Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Freelancing + Jordan = Drama

Freelancing is great, we surely need more freelancers in Jordan and everywhere else. Designers, programmers, accountants, copywriters, translators, event managers…you name it; all companies need it.

There are numerous problems with freelancing in Jordan:

  1. Most people claiming to freelance have actually full-time jobs that prohibit it.
  2. The above will cause you delays by default, because as there jobs are demanding you will have to be put as a second priority and suffer delays in your job request.
  3. If they are actually 100% freelancers chances are they haven’t found someone to pay them for a full time job yet, and they will work with you until that dream job comes to life. Then, you get screwed over with delays and half a$$ed work.
  4. Companies look to save with freelancers, elsewhere in the world a freelancer/contractor gets paid very well for a contracting Job to make up for the lack of full-time employment benefits. Which is a fair deal.

I think there should be an initiative to make self-employment a valid choice in the country:

  1. Pay fair rates to freelancers while committing to pay on time.
  2. Freelancers to become more professional and committed in their engagements.

I think a time like now with the economical situation everyone is facing, freelancing can save lots of companies. Most of which are not confident about expanding their employee base for fear of stable revenues, can really use a professional freelancer network to still satisfy their current projects and not commit to a larger employee base if the economical situation worsens and they their revenue levels decline.

People who prefer a relaxed and personally managed time can use freelancing jobs to help create the lifestyle they seek, working for few months, then taking time off and so on.

4 Comments so far

  1. dadan on April 8th, 2009

    100% freelancer here :)

    nice post, i have to say most requests i received from my website for freelance work, were clients who want cheap fast high quality designs .. which is mad and sad.

    i know a lot of friends who tried freelance, but it didn’t work out with them. my advice is try freelance to the global market. which is much better than working with local companies, hell they pay nothing for their own staff why should they pay for freelancers.

  2. jaraad on April 9th, 2009

    It seems I have been away from Jordan for a long time. I never expected to read about such topic from Jordan. I am very pleased to read about it and I would like to know what Jordanians think about it. I agree with all the points you mentioned.
    As you mentioned freelancers (or private contractors) earn more money than fulltime employees because companies don’t bother with their health insurance or other payments like social security or other related payments.
    I think the common believe in Jordan is that one should always find a secure job, and this is achieved by working in public sectors or otherwise, to work in private companies. Such attitude makes it difficult for Jordanians to adopt the freelancer approach. I very much believe in freelancing because it forces one to be professional. Since freelancers don’t have steady job they strive to be the best in what they do.
    I consider freelancer to be like a trader but instead of selling books, cars, etc. a freelancer sells his knowledge. Hopefully, by time freelancing would be something catching on in Jordan.

  3. kinziblogs on April 9th, 2009

    100% Free Lancer too. The thing I hate about free-lancing in Jordan is that you are the last person to get paid, and you have to hone your bill-collecting skills with your writing skills.

    I had to threaten to sue the owner of one magazine to get paid. I did get paid in the end, but the other free-lancers who wouldn’t were stuck when the mag folded.

  4. shalabieh on April 10th, 2009

    As someone who has freelanced 100% and also had both a full time job and freelance contracts I disagree about your generalization that if a freelancer also has a steady job then quality of service is diminished.

    I think it depends on the work ethic of the freelancer and setting realistic targets from both the client and the freelancer.

    I also think that as an employer it is your responsibility to check references and ask for contacts of previous clients to double check these things. When I was a freelancer I depended on referrals, my reputation was how I go the work not just the end product I deliver. So I think these things have to be factored in to your argument.

    And I also second Kinzi’s point about payment a lot of employers want things and want them now but when the product is delivered they seem to forget about payment.

    Finally you say that as freelancers we should be paid a higher wage, I am all for it but when you have fresh grads desperate for experience and constantly underselling themselves … or someone who is poorly paid and wants to supplement their wages this is what happens. Factor in how freelancers guard their work and their rates you never really know what the going rate for your service is so pricing is always a dilemma.

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