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Ask HN: Those making $1,000+/month on side projects – what did you make?
48 points by xrxrxrx on Mar 3, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments
It can be a SaaS app, a mobile app, or any side project that is netting you recurring revenue.



Holy crap, I remember seeing these kinds of threads before and being amazed by people making good money from a side-project, I can't believe I'm now one of them!

My project is BugMuncher - https://www.bugmuncher.com - a website feedback tool I created back in 2011, and it's currently making $1,489 Monthly Recurring Revenue.

Strictly speaking it's not a side project anymore, as in Sept 2015 I fired all my freelance clients to focus on BugMuncher full time, but I've never taken funding, and I'm the only person working on it, so it still feels like a side project :)

If anyone is interested I've been writing a blog series about my mission to go from side project to profit, which starts here - https://blog.bugmuncher.com/2015/10/22/from-side-project-to-...


have you considered adding a free tier? Our project has one and we have had success upselling existing free customers a lot, since our free tier is very limited.

Its different from a free trial since if they like your product will use it until they grow enough to upgrade and might eventually start giving you money.

I can think of countless products that I ended up upgrading from free to paid after using their product > a few months on their free tier.


http://betalyst.com/ - A football betting analysis/predictions website.

Offer the whole service for free. Revenue generated through advertising/sponsorship.

Looking to move into a premium model over the coming months to gain some MRR to allow me to develop it furthur..

Currently earns over £75,000 per year in advertising/sponsorship/affiliate revenue.

Work on it for about 2-3 hours a week.


I am currently looking into how I can generate more buzz/PR for this site....

If anyone has any tips I am all ears... I like to work on small budgets, as I don't believe you need to spend a lot of money to gain traction online.. I have only spent around £1,000 to get to where I am now...

Share any ideas you have.


How do people currently find the site? Searches or do you run ads?


There is an app in the Android story that generates leads that I then upsell the site to on a drip email campaign.

Get about 10% of traffic from Organic searches and the majority is direct from email.

I am trying to work out how to get more referral traffic and backlinks.


Is this something you could fairly easily transfer to other sports? Seems like adding something like basketball or American football could help increase revenue and attract a new market.

Might be easier said that done but wanted to mention in case it was something you hadn't thought of.


Do you mean by embedding it in the same site?

That is something that I have considered but am not sure how easy it is to scale and diversify the content at the same time... Needs some planning but dont think it is impossible..

Have it noted in my product roadmap.


I'd do another site if it were me for American sports and leave the football as it is since it's doing so well.


Cool. I will look info the possibility of running sister sites. Might help to reduce the risk of harming this site as well.


What platform do you use for advertising and affiliate revenue? Google Adwords?


Hi.

Advertising and affiliate revenue is done direct through a range of bookmakers..

I have not implemented any display networks or advertising networks into the site yet. I may decide to do this in the future but find that the returns are not that great...

Looking to build my own ad platform to manage ad space in the coming months as well.... Have this all designed and wireframed, just need to build it


That is brilliant, top work.

Do you put your money where your mouth is? Place bets that your system pops out?

Edit: Roughly how many visitors do you get, monthly?


Yeah, I follow the system... It makes it easier for me to build on and improve the algorithms if I am using the service myself..

I am looking to add an extension to the site so it places bets automatically through the Betfair API then I can track the growth of the better balance that way.

I am planning to turn all the learnings from this into a free betting guide/ebook as well in the coming months to educate people on how to pick better bets and manage their bankroll.

The site gets around 25k visitors a month, and has a very good pages per visit rate and visitor duration. - The bulk of the engagement comes from the Android app which has around 75k users.. I am hoping to actually release the new improved version in the coming months and then launch on iOS as well. - There is also an email database with just over 20k subscribers, which gets a 30% open-rate and 5-6% click-rate on average per email.

Is all pretty fun... Currently spending more time on the site as I neglected it a bit when focusing on the app and the algorithm. Working hard on SEO to get the traffic levels up. Want to have 100k monthly visits to the site by the end of the year.


That's awesome! At 3 hours a week you are truly living the dream. What are your plans for a premium pricing model?


I am still trying to work it out.

