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Business Ideas for Software Developers in 2023


Software developers often want to start their own businesses. We like having control over our time and working on things we enjoy.

In this article, we'll share some business ideas for software developers. Hopefully, these ideas can help you start your own business.

Freelance Work:

If you're just starting out, it's a good idea to work on projects that can bring in money relatively quickly. This helps build momentum. If you spend months on an idea without getting paid, you may run out of energy and savings (if you have any).

There are different websites where you can find freelance projects:

  1. Upwork: Upwork is a platform where you can find freelance jobs for various projects. It connects businesses and individuals with talented professionals from around the world.
  2. Fiverr: Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can offer a wide range of freelance services, from graphic design and writing to digital marketing and programming.
  3. Toptal: Toptal is a platform that connects businesses with top-tier freelance professionals in fields like software development, design, and finance. It focuses on providing high-quality talent for specialized projects.
  4. 99designs: 99designs is a creative platform. They run design contests or hire individual designers for projects like logos, websites, and branding.
  5. PeoplePerHour: PeoplePerHour is a platform that helps businesses find freelance talent in various fields, including web development, marketing, writing, and design. It offers hourly and project-based options for hiring freelancers.

Productized Services:

By now, you've gained experience working with clients through freelancing. You've probably felt the challenges of being a freelancer: dealing with tight deadlines and constantly looking for new projects.

The problem often lies in finding new clients and managing project scope. To solve this, you can offer a service with a fixed price and clearly defined scope. This is called a "productized service." It's a step up the ladder.

Here are some examples of productized services:

  • DesignJoy: DesignJoy is a service you pay for every month. It helps you with creating and changing things on the internet, like websites. You can ask for as much help as you want, and you can cancel anytime.

  • RestaurantEngine: Restaurant Engine makes it easy to create a website for your restaurant. You don't need to hire a web designer or spend a lot of money. They handle everything for a fixed fee.

  • Podcast Bookers: Podcast Bookers helps business people get on podcasts. This helps them reach more people and grow their audience.

  • Outreach Artist: Outreach Artist helps business owners and founders with their social media. They create posts and maintain consistency so you don't have to worry about it.

  • Lead Cookie: Lead Cookie helps you find potential customers on LinkedIn. They do it carefully to get the best results for your business, like an extra part of your sales team.

You can learn more about how to productize your skills at:

Digital Products

One challenge with freelancing and productized services is that you're trading your time for money. When you stop working, your income stops too.

Selling digital products is a great way to separate your time from your income. You can create a product once and sell it multiple times. As long as your marketing is effective, the income keeps coming in.

There are many digital product categories, including WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, Shopify Apps, WooCommerce plugins, and stock photos.

Depending on your expertise, choose a digital product. If you're a designer, create a theme. If you're a photographer, take some nice photos. If you're a software developer, make a plugin.

Here are some marketplaces to sell digital products:

  • ThemeForest: ThemeForest is a website where you can sell different designs for WordPress websites. It offers templates and themes.

  • Shopify Apps: Shopify Apps is a place to sell tools for online stores.

  • WooCommerce Add-ons: WooCommerce Add-ons is a place where you can sell extra features for online stores using WooCommerce.

  • Shutterstock: Shutterstock is a website where you can sell pictures and videos. It's useful for people who need images and videos for their projects, like websites or presentations.

Your Own Products

Selling digital products on various platforms is good, but there are some serious drawbacks.

One risk is called platform risk. A platform can reduce the commission it pays to creators, which can significantly impact your income. If your product relies on the platform to do well and their market share decreases, your income goes down too.

The ultimate goal of working for yourself is to create your own products. You've learned how to work with clients through freelancing, market your skills through productized services, and package products as digital products. You've gained all the knowledge required to create your own products.

When you're making your own products, there are various business models to consider:

  1. One-time Sale: You sell software licenses, like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, often using the one-time sale model. Customers buy the software and own a perpetual license.

  2. Subscription: Customers pay a recurring fee to access your products or services regularly. This model is often used for digital content, software, or services.

The choice of business model depends on your product, target audience, resources, and business goals. It's important to carefully consider which model aligns best with your product and long-term strategy.