September 16, 2021 maxceem in Bali: The Life of a Dedicated Freelancer – The Topcoder Nation Show #8

Endless margaritas, social dancing, running, yoga, and greenery. It all sounds too good to be true, but that is the life that our outstanding copilot, maxceem, enjoyed in Bali. He is one of a kind, a seasoned developer who was searching for opportunities to generate more income online and found Topcoder. In less than one year he became a copilot, qualified for his first TCO, and the rest is history.

Maksym on a regular day of work in Bali.

“First I couldn’t believe it. I was very skeptical. Prizes were quite good. In all other places prizes were short, maybe small toys. And there (in Topcoder) prizes were one thousand dollars, two thousand dollars. I said really? Are you going to pay that?”

maxceem, being skeptical about Topcoder rewards.

There should be certain skepticism when joining a freelancing platform nowadays. Maksym made the point by expressing typical concerns when joining a platform or searching for clients.

It’s worth mentioning that he has explored a myriad of platforms and means to generate income as a freelancer, not just Topcoder. This broad experience is valuable to gauge the influence of making things easy to work with clients, as he mentioned that Topcoder removes the burden from his shoulders when it comes to client management, payments, operations, and contracts. 

All the more, he embraces the community, showing his admiration for members such as wcheung, a superb reviewer and inspiration, and gondzo, the copilot involved in his first-ever victory in Topcoder.

Without further ado, please enjoy the wisdom gems he shared with us during the interview.


These lessons, tips, and advice captured my attention, they may also help you:

  • It took him less than one year dedicated to competitions to gather the experience needed to become a copilot. 
  • He developed his travel lifestyle organically without pushing, discovering that he could live anywhere. As a freelancer he can make more money than working for other people.
  • As an avid salsa dancer, he founded a salsa school in Bali.
  • He started winning challenges when changed his approach from wanting to earn money to wanting to learn something new. It reduced the frustration of his first losses.
  • He exposed finance data from Topcoder by sharing the highest amount he has made in a month: $7,000.

Topcoder Nation Show #8 is up on YouTube. See timestamps below for a summary.


  • On freelancing: 02:47 – 03:40
  • Realizing he could add traveling to his freelance lifestyle: 04:00 – 05:30
  • Exploring Bali for two months: 05:45 – 08:15
  • Starting a Salsa (dance) school in Bali: 08:15 – 09:25
  • The warm weather and his favorite things from Bali: 09:40 – 12:22
  • Income generation and other challenges of living abroad: 12:30 – 14:44
  • Supporting his lifestyle through different customers before discovering Topcoder: 14:50 – 16:50
  • Looking for competitions and finding Topcoder: 16:50 – 19:02
  • Starting to earn money after his third attempt in challenges: 19:04 – 20:34
  • Approaching challenges as a learning experience to reduce frustration: 20:38 – 21:25
  • Improving his skills by reading the review scorecard (feedback): 21:25 – 22:10
  • Keeping up to date with the technologies in development: 23:30 – 26:30
  • Making his bed first thing in the morning and other habits: 27:05 – 28:55


We held an AMA (ask me anything) with maxceem. Curious community members asked questions for him to ponder. Watch the video from 30:42 to check out the replies to questions such as:

  • Why Topcoder and not other platforms such as freelancer, upwork, toptal, etc.?
  • How do you find clients as a freelancer? 
  • What is the highest you have made in a month through Topcoder? (This is AMA, so you should answer 🙂 )
  • Your advice for someone who is just starting with Dev Challenges in Topcoder?
  • Name two developers in Topcoder who you admire the most and why?
  • Who was your favourite co-pilot when you were just starting with Topcoder and why?
  • If you had to start doing Topcoder from scratch, what would you do differently?
  • Advice for a newbie to get started among the different options such as challenges, competitive programming or gig work.


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Peace out.


Are you living the gig economy lifestyle at Topcoder? Want to join fellow members? Share your story, your travels, and experiences about the ultimate goal of working at Topcoder; the freedom, the flexibility, and the earnings that make it happen! Join Topcoder Nation.

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