Amazon is the best replacement for products catalogues. Remember the catalogues? Deliveroo is a great example for food delivery marketplace and has replaced the need for restaurants to send out flyers and coupons.
So, what’s the marketplace for services that you can think of right now? It is simple, there is none in the UAE, or in the region. Service providers like Rizek and Urban Company do offer a wide variety of services. However, they are not a marketplace. In fact, they, like any other service provider, can join marketplaces.
So, why isn’t there a proper service marketplace? There are legitimate reasons, and we think we cracked them at Feedni.
We had to think like a service provider to be able to come up with the solutions, and we needed to be well-versed in digital transformations and mobile technologies to be able to match the two together.
As business transformation technology company, Feedni did exactly that, and it now has its products in the app stores. One indicator that we were on the right track, is that more 30 businesses with more than 500 service providers have signed up PRIOR to the release of the Feedni app. They were excited about the prospects of our solutiosn as much as we were!
In the month leading to the release, these partnerships allowed us to enhance our platform while it’s still on the design boards, and has allowed us to produce the best apps out there to get all service providers and their clients up on the cloud with all other businesses.
Feedni, in its (Minimal Viable Product) MVP version, has simple interfaces, multilingual UIs, payment handling for all, bios and galleries, ratings and badges, business analytics, calendar management, advanced booking controls, client management and much more. The next iteration of our platform will take the game to a whole new level.
With the lifestyle possibilities, the freedom of working hours, and no longer being considered a side-hustle, the freelance route is more popular than ever before, but the unpredictability of the market, not to mention the recent disturbances, makes freelancer life challenging, some months having a surplus of customers, to suddenly having non and not knowing when you will receive your next payment.
If you are amongst the collective, offering services such as graphic design, marketing, blogging, or PR to name a few, you may be sitting on all the skills required but without a consistent stream of bookings, you may find yourself in a dilemma to remain financially comfortable. As a freelancer, acquiring customers is one of the biggest challenges you will face, your greatest means for generating customers is to network, network, network!
Although a great amount of work is available through various platforms and websites, there are also a plethora of freelancers ready to pounce immediately, therefore, you need to be proactive and find alternative sources.
With the reduced reach and budgets of freelance businesses, networking is your biggest customer-generator in addition to word-of-mouth referrals, this is where you can capitalise on networking possibilities designed to connect like-minded individuals in your geographic location, forming business relationships with those who can book your service, refer you to their peers, put your name out there amongst their networks, or mutually create business opportunities and ventures.
Freelancers can connect potential customers through various websites for example InterNations, the largest online expat community.
Another valuable gateway to a diverse range of potential customers is to attend business and even social networking events, it could be as simple as a local sports group or the community service clubs, where you can make connections with individuals based in your locality, building a pipeline of contacts in various organisations, who may not require your service immediately, but may do the following month, or know somebody else who does.
Networking can be made even easier if you have companions with you, acting as an icebreaker, consider taking along other freelancers who can also benefit from networking for their specialist fields, making the entire process more enjoyable and rewarding for all, they, in turn, would invite you to other events you may not have otherwise known of.
Benefits of Networking
Customer acquisition is the primary objective, however, networking provides much more than just your revenue stream, it is an opportunity to get a feel for what others are doing and to learn how to adapt the knowledge into your own business, including:
– Discovery of gaps you may have in your business. Taking the newfound knowledge and incorporating it into your own business to fill spaces you were not aware of.
– Understand how your approach is unique to others, taking this information and emphasising your contrasting stance to others in your field.
– Learn new trends in the market from the real world and in real-time, so you can act upon them simultaneously as others, rather than reacting to them afterwards.
– Identify best practices to align your service accordingly.
– Gaining credibility in the market by meeting and discussing topics with people, sharing your valuable insight.
– Grow your social network and enjoy the reason you became a freelancer in the first place, to give yourself an improved work/life balance.
For any business, one of the biggest concerns stems from a lack of customers, this is increased for freelancers who have no retail space for organic foot flow, but as discussed in this article, your ability to generate customers simply takes a different form, the power of networking. Yes, there are social media channels and various digital marketing tools, but never underestimate the power of networking for business growth, making genuine connections, without a torrent of similar freelancers standing in your way.
