed as you can see from my showreel on my Nabbesh profile, I have worked with startups before and I understand time and cost is important to you.  I’ll be able to ascertain your requirements very quickly and deliver on time and within budget”

  4. Keep an eye on the competition

    Fourth, do you have a very popular skill?  You can check this by typing in your skill in the search box and seeing from the drop down how many people have the same skill.  Open those profiles, see which ones you think are better than others and take some tips.  See what other skills they list in parallel.  Decide what sets you apart from these competitors.

  5. First impressions count

    Fifth, presentation is everything.  Do you have a nice clear profile picture? Is the spelling correct? Have you used the Canvas profile builder to add in extras such as certificates, hobbies, education?  You can also link to work that is held elsewhere around the web for example any videos on youtube or vimeo, pictures on pinterest or flickr, posts on tumblr or wordpress and more.  The richer the profile, the more professional you appear

  6. Be proactive!

    Finally be proactive! Its a competitive marketplace, don’t just leave your profile up there and wait for responses.  Look at the top searched for skills, compare yourself to others, visit the site regularly and keep up with the latest news on the Nabbesh social profiles and other content channels.  We post lots of information that will help you in finely tuning your profile to current requirements.  By being aware of the larger picture, you can prepare yourself for a sudden demand in your skill set, and learn what the latest developments in your industry are.

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Happy Nabbeshing!

The ‘Thinks’ That Hold You Back

The ‘Thinks’ That Hold You Back

Did you know that it might actually be how you state things not what you say that holds you back?

Related Link: The Saboteurs of Success

Have you ever started a sentence with the following words:

‘You may not believe me but…’
‘I’m sorry to say this but…’
‘Please don’t take this the wrong way but I think that…’
‘I don’t mean to be an ass but…’

What you say in not what people hear!  How we negatively prime our audience

Someone I was speaking to the other day started her sentence by saying: “I’m sorry to say this but I really believe that… “, and it got me wondering: Why are so many of us so worried about how people will view our beliefs, our opinions, our thoughts and our feelings?

When we begin a sentence by an apology, a suggestion that we will not be believed, or that we are going to be stepping out of line in some way, we are preparing our audience to automatically expect something unpleasant. Even though what you’re saying may be something as mundane as: ‘You may not believe me but I like to eat raw fish.’

Ask yourselves, why are you starting your sentence with a negative? Are you unsure of your own beliefs? Are you looking for someone to validate what you’re saying for you? Why shouldn’t people believe you?

Putting some sort of qualifier before stating something you think, feel or believe just weakens what you’re saying. It undermines your credibility and your authority before you’ve even made a statement!

So what do you do about it?!

How to Say What You Want to Say

When you start a sentence with a negative, you’re conditioning your listeners to look for negatives. Think about what you really want to say and if you want people to believe you, don’t tell them not to.

‘You may not believe me but I interviewed 40 candidates.’
‘I interviewed 40 candidates.’
Which sentence sounds more sincere?

‘I don’t mean to be an ass, but this graph is waaay out of scale.’
OR
‘This graph looks out of scale, do you think you can fix it?’

If you don’t mean to be an ass, then don’t be one! If you think you people might take something the wrong way, rephrase the sentence in your mind first!

I assure you your boss won’t believe you if you start by telling him not to! I assure you your colleague will think you’re an ass if you start by telling her you don’t want to be one.

Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, whether it’s a business meeting or a family gathering, keep the effects of what you say in mind.

Related Link: Find work on nabbesh.com

Be assertive. Don’t condition people’s thoughts! Be firm and confident, say exactly what you mean without being mean, and don’t defend yourself if no one has challenged you yet!

The Terrible Truth about Pessimism

By: Kathy Shalhoub

We’ve all met the person who always seems to have bad luck, failed projects and a pessimistic view on life. Why does that happen to some people and not to others?

It’s because they’ve learned how to be helpless.

It’s weird but these people actually need failure or bad luck to feel good about themselves because then, all that is happening is not their fault. They can blame circumstances for their situation and they do not need to take responsibility for their own future.

Martin Seligman, a PhD in psychology and the leading expert on learned helplessness has determined the primary causes of it: pessimism!

Do you know what the defining characteristics of the pessimist are? Take two people who sustain the exact same hardships of life. The pessimist will tend to believe bad events will last a long time, that these events will undermine everything they do and that they are all their own fault. The optimist on the other hand, believes that defeat is only a temporary setback, that the reason for this setback is a one-time thing confined to this one case, and that circumstances, bad luck, or other people have brought it about.

The thing with optimists is that they are unfazed by defeat, they simply see it as a challenge and try harder next time. Pessimists on the other hand, give up more easily and are more often depressed. Yikes!

Now being a pessimist wouldn’t be a bad thing if it didn’t have such far reaching effects on our lives. Just imagine that the way we think about our lives and the things over which we have control can completely shape our future!

If we believe we do not control our lives then we will sit back and be helpless. And when we overestimate our helplessness, other forces will take control and shape our future. And this applies to every aspect of our lives, our careers, our leisure activities, our health, our weight, our children’s future, our chances for success,…

Regardless of what category you put yourself into, what’s crucial is what you think when you fail. Do you beat yourself up about it, or do you brush it off and move on? Changing the destructive things you say to yourself when you experience setbacks that life deals all of us is the central skill of optimism. And guess what? Optimists have been proven to have a higher success track record.

Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter. The way pessimists explain failure to themselves spreads helplessness while the optimists’ way stops helplessness.

Ask yourself, what is your reaction in the face of a setback or a failure? Is it all your fault? Does it stop you in your tracks for months on end? Do you quit and move on to something else? Do you simply assume it’s a one time thing and try again? The way you explain events to yourself determines how helpless you become!

Getting back up in the face of defeat is called resilience. And the great news, is that resilience is not a trait that we are born with, it is something that is acquired. Which means that most of us can become resilient, optimistic, and increase our chances of happiness and success if we teach ourselves to believe that:

  1. Defeat is only a temporary setback
  2. The reason for this setback is a one-time thing confined to this one case, and
  3. Circumstances, bad luck, or other people have brought it about.

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.