In 2015 I’we worked as a full-time, 9 to 5, WordPress developer with aspirations for bigger and better projects, and freelance wasn’t an option (company policy). Then, in January (2016) I had resigned and started working for another company, full-time, 9 to 5, but I had the freedom to work as a freelancer if I wanted to, and so I did, few projects here in there from time to time.
However, those few freelance jobs were what I needed to do! It was new, fresh, exciting and payed well. I was so motivated that I have created this website and 3 free WordPress plugins published on WordPress Repository.
… but I was never fully committed to the art of freelancing.
I’ve even made an account on Upwork, completed a WordPress test with 4.9/5 score, but I haven’t managed to see any good clients worth my time. Small assignments, poorly paid with no excitement – if I were unemployed, I would have applied to those jobs, but since I wasn’t, I wanted something more. Then I found out about Toptal, I read everything there is to about them. What is amazing and impactful on me about Toptal is:
- They brag about the top 3% freelance talent, which makes me think that we as freelancer are fully committed on doing our best work as well as that the clients that will hire us trough Toptal are amazing.
- Their screening process seems to be done in a extremely good way, removing all the noisy “developers”.
- Every job pays extremely well.
Also, some pluses here and there:
- I still get to work from home which means there’s no travel time.
- Less stress since I’m working with great clients.
I created an account, scheduled a screening call and waited. Then I’ve missed the call since I didn’t calculate time zones properly; afterwards I had a ton of work to do on my day job, so I’ve missed my opportunity.
When I had a little bit more time on my hands, I gave Toptal another chance or should I say, I gave myself another chance. Since my application was closed because they haven’t heard from me in quite some time, I decided to send them an email. In less than a half an hour, they have reopened my application.
Here’s how the screening process and admission to Toptal works:
- First step is Language & Personality. In this step you have a casual conversation in which they asses your English language knowledge as well as your personality.
- Second step is In-Depth Skill Review. Here, I was given a test that I needed to complete in 1.5 hours. This test tests your skills in both coding as well as answering questions on your field of expertise.
- Third step is Live Screening. I had to work on real world problems and complete the assignment in less than an hour.
- Fourth step is Test Project(s). I was given a project (the one you would expect from a client) where I had to do some real work in less than two weeks. After you are done, you need to schedule a call and present that project to a Toptal engineer as if you were presenting that project to a client, also, you need to explain your code and what you did.
Now, all you have to do is to sign some contracts, read everything you need to read to better understand the company, its policies as well as what you can/can’t do, fill your profile and you’re done.
If you are a freelancer or even a client, make sure you use my referral link to sign up for Toptal.
P.S. You’re going to need a way to receive payments, I recommend Payoneer.