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Anyone Code to Automate Tasks for Clients?

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GradyS

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I've dabbled with web development and done a few html/css courses but it never really seemed to grab me. The one time I really get motivated and excited about a project is when I'm automating a task. Just small things like writing batch files to automate folder creation, or creating a script in excel to automate tasks when you import data.

How can I use this?

I feel like any job I would pursue would take time to see their process and understand ways to automate it. Even at my current slow lane I don't know exactly what every department does, and since I'm in sales I don't have many daily tasks that I could condense down. It seems that every company has developed a standard way of maintaining data and there are probably steps in there to automate, but it would take time to learn that with each client.

I've signed up for the "Automate the Boring Stuff with Python" Udemy course, but felt that it didn't apply much to my daily work.

It seems like it would be a useful skill, just not sure how to take the next step.
 

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humananalytics

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I work as a tech & management consultant, and my previous company spent a lot of time trying to sell automation.

A few thoughts from what I've seen:
  1. There's a lot of red tape surrounding tech use at most big companies. One F500 bank I worked with needed management sign-off if you even want to incorporate Excel macros/vba into a process.
  2. Small companies often struggle with basic technical concepts. I've found most small clients aren't technically adept at maintaining even a complex Excel spreadsheet, yet alone code. I've had many instances where I create my own automated process just to speed things up, but the client never wants to adopt it
  3. When we would sell automation, it would often come through RPA (robotic process automation). If you're not familiar, RPA tools like BluePrism are almost like frontend interfaces that use python to automate tasks in the backend. Usually RPA is not as powerful as custom coding, but RPA can be combined with coding. RPA is nice because it can be more intuitive and easy for the client to maintain, plus for easy to automate tasks you don't even need to code. Think of RPA tools almost like Wordpress/Shopify for automation.
  4. I've found automation projects generally sell when it's one big problem versus 10 small problems. What I mean is big clients don't really have much appetite to automate 10 small tasks...there's just too much red tape to implement. In general, fixing minor inconveniences do not seem sell, even if those small inconveniences add to major inefficiency.
  5. Sometimes we don't even sell automation, we sell completing a task. Then, we use automation to increase the margins. For instance, if a fairly manual tasks takes 1000 hours, we bill the client a flat rate equivalent to 500-1000 hours for the task, then complete it with automation in 200 hours. Win win for both parties.

Best of luck!
 

Andy Black

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My job was process improvement and automation for the 10 years I worked as a Production Oracle DBA on UNIX systems. My speciality was creating korn shell scripts and various crontab files to automate a lot of the housekeeping, backups, monitoring, alerting, etc.

I’d also create documentation and tools so other team members could perform repeatable tasks (such as refreshing a QA database instance from the latest Production backup and/or insert dummy data prior to QA running their tests).

I used to get contracts by saying my job was to make myself redundant. Hiring managers loved that line.

So while they wanted to hire a DBA, I explained why they needed a DBA who specialised in process improvement and automation.
 

Andy Black

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Are there such a thing as Zapier freelancers or consultants?
 

Bituin.tech

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In what capacity do you offer Zap services @Creed? Standalone, or as part of your overall strategy as a consultant/developer? We use automation tools like Zapier, iMacros, and Parabola.io as components of larger solutions, but haven't seen a strong demand in our particular market for it as a one-off offering.

I'd love to hear how you're helping your clients with it!
 

Solid Snake

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In what capacity do you offer Zap services @Creed? Standalone, or as part of your overall strategy as a consultant/developer? We use automation tools like Zapier, iMacros, and Parabola.io as components of larger solutions, but haven't seen a strong demand in our particular market for it as a one-off offering.

I'd love to hear how you're helping your clients with it!

can you explain to me what you mean by larger solutions? you mean like streamlining a particular workflow, correct?
 

Bituin.tech

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can you explain to me what you mean by larger solutions? you mean like streamlining a particular workflow, correct?
For example, we built an app for a life insurance brokerage that would capture commission exports from 7 different carriers. It used iMacros to log into each carrier and export the sales agent's commission reports. It would then aggregate them into a database and we built a no-code front end for reporting. We do a lot of Zaps for FB and Google ad integrations as part of a larger systems that provides leads in a particular markets as well. Things like that.
 

Creed

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In what capacity do you offer Zap services @Creed? Standalone, or as part of your overall strategy as a consultant/developer? We use automation tools like Zapier, iMacros, and Parabola.io as components of larger solutions, but haven't seen a strong demand in our particular market for it as a one-off offering.

I'd love to hear how you're helping your clients with it!
As part of our overall strategy. Services like Zapier offer a lot of value in the sense that they remove the tedious manual work that nobody wants to do, costs too much time or just doesn't make sense to do by hand. We offer this as part of larger process solutions.

As far as demand for Zapier is a one-off offering; clients care about getting their needs solved. So if they currently spend 2 hours a day doing some menial data entry task that could be automated with Zapier, that would be of value and they would most likely be interested. Problem is that tasks like that are usually part of larger, ineffective processes. So automating them would be of short-term benefit, but the inefficient process would still be lacking in the medium-long term. Like managing a symptom instead of fixing the underlying problem.
 
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