Side Income Ideas for Software Developers

One stranger from the Internet discovered my site when googled "How To Make Money From Software Development." As for me, the answer is straightforward. You ought to find a job where you can apply your skills, e.g., write software, and get your money as a salary.

But it turned out, that Google's algorithms assume that have a hidden intention to ask "how to make even more than I have right now as a software developer?" Although you are a Software Developer and have a pretty high salary, you might be wondering about having a side income. Let's check what other strangers on the Internet suggest you try out.

  • Passive Investing. How it works: sell your time and skills as an employee → get salary → invest into something (e.g., stocks) → maybe get some money on top of your investments. Take into an account taxes, in- and out- fees and inflation. I tried "Passive Investing," but it failed for me because I forgot to factor in an inflation rate. Then I tried it again, and after $5000 investment, I got something about $200 on top, and still need to pay a massive portion of this money in taxes.
  • Start Your Own Programming Blog. How it works: spend your time to make a content → put an advertisement on your pages OR put affiliate links in your text OR sell your own products (this also requires your time and your money to build them) → hope somebody clicks on your links or buy your products → get some cash. It might be $10000, or $0.01. And don't forget about taxes, infrastructure costs for your blog, and inflation rate. I'm doing this right now. I have no expectations that one day it might bring me some money because I started it with a completely different goal in mind.
  • Freelancing. How it works: sell your time and skills as a freelancer → get paid → taxes, inflation, you know it. I never tried "Freelancing," but for me, this makes a little different from being an employee. You still sell your time and your skill. This kind of "business" has limits. One of the upper restriction is that it doesn't scale at all. We all have 24 hours in a day, so how do you plan to earn more when you hit your glass ceiling?
  • E-commerce. How it works: spend your money and time to buys some stuff, to build and maintain your online shop, to establish delivery, to payment processing and manage accounts → find customers who want to buy what you sell on your site → sell what you have → get money. The rest you already know. I tried and failed.
  • Start Your Own YouTube Channel. How it works: the same way it works for Programming Blog. Haven't tried yet.
  • Create a Video Course. How it works: spend your time to build a video-lectures → sell them online → find someone who wants to buy it → get money.
  • Build a Piece of Software and Sell It. How it works: spend your time to build a software → spend your time to find a place to sell it online OR spend you time and money making a place to sell it → publish your software → spend your time to find someone who wants to buy it even though you haven't created yet a comprehensive documentation and tutorials → realize you still have zero sales. Spend time to write documentation → live with a hope somebody wants to buy your software → eventually find some clients → sell software → get money. Plus the rest you need to take into an account from previous points. I'm trying this now with
  • Stock Photos or Videos. How it works: spend your time to make and edit great photos or videos → spend time to publish them on Shutterstock or a similar website → wait if somebody wants to buy your photos → get money. Also tried and earned something around zero.
Search results for the query "rich software developers" demonstrating there are no such people
Portraits of rich software developers when I search them on Google.

Portraits of people who are really rich. Search for "rich entrepreneur"

In conclusion, what all those strangers have to say to you? They all have tons of ideas about how to spend your time or money or both. But all of them have no clue how to make you rich. They do not give any guarantees that after all spendings you'll earn more than nothing. And the reason seems to be really simple. If the basement of your income is your time ― you won't get rich, no matter what you do. I mean, if you spend your time to get money, you simply exchange your time in a very complicated way for a bunch of bucks. The way rich people act (how do I know?) is that they spend other people time to get rich. They organize the work of other people in a way that it becomes a money printing machine. This is why you won't find rich software developers. However, there are plenty of rich entrepreneurs.

Do you have better ideas for side income? I'm eager to hear, please share them in the comments below.

Jul 1, 2019. Berlin