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.

 

8 Practical Tips for MENA Freelance Journalists to Keep Business Rolling

Photo Jun 26, 1 33 58 PM

Today’s blog post comes from Ahmed Medien who specializes in online publishing, blog writing and social media marketing. Ahmed has experienced freelancing first-hand after he left his writer job at Tunisia Live (Tunisia’s leading news website) in January 2012. He has tried it all and has failed on several occasions, but has acquired, in the meantime, a lot practical knowledge about the profession. He also had the chance to meet other freelance journalists from everywhere in the region. 
 

If you are a freelance journalist in MENA, then worry no more. There is tons of work for you and a lot of opportunities to become a fully-established reporter in your area. The Arab Spring has brought a lot of change and dynamics to the region. And, most importantly, the world is still hooked to our news. The demand is virtually high, and you are the supplier.

Here are 8 useful tips to become the next legitimate source on Middle Eastern affairs.

The purpose of this post is to help freelance journalists position themselves both financially and professionally in the MENA media industry, and also improve your status as a freelance journalist.

1) Know your priorities

It is important to establish some priorities before getting into journalism. Journalism is a very demanding job. It can be both frustrating and exhausting if you don’t prepare or, as I call it, strategize enough for the job. Your career might not even pick up if you are not sure what you are trying to accomplish with this new job.

Therefore, it is useful to ask yourself some of these relevant questions before starting writing, filming, photographing, etc.: How many hours will you allocate to this new job? Is it going to be your main job? Are you mentally prepared to follow news around the clock in different countries and languages? Do you have the necessary technical skills to make it on top of the market? Are you ready to do it without pay?

Basically, you want to know where you are headed with this profession when you decide to take a stab at it.

2) Make the right investments

The word investments, here, could be interpreted literally and loosely as it could a more expensive phone plan, a tablet, your own website, a better camera, a better sound recorder, a video/sound editing software – you name it.

Basically, you want to make sure that you’ll be using your time and strategic location more efficiently through these assets to help you make the most of your experience as a journalist.

Internet on the go or a mobile device will help you stay connected with people and actions wherever you go if mobility is part of your reporting activity. A better camera will help you deliver better quality photos that will sell more in the market or attract more clients.

3) Get online

This is beyond obvious. It is the most efficient way to interact with your community, larger community, and also engage your audience with the kind of journalistic content that you produce.

4) Seek out an internship

Just like any other profession, you will need job credentials in journalism in order to be taken seriously by other publishers. Therefore, whether you live in a small or bigger city, try to find any media outlet that is hiring a new member in their team. This could be paid or unpaid, but it is really up to you to establish your priorities and must’s in your new career.

Preferably, you want to choose a media organization that focuses on your topics of interests be it a specific city or country, a “region”, foreign affairs, culture, etc. When you do start this new job, you want to absolutely make sure that your organization is completely onboard with staff writing or producing for other outlets. Otherwise, abstain, because it is not professional.

You will also need to quantify your experience at this new job so that you can display it nicely in numbers on your CV/portfolio. For example: I have worked x hours a week. I wrote x many articles with x thousands in unique views and social media shares. I covered x political/cultural/social demonstration events on the ground. I produced multimedia content (video, photos, sound bites) for my organization, etc.

5) Build up a portfolio

Do not limit yourself to your CV. Portfolios can make a difference when a media outlet is hiring a freelancer in the region. Your employer wants to look easily and quickly through your proven publishing, photographing or video experience and a portfolio is the best fit platform for that.

This is why you do also want to make an online portfolio. One of the most famous free portfolio hosts are Carbonmade.com. If you do believe that you even need your own website with more content to yourself, then you may also want to try breezie.com. It allows you a more aesthetic web presence that potential employers can scroll through easily.

6) Take initiative

You have got to take the initiative and go cover breaking news or any other interest of yours even if you don’t have any client yet on the line. You could always find people who would be interested in your work later. This really depends on your ability to market yourself and present your work, but that wouldn’t happen at all if you don’t have the necessary content.

Even if nobody reaches out to you personally and ask you to write or produce any media piece about a particular event, you can literally go to knock on other editors’ doors. Ask them if they would be interested to have this or that. Be creative and authentic with your coverage. This might or might not work. But, you will get some interesting contacts that you will keep for future uses and dates.

7) Narrow your breadth of coverage

This is something to keep in mind as long as you’re doing journalism. You do not want to be the kind of person who does everything. Editors will not take you seriously if you present yourself with a minimal experience – let’s say – and an alleged expertise in 10 different topics. You have got to pick one or two or three depending on what your experience is.

If you are Palestinian and have grown in the West Bank or Gaza, then you might know about the subject legitimately more than other fellow MENA freelancers. Topic expertise could be anything such as Arab Spring, war, Hezbollah, Palestine, business in the Gulf, culture, human rights, Iran, etc.

