In the article below, I will discuss the challenges of Craigslist and how you can speed up your Craigslist searches and make money NOW using the same technique I used which landed me $1,000 in small gigs in 3 days.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
We have all searched Craigslist ads for clients. If you are like me, you have spent many hours going to the homepage and selecting different cities and states to see if you could meet the needs of potential clients globally and not just regionally. This is a VERY time consuming task and quite tedious.
It is true, even with online classifieds such as Craigslist, the longer you wait to reply the less likely you will land the gig that has been presented to you by the gods/universe through the beauteous entity known as the internet. “Getting the worm” is near to impossible to do if you are hopping from city to city. Finding the ads is one thing, finding them hours if not moments after they were posted is another. We have to keep in mind, that there are tons of designers out there and it is a big spectrum from beginners to pro’s and they are looking at Craigslist as well. With an hour or 2 after posting a gig, the poster could easily receive 25-50 responses. The early bird gets the worm is often common in this scenario.
How long does it truly take for you to go state by state, city by city using the Craigslist website? Well, we conducted this experiment earlier in the year. With 2 employees attempting to do this (keep in mind, they are also searching Gigs and Jobs for web design opportunities and sending an email to the poster), it took a solid 40 hour work week x 2 = 80 hours.
80 hours is a lot of time to spend on Craigslist in 1 week. 80 hours is very valuable to you, is this really how you want to spend it?
So, how many gigs did we land by spending 80 hours on Craigslist in one week? 1. How much did that gig pay? $150. Now, in the world of web design, this is laughable. Not only was your 80 hours not worth $150 (about $2 an hour), but now you have to build a website.
I have known a lot of people who have attempted this. They claim they have had good results but I have a few questions – Isn’t there something else you could be doing with your 80 hours? Do you value your time? Are you a professional? Why would you even THINK of accepting a design job for $150, are you crazy??? In our case, this was an experiment. The $150 job was a full site build on WordPress and it took about 2 weeks to complete. We would not normally take on work at this rate but as part of the experiment we did and the client has a very nice site that they appreciate.
Is Craigslist a Good Resource for Gigs/Jobs?
The answer is yes and no. If you peruse Craigslist, casually and find a neat gig, that is fun. If you spend hours and see the repetition of posters wanting free work (poorly disguised with “build your portfolio” “looking for a college student”) you will get discouraged and angry. Once you dig deeper and you see completely absurd ads such as “Seeking Magento Guru to Build a Store, $100” then you will get very very angry and discouraged. This leaves us asking the questions “is craigslist a good resource for gigs/jobs”.
If you are using Craigslist as one tool in your toolkit to find odd jobs, then it is a GREAT source if you can get the “worm”. If you are using Craigslist as your only source for gigs, then you may need to get a part-time job as well!
What Do You Want? What Do You Need?
As a designer, you have to determine what you need to meet your needs, what you want to charge, and how low you are willing to go. This will be determined by your years of experience, the type of experience you have (corporate vs. freelance, hands-on vs. degree only, designer vs. developer, soft skills vs. tech skills, etc.), and your personal or business goals (is this extra income vs. is this your rent, car, food, and LIFE!). In this blog, we will discuss each of these topics more thoroughly but for now, understanding your rates and what type of gigs you are looking for will help keep your head clear when you dive into the world of Craigslist and the wide variety of posters.
How Do I Make $500 Now?
It may be easier than you think to make $500 NOW off of Craigslist gigs. No, you do not need to dedicate 80 hours and hire employees to manually search each major city and respond to ads. No, you do not need to pay said employee’s an hourly rate and not come out ahead. I am going to introduce you to how I made $1,000 in 3 days from Craigslist gigs.
Step 1: Determine your target market. What type of gig you are looking for. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc and so on.
Step 2: Compose a generic email that you can send over and over. Now, you do not want it to sound TOO generic or it will end up in the circular file cabinet or eTrash can. What you want to do with your email is the following:
- Sound enthusiastic about their project and convey (very briefly) why you would be a good fit.
- Outline your level of expertise and experience.
- Provide at least 3 references to sites you have built on the exact Framework that you are responding about (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
- List anything that they will get if they work with you and not someone else. For example, can you offer free hosting or domain for a year? Can you provide 30 days of tech support post launch? Let them know that they are getting their money’s worth and that you have a process that you follow for good customer service.
- Do not end your email with just your name, thank you, or sincerely. Instead, end your email with a positive reinforcing message that you will be working together soon such as “Looking forward to working together” or “Can’t wait to hear more about your project!”.
Step 3: The most critical step – Download this amazing game changing software.
What Is So Special About This Software?
This software searches Craigslist ads based on your keywords. You determine the locations to search, categories, and dates.
Also, this totally amazing software not only searches Craigslist, but it also searches the following: Backpage, Oodle, EbayClassifieds, Cars.com, Autotrader.com, Boattrader.com, Boats.com, and EBay Motors which makes it a very powerful tool for more than just searching for web design gigs.
For our example, I have stated that you could make $500 today. This number is based on the following screenshot. My query was a search for the term “need WordPress” with a month date range. You will see in the screenshot that there were 14 results and the very top result is selected so it appears in the bottom half window. The ad is someone looking for a designer to create a WordPress site and they will pay $500. The gig was posted 22 hours ago.
If you follow my 3 steps above, you may land a gig just like this one!
I will admit, I am pretty conservative when it comes to spending money on software or other productivity tools. There is so much stuff out there, it is hard to determine what is going to be awesome and what will be a flop and your investment can rack up quickly.
That is the main reason why I have been driven to put this site together. I want to share all of the awesome things that help me succeed each day because I feel that they will truly benefit others. When I purchased this software, I made $250 within 30 minutes. Well, I didn’t “make” it, but I was guaranteed the gig to make it. When the job was complete, the client paid for the gig and we have stayed in touch for future projects.
Within 3 days, I had scored $1,000 in small gigs. In my case, it was 3 gigs with the grand total of $1,000. I have worked on large projects that make tons of money and I know that $1K for 3 projects isn’t a lot, but it is a lot more than I had the week before I started using this software. You have to keep in mind that this is Craigslist and people usually are using it because they have a small budget and like the free advertising. Be prepared to take on a few small gigs, remember, you are building a network along the way that may lead to bigger projects.
One great thing about this software – they update it frequently! Always relevant, always working, I can’t say enough great things about it.