You may already be doing great, which is wonderful, but hopefully, you may have picked up a few additional points in this article to assist you further on your journey.
What an unexacted year, full of uncertainty and a real wake-up call for us all.
Starting like any other, easing into the highly anticipated year of Expo 2020, Euro 2020, and the Tokyo Olympics. Then it happened… the Coronavirus outbreak. Who could have known it was going to become the largest global pandemic since the Spanish Flu Pandemic 100 years before?
There was continuing uncertainty unfolding about our health, business, and future.
As the days turned to weeks, the realisation was clear, we are all in this for the long run, we need to re-evaluate the way we work in this unfamiliar territory forced upon. Then before we knew it, we were in 2021! So let us look at ways to potentially future proof ourselves for future turmoil.
Actions to incorporate
The hybrid business model has shown great promise for businesses returning to regular routines, working flexibly between home and office, emerging back into office life with adjustments for improved health and safety procedures such as lower capacity offices.
Hybrid business models have also given rise to dynamic roles as opposed to traditional single-focused positions. The new working life demands adaptable and fluid positions to pick up the slack caused by disruptions, whether it is somebody away sick, reduced staff due to financial cutbacks, or simply expanding responsibilities of existing employees, to step up when required.
Embrace digital technology because there is no avoiding it in today’s market, the expanding functionality of digital devices and resources, requires businesses to conform to these advances if they plan to remain competitive. Appoint digital marketing as your primary communication tool, it is your safest option to remain active regardless of external influences.
Migrating to cloud-based servers or offering online services through video calling software both bypass the need for a physical presence, so take advantage of such tools to support the flexibility of conducting your business.
Create a systematic structure to maintain operational workflow, buffering against any external influences which would ordinarily create an unbalance to productivity. This comes down to self-management from each employee, but it must be initiated as a collective workforce, so individuals are aligned to the expected structure.
Management plays a pivotal part in the preparation, both line management and personal management. If you are efficiently trained by motivated by supervisory management, you gain the knowledge and skillset required to execute your role. Personal management is just as important, being accountable for your workload and remaining composed during unstable times.
Become innovative, thinking outside the box and identifying alternativesolutions. When most were put on the spot during the pandemic, it took a long time to find solutions because they were not prepared. It is best to put innovative thinking into practice in everyday situations, training this skill just as any other.
The world is unpredictable, so take action to prepare for further unexpected disruptions. Make sure you establish a secure footing, geared towards the forward progressions discussed. A structured workflow, coupled with an opportune outlook will provide the mental and physical grounding required to overcome potential unrest.
Although there are a plethora of digital possibilities now available at our fingertips, it is not always an easy passage to transition from your existing process, especially when faced with technical language, unfamiliar practices, and potentially costly expenditure.
Going digital in simple terms is the journey of recreating your business model, using digital technology to aid your everyday tasks, streamlining, and improving various aspects of your business, including:
Let us examine some of the major challenges involved in the transformation process and how to overcome these obstacles…
Basic I.T. capabilities
We are currently living in the computer age, the fortunate ones who were schooled in Information Technology are now fairly tech-savvy, those who were educated pre-I.T class are more likely to possess only basic computer skills, making the transition of your business from paper-based to digital much more complicated.
Outsourcing becomes the go-to option in most cases, however, to become holistically digital requires a full digital vision and plan, it would be a grave mistake to assign the task to an external or even internal I.T. department alone and expect the business to just work.
The ideal solution to overcome this obstacle is to implement software catered to your computer skill range, additionally, something which is primarily autonomous and reduces human interaction to prevent becoming overwhelmed. If budget allows, you can consider hiring digital specialists or outsource to consultants to support your in-house team.
Lacking a digital vision/plan
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail, and planning is a major challenge when trying to transition into an unknown capacity such as a digital business when your limited knowledge continuously creates hesitation. It is not uncommon for businesses to generate an idea, settle on a rough timeframe, and then poorly execute the partially-formed plan without a clear vision of their destination such as using their existing organisational structure which is aligned to the present workflow, eventually realising that it does not function the same way.
