Former Industry Analyst, Social Big Data Consultant, VC startup veteran. Deep background in telecom expenses, enterprise mobility management, fantasy baseball, social media, BYOD policy, B2B online influence, and technology strategy as a Principal of DataHive Consulting. Top 10 Big Data influencer: http://j.mp/1cafIhc
If you need the money, you need to start selling. However, realize that just because you start selling doesn't mean that you'll get money quickly. I agree that, even with a quick sale, you'll probably need to wait 2-3 months before you start getting paid. But if you're trying to grow sales as quickly as possible for a product like this, you need to start talking to the users and buyers of this software, which sounds like enterprise learning and development, HR consulting firms, corporate educational companies.
Freemium makes sense for a funded company or for a platform approach where the add-ons and premium software product will make you money, but that's a strategy where you only expect a few percent of users to actually pay. If nobody is going to fund a year of your time for you to take the freemium approach or if you need money in the next 6 months, you've got to prove the value by putting out a price point based on the differential value of your product and finding an actual customer. I think your challenge is very tactical: Can you find 100 local companies that could use your product? Can you find the buyer in each company or do you have any 2nd degree connections to these people? If not, can you either make the call or hire a sales person at a 15%-20% commission rate to sell for you?
Funding is nice when you can do it (and I've been in 3 VC-backed startups), but you can't count on funding. Also, funders like seeing that you can actually sell your products as well, so these aren't mutually exclusive paths.
All had strong network effects, but they did it in different ways. MySpace was strong because of the level of personalization and the music shared on MySpace, but very few people were well-positioned to maintain high quality inputs to maintain long-term networks. Friendster couldn't scale its technology and made it too difficult for friends to stay connected in any meaningful way. Facebook concentrated on scalability while providing more and more ways for people to stay connected (messages, chat, ecommerce).
If you're going to build strong network effects, there has to be a core of devoted and popular users who are willing to use and broadcast on the social network. There also has to be a residual value proposition for people to follow that core or the activity on the social network. And the network itself needs to continue to evolve so that people can continue to maintain strong and varied connections over time.