What does it take for a solo developer to make $10,000 a month and how long

Introduction

I’m a solo developer by self-taught. Practically, I learned from ebooks and online courses such as Lynda, Tuts plus… My background is in economic, not in software development.

I’m currently making around $1,000 to $1,500/month. For a single man, that would be sufficient. However, for a family, that would be deficient.

So, my goal is to make $10,000/month. Why $10,000? For a family to have a decent life in where I live, $3,000 is enough. However, there would be little left to put in saving accounts. So, $10,000 seems to be a good number for long term plans.

How am I going to make money?

The answer for this question is quite obvious, I’m going to make software and use monetize options on such applications.

My options to make money

1. Make money selling WordPress plugins

As mentioned earlier, I had experience in making and selling WordPress plugin. I currently have one plugin that make landing pages. I’m confident that I can create other plugins faster and sell using the freemium model.

To create a WordPress plugin that worth using (I have no idea what they would be), it possible cost me a month of full time work. Coding the plugin is the easy and fun part. Marketing is harder. I definitely need a system to promote other plugins that come afterward.

2. Make money selling desktop applications

I have experience in JavaFX. Creating apps with JavaFX would not be difficult. My plan is to search for tasks that many people need and it can be done easily with software. Image processing is the first thing come to my mind. Bulk email sending software is another option. The price of the app should be around $15 to $30.

3. Make games and monetize with ads

Call me Jack of all trades if you want, I can make games with Unity too. Honestly, I have a very basic knowledge of Unity. However, I can buy templates and customize them then publish to mobile app store to monetize with ads network.

4. Create free applications and monetize with affiliates programs

I don’t really have experience with this method so there is little to say.

5. Create a SAAS

Creating a SAAS is another great way to make consistent amount of money monthly. Unfortunately, I don’t have experience in this subject 🙁

How can I reach $10,000/month

As the options laid out, the math is quite obvious. If I price my software to $10/per license, I would need 1000 customers a month. From my experience, 1000 customers is a big number.

Option 1: Create app and sell

How about increasing the price up to $50? The number of customers needed is now 200. It is much feasible now but still, 200 is not an easy goal to reach.

If selling 200 licenses per month for a single application is hard, how about creating two applications and sell 100 each, 4 applications and sell 50 each.

I wouldn’t want to go this way, maintenance would be super challenging.

I would go for creating one or two apps and make as much value as possible and charge for higher price. Less customers is easier to care for. I could estimate that after 2 months of development, I could make around 50 sales total. That makes $2,500. Still $7,500 to go.

 

Option 2: Re-skin games and publish on google play

This one is hard to predict. One game could take up to 10 hours to re-skin. I already has two games on the play store and they amass 15 downloads :D. So, I’m not overly optimistic. However, it’s worth a try.

Estimate: $100/month after 2 month.

Option 3: Create a SAAS

What can I do to bring value to my customers on monthly basis? What makes people pay more than $20 per month? Answering these questions will make it clearer to start making an SAAS solution.

Estimate: 100 customers after 4 months, possibly paying $20/month-> another $2000.

Option 4: Create free apps and sell affiliates programs

I see that performance plugins and hosting/CDN are great combination to make affiliate marketing works. My initial idea would be creating apps to optimize the site’s load and offer maxCDN as the affiliate program.

Following all the options would be suicide. I will pick method #1, #3 and #4 and hopefully, after 6 months, good results will turn out.

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