6 Different Ways I Make Money as a Software Developer - You Can Too
Making money on the internet is easy, let's get you started.
I wanted to make money on the internet for years, but I didn't know how to get started.
Being a Software Developer is like a super power. The skill provides abundant opportunities to make money on the internet. You can literally change your life with this one skill. Although most of us learn how to code & build software as part of academia and then work in big MNCs, we still don't know the endless possibilities the skill offers.
In this article I'll share the 6 different ways I make money from and how can do it too.
- Professional Developer
- Affiliate Marketing
- Info Products
- Bootstrapping a SaaS Product
1. Professional Developer
This is the obvious choice everyone knows about. Software Developer is a lucrative job and you can make a lot of money if you stick with this for a long time. Software industry is surging and right now there's a huge demand for good software developers. So if you're a good developer, you can definitely be employed by one of the top paying companies like Google, Facebook, Atlassian etc.
This path is becoming less popular nowadays with the boom of creator economy. More people want to step away from the 9-5 rate race & want to have the freedom and start their own businesses even if they make less money initially.
But if you're okay with working for someone else throughout your career and lead a comfortable life, then this is definitely an option you should consider.
I'm currently working as a Team Lead myself in Startup in India and getting paid good salary. But I do not want to continue working for someone else forever. I want to build a business of my own and retire early. To achieve this in the long term I'm working on the below ideas to make money on the side. Let's discuss about each of them.
Getting started with freelancing is not easy. Everyone knows that. You know that some people are making hell lot of money through freelancing, charging thousand dollars to multiple clients building websites every month. But most people don't know how to get started with freelancing.
There are many platforms where you can start your freelancing journey:
- Freelancing .com
- Hubstaff Talent
- Fiverr etc
Start with small tasks. For example:
Write a Python script to scrape top 10 results from google dot com.
You can find such tasks on all the above platforms.
Remember that it's not easy to find your first task. I had given up on freelancing numerous times in the past after applying for countless jobs without getting any conversion. Finally in September 2019 Codementor helped me earn my first dollars through freelancing on the internet. If you want to get started with Codementor, here's an article for you.
Start slow. Once you gain the confidence to talk to people, convince them to give you tasks, try to scale your freelancing business. Try to find bigger projects which can span multiple months. I know this is not easy. But if you can do this, it can give you the flexibility & freedom you always wanted from your 9-5 job.
I have been making good money on the side from freelancing. I'm mainly active on Codementor & trying to get into Toptal now.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money on the internet. But without an audience or a social media following it can be difficult.
Here you basically earn a commission by selling someone else's product to people through your unique link. The thing I love about affiliate marketing is that you don't need to have a product of your own. You can sell the already proven and loved products & make a commission.
Companies like Gumroad are really revolutionising the creator economy with more and more people creating info products every single day. You can find these creators on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram etc. You can DM them and ask them if they're open to add you as an affiliate for their products. Once they add you, you get a unique link which you can then share with your audience and make sales.
But It's not as simple as it sounds. There are challenges with this business, just like with any other. To sell products to more people you need to have a good online presence, basically a list of people who follow you, trust you and want to buy products from you.
Building an online presence is a slow process and takes time. You need to consistently provide value for free for a long period of time to build a significant follower base. I have been growing my Twitter presence from the past 10 months. I had around 150 followers when I started. At the time of writing this articles I have 17.1k followers on my Twitter account.
I have made around 2.6k USD on Gumroad from the past 8 months, mainly promoting products on Twitter.
Right now I'm trying to scale this income by applying new strategies. Let's see where it takes me in the next couple of months.
Blogging is another great way to make money on the internet. Many people think that blogs are dead and nobody reads articles anymore in a world where YouTube is famous. But that's not the case at all.
People do read articles and you can still try blogging if you're not comfortable with talking in front of a camera.
There are many ways to make money through blogging.
- Medium partner program
- Freelance writer
- Affiliate marketing
- Paid articles etc
Medium partner program is one of the popular platforms for beginners to start making money. Of course you will earn less in the beginning. But if you are consistent you can make a lot of money in the long run. Some of the top writers on Medium make more than 25k USD per month on Medium partner program. In fact the money you make per view is more than you make on YouTube!
You can see how Shelby was able to make money from Medium Partner Program without any prior experience in these videos:
- Making Money Online Writing for Medium... Is It Worth Your Time?
- I made $6,000 from my Medium.com article... an update
I've started writing articles on Medium and have made very little money so far. But this is still the beginning & I'm happy with the way things are going. Here are my earning for the month of April 2021 so far.
5. Info Products
As mentioned earlier the creator economy is booming and more people are creating info products and making a living out it, every single day.
Basically you create info products like ebooks which can be as small as 10 pages to a couple of hundred pages or a video course etc.
Pick any niche you know something about and create an info product in that. You don't need to be an expert in the area to do this. You can research on the things you're not clear about. Basically people are willing to pay for anything which they can learn from or solves their problems.
For example so many people want to make money through freelancing but most of them struggle to find their first task. Having freelancing experience on my side, I can create a small ebook which covers how to get that first task and start making money. This information can be valuable to many people and they will pay for such a product.
The good thing about info products is that it's a one time effort to create the product and you can make money for life with minimal effort for occasional marketing.
For instance Daniel Vassallo has made around 350k USD from 2 of his products in around 2 years after quitting his job at Amazon.
There are so many successful people on Twitter who are killing it with their info products on Twitter. After getting inspired by Daniel's journey even I started building an audience and released my ebook for free in December 2020. These are the stats at the time of writing this article:
Downloads: 1639 copies
Revenue: 150.99 USD
Even though the ebook is available for free, so many people still decided to pay for it because they want to support my work and appreciate all the valuable free content I post on Twitter every single day.
6. Bootstrapping a SaaS Product
Bootstrapping SaaS products is another popular way to make money on the internet. Basically the idea here is to build a small product which solves a niche problem and sell it to users. This doesn't follow the typical startup path where the plan is to raise funds, build a team and scale it to a billion dollar company.
Here you mainly focus on keeping the team small. Typically between 1-5 people taking care of the complete product.
The main idea behind bootstrapping is to get the freedom from working for someone else and work on something you love.
Bootstrapping a business is typically not easy (at least for me it wasn't!). You need to find a niche problem, validate the idea, see if people are willing to pay for such a product, build an MVP and finally market it and make money.
Most people make the mistake of starting to build the product without validating the idea first. I made this mistake and built a product which I thought was cool and later realised that there was no demand for it. Do not make this mistake.
If you want to go this way, you should follow these people and see how they are building indie businesses online:
Arvid has a lot of resources on building bootstrapped businesses on his website.
Here's is a list of all the courses I bought in 2020 which have helped me make money on the internet.
- Internet is a great place to build businesses with Software Developer skills.
- Build an online presence first. Having an online presence will help you see significant results.
- Don't focus on too many ideas at once. Stick to a couple and scale them.
- You will make peanuts in the beginning. Stick with it for a long time to make more money. Compounding is the best thing there is.
- Know that it's not easy to build an online business. Everyone struggles. Only when you are persistent, you will be successful at it.
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You can connect with me on twitter where I usually share my knowledge more frequently on AWS concepts, building SaaS products and becoming a better developer in general.