Making money with Autohotkey? Topic is solved

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Making money with Autohotkey?

13 Jun 2018, 15:36

I work in an organization where there is a lot of data entry. I think I have figured out a way to use AHK to reduce 1 hour of labor time into 10 seconds with AHK.
doing this will allow the company to save around $60K a year in labor costs.

I was wondering if there is anyway I can leverage this so that I get something in return. Since I am already an employee I am afraid they just might use my script to get cost savings. Its not my job to make AHK scripts but I have been learning it on my own. I haven't mentioned to the company that I figured it out yet and curious what my options are.

My other idea was to just quit and come back to them as an independent contractor with an offer to save labor costs. That way I can sell the script to them for a fixed price, and then do the same with other companies in the area.
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Re: Making money with Autohotkey?

13 Jun 2018, 17:42

many people have stories of automating themselves out of a job.

what I have done a couple times:
if it's only for you, pseudo-automate it. as in, don't have it run 100% auto, but have a few steps of manual labor. such as: pressing a key to do the next entry.
press f3 -> do all the stuff -> press f3 -> do all the stuff -> press f3 -> do all the stuff -> ...
this does a few things:
- you still have to 'work' (tap a key or 5 all day).
- You can control the speed so that way it looks like you're busy or not. or if you need to hurry and get 20 more things done before lunch. w/e.
- helps prevent any errors, because sometimes your perfect code might go a little too fast or skip a line/box.
- job security?

or just bring it up in a meeting with a chance of your boss being like "awesome, do it". You get paid to write the code for the next 3 months, you turn it in, he thanks you and gives you a 2 week notice and maybe a $50 giftcard to Applebees.
rawr. fear me.
Is it December 21, 2012 yet?
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Re: Making money with Autohotkey?  Topic is solved

13 Jun 2018, 18:31

Hello Drizzt.

Selling an automation solution to the company your work for as an employee is not something as simple as it may seem at first. If you are an internal employee at the moment, you should keep in mind that selling any goods or services does require some expertise as a salesman and negotiator (that you may or may not have). This is even more important if you are selling this specific item or service to someone that holds some power over your career (i.e, if you upset them, they may fire you or not give you a promotion later on). The golden rule is to always consider the thoughts, feelings and options of those in the other side, and to offer them something truly valuable. Take some time to figure out everything related to this type of sale first and you will be much more likely to succeed :beer:

I haven't mentioned to the company that I figured it out yet and curious what my options are.

If you intend to get some extra cash from the company by selling them a software solution, i suggest you discuss the possibilities with the management first. And please do this before you even write the script (if you tell them you have a script already, they may conclude you were secretive during the whole development of the script, and since the script is aimed to the company you work for and you are going to ask them money for it, they will probably see this secrecy as a somewhat suspicious or even unfair move on your part). Let them know beforehand about your intentions and they will not be questioning whether you wrote the script during working hours, in example.

Also, here are some other things you should keep in mind during the negotiation steps:

  • Make it clear from the start that you intend to get something in return for the extra task. Early talk is important. Unless they are explicitly told this from day 1 of negotiation phase, they are probably going to presume you will do it under your current contract, and it will certainly upset the manager if you say otherwise only later on.
  • Don't get into much detail about what exactly you are going to do. Just tell them it's an automation work that requires software development and you are positive it will yield big a value to the company over time. To support your words, you can present them your rough estimates of the cost savings to the company or even tell them about the general idea, but always be careful not to convey enougth info for them to ask their IT team to do it instead.
  • During negotiation don't ever forget this: you are absolutely NOT going to get 10k or any other value just because you have saved the company 60k. What i mean here is this: to get any value at all, you have to give them a product or service that is really worth that value. As an example, imagine this: if you are trying to sell a car that has a low fuel comsumption, you can (and should) tell the prospect about this, but you should also not forget to remind them you are also selling a car, because otherwise they may just conclude that a bike is an even better deal. The catch here is that you can only truly be entitled to those 10k in their eyes if saving them 60k is going to cost you lots and lots of hours of extra work time. Prepare a sheet describing the rough estimate of the working hours required to develop the tool and give them a fair value for a working hour (i.e., your normal working hour + 50%). This is going to make it all seem much more fair, and you can always include the time you are going to spend developing a nice GUI or optimizing the software or even testing it and fixing minor bugs. Convince them those 10k are paying a lot of working hours: don't ever forget that they will rather hire an outsider programmer if the work seems too quick or easy to do.
  • Explain them in detail why the results will NEED your new software development efforts. There are lot's of already made softwares for sale and they are VERY cheap. If any of them can do the exact same thing as you are trying to do, the manager is likely to purchase that software and perhaps even think you were just trying to make him a fool. Always do a previous check about other options the prospect may have.
  • Let the manager take his credit for the cost savings. If he were to hire an external programmer to do the task, he could say it was his move that allowed the company to save those 60k. Likewise, it is his move to accept your offer or not. On management grounds, he does have some credit for the cost savings, as he was the one taking the decision (and the management risks). Don't be overly boastful to your co-workers or even the manager himself just because you are the one developing the software. You are not the only one responsible for making it true. Don't forget to share the credits with all those that help the idea come true or you are likely to be seen as overly arrogant and attract their disdain.
  • Dont be hasteful for a decision. It usually takes a lot of time to convince someone of paying for a service or good that will cost thousands of dollars. Nobody buys a car as soon as the salesperson offers them a deal. Talk about the subject casually at first, and always allow the manager some time to consider everything involved. On the other hand, do take the opportunities of daily work routine to recall this subject every once in a while over weeks or months. Best case scenario is a request for an offer coming from their side.

My other idea was to just quit and come back to them as an independent contractor with an offer to save labor costs.

That's usually not a good idea. You are much more likely to get a sound NO as an independent contractor if you have just quit the company. Anyone would conclude you knew something when you were still a part of the team and yet choose to keep it as a secret. And you don't want any sales prospect to become suspicious over your actions or morals (let alone a previous employer that could commend you to another company).

Since I am already an employee I am afraid they just might use my script to get cost savings.

You should consider getting legal advice on this matter. Local laws may or may not allow them to do so. In general, they are much more likely to be able to demand this if, in example, you write the script using the companys computers and during your working hours as an employee. It may also happen if you don't get a signed contract for the software development. But this also means that it is not as likely for them to demand this if you do write the script in your home PC using your spare time and if you do get a signed contract for this specific purpose. But than again, as mentioned, do get legal advice on the matter because it depends on your local laws.
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