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I want to break free!
Media freelancing is big business in Dubai, but working on your own terms is not easy. Here are its pros and cons.
November 9, 2008 9:27 by kippreport
So freelancing can be a lucrative business for those who can guarantee reliable delivery of quality content and negotiate good rates. And if you can do the former, there’s more room for the latter. The next problem is getting paid. Nearly every freelancer interviewed for this article complained about late payments or non-payment on the part of clients, and oddly enough, the worst offenders are usually the best-known names: Multinational ad agencies and large media companies.
Editors say the same. One Dubai magazine editor says she is constrained by two things: A low freelance rate decreed by management and the fact that her accounts department needs to be harassed every time it needs to issue a check. “It’s a shame, because there are a lot of freelancers out there who I would love to use on a more regular basis, but it gets a bit embarrassing when they don’t get paid on time,” she says. The editor asked not to be named, for obvious reasons.
“The biggest problem with the job is bad debtors,” says Richard Whitehead, “chief scribe” of WhiteFox Media, a two-man content provider that launched in June as a limited liability corporation (LLC) based in Dubai Media City. “You should expect to wait between four and 12 months before getting paid.” He adds it would be impossible to run a freelance agency like his in the UAE without somebody spending much of his time chasing bad debt – which, thankfully from his point of view, is his partner’s job.