Do I want to freelance, or do I want to work a job?
I’m not sure. But I strongly suspect that freelancing is where it’s at. Why? Increased responsibility, for your books, for your brand image, for your paycheck. Most people would shy away from responsibility. But whenever something had to be done on the computer, I always chose to do everything myself. The end result? I learned, and grew, and just became better.
Working at a company was fun. It was like school, except that people were anxious to perform otherwise they’d get expelled. On a slow day, there was always office politics to give you a chuckle. And it was the right kind of company. But after a while, my mind grew fat and complacent. There was no incentive for going above and beyond – and when I did, it went unused.
I remember when I first came to Berlin. I camped in the woods on the weekends to save on hostel fees. I had a map full of bookmarks. I attended many events to network and find job opportunities. I talked with everyone, everywhere. I even went dumpster diving with hippies (not doing that again though).
Now that I’ve started freelancing, it’s all coming back. The sweat in my palms, the pressure to get out and perform, the responsibilities that weigh upon me… I feel truly alive.
So far I’ve been doing work for contacts, but it certainly isn’t easy finding new ones. I just made an account on Upwork, but it seems that all the elite go to Toptal. Looking at their blog, you can see why. It’s one of the 2 companies that actually have a corporate blog with valuable content – the other one is Digital Ocean. Writing a blog post to get priority access is obviously a cover letter with integrated free promotion, but I have no qualms because it looks like the people there are seriously smart.
They say that Toptal only accepts 3% of applicants. Looking at the Github accounts of some of their freelancers, it doesn’t look like I have a good chance – then again, they’re all 30+. To maximize your chances of becoming an elite, you have to join the elite… so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.