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Ask HN: Making $3000+ residual income monthly? Any tips/advice for a beginer?
40 points by wilsonfiifi on Dec 11, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments
Hello HN. I’m a self-taught developer (currently doing an Msc in CS). I mostly do freelance web development. My UI skills aren’t good enough to label myself as a full-stack developer but I’m getting there. However I’m comfortable with server side development (Python and Golang mostly), client/server side Javascript and I also have enough system admin knowledge to run my own server (metal/VM).

Are there any revenue streams I could tap into with my current skill set that would enable me to generate (eventually) recurring monthly income of $3000 and above. I don’t mind putting in the work/time to build it up.




I'm actually on the same path, I've built a SaaS website feedback tool, which started 4 years ago as a side project, but since Sept this year I've been working on it full time, hoping to reach around $3,000 MRR (currently at $900)

So far it's working, I'm way ahead of my target 7% month on month growth, so I'd recommend doing something similar - build a SaaS app that you can manage by yourself, and invest as much time as you can in learning marketing.

If you're interested I'm doing a completely transparent blog series about my progress - https://blog.bugmuncher.com/2015/10/22/from-side-project-to-...

Good luck!


Thanks for sharing this, great stuff! Good luck to you too!


Thanks for sharing!


1. Pick up a tiny niche based on

(a) target audience already pays for tools online

(b) target audience is easy to find online - there exists at least one forum targeting this niche

(c) niche is so small that it is not profitable for most companies to go after

(d) you are passionate about the niche or already have some link to it (know enough people in your social circle)

2. Figure out how you will market to your audience. Spend tiny amounts of time/money on each channel to test whether you could gain traction through any one.

(a) Posting on forums

(b) Content marketing

(c) SEO

(d) Paid acquisition

3. Research on existing tools and competitors in the niche. Focus research on

(a) lack of functionality in the tools provided

(b) tool is too generic for the niche

(c) they are not using a specific marketing channel that you think would work very well

4. Out-compete your competitors on the following

(a) Build a better tool

(b) Do better marketing

(c) Provide better customer support

Important things to keep in mind

1. Never compete on price

2. Do marketing before product development. For e.g. if your main channel is content marketing, start writing content before you build your product. If it is forum posting, start posting on multiple forums and gaining credibility there before you think of your product.


This is totally possible. The general advice is to solve a problem. But to be a bit more specific, I will say the following:

- Create a product in a niche and focus on finding customers within that niche. For a goal of $3000/month, it is surely possible and not too crazy

- Don't just rely on yourself even though there are many 1 man success stories here on HN. I would say get at least 2-3 trusted helpers even if they are part time and slowly delegate the not so critical aspects to them while you still focus on the core. For example, if you a SAAS product, you could still do coding + customer support while you could delegate some of the other admin stuff including some customer support to someone else. This will give you leverage.


I've asked a similar question, and the responses are all the same. I think anyone with a specific answer is always going to "play their hand close to their chest" to prevent competition. That being said, look at what businesses are paying for, and try to understand the general lack of knowledge out there.

I have a client, now, that is paying me to build a custom CRM for his business. The specs keep changing, and I just keep delivering. In the end I think he'll spend $50k+ to get his own version of what's already available. So look deeper into that concept.

What do businesses need to do better/more efficiently to make more $ or save more $: track customers (lead follow-up), close sales, find customers, track hours and costs, customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs...are just a couple of examples of things that you could improve on. Then literally go to these businesses and show them your product, offer it for free to improve it, then start selling it.

Bottom line is this: you're going to have to actually speak with people to find out what they want so you can give it to them. After that starts to take off, then invest in digital marketing using real experience as a guide.


The problem with most Saas problems is capital. If most investors suggest a LTV of 3x CAC and if your average customer is $30 per month and your LTV is $360(3 yrs) then you need $120 per customer or $12,000 to invest in advertising to match what other Saas companies are doing to reach your goal.


Care to explain more? Thanks


I take back what I said. To get to scale you probably need advertising to get there. The more I think about it though, you probably could get to $3000/mo with SEO.


Solve problems for small businesses, they have lots of them. If you can save a business owner time or money, they'll give you money!


This. My trojan horse has been that I have an IT company as well. Get in provide little IT services. You have the ear of the business owner and they are more than happy to let me know little itches they want scratched. A lot of these have resulted in very nice little niche applications.


Sounds reasonable. How to find small businesses who have problems?


Personally I got connected to a lot of small businesses with problems by working at a coworking space. Found clients, but also providers there, all in a friendly atmosphere.

Otherwise, you can try to do some networking at events targeted to business owners...


Go out and talk to them!


It's all about finding the right (simple) idea, and executing quickly.


[dead]


Completely irrelevant to the post (a part-time job is not a "revenue stream" in the passive sense, which is what the poster wants), and affiliate links are not appropriate here, especially from a brand new account that I'm sure you created since you expected this to get flagged.




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