Learn what systems really make the money.
I've had a lot of people reach out to me with a very simple question. How do you build software that makes money?
The answer to that is actually very simple.
Software doesn't make money. It simply doesn't do that on its own.
Sales make money.
Of course, that doesn't mean that you can't build systems that make money.
Keep on reading ahead, if you want to understand the difference.
Now, let's admit it, for a lot of software engineers, sales is a dirty word.
They don't want to think about it. Instead of focusing on sales, they adopt a mindset that "if you build it, they will come." That, unfortunately, is not true.
Trust me, it was the mindset that I had for my first company, PlusMore.
The failure of PlusMore taught me that they won't come just because you've built it. You need to attract the right people there.
PlusMore's product was a service that let people staying at hotels book different things like dinner reservations from the comfort of their rooms. Kinda like a concierge app on a tablet in each room, or on their own phones.
In order to get our product in the hands of customers, my buddy Krish would call up the hotels and tell them about what we were doing. He'd go through all this manual work for each client to just get us an opportunity to go to them, show they what we could do, and maybe get a sale.
It was a lot of work for what turned out to be not a whole lot of sales.
I didn't think anything of it at the time though, because that's how I thought sales worked.
I thought they were a very personal, one-on-one kind of process. After all, my father is a salesman, selling paint to contractors for large projects. He goes to their offices, he goes to their job sites, and he chats people up, and lands the contracts.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. There are other ways to put people through your sales process. Potentially easier ways to put money in your wallet.
After my company PlusMore failed, I'd been reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and something he had learned was if you want to get rich, don't work for money, work to learn skills and gain experience that can be put towards your ventures.
I decided to try to work for some experience rather than just money. I needed to build up knowledge and understand where I had gone wrong.
I took a pay cut and took up a job with a pair of digital marketers selling informational products.
I was blown away by the work that these two guys were doing. At PlusMore we had been 90% product and maybe 10% marketing. It was a damn good product.
These guys were the exact opposite, pouring most of their energy into marketing with a seemingly relatively simple product.
The difference was in the results. PlusMore had failed, and these guys were comfortably in the two comma club.
When I got the opportunity, I asked one of them: how did this get started?
His response? "I really like building systems."
As a software engineer, I was floored. I'd been learning to build the wrong types of systems!
Sure, I had learned to build the kind of systems that support business and help them thrive, systems for scaling distributed systems, systems for implementing pretty UIs, but I hadn't learned the kind of systems that make money!
There are actually systems whose whole purpose is to just make money.
There are systems that help you make sales.
Systems that move a customer up a value ladder, moving them into gradually more expensive products and earning you more money.
Systems for attracting leads. Systems for converting leads into customers.
Complex systems, simple systems, effective, and ineffective systems.
Instead of focusing entirely on the product, the guys I worked with were building systems that would take customers through each step of the the sales process.
It was as if they were taking someone like my father and multiplying him.
Instead of having to make the sales pitch with each client, they made it once, and then used marketing funnels and newsletters to bring that pitch to each customer.
And they were absolutely making it rain with this system.
Instead of putting your effort into individual sales pitches, you need to be putting your effort into creating systems that give that pitch to as many interested people as possible.
The guys I worked for had their sales guy creating videos which were sent out to their potential customers each week. That way, he made the effort of his pitch once, but using the internet, multiplied the effect of that effort by hundreds and thousands.
It's kinda like having the ability to clone someone like my dad and to send him out to multiple job sites all at once. You're going to get a lot more sales.
(Please no one clone my dad.)
That's the real secret of this, though. You don't build software that makes money. You build systems. Sales systems. Marketing Systems. Operation Systems.
You turn a product into a full business.
In fact, there are five main types of systems – five pillars of business if you will, and building systems for each is what helps you actually become a business. Each with many subsystems of their own – but that's a topic for another time.
So, in conclusion: If it's money you seek, you'll need systems for making money, not just scaling services.
Want to learn more about me and my story? Click here to read about me and how my agency, Unbounded, can help you turn your product into a money-making system.
Image licensed by Adobe Stock Photos, by ALDECAstudio.