8) Pay

Pay is perhaps the trickiest subject among the other aforementioned tips. Excessive pay demands or expectations might draw some employers off especially that there are also many competitors in the media industry in MENA. Typical pay for more renowned international media organizations is often in the xxx dollars, but beware that these media companies do also know their way around the region as much as you do. Do not think of robbing anybody off. Never.

It’s hard to determine how much you should ask for pay i.e. your profit margin, as it really depends on your line of coverage, technical skills and experience. Therefore, it is best recommended to talk to peers and try to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the work expected to finish the job.

You have to send out the message clearly enough, though, at the beginning that you are expecting to be paid. You should keep some kind of leverage so that you can guarantee that you won’t be robbed off. However, in case you do agree to waive your rights to a fair compensation of your efforts, please make sure that you will commit your employer into health insurance if you know that you will be risking your life or any other legal liability of that sort.

 Did you like Ahmed’s tips? Follow him at @ahmedmedien or know more about his skills on Nabbesh 

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.

 

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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

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!

How I Stumbled Into Freelancing as a Résumé Stylist

We are interested in learning about how people choose the freelance journey. This is a guest post by Yvette Ali who is currently a Résumé Stylist by night and homemaker and part-time student by day. Her exhaustive career spans over a period of 20 years in everything from sales, marketing, management, operations to small business. Originally from the United States Virgin Islands, she has worked and served clients both in the USA and the UAE. 

Yvette Freelance writer nabbesh

After years of working the 9 to 5 lifestyle, I felt stifled. At day’s end, there did not seem like much room for creativity left in the corporate world. Rumors of company cutbacks pushed me to start thinking what if I lost my job? That in addition to the fact that I needed some extra cash to pay for my college classes pushed me to a brown study mode where I began to identify my marketable skill-sets. I had done a few résumés for my colleagues and students with great reviews and feedback – until one day someone offered to pay me to do theirs. Hence, my ah-ha moment!

I began on a small-scale and grew my clientele base over time via word-of-mouth and eventually social media. Although, this has never been a full-time gig for me, it has allowed me to work whenever I need to and make some extra income. There have been times, I’ve had to turn clients away. But I did not become a great resume-writer overnight, which is my key takeaway here: you must maintain a solid grasp of the latest developments in your area of expertise and focus on selling or marketing one skill that you have truly mastered. Clients looking for freelancers do not want a jack of all trades.

My advice to those who want to become freelancers is to take a close look at all of your current skills and interests to see if any of them can be turned into a freelancing career. This can be just about anything you’re really good at, have good knowledge of, and most importantly really enjoy doing. The possibilities are endless and can run from copywriting, business writing, and audio production to catering, cartooning, researching, social media virtual assistant, photography, proofreading, language translation, medical transcription, tutoring, voice-overs and dog training. The potentials are well worth looking into. Best of all, it’s a business you can run out of your own home right from your kitchen table, although I highly recommend establishing a home office free of distraction. You can establish your own hours and take it to any level you desire! Most  importantly, pursue a path that you REALLY are good at, otherwise you will find yourself pushed outside the door by your more qualified peers.

 

Interested in connecting to Yvette? You can reach her on twitter or via Nabbesh

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

Top Five Tips from One Freelancer to the Other

This is a guest post by Zainab Mansoor, a freelancer journalist and contributor to various local and international publications. She is an equally doting mom and strives to strike a perfect balance every day.

Contrary to popular belief, freelancing or the freelance industry is a comprehensive order. There are clear do’s and don’ts in the business that should adhered to, but it differs from person to person, experience to experience. Below are a few of my personal tips to all freelancers out there, pitching for work or otherwise.

1- Let not your missives speak. Written letter with tall orders are so clichéd these days – Avoid them completely. Share your profile, portfolio and your list of strengths in which you excel or wish to excel. Instead of words, be dexterous in work.

2- Association is key. Keep contact with your previous clients. Stay in touch through social mediums for repeat work or referrals.

3- Avoid baring your desperation. If there is a dearth of projects up your sleeve, look at alternate avenues for work. Desperation can make people go all funny and do things they may regret a while later. Don’t under-rate your work or its value by offering work at substantial rates. Offering reasonable pricing for repeat clients make sense but ridiculing your profile is a different game altogether.

4- Respect thy privacy. Projects may or may not contain confidential company and employee information. Irrespective, avoid discussing project or work related details with associates, family or friends. Let the details stay locked on a workstation.

5- Sense of Humor, hold on tight. Do not let circumstances get to you! There may be white and black days, highs and lows, pleasant and not so pleasant criticism. Hang in there and lay supine, facing the sky. Crack a joke or two while you’re at it!

Have you found these tips useful? Let Zainab know and make sure to follow her on twitter  @zzainabmansoor!

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.