Your organisational structure and workflows will all require an overhaul to account for the differences digital advances will provide. It is recommended to consult a specialist in the field who has experience handling your business niche.
Neglecting risk assessment
The process of change produces countless barriers throughout the process, many of which are overlooked or worse, disregarded. Throughout the planning stage of a business reorganisation, it is common to only account for the typical risks known for the existing process, not the proposed digital model.
Your digital plan should include a risk assessment to a digital organisation, which account for relevant dangers when transitioning to a digital formation you are not mindful of. The expertise of external risk consultants are worth investing in, it can potentially save you vast amounts of time and resources.
A big drawback during times of change is maintaining a fixed mindset, shutting down fresh ideas and suggestions. Tenacious leadership and a problematic stance will cause a hindrance to progression, especially when dealing with a field you have little experience in.
For the sake of succeeding in your endeavor, you must be open and flexible, with a clear vision of the goal to create the least resistance possible throughout the shift.
Change of management
The sudden arrival of the recent pandemic made it evidently apparent, and unfortunate, that the existing management was far too rigid in times of necessary change. It is never an easy change to replace staff, especially in smaller businesses considering the service and dedication given over the years, however, a conversion from analogue to digital requires a drastic shakeup, so you need to eliminate barriers who may stubbornly be set in their ways and are not supportive in the transition for long-term success.
A similar notion applies to employees who present the human factor of reluctance, possible due to the threat of redundancy.
The ideal solution, for both small and large organisations, would be to show your loyalty by providing training and support for those who are keen and committed to the prosperity of the business, to secure their employment within the company.
Volumes of physical documents to process
Capturing customer data on paper was standard procedure for a very long time, but with the industry progressing around you with electronic data capture and cloud-based storage, you are now disadvantaged in your stagnant position. Now facing the monumental task of trying to convert your paper records into digital information.
For businesses with large volumes of hand-written data, unique organisations such as Ant.Works can digitise your documents, using cognitive machine reading to support your shift to a digital future, opening the possibility of cloud-based storage with zero physical space required and remote accessibility.
Especially a concern for smaller businesses, financial limitations cause a hindrance when trying to go digital, escalating into greater concerns when poor planning causes miscalculation and misallocation of funds.
The best approach to allocating funds is extensive research and alignment to your digitisation plan. Understanding exactly what tools and technology you intend to have, based on your individual tactics to fulfil your customer’s requirements. This action plan will identify long-term objectives to structure your transition, allowing a clear alignment of your financials.
Putting aside the daunting prospect of change, the benefits of discarding your existing legacy systems, to unlock potential advantages through an updated model relevant for today’s market warrants the journey to a digital transition. The possibilities and capabilities will expand exponentially, even if you transition at a steady pace at your comfort level. So, take some time to develop a digital plan, address the hurdles discuss, and transform your business into a competitive force for the market.
Most than likely, your business is overlapping multiple providers within your sector, this is nothing new or disconcerting, it is a part of every business and must be tackled head-on, with the correct measures in place, you can give yourself a competitive edge.
Since you and your rivals compete over a common target audience, your marketing challenge is to set yourself apart, to win over the customers attention by playing on your strengths and unique advantages over your competitors. With countless approaches to distinguish yourself, below are some stand-out options which you can incorporate into your business today!
Branding Tone & Voice
Start internally and align your branding tone and voice to speak directly to your target audience. With appropriate alignment, upholding a consistent tone and voice across your marketing and media channels, allows your brand to embody a character so your communication will reside with your target audience effortlessly. Offering value by creating a persona, your customers can form a bonding relationship, improving the likelihood of capturing their attention. Trying to connect with incorrect tone & voice is like speaking another language, they might decode the message with difficulty, but they are more likely to lose interest.
Appeal to your customer needs
Aimlessly pitching your service will not draw in customers, you must fulfil their needs, so try to understand from their point of view, to offer a solution. This involves extensive research and development, to tweak your service over time, in line with changing demands. When you thoroughly understand your customer, you will be able to offer solutions before they even realise, enabling you to react before competitors, giving you the advantage.
