The Apify platform has a growing community of skilled developers who can help you automate mundane tasks and save time and money for things that matter - and you can then monetize your solution on Apify Store. Learn how Patrick did it!
Do you have a business idea or some daily chore you struggle with? Wish you could automate it? Just post on the Apify Discord and you can get help from the rapidly growing community of developers who are delivering solutions on the Apify platform.
Just tell the Apify community what’s nagging you, and there's a good chance that there's a skilled dev out there who can create the right code for you. So you can save your time for more important tasks. The automation or scraping tool will then be yours to monetize through the Apify platform!
Read more about how you can even make money on the Apify platform and how Patrick did it with an Upwork scraper.
The Apify platform: the answer to your outsourcing prayers
The growing Apify community includes web scraping and automation experts who are only too happy to help others with small projects. They will provide you with web scraping, data extraction, or robotic process automation (RPA) solutions according to your specific needs.
Just head over to the Apify Discord and post your needs. A developer, or even several devs, will then contact you with a few questions to better understand your needs. At this point, you will start receiving project proposals with quotes and a suggested timeline for delivery, among which you can choose the most suitable for you.
Finally, you will have a chance to try out the solution before approving it. Once you do, it’s yours! You can now proceed to use your automated solution, no coding skills needed. You also have the option to make it available on Apify Store for other customers to use for a price.
Patrick and the Upwork struggle
Patrick had been an Upwork member for years, and he struggled to make money with it because it’s hard to stay on top of all the job ads at all times. He was wasting hours every day just trying to be the first to contact potential clients, but he always seemed to get there too late. At the end of the day, he was left with little time to get the job done. This familiarity with the challenges freelancers face made it possible for him to identify some common issues and devise solutions for them.
The problem with APIs
APIs are software intermediaries that connect two applications and allow them to communicate with each other. Websites such as Upwork often have APIs that regularly send you their latest updates, e.g. the most recently posted job ads. However, this doesn’t solve the problem that you can’t be online to see them in real time all the time.
While APIs are generated by the websites themselves, user-developed scrapers can act as unofficial APIs for job searches. They can scrape job descriptions based on filters – and can be combined with automation tools to even log in for you and directly send a message to the employer.
How Upwork Scraper solves the API problem
Patrick's Upwork scraper, Upwork Job Auto Apply, packages the whole process into an efficient workflow that catches the best jobs.
It logs into the user’s profile and sends a job application for each job description that fits the user’s keywords and filters, but instead of just sending a message, it also includes a link to Google Calendar. This way, the employer can directly schedule a meeting with you, eliminating one step in the communication process, which in turn reduces the chances of being outdone by other candidates.
On Upwork, every minute counts. The number of freelancers looking for gigs is so high that recruiters get dozens of requests within minutes of posting a task. Therefore, sending out automatic applications once a day is not enough. Patrick's Upwork scraper sends out automated messages every hour to increase the chances of being the first to reach out to the recruiter.
How to automate freelancing on Upwork
The crucial step was identifying where the real obstacle lay and what particular task could be automated to solve it. On Upwork, you need to be among the first to apply for a job, but you can’t possibly be online all the time, hence an automated RSS feed.
Cold outreach messages can be ineffective when recruiters ask for specific skills and jobs, hence the Google Calendar function. Filtering and applying for jobs is time-consuming, hence the automation that applies directly to you. Once Patrick came up with the idea, a freelance developer on the Apify platform made it a reality. The result is ten times more responses than traditional applications.
Once the automation was completed by his selected freelance developer and approved by Patrick, he generously made it available on Apify Store so that other users could benefit from it.
Optimizing and monetizing
Later on, Patrick noticed more gaps in the workflow that could potentially be automated. For example, Upwork uses credits as payment for job applications. When sending out so many applications, credits can run out, and the scraper can get stuck. Therefore, Patrick included a credit auto-refill function. This integration automatically recharges credits when they run out, so the scraper can keep sending out requests.
Thanks to these functions and integrations, his clients significantly increased their income as freelancers on Upwork. Because clients are actually making money from this scraper, he was able to monetize it and make money himself. He set up a monthly rate that users have to pay in order to use the automation tool on Apify Store, and voilà! That’s his passive income right there! This scraper has generated USD 100,000+ in total revenue for his businesses, and his clients also appear to be equally satisfied.
Monetizing your code
If you are a business looking to automate mundane tasks, you can turn to developers working on the Apify platform. All you have to do is submit your idea for a task to automate. A web scraping developer will create the solution for you, and you will be able to monetize it on Apify Store.
If you are struggling with a task, chances are you're not the only one. If you choose to make your code available for other users on Apify Store, you can also set a price for its usage. This is also true for companies. If you have a team of devs creating scrapers or automation tools for you, consider sharing those tools on Apify Store. Not only will you be helping others, you can also generate a tidy passive income stream.