There are many ways to create software, I only have experience with one way and it has worked well for me, so that is what we will be discussing.
Now, I will agree, immersion is the best way to learn most skills. By taking a software on yourself, you will learn much more quickly than if you simply took a few courses. However, there are more reasons against doing it solo than reasons to do it yourself:
Reason #1: It is a product representing your brand
From the second your software is live, it is attached to you. If you are going to be selling a software or application, you better make sure it is worthy of your brand. I don’t enjoy using a glitchy, bugged out software and I would be lying if I said I didn’t think less of the developers who clearly went cheap on these (especially when they are relatively pricey).
Users don’t know you made it yourself and they really don’t care. If you charge for it, it should be solid, period.
Do you think your brand doesn’t matter if you are just making tons of quick, simple tools? WRONG! It matters very much…here is why: If you build trust in your brand and target a specific niche (as I do with Amazon sellers and copywriters) you can sell your next tool with far less marketing effort because people will be waiting for it and know you produce great products. Your past buyers are your best future buyers (tattoo that on your face)! We will touch much more on this in the marketing section, but for now, trust that marketing is quite possibly the hardest part of this process, so don’t take branding lightly.
Reason #2: The time you will spend will (typically) outweigh the cost of paying professionals
You can complete a software on your own if you are willing to invest the time, energy and patience to complete it. The problem: this will consume tons of your time if you’re a novice developer. You could be using that time to grow your business in other ways.
I have found that my time is spent best doing what I do best (marketing) and letting professionals create something that is so good, it is easy to sell.
“But Nate, I’m really not experienced in anything, I just have an idea…”
Let’s say hypothetically you really are completely inexperienced in all things business, well here are things you can/should do before learning to code. Why? These won’t harm your product quality as much as getting the software wrong will and mastering these skills/tasks can benefit you in any future business.
There is a disconnect in entrepreneurs and developers. Developers can make software, but typically don’t know how to market it or how to think of useful ideas. Entrepreneurs can market and think more creatively (I am generalizing, don’t be offended please if you are a developer!) Bringing these together is the equation for serious success.
Here are just a few things you could be doing instead of coding (just a few, there are many more!)
- Network and find joint venture partners for your software. Have fun coding AND marketing, it won’t work well, I promise! Both are specialized jobs that take complete attention.
- Participate in communities that may be your target market. (Don’t sell, participate. You may never sell here, but you need to start learning what’s going on and who’s who).
- Gather emails. Building your buyers list before you launch is one of the best things you can do, especially if you plan on servicing the same niche (we will discuss this more).
- Find comparable software and research their marketing practices. Emulate them if relevant.
- Create a logo (or outsource one and spend the time managing the selection).
- Create guest posts that can link to your sales page when it’s ready (or outsource).
Reason #3: You will most likely need to know more than one language
The software I am currently managing includes 5 different coding languages. I can’t just learn Java and be good to go.
Reason #4: You will need ongoing support and you shouldn’t be the one doing it
If you read this blog often, you may have gotten the vibe by now that I am not a fan of doing tasks that could be outsourced for less money than my time is worth.
One man’s crappy software is another man’s full-time job. -Jessica Gaston
If you have a team develop a software for you, you can typically pay them for ongoing tech support. They will be much more helpful in fixing bugs and dealing with basic issues than a developer who is not sure how the software works.
Reason #5: You can focus on the function and purpose of the project
The developers know how to make your vision a reality, but only you can share that vision. If you spend your time tinkering with code, it will take away from your ability to be creative and articulate your vision to others who can make it happen.
Coming up next: Why Your Software Should Have Less Code