Dark side and light side of freelancing and which platform is preferable to work with?

I am Karan Pujara, from Ahmedabad-India, running the web and mobile-based book exchange platform, StudentDesk.in and working as a freelancer with many overseas clients. Here I am sharing experience of working with different clients of different freelancing platforms and why it is best opportunity for any freelancer to join Toptal as compare to other platforms.

dark-side-and-light-side-of-freelancingI started Bachelor of computer engineering in 2011, all those days were passing on in having fun with friends and night outs. In 2013 during my 3rd year of engineering, I met one of my junior of my previous college who was actively doing freelancing work along with studies and was earning 1500$ per month which was very good amount for second year engineering student. I was speechless and asked him about how he is making this decent amount of money. He gave me list of freelancing websites, when I was going through it, it felt like how we trust someone from these websites? what if they will get the work done but then, will refuse to pay? So, here everything relies on 1) Trust 2) Quality of work.

I started finding projects and my other friends who were technically better gave me surety that if I get good projects then they were ready to handle technical aspect of the project and I have to deal with all the clients. As a new freelancer with no reviews and no ratings, It was too hard to convince clients on those freelancing sites. When I told them that “we are team of developers and are capable enough to work on this project” but everybody rejected my proposal. After months of hard work, I learned so many things like: how to bid in a way that client should look carefully at your proposal, how to analyze project and how to convince clients. Finally I got one project and was extremely happy that I was about to make my first 400$ after paying money to my tech team. I did submit work as per time frame, client told me that he didn’t liked our work and our quality is not good enough for getting paid. I asked him to give us required changes and gave him surety that we will do it asap. He gave us few changes and when we submitted our first milestone, he ran away and when I looked at that website, it’s old version was updated with our new code but I didn’t made a penny after submitting quality work.

What I learnt from this is

“Never trust anybody blindly”.

I ended up with debt of 600$ which I have to pay to my tech team. After that incident, I met few very good clients and after over all calculations I figured out that I didn’t make decent amount due to unethical clients otherwise if all were genuine than I might have purchased my favorite bike with that earnings đŸ™‚

“Some time things do not work as expected but never give up. Learn and from experience and get ready for next challenge in this GAME of LIFE.”

During my last year, I learned programming and developed www.StudentDesk.in – The book exchange platform by with the use of PHP based framework Laravel 3. As I learned programming, now I was capable to deal with technical experts in those freelancing sites. I was working with many overseas clients so decided not to go for job and chosen freelancing web development for full time. But overall I was not satisfied because:

  1. If you are New freelancer than people will not trust and will ask you to work for very very cheap pay.
  2. If you want to work with well known companies, its just 0.001% chance.
  3. Trust is still biggest issue for both sides. Freelancer and Employer.
  4. High commission rates by freelancer marketplace.

Recently I came to know about Toptal and I was amazed by seeing that:

  1. Their screening process are tough enough that they are ensuring top 3% of talented freelancers.
  2. “List of associated Clients” and I loved it. Imagine if you want to work with hottest startup like Airbnb? is there any way? Before few years, it was very difficult to reach out to  highly reputed company/startup and get chance to work with their team as a freelancer but Toptal is giving us an opportunity and your dream will come true to work with one of the best product like Airbnb.
  3. To build a great company, you need great team and great team can be made up of recruiting experts across the globe.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work card with colorful background

By recruiting talent across the globe, Toptal itself proves that experts from different cities/counties can join hands together to build a great product. Location doesn’t matter in this era of technology. This is the main reason I do respect Toptal’s vision of connecting talented freelancers with amazing companies.


toptal global network


Totpal team across the world

These are some obvious yet powerful insights I have given.

I would be happy to hear from you guys so do comment and feel free to share experience of your freelancing journey.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *