The good old days of Web Design are over.
When I started building websites in 2004, I literally had an ad in the Yellow Pages. I focused my search on the Greater Cincinnati area, attended Chamber networking brunches, and relied on word of mouth to spread the word about my services. If I got a call, every new relationship began with coffee at a local coffee shop, a 12-page proposal, and then waiting, waiting, waiting, so see if I'd been hired.
I thought that I'd hit the big time when I retained a client from Pittsburgh. That allowed me to say "I have clients...all over the country".
The freelance world has changed dramatically. Ever since the economic bust of 2008, businesses began rethinking how they are going to spend their marketing (read: website) dollars. The days or coffee and handshakes are gone. The days of non-stop phone calls from prospects are gone. The days of continual email inquiries are gone. So how does one keep the queue line filled with new job prospects and new jobs?
Toptal engages the top 3% of qualified contractors in the world and by becoming a part of the Toptal Web Developers Group, I can be one of those 3%. This means I can get connected with the likes of airbnb, Zendesk, Pfizer and many more. Now, rather than developing a small website for a mom and pop record shop where payment is often delayed, I can network into a world-class organization of like-minded professionals and companies, provide the best possible front-end web development skills and never have to "chase checks" again.
Toptal. No more chamber of commerce meet and greets. I am doing it right.