Unhappy at work. Can I earn enough with Xojo?

I’ve been around on the forums for years and have been an active Xojo user for over a decade. Currently my full time job is a consultant radiologist but I have to say that I’m feeling pretty burnt out and medicine just isn’t my passion anymore but I love to code. Although I’m only a “hobby” programmer I believe I’m a very competent programmer having written everything from simple Xojo controls, to a couple of database apps all the way up to a turing complete object-orientated programming language (Roo) - all in Xojo. My public repos are on Github.

I don’t see enough of my children and I want more flexibility in my job.

My worry is though that I can’t earn enough money as a software developer with Xojo as I currently do as a radiologist. I don’t have to earn the same (my wife could increase her earnings) but I do have two small kids and a mortgage so I can’t work for free. I also don’t have a plan (i.e. I don’t have a current killer app idea to work on).

Don’t suppose you’re hiring @Dana Brown ?

Does anyone have any advice?

Xojo Pro license include consulting leads. You may want to check that.

I remember a post from Bob saying he used the leads to do some jobs (maybe a long time ago). Now he is well known and people go to him (no need for the leads anymore).

Good luck.

Indeed, a Xojo Pro license gets you access to the consulting leads. Some months are better than others but we answer most of them. And like Alberto said we get a lot of unsolicited calls now which is great.

Besides the consulting leads some ideas to get your name into the community:
• Blog about Xojo
• Answer questions on the forums
• Create a product/solution that Xojo developers need/want
• Contributing to some open source Xojo projects

There are folks that are looking for Xojo developers. Just putting your name out there might generate some interesting. :wink:

It depends on your development skill and speed.

Some people have tons of killer app ideas and produce nothing.

You can either (read my first sentence) find and found some application to do or take an existent one and deliver a far better (better User Interface / faster execution / whatever) application.

Of cours: IMHO.

And, if you fall in trouble (a Xojo component bug or missing features), buy a plug-in replacement: you have to deliver a software.

Also, you certainly already know, buying a Xojo license is just the first step; writing code is the second step, and to put the software in Servers to be sold (App Store Windows Store, whatever), you need to buy other software (Sandboxing is not included in Xojo).

Thanks for the responses so far. Trouble is I’ve waited years for a great app idea to come and it never does which is why I’m wondering if just writing apps for other people might be a good first step. Thing is, I have no idea what kind of income a consultant can make. I don’t mind forking out for a Pro license for the leads if I can realistically earn a couple of grand a month from consulting but (for obvious reasons) people aren’t particularly willing to talk about how much they earn in public.

Part of me wonders if taking the plunge and leaving the NHS (National Health Service) will kick start my brain and give me something to work on…

Did you have some “Violon d’Ingres” ?

Beside your current job, do you have some “domain of expertise” (or simply something you love to do, follow, whatever) ?
Even football can be considered…

Hi Garry,

I have another perspective that you may want to consider. I am in a similar position as yourself, where my full time job pays the bills and programming full time would be nice, and it doesn’t have enough income for supporting a family, so I program as a hobby.

My suggestion is to start creating programs while you are still employed. This will give you experience with creating and selling apps, while still bringing in an income for the family. You will learn about both good and poor customers, and will still have the security of income for your family.

If one of your apps is not popular then make another one. The most important aspect is to create something now. Try and create a few different types of apps in professional areas that you are comfortable with. This will also show you what the market is like.

Just my $0.02.

Not just $0.02: valuable advice.

It can be a long haul. In 1986 I quit my job, bought my first house, and started a business all at the same time. I had one consulting job in hand, a $10K gig, and nothing lined up after that. For the next five years I worked out of a spare bedroom and basically lived in fear of not being able to make the next mortgage payment, but my work was good, my clients were always satisfied, and word got around. My timing was good/lucky in that electronic product development was much in demand in my niche during the 1990s. Eventually I took a plunge and rented an office, hiring an assistant. Soon after that, things exploded and I had 8 employees and more work than we could handle. I finally had time to work on my own ideas, and royalties started coming in. In 1999 I had what I thought was my best product idea ever, sunk everything I’d made in the previous 10 years into it, and despite getting off to a great start, the project eventually tanked for a number of reasons and I lost pretty much everything except my good name and reputation. Took a couple of years to regroup and have been working solo for the past 10 years, mostly work for hire and no time for my own stuff again. Still have some scary dry spells but something always seems to come up to save the day, and I enjoy an independent and low-stress life now.

Your reputation for delivering quality work and service on time is your most precious asset, but network building is essential to get your name out there and make potential clients aware of your existence. Try to diversify your skills and keep learning - someone who only codes Xojo may have a very small niche; you need to be able to quickly learn other platforms and languages so you can take on whatever jobs come along.

Did you buy some software from the store and not be happy with it ?

If so, you may build your own version provided it is far better than the other one :wink:
Price it the same or some cents below (people will prefer yours for the price first, then be happy and come back…)

Running your own business isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. It needs attention on a lot of different angles you don’t even want to think about. If you have a job that pays your mortgage don’t quit now. Do some research. Contact the Chamber of Commerce, the Tax Office etc to find out what they expect from you once you start sending your bills.

