Both of these companies are on my radar because I like the founder’s stories and the stuff they make. I’ve never actually found a job using these guys, but if I were looking for a job, these would be the first two places I would go to.
Toptal seems to make a point of being the best place to find really good programmers. The only scary thing about Toptal would be overcoming the fear of rejection that they might not let you into their marketplace. They vet everyone who comes to their marketplace because they want to ensure they only market programmers who are really good.
They seem to be an agency + marketplace. I think a programmer could land cool gigs with their help.
Being a freelancer can suck. Freelancers do their own government compliance, they act as their own marketing department and there is a crazy cycle of looking for projects, executing projects, billing for projects and looking for more projects. This is a lot of stuff to deal with on your own. It’s hard work.
I believe Toptal helps with this sort of stuff. They vet everyone so they will have a good idea for what you need. They have existing relationships with companies so they market for you. I believe the companies pay Toptal and they pay you which makes your billing/tax challenges much less complex.
If you just want to focus on writing beautiful code, Toptal might be great.
There are always interesting looking programming jobs on this site. The companies pay to make their listings so the positions are listed by motivated companies looking to hire remote workers.
Here it appears that one is more likely to find a job here, as opposed to a freelancer type commitment.
Another cool thing about RemoteOK.io is that Peter Levels is the guy behind the site. He does a lot of interesting work in the remote money making sphere.