Focus on your uniqueness
Avoid futile battles promoting your service the same way as competitors, you are more likely to lose customers, instead, skip the obvious points and focus on what sets you apart, for example, all cleaning companies clean, but highlighting child/pet-friendly chemical-free solutions will stand out. Don’t be being lured into the false promise of level competition, every company has a unique approach they can apply, so find your one focus point and push this service feature.
Give added value, not just the service
Your customers can receive the same service from many providers, so entice them by adding something to sweeten the deal. It could be aftercare, or an upsell if you have expertise in a related field. Offering additional value will create gratification, receiving something more than they were expecting.
Loyalty and Perks
A loyalty reward arrangement will help you stand out, with the customer openly aware that there is an incentive after a predetermined duration, attracting customers and importantly encourages long-term relationships. Perks work similarly, but with more immediate rewards, such as a one-day-only promotion.
The nature of a service provider is to sell a service as their product, this places great importance on customer service, making it essential to distinguish themselves. Listen to your customer’s feedback, understand what they identify as your strengths and weaknesses, then use this information to help your customers choose you, by highlighting your strengths and improving your weaknesses to dominate through quality, this will result in organic referrals, emphasising your dedication over competitors.
To sum it up, distinguishing yourself from competitors comes down to your unique attributes, effectively highlighting them is the key to entice customers. The smart way is to approach differentiating yourself is to develop your brand’s persona to promote your unique features, to resonate with your target audience.
So, you found your passion in life, educated yourself about it, accumulated a handful of clients, and are now pursuing it as a career after having set yourself up as a freelancer!
But eventually comes the turning point faced by many starting freelancers, sometimes early on, other times creeping up slowly, about whether they can grow into a successful business or will they revert to a traditional job for financial stability. So, freelancers will be asking themselves… can I make this work? Will I continue to find customers? Is this more a hobby rather than a career?
So, what to do…
If you have reached the turning point, contemplating this decision of whether to commit your freelance gig into a fully-fledged business, you are at the difficult junction with essentially only 1 of 2 choices… commit or concede.
It could simply be a brief dry spell, or possibly a drawn-out one you must endure, but if you can muster up the perseverance to see it through, and it is financially viable, then you should emerge into a rewarding and successful business, doing what you love every day.
You may not be the best in your trade (yet), but remain focussed and play towards your skillset, there are customers with varying needs and budgets so target appropriately, but don’t be afraid to explore larger opportunities with bigger clients too, you never know which could be your big break.
If you are having difficulty finding customers, create customer generating opportunities for yourself by expanding your skillset into similar markets, the same way a wedding photographer during the off-season seeks corporate events instead.
Take advantage of the extensive communication tools at your disposal, from social media to your website, just make sure you are out there, exposing your service.
As exciting and empowering as it is to be your own boss, if you are constantly doubting yourself, reluctant to act, or not as passionate as you once were, you will become stagnant and struggle to survive. Eventually, you will be forced to call it a day and seek out a 9 to 5 job to earn a stable and comfortable income, downgrading your freelance career into a hobby or secondary job.
Sometimes less is more… if an overload of clients becomes a struggle to manage, your service quality could deteriorate across the field, affecting long-term relationships, in this situation you can afford to be choosy about which projects you accept.
Ensure your legal contracts are professionally vetted. The last thing you need when trying to grow your business is late or non-payments, make sure you are protected.
Do not depreciate your value. Competition is healthy and you must remain competitive in a thriving market, but avoid underselling yourself. Sometimes it is more important to let your service speak for itself, as mentioned earlier, exercise your ability to choose your projects, should not lose respect to difficult clients by undervaluing yourself.
So, to all the freelancers out there, if you have the passion and the skills required, the sky is the limit. There will be many speedbumps along the way, but with the right mindset and resources, you can overcome any obstacles in your path.
For those of you still on the fence, Feedni is targeting service providers, with a keen focus on bridging the connection between providers and targeted customers in the market. Through the Feedni platform, service providers will be able to showcase their trades and expertise, through modern and innovative technology, connecting the entire service market, with an all-in-one solution.
