Most of our daily work depends on open source. Developers that create open source software do it for free. Though this is not the best opportunity to earn a living, you can look for ways to get paid. Read on to learn how.
Why look for financial support?
Open source software is designed to be shared, modified, and used by the community of developers. Since the code is usually developed in a public place, anyone can contribute to it. This is accessible to anyone, and you can make changes to the code and then submit them for review. If you add valuable features to the open source software, you may be accepted.
Most developers engage in open source work for voluntary purposes. For instance, you may already have a full-time career but have the skills to contribute to open source in your free time. Some people also contribute to open source work as a hobby, while others like the level of satisfaction it brings.
Though open source work can seem like free work, contributing can help one gain certain benefits. For instance, it can make you feel closer to the open source community or even help you learn a new skill. You may also earn some external rewards like potential returns in the future due to your contribution to open source work. This can help you get profitable opportunities later in life.
If you are a developer with a genuine interest in coding, you can contribute to open source work and look for financial support. Seeking financial support while working on open source projects can help you meet your needs. For instance, it can help you cater to your family’s daily needs or even pay a debt. If your main aim of engaging in open source work is to get paid, you can either look for organizational funding for the open source project or fund your time as a contributor.
How to fund your own time as a contributor
Open source software sustains itself through contributions from developers all over the world. It has a very strong community. Though you may not be able to charge money for open source work, you can get paid by funding your own time as a contributor. Many companies often depend on open-source projects for their day-to-day tasks. If your employer uses the open source project, you should talk to them.
Once you talk to your employer and start maintaining the open source project, you may get compensated for your work. If you choose to start an open source project while you are still an employee, you should ensure that you comprehend the company’s policy regarding open source work.
If your employer does not use open source but uses Python, you can still talk to them and get paid. Though you don’t necessarily have to make cash from your own project, contributing to the existing project can help you get paid.
In case your employer does not prioritize open source work, think about looking for another employer that does. Some large companies often employ people who can work on open source. Research can help you come across company websites that show their involvement in open source. Such companies include PayPal and Netflix. You may also come across open source projects that have issues that need to be fixed by developers. Making useful contributions to a company’s open source projects is a great way to get paid.
How to find funding for your project
If you already have an open source project you have been working on, you can look for funding for it. Monetary support can help the project develop. For instance, it can help cover the cost of running the open source project and also give you extra cash to invest in new ideas.
You can easily get funding through a crowdfunding campaign if you have a reputation in the open source community. This concept has been in existence for a while, and it has helped many developers fund their projects. It is a valid option that you should consider exploring since it has few conditions.
Certain organizations also give developers a particular sum of money to help them fund their business ideas. You can start looking into software foundations that offer this. With grants, you may receive the cash even when you don’t create a legal entity for the open source project. Some of the options that can help include the Python Software Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.
You can also start getting money by offering paid support. Since you probably have enough knowledge about the codebase, you can offer consultancy to companies that would like to utilize your project. This can help you keep the open-source project going. If you have extra functionalities or features, you can also charge money for them.
How to build a case to get financial support for your project
Have you identified a potential funder for the open source work? If yes, you must come up with a compelling case that can help you get financial support. As you present your case, think about the usefulness of your project and try to envision it in the future. You can convince the funder that your project is important by gathering evidence such as stating if there are some popular people currently using it.
Try to explain to the funder what value the project has to them and state how the funding will help the project. Before approaching a funder, you should also research to find out whether they have requirements for disbursal.
Though open source work may be voluntary, you can actually make money from it. If you have established an open source project, you should assess the specific ways you would like to get paid and start monetizing it. As you approach a funder, remember to be creative and help them understand what value the project can bring to them. Even if you don’t get funding immediately, do not lose hope but continue researching more options.