Here are four broad approaches to make money in software development today. Let me know if you find them useful.
1. Create and maintain bespoke software for vertical markets.
- Conservative industries like banking, manufacturing and mining.
- Rely on on specialised equipment (operating with specialised/archaic software) that must run reliably for decades.
- Specialised skills and knowledge are needed for entry.
- Can be highly profitable ongoingly; once you get in.
- Disruptive changes are unlikely in the day-to-day work.
2. Build and sell high-volume, low-margin apps.
- General throwaway entertainment apps that needs to appeal to enough people worldwide.
- Specialist apps targeting specialised domains.
- First to market on new platforms.
- First to market with a unique approach (such as extreme simplicity.)
- Spray and pray. Release lots of apps and see which ones stick.
- Need to have enough variety of offerings and enough volume of attention on marketplaces.
- Expecting a one-hit-wonder or overnight viral traction is unrealistic.
3. Give away free or cheap apps to attract new customers to a service business.
- Create free software as value-added marketing, to funnel (some) users into a services engagement with the business.
- Money is made from the services business.
- Make the free software highly usable/desirable, specifically relevant and tied in closely with the service business.
4. Service to set up and tailor free/open source software.
- Install, customise, configure and support open-source software for businesses and organisations.
- Open source software have lots of functionality to cater to as wide an audience as possible.
- Businesses and organisations often need only a small subset.
- And they often need several different applications to work together.
- Equivalent to Ikea furniture assembly and hacking service.
Image: Programming code via Shutterstock.