If you are, or were recently facing the same turning point, which option did you choose? It would be great to hear your direction and share your advice with others in the same position.
Are your business goals and values still relevant in today’s market? Is your personal standing aligned with your business? Would you accept it if your company plateaued?
If you answered no to any of the questions, you are not alone. To maintain your competitive edge and remain relevant, you must evolve and adapt to the continually changing market conditions, and every now and then, this calls for a radical reinvention, no different than how Netflix stopped posting physical DVDs to your home and began streaming instead.
Major business and life decisions can be daunting, with an uncertainty associated with it, maybe even a little excitement, or possibly anticipation, but it can be an incredibly rewarding change, improving the odds for your business’s success… it is also much easier than you may think.
Where to begin
Many individuals have successfully identified their goals, but fear prevents them from change, so they settle down into their comfort zone and remain content.
Well, it is your motive and drive which are the fundamental keys in overcoming this hurdle in reinventing yourself. Be specific about your goals, then your motive will support and guide you, continually reassuring you on your journey, whilst your drive will be the force transporting you towards your goal. If you have the motive and drive, there is no stopping you, just remember, reinventing yourself involves realigning, not recreating, so never lose sight of your unique identity or overwrite the persona which makes you, you!
The 5 steps…
1) Truly acknowledge yourself, to understand who you need to become As mentioned, reinventing yourself includes migrating your characteristics, so identify which aspects and values you want and need to carry over, because these frequently change over time, from habits to mindset, appearance to personality. The new vision of yourself will be the projection of your brand seen by your audience, so make it a powerful one, containing all your strengths, without forgetting to highlight your uniquely identifiable trait.
2) Take risks The whole point of reinventing yourself is to try something new and different, so step out of your comfort zone so you are forced to experiment, be spontaneous, just make sure to enjoy it. It could be something basic such as redesigning your logo, starting a podcast or blog, or it may be more drastic such as targeting a completely new audience. Embrace the excitement of risk, it can itself be a stimulator to go bigger.
3) Surround yourself with ‘real’ people, not yes-men Develop yourself by interacting with those who impart a positive influence on you and your business, who selflessly raise you higher, but who can also become your safety net if required. These individuals may be a mentor, or previous colleague, or simply loved ones who wish for your success. While a support network can be a comfort in your transition, you must be aware of ‘yes’ men and women, whose encouragement may actually harm your success, by misleading your journey milestones.
4) Never stop learning your trade Continue to educate yourself at every opportunity, every day if possible. Absorb knowledge however possible, through courses, industry leaders, innovationists, and role-models, learning new habits to overwrite the ineffective ones. This is also an opportunity to develop your knowledge within your field, but also to expand your reach wider and grow your business into related sectors. The primary outcome is to apply your knowledge to benefit your customers, to offer greater service and quality.
5) Seek tailored advice from a career or life coach Development through professional coaching, specifically catered towards your individual needs, can have an incredible effect on your business and life, improving focus, confidence, and health. Self-assessment has the drawback of being bias and allowing leniency on yourself, therefore external coaching is your biggest influence keeping you on track, with an impartial and unfiltered auditor telling you what you need to hear.
The art of reinvention is not an overnight remedy, sometimes things may naturally fall into place effortlessly, other times you may face knockbacks, so they require persistence, learn to celebrate the small victories along the way. Equipped with a clear vision, a positive attitude, and dedication, you can be sure a positive transformation will follow.
Websites, social media, smartphone applications, and word-of-mouth are just a few channels to reach your target audience, but are you implementing them all? If so, are you utilising them to their maximum ability?
New interaction channels appearing every month, if not every week, offering the ability to connect with individuals both near and far, but which are the most effective and how can you best incorporate them into your marketing strategy? Let us look at some of the most common options and understand how to implement them.
Your digital grounding is your company website, it is generally the first point of call to any potential customer, seeking information on who and what you are. Make the first impression count, be sure your website is optimised for today’s devices, with minimal loading time, and contains updated content.
