I was lucky enough to get an entry level position as a front-end web developer at Envano, one of the best digital marketing agencies around the area. This was just within weeks of graduating with an associate degree in web development and design. Fast-forward three and a half years, and I'm now a software engineer with experience working across the full development stack. Little did I know that I will get experience in leadership, time management, and personal growth in this agency. Time flies for sure, especially when you enjoy what you are doing and having fun while at it.
The important lesson is that when you do things for your own fun, nothing stops you from ultimate creativity and genius. – Steve Wozniak
Early this year, my wife and I made a huge decision. We would quit our well-paying jobs and move to Utah. Yes, we would leave everything behind (including family and best friends) for a new and exciting experience. For sure a crazy idea. I had several options due to my experience at Envano. I could apply for a job in many of the tech companies in Utah, it was a good idea but I wanted something different. I'd read various articles and listened to podcasts on many successful freelancers making a good income on a flexible schedule and most importantly, enjoying their work. That is exactly what I wanted, something flexible, fun, a well paid. The flexibility would also allow me to study for my master's degree in Computer Science, another reason to freelance.
A few weeks into my freelance research I found Upwork and Freelancer, both being a marketplace for freelancers and businesses. I created accounts on both, completed my profile, and applied for projects. I didn't get the first projects I applied for but I thought that was alright since I was just starting. I continue to apply for projects and the same thing happened. No one was hiring me. Was I applying for projects outside of skills? Was I a bad developer? It was really frustrating. I started to question my ability as a developer and freelancing itself.
It turns out the reason I wasn't getting the projects was due to other people charging less. An approach I'm not a big fan of for many reasons. I take pride in every project I work on and I like to deliver high-quality work. I must charge for that and the experience I offer. I respect other developers but charging less to win a project is something I don't agree with.
I didn't give up and I eventually stumbled into Toptal via Software Engineering Daily. Toptal is an elite marketplace where you can find high-quality freelancers of multiple levels of skill sets. Two things that caught my attention right away were the "top 3%" hiring approach and rigorous screening process. I was up for the challenge after reading a few positive articles about Toptal. I went a head and eagerly created my Toptal account to start the process. I believe Toptal could be the key to getting a flexible schedule and stable income while working with reputable companies.
I encourage any developer interested in freelancing to give Toptal a try and go through the application process. Right now I'm getting ready for the Language & Personality test via Skype.
Wish me luck!