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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Aug 2004
    Demi Plane of Shadows
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    What do I need to sell my own software online?

    I am a college student of Computer Engineering and I am starting to search for alternate ways of making money without having a 9 to 17 job. I already started with affiliate marketing, but the I thought that all those years earning C, C++, java, prolog, haskell, etc... shouldn't go to waste so I remebered of making and selling my own software online.

    I am thinking of creating one of those sites where costumers must pay to download my software, I don't know if this belongs here or in a software developers forum, but here goes my questions.

    1 - What would be the minimum initial cost for something like this (to develop the software, put the web site up, basic advertising, any other costs that I can't think of right now). Please specify to where the money must go.

    2 - Do I need a compiler registered in my name, or can I use a copy of my college computer department of .NET (they have a contract that allows them to make has many copys has they wish)

    3 - I have the idea that advertising software is easy, just write some press releases and mail every computer magazine in the world to see if they are interested in including a shareware version of it on their cds. Am I being to optimistic?

    4 - What legal stuff should I be aware of and how much it will cost me?

    5 - Any other idea for an alternative way of making a living (no 9 to 17 job) for a guy with knowledge in several programing languages and capabilities of learning many more and also with basic knowledge in digital system disign, computer achictecture, Operation Investigation and Economics Engineering?

    Thank you for readind. This post was somewhat long.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    LaGrange, Georgia
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    Yeah, you could say you're being too optimistic. No matter what the business, running your own business is hard... much harder than you think. You can just write some easy software, stick it up on a website and hope it sells - but dont' try to make a living doing that. There are a lot more things you should consider than I can post in one response, but here are a few things to think about...

    There are commercial software vendors in nearly every industry that make software... they have financial backing and tons of employees. What software could you write that would be better or compete with theirs? Do you have a great idea for new software that's not already out there? Even if you want to be a "me too" player, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition somehow.

    You will have costs such as business licenses, payment processing, support (yes, if you sell software you'll have to support the users that use it), phone, fax, office, computer, software and computer upgrades, etc. You'll also need to test your software on a variety of computers, platforms, processors, etc.

    I don't know about the compiler because I'm not a software engineer, but I would think that the license the college got for their compiler does not let them use it for commercial purposes. If that is the case, you would need to get your own.

    I couldn't even start with legal stuff - you need a business license and other permits as neccessary in your area. You may need more or less depending on local regulations. best to talk with an attorney or score/business consultant in your area.

    You would probably do better to get some experience working for a successful software company before trying to strike it on your own. A little experience goes a lot further than a formal education when it comes to running a business.

    Best of luck!


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