Another website tool at your disposal is a blog, granted, visual graphics are more effective than text at reaching your audience, however, the inclusion of blog posts and articles reinforces your digital presence, through various algorithms directing data traffic in your favour. Blogs also allow you to connect with your audience in a more personal format, providing valuable insights based on topics relevant to your target market.
Most businesses credit social media as the largest contributor to capturing their audience, however, it is not advised to focus solely on any single channel, but to include a variety of mediums in your marketing strategy, to ensure the greatest exposure and to maximise your reach.
Social media enables you to connect remotely and without time constraints, through a combination of images, videos, audio, and text, to fully engage with your target audience and communicate effectively.
Taking video marketing one step further, if you can deliver high-quality video’s, capturing your audience’s attention within the first seconds, then this fantastically captivating media enables you to deliver targeted information, securing a bond with your audience in a fraction of the time as other channels.
Influencer marketing has been on the rise in recent years, offering businesses the opportunity to effectively reach millions with a single social media post, if the influencer aligns with your target audience. Influencer marketing has become one of the leading ways to target niche markets, who are already interested in your product or service but have not yet been exposed to your brand.
With paid social media adverts, you can improve your delivery efficiency using ‘targeting features’ on social platforms. Targeted advertising ensures your media reaches specifically targeted groups, based on factors including demographic, geographic, interests, and the search topics of your audience.
With such a convenient device, readily available at your fingertips at any moment, it is no surprise that the majority of online browsing and social media interaction is performed via smartphones. So, as mentioned earlier, mobile-friendly website optimisation is important, but the introduction of smartphone applications can be another route to improving customer acquisition, in addition to customer retention as discussed in a previous article.
Organic referrals have, and will, continue to be a valuable method of reaching your target audience. This ‘primarily’ hand-off approach simply requires a consistent and high-quality service to customers, to share and promote your company, but you can push this strategy using referral codes and promotional incentives such as credit for the referee.
Referrals are amongst the most powerful and accurate methods of capturing your target audience, originating from genuine first-hand customer recommendations, communicated to known and trusted, like-minded individuals aligned to your business.
In short, capturing people’s attention is great, but capturing your actual target audience is even better. If you can incorporate the techniques discussed, to ensure your marketing is aligned for each channel, then you will be able to prime your marketing strategy, capture your entire market more effectively, and importantly, grow your business.
If you would like any further information on any of the points discussed, or have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me directly.
With Dubai’s surge in freelancers and SME’s, the city is booming with service-orientated companies, offering a plethora of service’s ranging from coaching, photography, even pet-grooming. So, is Dubai’s service market already maxed out, or are there still opportunities for new entrants into the market?
Spoiled for choice…
Whether you have a simple food craving, or suddenly remember you need to send flowers for your anniversary, you can be assured that somebody can accommodate your needs if you have the persistence to browse through, what sometimes feels like endless service providers for the same product, this is where things become a mini-adventure.
Now, options are great, providing the ability to compare, haggle, or even try alternatives, but does Dubai have too many choices?
It is safe to say, Dubai’s demand for service providers is immense, catering for a melting-pot of diverse cultures and trying to satisfy countless preferences. Whilst some enlist services for their household chores such as maids, others will outsource their dry-cleaning, these two services alone, combined with the volume of demand, justifies the endless companies in Dubai offering these services.
With so many providers in the market, competition intensifies, playing directly into the hands of the consumers, benefiting from favourable prices and alternative options. However, competition can also be the downfall of service providers, sometimes to the extent of closing down, this is naturally followed by new players entering the market, and this cycle goes on.
Love it or hate it, there are a lot of service options available, but is that really a bad thing? It gives us the reassurance that we are never short of choices at our disposal to meet our requirements… now we just need a way to filter them more efficiently.
Room for more…
As mentioned, Dubai is home to such diversity, with constantly shifting demands, this month’s sought-after services may not be the same as the next, so there will always be a window of opportunity for new entrants into the market.
The service market, just as any other, constantly evolves, with technological and innovative advances, making services more efficient, cheaper, environmentally friendly, or simply improves the user experience.
