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How to build a freelance pipeline of dream client prospects (on auto-pilot)

Written by Robert Williams

I recently wrote an article on non-programmers building software that blew up over on hacker news. In it, I talked about how I created a subscription-based product without any custom code.

The product is a freelance pipeline that runs on autopilot and creates dream clients for me day-in and day-out. As a designer with limited programming skills, it proves you don’t need to know how to code to create something valuable.

Today I want to show you an example of what I mean. The subscription service I’ve created has resulted in millions of dollars in client work for my customers. Yet I’m just using a few basic tools to find the work.

It was tempting to build a custom app, but I would have spent thousands of dollars on it, and would have delayed launching by months (or years). There’s no way I could’ve created something half as good as what I have now given my limited knowledge and resources.

So let’s walk exactly how I’m using Basecamp, Feedbin, and Zapier to make my customers millions of dollars. If you’re a freelancer or agency owner, pay close to attention because you can totally use this to create a profitable lead pipeline for yourself.

1. Collect thousands of job leads using RSS

The first step is to collect RSS feeds from job sites all over the web. I recommend you use Feedbin for this because it has a couple great features you’re going to see in a second.

2. Setup rules to filter projects in your wheelhouse

Once you have thousands of jobs in your RSS feed it’s going to be too time-consuming to go through them all. Instead filter these down using Feedbin’s rule-based actions.

3. Create a Zapier integration to add these items to Basecamp

You’re going to want a dedicated workspace outside of Feedbin to share leads with your team and keep everything in one place. Use Zapier to add all of these starred items to a to-do list in Basecamp.

And Voila! You now have hundreds of high-value (freelance only) gigs waiting for you daily in Basecamp…

I hope this helps illustrate just how powerful connecting existing apps together can be. I’m using this to find hundreds of awesome freelance projects to send to my customers every day.

But you could do this for almost anything, the possibilities are endless.

For a closer look at my setup, here’s a video walk-through of my system in real-time with a few extra tips and tricks. Hope this helps you find work!

Robert Williams

I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air. I run Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently.

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Folyo is a product design referral newsletter and community for designers and agencies looking to get more client work. Members get exclusive product design opportunities sent to their inbox almost daily.