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Ask HN: What is your best side project / passive income in 2015?
70 points by shovel on Sept 22, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments
Hope it's not too early.

What are you most successful side-projects / passive income sources in 2015.

Improvely (https://www.improvely.com) and W3Counter (https://www.w3counter.com) both started as tools for my own use, and are now the passive income I live on. They're both analytics tools -- one's geared towards professionals, and the other to hobbyists. Improvely is purely paid subscriptions, while W3Counter is freemium with some ad revenue.

In the 2012 thread, I had just launched Improvely.

In the 2013 thread, I had hit $10K/month in recurring revenue.

In the 2014 thread, revenue had doubled to around $20K/mo.

Since then, revenue has doubled again, to around $40K/mo.

I still work alone. I took all of August off to visit my girlfriend's extended family in another state and then a beach vacation when we got back. Other than keeping my Surface tablet in my cabin/room in case something were to break that health checks and autoscaling can't fix, and answering a couple customer e-mails before bed each night, everything ran itself just fine.

Another side project that's weirdly taken off is "Improved Contact Form". It's a little one-click-install app for Shopify stores that I threw together for a relative. It adds one of those floating "Contact Us" buttons to each page, that pops up a contact form, along with a dedicated contact page. When someone submits either form, the store owner gets the mail along with a list of all the pages the customer viewed before contacting them and the customer's location (geoip lookup).

I threw it up on their app directory for free, and a year later, I host the contact forms on 10% of their stores, which is ~17K companies or so. I'm going to need to leverage that into something eventually. Maybe a whole suite of one-click-install widgets for shops, like a SumoMe for ecommerce.

You are a BEAST. Always inspiring to see your progress here.

Awesome! How long do you work on these per week (approx.)?

What are you most successful side-projects / passive income sources in 2015.

Previous incarnations:

2014 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8107588

2014 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7094402

2013 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6661536

2012 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4639271

EDIT: added whitespace for para.

I released a book teaching beginner Django web app development: http://hellowebapp.com

Sure, it was quite a bit of work beforehand, but I've made around $25,000 from it so far, around $13,000 if you don't count the Kickstarter campaign.

The first book working so well is one of the reasons why I'm writing a followup book (which is fundraising on Kickstarter now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1868398473/hello-web-ap...)

FYI: The best thing I did when releasing a book was to a have a super-tier with screencasts and videos. That one tier provides ~60% of the revenue from the sales of the book.

Looks cool. If I back the Kickstarter on the "both books" tier, when do I get the first book?

Immediately after the Kickstarter ends, so early October. :)

I loved this book! Have recommended it to a few friends interested in doing dev bootcamps! Nice work :}

Yay! Thanks a ton. Really looking forward to getting the second book out.

I wrote and published a novel about a game played in virtual reality in the year 2020 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZFF6NVK). It came out three weeks ago and has been providing "holiday money" rather than just "beer money" so far.

My grand vision is to create the game in the book for real, to launch in 2020, just like in the book (more info here: solarversia.com/about/). It's had a great reception so far (I've targeted Ready Player One fans) and I'm in the process of bringing on non-execs to Spiralwerks, the company behind the game (which features heavily in the book), and also talking to agents who might want to represent me for a traditional publishing deal. Meeting my first VC next week.

If it wasn't obvious, I'm hoping for a big wave of publicity when Oculus / Morpheus / HTC Vive et al launch next year.

Oh yeah, my London Live interview where I discuss the big vision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bo0u3C5D-Y

If you know anyone in VR / publishing, I'd love an intro.... :-)

That's a really interesting concept! I'm going to pick up a copy of your book, good luck!

I self-published a guide that helps junior developers dramatically improve their chances of getting hired at startups: https://kokev.in/hired-fast

I'm glad I didn't do it solely for the money, because I think revenues so far works out to something around minimum wage. However, it was a pretty satisfying challenge and I enjoyed every minute of it. I've gotten some great feedback from people who have landed some great jobs, so it provides a sense of fulfillment.

Like many others, I relied a lot on Nathan Barry's Authority (http://nathanbarry.com/authority) to write this ebook, which I'd recommend if you're looking to do the same.

I started PeerCube https://www.peercube.com, an online crowd-lending analytics and automation service, in 2012 as a side project. In 2015, the service is managing more than $50 millions in retail lender portfolios. We also do custom analysis for institutional lenders who are managing over $500 million in crowd-lending investments. It is now full-time work for my wife and I.

Most interesting aspect is that I have no professional background in finance other than managing personal investment portfolio and a few finance courses during MBA. Now I am working with hedge fund managers and financial institutions on risk assessment and management, securitization, and valuations that are considered highly technical and domain specific.

I was lucky enough to be born with gifts that make me good at writing code. I trade that coding ability for money. I invest that money in the S&P 500 (ticker VOO). I've been doing this a while and have invested about $900,000 to date. The trailing 10 year return is about 8% per year. So let's call it $72,000. $72,000 of passive income.

Quotesy (https://itunes.apple.com/app/id995278698) brings the most memorable quotes from your favorite movies and TV shows to your mobile device. Discover, revisit or save your favorite quotes.

• Features the best curated collection of memorable, funny, awesome, cute, geeky, philosophical quotes from the best movies and TV shows

• Get bored no more, Quotesy brings amazing new content everyday to kill time and cheer you up!

• Like quotes to build your awesome collection to revisit later or share with your friends

• Share quote images and GIFs with friends or quote the text in your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Email, Pinterest, Instagram and even more.

• Download the pics from Quotesy and share the awesomeness with your friends And much much more…


The Las Vegas SuperContest is a largest NFL picks contest. Last year winner, CH BALLERS, took home $726,000 in prize money and got a record of 76.1% win percentage. (52.5% to break even in sports gambling for the uninitiated.)

The interesting thing about the SuperContest is that very contestants picks are made public every Saturday and my site keep track of their picks and does consensus analysis. This give users 1 days to act on the information.

I just released it 3 weeks ago for the start of this year NFL season. Not really looking to monetize it yet, but traffic is increasing every day.

I'm earning passive income from a book I wrote on how to set a price for your software... http://taprun.com/pricing

Just this month I've decided to try and take BugMuncher (https://www.bugmuncher.com) from side project to full time gig. I've given up my freelance work and been putting all my time (and then some) into marketing and development.

I'm probably going to start blog series about the process if people are interested?

Had some success with the Music Player for Reddit (http://reddit.musicplayer.io/) this year. Received good feedback from Reddit, Product Hunt and The Next Web. I'm not doing this for profit so I only have about three figures in donations coming in which cover the hosting and domain name costs.

I'm planning on one because I'm currently working on some play around side-projects for learning. Hoping to start one that I hope will earn me some money soon, and I plan to build a small version of it 24 to 36 hours and show it to my *intended customers, and also looking to start off another one before the year ends.

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