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!

 

Why using a freelancer is better than a full time employee

These days, freelancers are not odd jobbers waiting to get into full time work, they prioritise control over their life and the ability to work on different projects.  That’s why they are often reported to have a better work life balance than full time employees.  A better work life balance means happier workers, which tends to lead to better output.

One of the main costs for businesses is recruitment and staffing.  In the last few years many businesses in the Middle East had to lay off employees to counter the effects of the economic downturn.  In some service industries, where headcount is related to amount of clients on the books, the cost of continually recruiting and laying off full time employees can be quite expensive.  Replacing an employee has been estimated as costing 150% of that persons wage.  Another factor impacting cost is the high expatriate population especially in the UAE, as expats tend to return home after a few years.

Thus, using freelancers seems to be a perfect fit for firms in the region.  It allows companies to benefit from dynamic resourcing, quickly tapping into expertise when business is good, and limiting liability and cost when business slows down.  It also solves the problem of a continuous churn of expats who, according to a recent Hay Group study, are 8% less likely to stay in their current jobs compared to the global average (UAE sample).

In addition, many global firms are rapidly entering the Arab market.  The cost of setting up business is still high compared to other cities and quick growth is required. This often results in a high demand for digital talent, marketing and creative skills in addition to bilingual staff, as our Q1 2013 figures suggest.

Business growth is not being matched by a similar growth in skill pool, so smart businesses will look to find alternative ways of sourcing expertise in order to succeed.  Up until now there has been little clarity on using freelancers from a business operations and HR point of view, a legal standpoint or general media support.  There also hasn’t been a formal platform where freelancers can register their skills and employers can post their requirements.

Nabbesh.com is solving the platform problem.  The laws in the UAE (typically stricter than those in Levant ) have been changed since 2010 in favour of promoting more flexible work. It is now up to companies to look to their HR department to deliver more efficient hiring practices and embrace the concept of using freelancers as a competitive edge.