Think about conditions, pricing, complaints, liability. Would you rather work fixed price or per hour? Do you have any friends that started a business recently? What would be your exit plan?

I started a couple of years ago and took a fixed price job to develop a Risk/Compliancy program. But I did a lousy job getting the specs right and skipped testing because of deadlines. I received so many complaints that I couldn’t do any other job so my income dropped and stress levels where in the red…

same as Julia Truchsess
i quit my job and go own my business for about 15 year is the best you can do but be save and good look.

It’s the other way round … :wink:

Head over to https://www.and.co/how-to-freelance and get the freelance guide.

A good software easily can take a year to develop. If you have the possibility you could buy some software.

If you goggle around you will see a lot of advice about “follow your passion”. Which is easy to say but hard to do. Are there any unmet needs in the medical field? Could you get affluent customers who absolutely need your software? You absolutely have a headstart in the medical field. Why shouldn’t you use this?

Regarding your health. If you don’t want advice and you are a doctor who thinks that statins for everyone will cure every heart disease you can stop reading.

If you are still reading then do a goggle for Chris Kresser or Mark Sisson to read about burnout. I don’t know how bad your burnout is. Sleeping and not eating fastfood will help you much. There are so many nice and healthy alternative to drugs like Rhodiola, 5HTP, Tryptophan or Gingseng which will help with stress. They can’t cure everything but without energy you can’t change your life.

best is keep you job and make new customers when you see the time then go.

Usually great apps, especially from the hobbies programmer comes from “Scratching a self serving itch”. In my case I focus an field that I know well (and have had a full time career on in the past). Just putting together code, is a good skill. But you are not indispensable / highest and best paid unless you know the field the app runs in.

Look in your field and see is there a better way to do the business? Can you code it? If so you can probably sell a bunch of it.

Write once, sell many is a much better model that code by the hour.

@Geoff Perlman probably has some options here worth listening to.

The medical field is a huge industry with a lot of money and a lot of data. That sounds like a perfect client to me. You are already on the inside and know some people, which opens doors. Surely there is a problem that you could solve with a cleverly written piece of software that could change everything for them - and for YOU. There are probably issues there that could be solved fairly easily, but no one has developed a specific solution for because they are busy doing other things. I don’t know what that is, but I have seen it in my current industry. My experience is that in the right place, at the right time, you may have an opportunity to provide an absurd amount of value. So I would say take a very close look around you for the opportunities that might already be right there at your feet. Also - make sure that you are getting your share of the value and not shorting yourself because you are ‘just getting started’ or some other garbage like that.

Lots of good responses so far, thank you. One of the biggest hurdles I face in the NHS is that because it’s a public sector industry and it’s health related, there are many, many red tape hurdles to overcome. For instance, I wanted to experiment with analysing the content of radiology reports from my hospital’s database. My boss thought it was a good idea, as did the clinical IT lead but it turns out that the hospital is locked into a very expensive contract with the vendor of the software linked to the database and to even allow third party API access would be prohibitively expensive (we’re talking £10,000s) so I was met with a “sorry, can’t do”. This has been a recurring issue in the NHS. They only ever deal with major enterprise vendors.

Perhaps it’s different in the States and doctors/hospitals have more flexibility in which software houses they deal with.

@Garry Pettet - Yeah I understand how that could be… I bet that there is more than 10,000s of value there if you help them to find and see it. Maybe, maybe not - I am not in the medical industry - but money saved can add up to a great deal of value very, very quickly. And if YOU can find the reasons that convince them to take that step, then it is taken, and that barrier is gone which may open up even more opportunities down the road. I don’t know - but just don’t give up easily is all I am saying. Think it through - DIG - do the math yourself - present a sound case. I wrote a piece of software where I am now and initially they balked when I told them it would take a lot of time and cost them $60K - that was the most I felt I could get out of them at the time. But that software has already made them almost $5 Mil. Now I kick myself saying that was worth way more than $60K - I should even done it for a percentage - but hey I am still working on it, expanding it regularly, it is in it’s third full version with over 1000 updates since the initial launch.

There are many different ways to make money with software. People on this forum do all different kinds of things. App store is one way, find a niche is another way - try both. I just think there has to be some huge opportunities in the industry you are in somewhere - but it may not be easy, never is actually.

There are lots of different ways of earning an income in IT, so I’d say the first step would be to figure out how you want to do it:

  • As an employee somewhere
  • A contractor
  • Custom software developer for local business
  • Software vendor
    The big difference between the first two and the second two is to make a go of it you have to be able to sell - yourself, what you do and what you make. If you are not comfortable showing up at the social events, making the chitchat and networking it is going to be very hard going. In addition you have got all the usual business admin, debt collection etc…

I doubt the second two will reduce your workload by much, but if successful will probably be more rewarding financial than the first two.