Freelancing in UAE – The Do’s and Don’ts
Freelancing is a good alternative for individuals who admire working with freedom. Freelancers in Dubai have no limit on the jobs they can work on. From creative writing, personal training, business consultancy, website development to marketing, there are unlimited freelance jobs in the UAE. With the modern work environment, freelancers have extensive control over their work hours. The workload is also increasingly appealing than before. If you have thoughts of jumping onto this bandwagon, learn the essential tips on what to do and what not to do as you begin your career.
Do Get Licensed
For most freelancers in UAE enthusiasts, the initial challenge is becoming legally registered. Being licensed is among the legal requirements for freelancing in Dubai. Registration comes at a cost, but with promising payoffs especially if you want to be insured against any misfortunes that are present along the way. There are several licensing solutions in Dubai, including Twofour54 and Virtuzone. Shopping around before settling for one licensing institution is important. However, each business setup company will have a different fee. Choose your company wisely. There is a great opportunity to save 1000s of dirhams here. Always ask for the cost break up.
Getting a license is not cheap and easy to do. However, it is important as it sorts the serious freelancers from those who are just trying out. Like any other business, you need licensure, which comes at a cost, to begin operations. Similarly, setting out any business, including freelancing, is not for the faint-hearted. You should apply for licensing, health insurance, visa costs, and other overhead day-to-day costs.
Do Find a Comfortable Working Environment
An ideal working environment for freelancers differs from one person to another. For some freelancers, a fruitful freelancing day is a complete day spent without leaving their houses. Others will work best from an office space or a shared workplace. Freelancers with direct clients may also find it fruitful to work from their clients’ offices.
Be it individual brands or PR agencies, working from a comfortable environment makes it easy to understand and meet the clients’ expectations. As you begin, finding out your ideal workplace may take time. However, don’t be rigid. Try out various environments to find one that works best for you. This could be shared workplaces, home environments, local cafes or on the couch. Note that it is important to separate your workplace from your living space to avoid overlapping duties. If you are most comfortable working outside the home, then you could try several cafes in Dubai with wifi including Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Cafe Nero.
You could also rent a co-working space through Letswork in top hotels in Dubai. The monthly charge is only AED 480/month. Whereas the daily and weekly rent starts from AED 39 only. You can also enjoy tea, coffee and water, fast Wi-Fi, meeting room usage and more. Additionally, you can avail discounts and access to talks and workshops. Freelancers should choose a location from 36 options in Dubai or Al Seef Mall in Abu Dhabi.
Do Enjoy Freelancing Flexibility
As mentioned before, freelancing comes with the utmost flexibility. You can work with a freelancing agency or team. If the terms and conditions of the agency don’t excite you anymore, you can quit and find new freelancing opportunities elsewhere with ease. You can also decide when to work. For instance, you can be an early riser or work late. This depends on other existing daily life commitments.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask a Down Payment
Like other businesses and employment opportunities, payment for work submitted is made after the batch is completed. Payment is the most pressing preoccupation for most beginner freelancers. Some find themselves chasing for their money owed months after the job is completed. This doesn’t apply to freelancers only, as it is a common experience with other self-employed individuals. The only advantage freelancers have is that they can ask for payment upfront.
Some freelancers attest to being paid immediately after submitting their projects. Similarly, others state waiting for as long as 6 months to get their dues. All these depend on how you relate to your client. If you have developed enough trust, you can consider working first before sending your invoice. However, for new clients, you can ask for upfront payments.
That aside, it is common to come across clients who like your work but don’t have enough to satisfy your invoice. Always don’t hesitate to blacklist such clients. Requesting for upfront down payment helps eliminate the fiscally challenged clients. You can adjust the payment schedules after building a good relationship with the client. However, note that this is something you can once you have established a reputation as a reliable freelancer in Dubai.
If you are skeptical about working for a con client, consider working with freelancing agencies that provide security to your payments.
Don’t Bow to Pressure to Work Over Time
Being self-employed is both a blessing and a curse. Despite your work schedules being flexible, you can be your hardest taskmaster. Most freelancers, especially those who work from home, attest to concentrating too much on completing the assigned projects that they even ignore their exercise times in the early morning or evening. You should as well take a proper break from your work desk during lunchtime.
For freelancers who don’t work in an office surrounded by other workers, it can be easy to spend too much time on the screen and lose track of time. It is useful to incentivize your breaks. For instance, decide when you will start and stop working and stick to it. If you have to go overboard and work extra hours, reward yourself for the “overtime” worked.
Don’t Forget to Track Your Cash Flow
Without a monthly wage system, freelancers don’t have on and off-seasons. Therefore, as a freelancer, you should ensure that you work enough to sustain yourself throughout the year. This is important, especially after the introduction of VAT in the UAE. Even if you don’t surpass the turnover required to register for VAT, you should keep proper financial accounts in case you get into a legal problem with the Federal Tax Authority.
The Bottom Line
Freelancing is becoming a good option for many graduates in the UAE. Additionally, many companies are willing to hire more freelancers in Dubai in various fields, including designers, web developers, writers, programmers, and data entry personnel. Despite being a viable and attractive way to work for many, upcoming freelancers may not be sure of the rules that govern the scope of their work. That said, ensure that you understand the key tips that guide freelancing.
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