When I was starting out my business, initially finding clients was a pain in the ass. Where to get clients is one of the most common questions young consultants have when staring out. I read a bunch of blogs on places to search to find job postings. Every morning I would go to twitter and search for Ruby on Rails jobs. I would then find a few that fit our skill set and send a message about Apollo Studios and offer to set up a client phone call. I would do this for about 7 different websites (UpWork, Craigslist, Twitter, Facebook, etc). This process is very time consuming.
I want to show you how to leverage If This Then That (IFTTT) and Slack channels to aggregate potential leads into one place. Using this technique will save you hours every week!
IFTTT lets you connect different apps together based off 'triggers'. Triggers run actions and together are called recipes. IFTTT is well known among hobbyists looking to connect to apps together without hard-coding an API between them. Lets take a look into how we can use IFTTT to automate our job/ contract searches.
My team uses slack for our communications, so thats what we will be using in this example. However, IFTTT can be integrated with many different outputs. If Slack isn't your thing substitute it out for another service.
First make a list of all the websites where you might be able to find a potential client. My list looks something like this:
Next, lets set up a slack channel called 'leads' (name it whatever you want). This is where all our potential job leads will go. I turned notifications off for this channel, I set up an automatic reminder in my 'general' channel to remind me to checkin with the incoming leads.
Finally, connect each channel you would like to pull into IFTTT. This usually entails entering a username and password and allowing IFTTT permission to read/write to the service.
As I said before, it took hours each week to check these one by one. This is where IFTTT comes in. Lets create a new recipe for each of the above websites.
- Reddit: there is a subreddit called r/railsjobs that gets a few updates a week. I created a new recipe that hooks into that subreddit and whenever a new post occurs, it posts a message into my slack channel.
- Twitter: generally it is difficult to narrow down the results from a Twitter search, but luckily Twitter has 'advance search' features that allow us to include boolean queries. My channel is currently set up to search for 'Ruby Rails Consult OR contract OR hiring OR job'
- Craigslist: I set up one of these for each city I am interested in offering my services. You have to go to Craigslist and narrow down your results until you're satisfied, then copy the url in your browser into the IFTTT channel.
- UpWork: This one is a bit more challenging. In order to get custom website searches to work, you first have to check to see if they provide an RSS/Atom feed of the search query for their users. If they do then you can add it to a popular RSS feed called Feedly. Feedly can then be hooked up into IFTTT and pushed to your Slack channel.
After you add each of these channels, you might have to do some twerking to limit the quantity vs quality of the leads. The better your filters, the better results you will get! Try and narrow it down to a top 10 (max) for each service.
Using the above channels you will save hours each week searching for leads! If you have any questions feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!