I know what you’re thinking – you’re not a programmer, right? Hey, I’m not either. Well, okay I kind of am – I mean I did some work on programming years ago when I was in college and I still do some HTML and Java coding occasionally, but I’m no professional programmer and I don’t pretend to be. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make yourself a pile of cash through selling software. It’s true – you don’t need to be a programmer to make money from software. In fact, it often helps not to do be. Here’s what you need to know:
You Can Have a Program Made for You
The first possibility for making money selling software is to simply have a program made for you. To do this, you don’t actually need any programming knowledge. You merely need to know what it is that you want your program to do. You can then find yourself a programmer, often from a third world country, who will turn your ideas into reality. Then, you can take this program and turn around and sell it to the world.
There are some important points to remember however when considering going with this route to making money with software. First and foremost, you need to know exactly what you want your software to do. If you aren’t clear, you will end up with something which probably doesn’t fit your needs or what you had in mind. Most third world programmers while quite good may not speak all that much English and thus will need very clear instructions in order to do their best work.
It is also useful to remember that you will likely need to work with a programmer for the medium to long term since you’ll need to ensure that you can take care of bug fixes and any other issues which may turn up during the course of the usage of the software that you create. Consider as well making your software available on multiple platforms, including mobile platforms as this will help you to ensure that you are able to get the widest possible audience.
Finally, consider offering two versions of the software – one “lite” version and one full featured version. The “lite” version can be given away while the full featured version can be unlocked by people interested in all the features.
Remember to Use a Mailing List Feature
Another thing which is really important when trying to make money from software is to incorporate a mailing list feature. Your software should include the ability to take registrations before people will be able to use it and then to send that registration information to your mailing list service, such as aWeber. This will allow you to make even more money from the software you created because you can then sell upgrades as well as peripheral software to your new clients.
In addition, the great thing about collecting mailing addresses doing this is that you are able to get a much higher opt in rate than others will get for the simple reason that people are much more likely to give out their information when you ask them to register through the software than when you ask them to register with a traditional e-mail sign up form.
As always, remember to use the mailing list as a resource and not to abuse it. Don’t assume that your customers want to be bombarded with offers on a daily basis just because they happened to have purchased a product from you. Offer real value to your mailing list and the people on it are more likely to actually continue to purchase your products from you.
Consider Using PLR Software
Okay, so maybe you don’t have an idea for a cool bit of software or maybe you just don’t want to spend the money to hire a professional programmer. No problem – you don’t have to do that either. The fact is that there are now lots of other options available to you in the form of PLR and MRR software. Here’s what you need to know about it:
As you probably know, PLR stands for Private Label Rights. Basically this means that you have the right to slap your label onto the product that you are offering for sale to your potential customers and to treat it as if it’s your own. New PLR software products will actually allow you to rebrand the software and put your own name onto the software so that it really looks as if you are the author of a custom piece of software rather than something which is merely a PLR product that everyone else has access to.
MRR stands for Master Resale Rights and it’s a little like being an affiliate for a software product. In essence, you have the right to sell the product and keep all the profits from the sales, but you cannot change the software to make it appear as if it’s something that you yourself created. This can also be useful in some cases and it is often something which will actually be ridiculously cheap to purchase, however it is worth remembering that you are going to lose some customers to the original programmer whose name will appear on the software.
The only bit of bad news regarding the idea of using PLR software is that I find that most of the PLR software out there tends to focus on the make money online and IM niches. I have seen lots of software available as PLR for things like generating traffic and building lists, but not too much in the way of things like games or other materials which could have a broader appeal.
The good news however is that this also allow you to have another potential market – since the PLR software market is so saturated with products in the IM/MMO niche, you can get software made for you which you can then sell PLR rights to which doesn’t fit into that niche at all but which instead fits into other niches and which can then make you additional money. Again, just go and hire a programmer.
Use Software to Generate Backlinks and Traffic
Another cool idea for software is to use it as a way to generate backlinks and traffic to your website. Instead of offering people the software as a product which they’ll find particularly useful, you may create a simple utility which can be uploaded to the thousands of software sharing sites all over the web and which can then include backlinks leading back to your website. The big advantage of this is that the software utility can be small and somewhat useful but relatively cheap.
For example, you may create a simple little WordPress plugin which will search out your keyword and bold it for people. This wouldn’t cost much to create because it’s a relatively simple product however it would be useful and would potentially get lots of people to download the software and to spread it around, thus spreading backlinks to your website which can then be used to monetize your site. And again, remember that it doesn’t have to be in the MMO/IM niche in order to make this idea work. You can quite literally do this with almost any niche you can imagine – useful little tools are often the best way to get your name out there and to drive new business to your website.
Use a Software Creation Tool
Okay, I promised five ways to make money from software even if programming makes you cry and here’s another cool way to do it. There are a number of programs available on the market today which are designed to allow you to do a drag and drop style software creation project where you simply pick out key bits of software and arrange them in order. There is no programming required because the software will automatically create the code for you and even compile it into something which can then be sent out to potential customers.
Now I’m not saying you’ll be able to create a clone of Microsoft Word with a program of this nature, but why would you want to do so anyway? Remember that the real money is much more likely to come from useful little utilities rather than from trying to compete with entrenched monopolies which already have open source alternatives (Libre Office for example) trying to compete with them.
Where to Get Your Software Made
Okay, I mentioned several times that you can have software made by a third world programmer at relatively inexpensive prices. But you’re probably wondering where exactly one might go in order to get this software made. Well, I’ve found that lots of great programmers tend to offer their services at sites like Elance and oDesk.
Both of these services offer the ability to purchase per project jobs or per hour jobs. This means that you can either get a set price for the project that you want made or you can simply pay by the hour and even get screen shots which show you that your programmer is actually working and not just goofing off at the times they claim to be working.
As I said above, it’s important when working with these services to specify exactly what you need. You should also make sure to include that you have the right to demand a certain number of fixes for free if you find that there are bugs in the software when you get it.
Be Sure to Test
Speaking of that, it’s up to you to test your software before you unleash it on an unsuspecting public. Don’t assume that your programmer will do that for you. They’ll test it on their machine to make sure it all works, but that’s about all they’ll likely do. You can however generally find people to beta test your software by offering a free copy of the software to people on places like the Warrior Forum.
Remember that your goal when beta testing is to look for bugs so don’t be afraid to really play with the software and to try to get it to crash. Better that it should crash before you release it to the public than that it should start crashing after the fact.
Look at Ratings
Unfortunately, there are always going to be charlatans out there who will try to take your money from you without providing quality work or even worse who will try to sneak a Trojan horse into your software code. It is important then to look for references and ratings from the potential programmers that you work with so that you don’t end up with problems later on. Most programmers will do a decent job, but do check their ratings first. If you decide to take a chance on someone new, be sure to check the software thoroughly to ensure that they really did do a good job before you release the escrow on it.
The Upgrade Question
Another issue which you need to decide upon is the question of upgrades. Some people offer lifetime upgrades and hope to build a relationship with their list that way (they will simply sell other software to their lists) while others will charge money for upgrades but provide bug fixes and security upgrades for free.
Personally, I’m a fan of the lifetime upgrades plan, but both models work. The key however is to make sure that if you do charge for upgrades that you offer real value. And don’t ever charge for minor upgrades which fix bugs – that’s a sure way to get your customers to bad mouth you.
Bottom line, you can have a decent software program created for as little as $100-$200. It’s not terribly expensive and then all you have to do is put together the squeeze page for the software and get it out the door. No programming or tears required and there is definitely big money to be made.