Stealing Freelancers' Jobs

Recently I was chatting with Reilly Chase about finding customers by monitoring online communities. He suggested that it’s a good idea to monitor Upwork, a job board for freelancers. I didn’t immediately understand, so I asked him what type of people would find that useful:



He said that he got the idea from Tyler Tringas, and automated the process. Here is an excerpt from Tyler’s book:

If your Micro-SaaS replaces a job that your customers would typically hire a freelancer or consultant for - great fodder for business ideas - then job boards can be a fantastic place to find new customers. Set up a regular process to search for job postings on every site you can find and tell job posters they can "hire" your app instead.

I knew several of my freelance clients had been interested in hiring me to build a store locator so I figured that was probably happening elsewhere. I had previously used just one or two sites like oDesk and Elance (both of which are now, but now I created accounts on every one I could find. I would trawl the sites for jobs that included a store locator in the requirements, "apply" for the job and pitch them on using Storemapper instead.

While I was freelancing I discovered that two of the major programming freelance sites let you create an RSS feed for new jobs that matched certain search terms. So I made a feed for any new jobs that contained "store locator" and used IFTTT to trigger an email to me with the link. I'd quickly confirm it made sense, then paste in a standard pitch to the effect of "I don't want to do this job but you should use my app for this part of the gig" totaling about 30 seconds are work with a pretty high success rate of getting new customers.

In practice

Syften monitors for you, but you still need to create an Upwork account to be able to apply.