How programmers can become entrepreneurs

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| The European | 5th March 2019
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Information Technology has seen remarkable progress in the current decade. IT hardware manufacturing is capital-intensive. Large manufacturers like Intel, Dell, HP, Apple and others have invested in facilities to manufacture computer and related hardware. On the software side, we see big companies like Adobe, Oracle and SAP alongside college dropouts who develop codes and algorithms which power desktop software and mobile apps.

There are blogs and forums debating on which programming language is easy to learn, which programming language will ensure a successful career path, which programming language has scope for further development, etc. There are many available options. Command over HTML, CSS and JavaScript is a must for being a good front-end developer whereas Java and Python are popular for developing desktop and mobile apps. However, few people think about the end goal.

If you want to be an employee of Google, Microsoft or any other big tech company then try to become the best coder of any programming language. If luck is on your side, you will get a good job at these companies. What if you want to follow the path of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? To become like one of these rock stars of the programming world you will need more than just good luck.

It is easy to code your dream desktop software, mobile app or cloud software solution, but to become your own boss aka entrepreneur you need a marketplace to sell your software. Amazon and eBay will not help you with this. Their platforms are for selling physical products. They sell digital goods like eBooks and branded software, but they will not sell your code.

There are three main steps to sell digital goods (software, code, script etc.).

  • Build an eCommerce store
  • Market your product
  • Manage the financial part of your business (sale proceeds and related matters)
  • Though the complete process appears easy software developers cannot deal with these steps on their own.

    An eCommerce store can be built on WordPress. Social media, blogs and other forums are modern-day marketing channels. However, most of the software developers lack expertise in financial matters and therefore fail in doing business.

    To help software developers in selling their digital products without worrying about finances, many companies have launched different solutions. We will discuss here one such company, Paddle, a British startup.

    The founder of Paddle, Christian, is a software developer. When Christian started software development and wanted to sell his digital products, he realised selling software was a difficult process. He wanted to make the process easy for other community members. With this aim, he founded Paddle in August 2012. Paddle deals with Mac, Windows and SaaS software developers.

    What does Paddle do?

  • It serves as a merchant gateway for software sellers and offers customised checkouts. The sellers do not need to approach banks or credit card companies for establishing merchant relationships.
  • The company handles software licensing matters (license key distribution, monthly subscriptions etc.).
  • The platform takes care of taxes & VAT for software sellers
  • Paddle: Business operations

    Paddle’s customers (software sellers) are present in 238 countries and territories around the world. The company has 140 employees. It serves 850 software businesses and is growing with each passing day.

    The Deloitte Fast 50 has ranked Paddle as the 6th fastest growing company in the UK.

    Business Model

    The services provided by Paddle are not unique. There are many companies offering these services. These types of companies have created a new class of service industry.

    Whether it is physical goods or digital goods, companies working in this service industry provide turnkey solutions for both types of sellers. Selling domains, hosting eCommerce websites, customised checkouts, multiple payment options, support for multiple currencies and customer support services are all bundled up and sold as a monthly package to entrepreneurs so they can focus on their businesses while all the back office work is handled by these service providers.

    Four factors for achieving success in this service industry

  • Aggressive marketing
  • Easy platform and API integration
  • Good customer service
  • Competitive rates (Entrepreneurs prefer paying fees from sales rather than signing up for paid monthly packages)
  • This service industry has good business potential, but the competition is tough. Paddle has been successful in getting US $25 million in investor funding so far. Its future valuation will depend on how the company scales its business operations.

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