The new-worker’s dilemma

por ddanielbee

I studied at an university where entrepreneurship was considered the single, best quality any human being could have. They stressed the good parts of having your own company so much, you even started forgetting about the bad ones (and as many good parts as there are, there’s bad parts). So, being as influenceable as any student can be, I went ahead and started my own company. I won’t say it was a big mistake, I will just say it didn’t work out for a myriad of reasons, and I remembered then, that the sugar coating our professors put on entrepreneurship covered some shabby parts of the construct.

Now, I’m sitting here, trying to figure out how to go back to the work market after being away from it for a year and a half on my own company. As I see it, there’s always 3 options. Finding a stable job, Freelancing or Contracting. The first option is kind of weird to me, as I’ve always been a freelancer, managing my own time, even when I had my own company I would choose the moments where I would work on different things (that ended up being, that I worked all the time, but that’s a different story). I’ve tried a lot of freelancing websites, like Elance, Freelancer, Peoplepehour, etc. I don’t like them. I feel like all the jobs anyone posts there are low paying, fast jobs that aren’t even worth placing on your portfolio. So, at a friend’s advice, I went to Toptal and here’s what I think about it so far.

  • It’s elite: Toptal receives thousands of applications every month and only 3% of the applicants pass. That’s a small amount for such a big number, and it’s so different from the other sites out there that just allow anyone to compete with anyone.
  • Work is long and rewarding: Jobs I’ve seen at Toptal so far include a long amount of time and seem really rewarding. And I’m not talking only about the money. A problem I had with other freelancing websites, is that I was never proud of the work I was doing. That doesn’t seem to be a problem with Toptal.
  • Big Companies, Great Companies: Work is not for anyone as well. The work pool is based on a number of great companies that keep coming back based on great results. It’s not just creating demand through offer, it’s creating offer through high quality demand and maintaining that demand with amazing work.

Needless to say, I just applied to Toptal, and I’m hoping to be inside the top 3% that make it into the Toptal Web Freelancers group. I think I found the road to me, and I can’t wait to get started. I highly recommend Toptal for anyone looking to start in the contracting business.