Most software developers feel like they work day and night, they need some freedom to live their lives. I felt the same when I was working as software developer. You get salary every month but you have to put same effort every month in order to get paid. And writing code is very intensive brain work, it is not like being and accountant and using your software periodically and increase your salary as company that you work for gets bigger. While you work hard on client projects some of them get very successful and make 1000 times more in terms of money while you don’t get any share of it after project is finished. So every software developer after a while start thinking to start their own software company or small business that can grow or keep earning steady passive income every month for future 20-30 years. Having a product and improving it is much easy than writing a new product for every new client every month.
Writing software is only one step of passive income. Biggest and hardest step is marketing the product and make it sell to many customers that will use it. That is what Rob Willing learned during his journey from day job working as developer and consultant to business owner having several profitable software and services.
Here are the notes from an interview made on mixergy.
- Had many failures before being successful.
- Build an ISP service and put challenge before acquiring a new customer. Thought that it will bring more customers. Didn’t have any difference than main competitors. Failed with this project.
- Learned that it is very hard to compete with big names in big market. Instead small markets can bring couple thousand per month and much easy to target customers.
- Worked after day job at home for 8 hours 6 weeks to build next project that submits blog posts to search engines. Was successful at targeting niche market and earned 200$ per month from it.
- Knowing how to market products today he would market product before starting to code it. Getting 100-200 emails and notify them when program is ready to buy. Also research market using google keyword tool before starting to build project.
- Decided to buy a forum software sold for 150$ on ebay. Had difficult time to acquire customers. Advertised on adwords for 1500$ but had only one customer who bought for 99$.
- Sold forum script for couple thousand while it was bringing 300$ per month.
- Was buying software instead of writing himself because he was billing for consulting 100$ per hour, 200,000$ per year. That is why it was cheaper to buy rather than code himself.
- Bought invoicing software for 11,000$. Believed that it was generating 900$ per month but learned that it was generating 300$ and had many bugs and unhappy customers. It was selling for 99$ per license.
- Fixed bugs and priced it at 300$, got advice from market about that software was undervalued. Did some SEO for the site.
- Next month sold 3 copied again and earned 900$. After it was constantly steadily earning 2000$ passive income each month. Also spent 1500$ on adwords for it.
- Applied for Y-combinator for funding but didn’t get it. Forgot to mention how he was successful at small projects selling software.
- Goal was to earn 7000$ per month in order to quit his day job.
- Bought justbeachtowels.com drop-ship business. It was on google 2nd page, after some SEO work ranked #5 in google for main keyword. Started earning couple thousand per month. Hired virtual assistant to take care of orders.
- Bought CMSthemer.com PSD slicing and converting to theme business. Outsourced slicing to offshore assistant and focused on SEO and management. Was making 3000$ per month.
- Advertised on buysellads and it was converting really well for design related businesses.
- Sold in 2008 Beachtowels.com for $7000, and cmsthemer.com for $12,000.
- Started writing a book startupbook.net, which has video and visual content to learn advertising and other staff required to success as a small entrepreneur.
- In 2009 built micropreneur.com course for micropreneurs. Targeted at people like himself who worked at day job and were not happy and didn’t have much free time to enjoy life.
- In 2009 acquired ApprenticeLinemanJobs.com, in 2010 acquired WeddingToolBox.com, and then in 2011 put together MicroConf conference.
- Acquire a product improve it and assign an employee to manage it. Worked on 1-2 project himself.
- Bought hittail.com traffic source analyzer and suggesting tool for targeting new keywords in order to grow organic search engine traffic for a website.
I recommend reading his detailed ebook to learn how he built his success in past years and transitioned from working for someone to owning multiple successful businesses. Ebook can be obtained from his blog www.softwarebyrob.com . From his website you can get some business ideas for software engineers to earn some passive income.