I was listening to my new favorite pod the other day (syntax.fm) with Wes Bos and Scott Toinski, and they were talking on consulting, finding work, and general freelance goodness. One of them, Scott I think, hemmed at the idea of using Craigslist to find work. Well, maybe he didn’t “hemm”, but was not too enthusiastic about it.
I discovered the secret sauce to finding freelance work on the old CL a long time ago, and now that I am in a full time shop, I’m happy to share it with you.
Use your tools to scan all the Craigslists, all over the country. Scan them all, and save the data in a db for easy querying.
Here’s the secret: You are not looking for the latest posts. Go back a month, or two, and reach out to the ads you think are a good hit for you. And contact them.
Make it a short, quick “I saw you posted [1|2] month[s] ago on Craigslist and just checking to see if you have found the right solution to your problem”
If your email gets through, and to the eyes of the person that posted that ad, you will be contacting them when they have not been inundated by lonely developers all over the world looking to make a quick buck. And odds are, they hired one of those lonely developers, and it may not be working out. Language, work ethic, talent…could be any number of reasons.
Here’s the beautiful part: You are going in without all the noise and competition from the original posting, and if they are stuck, you get to be the hero…and charge a little bit more.
Has it worked for me? Yes. Will it work for you? Find out, and let me know.