There was a time when I really wanted to scale my business, to make it a large software development company and hire people to go beyond my single-person limitations. However, I realized that I won't go anywhere without leveraging technical debt.
After two and half years of intense learning and refactoring I came with a bunch of new concepts and applications for my software.
As a result of this process, I'm not longer interested in building the software company thing anymore as I realized that there's a better fit for my context and current times.
This post is about the stuff I've learned in all these years of providing self-hosted software and how I pretend to monetize Open Source Chevereto for the future.
# Tailored offering
👨🏾🏭 Each user craft their own offering tailored to specific needs.
I noticed that dual-licensing worked very well. To maximize it, I'm splitting the paid package in multiple addons to increment the surface area of the Chevereto paid offering.
In Chevereto, you pay and care for what you need. Your money goes directly to sustain the offering of what matters to you the most.
# Addon store
🛍 An addon store will enable anyone to offer and sell addons to improve Chevereto.
This is similar to what envato does but without evil fees. My idea is to drive the business for developers wanting to make a living out of Chevereto addons, to provide them with delivery and support to avoid all the hassle of having to sell that on their own.
My store will require a high-standard seeking to protect the software and to care about the consumer of these addons.
👨🏾⚖ I want to control it as a business, to keep it respectable and I will take strict care in this regard:
- Contracts for sellers
- Expropriate abandoned addons
- Code review and quality-assurance
It is time to STOP the stores that only care for the commission fee and NEVER protect the customer.
🤯 I will sell my addons until those reach a defined market cap. Once that boundary gets reached, I will consider the addon founded and I will re-release those as Open Source software.
The market cap for each addon will depend on the investing required and the cost of maintenance for it.
The community will drive development and I will give back to keep the software always relevant, updated and competitive.
🎠 Paid memberships will enable users to get perks and to contribute back to sustain the ongoing development.
This will have tiers, users will require to pay depending of the type of user they are and the contribution they want to give back.
✨ Being honest, I'm not sure yet which kind of perks I will enable. Likely it will include some of these:
- Participate in the community
- Voting ability
- Public recognition
- Support Tickets
- All-access to official addons (like Netflix)
📖 Great documentation, guides and manuals will be available to ease all the work around the software.
I also want to create video courses to ease the adoption of the software, to make it more easier and friendly to understand.
My goal is to drive the user towards a solution in exchange of just a little effort on their end as this causes a domino effect based on the time invested in acquiring knowledge:
- Empower the user
- Removes the fear on tech
- Encourages user to go beyond
- User saves money
🥳 All third-parties are welcome, they are also my users. I will provide services to guarantee the standard provisioning of the software for this layer of users.
A third-party is someone enabling to use of Chevereto to other users, like someone wanting to offer hosted Chevereto (SaaS).
I made this decision some time ago, when I switched to MIT license to ensure all user freedoms.
🛎️ Specialized support services will be available for those needing more attention.
Self-hosted server side software could be intimidating and even with all the knowledge available there will be always stuff hard to understand, requiring to consult me directly. This is specially for those wanting shortcuts, I will available to assist and consult in everything related to the software at different levels:
- Community posts
- Private chats
- Scheduled calls
- Remote assistance
🏅 To certify others will allow me to drive an ecosystem of providers for all sizes and needs.
I got this idea from CraftCMS which offers a partner program for all sizes. I will also seek to enable third-party certified support so the offering in supporting services can be more diverse than just being me the provider.
⛅ I will offer chevereto.cloud, a hosted service where the main feature will be the software reliability, built-in support and early access to all software assets.
The service will basically me configuring and maintaining VPS instances where you can easily run Chevereto and never worry about the setup hassles, at all. For this I will deliver support, updates, patches, backup, roll-back or anything else required to keep the service provisioning.
I want to provide a service similar to what ServerPilot does, where you get a panel for handling instances and services in any supported provider. Of course, you can migrate from/to self-hosted at any time.
# Wrapping up
I believe that I've crafted a nice offering for the context of my software and its users. I can't wait to start running this new business model and to start working in software for my software. Most of all, I'm very happy to see that everything is taking is right place after so many years.
Yeah, I almost forgot to mention that a side effect of all this is that I will earn some serious money.
Cheers for another decade with Chevereto!