Muhammad Usman

Crazy tech lover, endless learner

Sell Your Code in Unconventional Ways

Today I will give you practical, pragmatic ideas to sell your code— no fuss, no caveat (except that, I lied: there is just one caveat). I will show you two ways of making money out of your code: one is Direct Sales, and another is Indirect Sales.

Now, please, please don’t ignore the Indirect stuff. You might exclaim, “Oh, I know this. These are indirect. These don’t make money at all.” But if you do follow the indirect ways, you will nurture a fan base— a community that will buy your direct sales. So this is not just marketing. You’re building a client base who will pay you back, not to mention that it will indirectly make you money.

Indirect Sales

Create a gist.

I know you keep lots of scripts. You have dotfiles, and there are plenty of things that you do. You own bunches of snippets that you use every day or every week. Now get those out to the world, go to GitHub and create a gist.

In most cases, you don’t even have to do anything as they will pick up on their own. GitHub will suggest those to people, and people will find them via Google search. Of course, comment on those nicely so that people can see them via Google. Add descriptions, and you will be good to go! Plus, if you share this on social media and promote it somewhere, this will undoubtedly become your asset.

Make a package from your project.

You’re already working on some projects, maybe for yourself or your clients. You’re doing things in a brilliant way, for sure. Now get this out, extract those bits of code, and make those work standalone on their own. Create a local package and use it instead of copying the code there. Again, get the project out, get the code out, set up a package remotely and publish. Just the minimum thing; it doesn’t have to be too smart. It’s like a “just works” kind of thing.

If you’re working for someone else and the code is not your copyright, ask your client or your boss. I have done it several times, and I have never received a decline from a client or a boss. Just check their permission and publish it. It will also benefit them, as bug fixes from community contribution will feed them back— a win-win situation for everyone.

Post it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other groups.

Take your snippets. Take a screenshot. Go to a screenshotting code tool and share your snippets on Twitter or LinkedIn. People will not only appreciate it, but they will certainly pay attention and notice it. Some intelligent people say, “Attention is money.” If they give you their attention, they are like providing you with money figuratively.

Write a blog post.

Pick your coding style, choose the way you solved a problem, and simply put it into words. If you don’t have a blog, create a Medium account and write there. And it would be best if you have a blog, by the way.

Make a YouTube video.

If you are already working on your YouTube channel with a lot of fan base and tons of subscribers, it surely makes you money. But if you do not have a channel yet, make one, and it will indirectly make you money. Just share your idea on YouTube, show some demos, and create a video.

Record yourself.

I don’t mean record yourself naked. We want to keep everything PG here, hey! Just record yourself coding nude. Maybe we can call it a clog— a coding vlog. Just show people how you code, how you pick a solution to a problem, and how your thinking and ways are uniquely different. Share it with people and be bold about it.

Share, share, share whatever you do.

Share those egging products or assets. Why do I call these assets? As I mentioned earlier, it will nurture people and build a community. It will create a following where people will give you attention, and they will be the ones who will buy from you. Let people know that you’ve got these assets so that they may reach out to you. People may follow and buy from you, so these are considered your assets.

People get viral by being stupid. How much more from a valuable information like your idea? Let the internet do its thing.

Direct Sales

Make plugins.

Carry your code out, take the things you usually do, and publish a plugin. Now sell it yourself via any marketplace. Let people learn that this bit of code, this bit of ready thing, will solve a problem.

You have a package now, and maybe it was an indirect sale. The good thing is, it’s getting lots of popularity. Now, simply add a premium version to it, perhaps. Just add a Contact Support to it so that users can reach out to you, and you will provide priority support to them— only if they pay a monthly fee or a fixed fee. And you can even create premium packages as well. You can create a complete e-commerce website that you can sell as a premium package.

Mobile apps.

You definitely know this: you can sell your mobile apps. But why do I particularly mention it here? Because it takes some of the marketing headaches away from you. Yes, Apple and Google take their cuts, but they do some of the marketing bits for you. People don’t just trust software as a service or a website to pay. Rather, they are more confident in trusting a mobile app. And the payment method is handled by Apple and Google, so they’re a bit relaxed about refunds. Reviews and people are bragging about it, so they surely trust more those world mobile apps.

Fix simple things for your clients, your boss, and your company.

Maybe you have a job or a client, and you spotted that they struggle with something. Unfortunately, they have never asked anyone to fix that. For instance, perhaps it’s a time management issue where they use a time tracking tool. Your colleagues struggle with that time tracking tool, and they always complain about it. Apparently, your boss never listened to your colleagues’ struggling pleas. Can you fix the problem in a week? Just spend one week there, fix the problem and present it to your client.

Aside from that, there might be other issues such as invoicing, billing, and other matters where your colleagues are also struggling. Find a solution to these over the weekend. Create a minimum viable product and show it to your boss. I’m sure you can charge for it in most cases, and they will be happy to pay. I mean, heroes can get paid too! I have done it myself, and it went well.

Scratch your own itch.

This is the cliche we all know, but this works. You have seen the problem, and you fixed it for yourself. Perhaps no tool does it, so you did it on your own. In an entire blog post, I have spoken about how you, as a creator, have the creative power to do it. Create something very minimum that solves your problem, and you will at least find a way to sell it.

Automate your life.

Previously, I mentioned that attention is money. But some lesser degree smart people say, “Time is money.” If you automate your life and save time every day or every week, you are kind of making money. I want to call it an indirect sale. It is a direct sale because it gives you one of the most valuable resources— your time back. So those mundane things that you do every day, those boring stuff, those repetitive things— code these. Just take one day off or spend one day over the weekend. Fix this, write code, automate this, and you get your time back. It will be a worthy investment that lasts a lifetime, maybe.

This post was originally published on Business for Developers, which is another blog of mine.