The great thing about Dubai is the inclusion of influences from around the world and the forward-think stance to bring fresh and exciting new services to the city, continuously launching new additions to the service market, you never know what’s around the corner.
So, to put it simply, yes, we are spoiled for choice in Dubai, but it is absolutely justifiable. With so many individual needs, there can never be a generic service catering for all, everybody exercises their demand for a tailored service, and if there is a profit to be had, then service providers are sure to accommodate that need.
Feedni has heard your frustrations over browsing endlessly through service providers, we have understood your dilemma, and we have taken action to simplify your service needs. We are already underway in developing the next-generation service market platform, we will overcome existing obstacles and take the sting out of lengthy provider lists, offering only the best providers, with full transparency through genuine customer reviews, and an innovative CRM to manage your services.
Not long to wait now, in the meantime, you can browse our market insight articles and follow us on Instagram @feedni_app for updates and news on our upcoming platform.
More than 70% of Earth is covered in water, producing more than 50% of our Oxygen, and absorbing around 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans (UN) from burning fossil fuels.
Yesterday’s World Environment Day, and World Oceans Day later in the week, draw attention to the impact we are all having on our Earth, so we need to be mindful of our actions and how we can try to help.
Major contributors affecting our planet
From Dubai’s pearl-diving heritage through to today’s fishing industry, the UAE has a close bond with the water. Our demand from the oceans is vast, from providing the oxygen we breathe, food and water we consume, jobs for our fishermen, and the renewable energy to fuel our daily lives.
Today, the majority of UAE’s drinking water comes from the desalination of seawater according to Tappwater, a process that consumes considerable amounts of energy. The UAE’s further demand for large quantities of water is to fuel air-conditioners, to combat extreme temperatures faced in the Emirates.
The oceans support global warming by absorbing human-produced carbon dioxide, which raises acidity levels, severely impacting the marina-life and corals as a result of the continuous increase in CO2 being produced.
Sea levels are rising… you would have heard the statement many times before, the reason behind this is the unique function the oceans play in regulating earth’s temperature, absorbing excess heat to cool the earth resulting in water expansion, this coupled with the melting polar ice caps are raising sea levels. This sacrifice by the ocean again comes at the cost of marine life and corals.
Excessive plastic usage. Plasticoceans identified that each year 50% of all plastics produced are single-use, as much as 10 million tons end up in our oceans, leaching toxic chemicals into the water, and as many as 1 million animals are killed because of plastic pollution.
Do your bit in 5 simple steps
Simple steps, even small ones, will make a huge difference in the bigger picture, the joint effect of individuals working towards the same goal will have a profound global impact. Here are a few starting points which you can apply right away:
1) Conserve energy – Set thermostat to 24°C and switch to auto (every degree higher consumes 5% lower AC consumption, DEWA).
2) Conserve water and prevent waste runoff – Don’t leave taps running, try drip-watering house and garden plants, and you really don’t need to wash your car 3 times a week!
3) Use fewer, or ideally no single-use plastics (use re-usable where possible). Treat yourself to a thermos and have your barista fill your daily coffee into that, this will bypass the plastic-lined disposable cups.
4) Reduce your carbon footprint (use public transport when possible). The UAE has a fantastic infrastructure in place, so take advantage of the metro, tram or taxi service.
Additionally, shopping locally reduces the carbon footprint and air pollution created from goods shipped from afar. Local produce is fresher and supports the economy!
5) The fun one… go scuba diving! Get submerged and experience the world below first-hand, to understand the precious resource we are harming. You can support one of the many organisations operating ocean clean-up drives, collecting plastics and other man-made rubbish which ends up in the sea and harms marine life, such as disposable the face masks which fish are becoming caught in.
To sum up
If we collectively make smarter choices in our everyday routines, we can each contribute our part in creating a favourable future. Basic considerations such as reducing single-use plastics, adjusting thermostats and being considerate with water consumption all help.
If we can, as a minimum, understand the cause and effects discussed in this article, it creates a starting step in understanding the problem and beginning the journey to take the required action to support our planet.
For further educational insights, tune in to the presentation on World Ocean Day (8th June) which will be held by unworldoceansday.