How to find a target market for your SaaS product?

The first step to create passive income building software is to find a customer. Yes, a paying customer. How do you go about finding this first customer? You need to know which target market you want this first customer. In the software arena, there are three market segments considered as good targets for a small start-up.

1. Person-to-person (common man) market
2. Business-to-business (niche small business) market
3. Enterprise solutions market

Let’s define each of these markets and how each of these target markets differ from each other for building a SaaS product for passive income in each of these target markets.

Person-to-Person Market

Software products such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Intuit, Google and Microsoft Office cater to the common man. All such products resolve a variety of problems for the public. It can be either a web-based product (website), desktop product (software installed on PC or Mac) or a mobile based product (iOS or Android). Finding a customer is easy in this market segment. You can approach any of your friends, family members and colleagues; ask if they have any problems that you could solve for them. The idea here is to find out one or two common problems from the people you are surveying. More number of people you survey, more the chances of finding one common problem. Typically, this is a tough market to start for passive income for a few reasons. Your friends, family members and your peers are all in different stages of their lives. They may be facing different challenges. Each one of them will most likely have a problem which may or may not intersect with others.

Business-to-business market

The niche small business market is comprised of people who own their own business such as doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, contractors, realtors, daycare agencies, beauty salons, photographers, cleaning services etc. Any software product that assists them to run their business is an ideal way to start for passive income. Examples include Intuit accounting, Pharmacy inventory system, Doctor appointment reservation systems. Your software product can only solve two main problems for small businesses:

  1. Increases productivity – Small business owners have limited time on their hands, especially doctors and lawyers. Any tool which can reduce their pain of maintaining their business on a day-to-day basis will provide value.
  2. Increases sales – Every small business owner is looking to increase their sales and expand their business. If your product can acquire more customer for small business owners, you have a valuable business.

Enterprise solutions market

Software which caters to big enterprises for maintaining their business would fall under the enterprise solutions market. Applications such as Box, Dropbox, GitHub are all examples of enterprise solutions. Marketing to big corporations is challenging and competitive. Starting an enterprise product when you are venturing into passive income is doable but not practical, in my opinion.

Conclusion

Your first software product should not have many technical challenges and very less friction in marketing it. The goal here is to ensure you are able to get through to your first potential customer with minimal barriers.  The easiest soft target for your first software venture for passive income among all three markets is the small business sector. Small businesses have sales issues, scalability issues, productivity problems and they have very limited time. Doctors and lawyers, especially, have a good source of revenue to spare provided your product can save them time. You, as a software engineer, can pitch in to see how you can improve their business. My blog is entirely focused on finding customers for the niche small business sector and providing value to them with a software product.

Agree or Disagree? Please comment below.

Happy SaaSive Income!

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I hate working 8-5 software engineering job, especially after you have worked for other employers for 10+ years. After you gained sufficient problem solving skills, you need to try becoming an independent software business owner. Building a software product and selling it to paying customers is 1000 times gratifying than solving any complex problem for a company or receiving a pay hike from your company’s senior management.

So, why should you not quit your job?

I love the financial stability tagged with a full-time job. If you have a family to feed and children to fend for, knowing where your next pay check is coming from is vital. Be sure to max out your 401k, utilize any other company sponsored plans like HSA, FSA from day one of your job. These full-time company benefits are highly valuable and a peace of mind in your initial stages of starting your own software business as every dollar counts.

Never ever jeopardize yours or your family’s future by quitting your job without having a backup plan.

In 2007, before I was married or had kids, I was working on a software product., I wanted to desperately resign and work on my shiny new startup. And I did. Little did I think about validating the product and having a solid revenue stream before quitting my decent pay and full benefits job. The software product failed as I was unable to gain paying customers after it was developed for 3 months. I was able to gain employment soon after I realized the product was not going to survive but this immature decision costed me 1 year of strife to my near and dear family members.

So, when can you quit your job?

There will be a point when you can eventually quit your stable job. You need to first validate your idea, build it and scale it enough that it can replace your full-time paying job. You need to ensure that your software product is an actual viable software business and not just a well-designed, shiny, fancy algorithm. At the end of the day, if there is even one person paying $10 for your product, you have a potential business. Otherwise you have zilch.

You may think you are wasting your valuable time at a company but there are ways you can carve out time for your startup. If you are passionate and driven, you will figure out ways to be effective and yet not sacrifice your family’s future.

Remember, family comes first, everything else next. Happy SaaSive income. 🙂

 

Pockets of Productivity (PoP)

Is it possible to keep your job and still create software with paying customers? I did not think so back in 2007. I had a decent software engineer position with a good company based in Ohio but I always wanted to quit to start my own software business. And I did. And that was stupid, especially, considering that I was married and had a one year old. Never jeopardize your family’s financial stability without having a strong viable software business. Enough lecturing!

What is Pockets of Productivity (PoP)?

Pockets of Productivity are small time periods during which you are amazingly focused to get stuff done. If you have a 8-5 full time job and have kid(s), you will realize that making time for your side software project is not an easy task. You have to carve out a working schedule which is effective.

During the initial stages of starting 7067285245, I was very frustrated that I was unable to spend more time building my software and reaching out to customers with a full time job. I debated for long hours with myself and with my spouse if I should quit and work on my startup. In hindsight, it would have been a grave mistake if I had quit. Credit goes to my spouse for injecting sense and keeping me grounded. I highly encourage you to have either a partner for your business or have a great friend or spouse who you can confide in. I will write a detailed article on why you need a genuine partner for a successful startup in a future post.

With a full-time job and a family, how does one find time to work on a side hustle? This is how you can do it:

  • Are you an early bird who likes working the morning, like me? Wake up 30-45 minutes earlier than your usual time and work on your project.
  • Are you a nocturnal animal who likes working in the night? Work an extra 30-45 minutes every day.
  • Take your personal laptop to your office and keep it in your car. During lunch hour, go to the nearest coffee shop and work. Get back to work within the stipulated lunch time and eat lunch at your desk while working your job.
  • On your way back home, go to a coffee shop and work for some additional time.

Small amounts every day add up very quickly in the long run.

What are the benefits of PoP?

  • You will be amazingly focused since your time is ticking every time you work.
  • You will feel greatly accomplished at the end of the day
  • Financial stability while validating your product or startup. Not quitting your job until you have a rock solid sustainable business is essential.

I have worked in Starbucks closer to my work place during lunch hours and work early in the morning before my kids wake up. You will have to try different combination of time and different work places to come up with something suitable for your work style.

Hope this was helpful. Curious to hear your thoughts. Please comment.

 

Welcome to generating passive income with software blog.

Welcome. This blog is going to be all about generating  passive income using your software skills. My intention is to share everything I learn about:

  1. finding paying customers
  2. creating value to customers and generating income
  3. building product based on customer’s requirements
  4. scaling your customer base slowly

If you are a software engineer and you want to learn any or all of the above, welcome! As a software programmer with over 10+ years of experience and having the entrepreneurial spirit, I have always wanted to create Software as a Service products. My friends called me crazy and my spouse called me insane for creating so many failed software products.

The brutal truth, I learned after failing on all these launches:

  • no one really cares about your wonderful algorithm
  • all that matters is that you have a paying customer
  • it is extremely hard to convince users to take money out of their pockets when you are starting off with a new product

After six failed software products, I was finally able to succeed to create a viable product with a handful of happy customers. How did I get here? There are only two components of having a successful software business:

  1. Customers
  2. Software Product

I will write articles focused precisely on customers and building a software product. Well, I am hoping I can share my experience in getting started with passive income using this blog and provide value to you in starting your software venture.

Again, welcome and good luck!