There is little doubt that chatbots have revolutionized customer service as we know it. Online retailers, banks, and healthcare industries are extensively using the AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant solutions to engage customers and clients at every stage of their journey, so much so that in 2021, organizations cut down on calls, chats, and emails by 70% due to chatbots. As the global AI conversational market continues to grow, there is an increase in demand for chatbot developers – meaning that students and young adults have the opportunity to gain an extra buck by developing chatbot programs that mimic human conversations and handle different human scenarios.
- There is an increasing demand for AI-powered customer support services, so the market for the product remains ever-growing.
- Chatbot development opportunities are usually freelance, so you can work from home.
- There are no set-up costs or material investments as chatbots are essentially software.
- Sound technical knowledge and coding skills are required to make chatbots
- Although the demand is high, the market is also competitive because there are more freelancers than ever.
- Implementation and development of chatbots is a time-consuming process and may require maintenance down the road.
How to Get Started
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
First, you need to upskill yourself by acquiring the relevant training needed for chatbot development. Chatbot development is intensive coding work and requires you to learn everything from scratch using AI technologies and languages such as Python. If you are not trained in coding, try to look up chatbot development courses on recognized massive open online courses like Coursera or Udemy. You can create a simple and fun chatbot with Python in less than an hour through the tutorial offered by Towards Data Science. Alternatively, you can even learn to build AI-powered chatbots without programming with IBM’s course on Coursera.
There are also several online platforms that enable you to build a chatbot without actually writing a line of code, e.g. Tidio. But these platforms might not be so useful if you are trying to earn money building chatbots, as typically clients need the full code to be written in case they want to make changes later.
Once you have trained in making chatbots, you can bid for chatbot development gigs on freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. This would require you to create a profile and market yourself by sharing a portfolio of your work, but that is very easy to set up once you get the hang of things.
How Much to Charge?
If you are taking up freelance chatbot development work on Upwork or Freelancer, there would generally be a set budget for the project. But when you are starting out be sure to be reasonable to attract the attention of clients. Chatbot development projects range from $60 – $150, but you can offer your bespoke chatbot development services on Fiverr by pricing them as low as $50, which would definitely tempt customers to opt for your service.
Taking it to the Next Level
- Look up chatbot development projects on job search sites: Freelance platforms are often too competitive and dominated by some leading players. But a lot of projects directly end up on job search sites which are open for everyone to grab. For instance, you have a much better chance of securing a long-term chatbot development engagement on Indeed and LinkedIn.
- Offer maintenance and customization services: Once you are done with a chatbot development project, it doesn’t mean you cannot earn from that opportunity anymore. Since you know the tool and how to use it to your advantage, you can earn additional money through customization and maintenance services where you optimize the chatbot to increase customer satisfaction.
- Make your own website: Instead of going looking out for customers, you can make clients come to you if you have an inviting website that includes a portfolio of all the chatbots you have created. It might take time and resources to market the website, but ultimately the profits will be worth the effort.