Abu Dhabi: Students who graduate from their universities with no plan for their career undergo a critical phase whereby they wish they had a bit more cash. Today you can be your own boss with just a little creativity and determination.
Experts who spoke to Gulf News said that the availability of freelancing websites has helped turn an individual’s skills, talents and abilities into a good money-making opportunity.
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“Being a freelancer is very different than being an employee. It is extremely enjoyable and satisfying. I worked for almost one year as a programmer and web developer for many local and international companies. They paid me around Dh200 per hour for small projects such as, designing a poster related to the computer engineering field. Whereas huge projects, such as designing official websites or developing mobile applications, the payment can reach up to almost Dh4,000 per month,” a junior student at Abu Dhabi University told Gulf News.
“I found my freelance work as a very good opportunity to pay all my own expenses and depend on my self,” a 20-year-old Oubai Abbas added.
SwiftTask is the first freelancing portal in the Middle East and North Africa that started out in 2008 as an idea. The website was officially launched in the beginning of 2011, where the user can create his/her personal account, update the CV and complete the required information to be later asked for an online interview to verify his/her credibility, a marketing executive in the capital said.
“Task providers and freelancers are the two major elements of the SwiftTask website, while the website is the mediator which helps both of them in defining their needs and getting the best offers and facilitates,” Ahmad Medhat Al Sabbahy, a marketing executive at SwiftTask told Gulf News.
“By registering in the freelancing website, you assure getting an immediate access to a large pool of skilled freelancers and professional task providers discovering new chances everyday, whether you work individually or you run your own business,” Al Sabbahy added.
SwiftTask, which is located in Liwa Street close to the capital’s central souk, provides filming, architecture, writing, business, music, photography, and web design opportunities in order to help freelancers to express their expertise, get hired and paid, according to another marketing executive in the capital.
Al Sabbahy also pointed out that all privacy settings are being protected by the Abu Dhabi National Bank and Al Ansari Exchange Office to avoid any fraud or deception cases that might happen when a freelancer deals with a task provider.
“The SwiftTask services and social networking websites aim to increase targeted web traffic in order to reach existing clients and get more deals. For instance, Facebook and Twitter users increase 10 per cent on a weekly basis, while they vary between 1000-2000 users per week on SwiftTask official website. Additionally, summer is the time of the year where the number of users increase to apply for SwiftTask opportunities,” Al Sabbahy said.
“I believe that the experience of applying on freelancing websites is definitely worth it. Getting paid will help both students and fresh graduates in summer to afford their personal expenses, instead of relying on their parents as a main income source. It is not only about the money, it is about the new experience you learn and the new people you meet. The working field builds a new side of the individual’s personality. It gives you a chance to explore your talents,” Shounaz Mekky, a fresh graduate told Gulf News.
On the other hand, Moataz Abdel Wahab, who works in KEO International Consultants, has agreed that stepping into the world of freelancing can in fact provide a good money-making opportunity, however, it does not help in building a future career or a professional reputation.
The 33-year-old project architect believes that working as a freelancer is all about quantity not quality. It is mainly a dead-end job where the individual has a very little chance to improve into a higher paid position.