One option could be to have a section of the site that contains the highest accuracy of predictions that can only be accessed by premium members..

Or I could maybe gate some of the more details analysis to only premium members..

I am not sure how scalable these options are or what I could charge as a fee for this.

I am open to suggests if anyone knows a good way I could introduce a premium model?


I'm not familiar with the content you provide, but masterclasses could be an option -- as long as you have a good track record, many people would readily give you money to learn how to think like you.


That is an interesting concept I have not considered!

Bit like a training course..

Might investigate this a bit further and see how this might work! Thanks for the heads up on this one!


https://rebrickable.com - A LEGO database that shows you which sets you can build from your existing collection, also includes thousands of fan-submitted designs. The revenue fluctuates quite a lot though since I suck at that side of things.


Revenue is from LEGO and toy-related ads? What is the pricing model for an information-based website such as yours? I'm at work and unfortunately can't browse at the moment.


Yeah, ads and affiliate sales. It gets a decent amount of traffic (~130K users/month, 2M pageviews) but I have trouble monetising it.


https://retailwizard.co.uk & https://propertywizard.io (Same product, different marketing)

Automated social media assistant for small businesses in the UK - currently making £750 MRR. If you have any questions I'm happy to answer.


http://www.TwLng.com has the same goal, however its great that this is hyper-targeted.


I took a look at your site and don't see how they have the same goals?

Sorry if I have missed something, it's a cool project anyway and it's 100% solving a pain point many people feel when using Twitter.


Looks very useful. Is it only twitter and Facebook? Had a guy from Google tell us we should maintain our Google+ page for better search ranking but I really can't bothered, since nobody views it.

Can it maintain picture galleries across accounts?

What makes it UK specific?


1) It does LinkedIn too - I can add Google+ if a customer requests it though - fire me an email if you're interested (in my profile)?

2) Yes, when you include a picture in the status update it goes across accounts.

3) It's UK specific purely because of my location and the high touch sales process I have at the moment - there isn't anything stopping the product working in any timezone.


How do you sell? Face to face? Phone? Word of mouth?


Right now I spend my Saturdays going to a High Street and going shop-to-shop. If the manager/owner isn't in I'll follow up with a call to try and get a meeting.

Word of mouth is starting to bring in new business, my accountant has recommended a few people to me! :)


Nice hustling!


Here's a recent discussion on the topic, along with some links to other previous discussions:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10879529


As in the previous thread I made http://www.watermark-image.com that makes 3000+ each month.

I am using the money to build http://timeblock.com that currently makes around $350 a month.


Interesting. There are tons of image watermarkers, how do you differentiate in terms of marketing/promotion (and maybe pricing)?


Pricing is more or less the same across all the watermarkers out there - any lower and it is just not worth the time!

Marketing wise I primarily offer great and fast support also in building additional features, this drives a lot of user reviews and reccomendations on forums.

Email me if you want more insights, I will be happy to help you building something different!


I've seen your timeblock.com site a few times because of these threads, and every time I click on the link and end up back on your landing page I get so frustrated because your site does such an amazing job of not actually saying anything about the product. What is your product? What does it look like? How do I use it? How does it compare to other products? Why would I pay for it? What am I paying for?


The product is a methodology that helps makers and managers align their expectations and plans giving makers more time in flow and managers better overview.

When you use the app/methodology you get less stress, less chaos, more creativity and better planning leading to more revenue and better quality of your products.

One user said "it's like scrum, just more humane"

You would pay for it if you wanted more transparency and improved communication between you, your co-founders, your employees and your customers.

It is also an app that supports the methodology, it currently integrates with Jira, and we are working on Asana and TeamWork.

I apologize for the missing info on the website, we are shooting explainer videos today!


Just been looking at your TimeBlock site.

You have a few UX issues and lots of conversion blockers on there....

If you want a hand optimising the site let me know, (for free!). Might help to double your revenue pretty quickly for this project


I would absolutely LOVE your feedback - let me know how to contact you or reach out to me at anders(at)timeblock.com

Thank you so much for offering your help!


Not a problem.

I will drop you an email today with some thoughts.


Thanks!


How did you come with the idea with watermark-image? Looks like a cool site!


Originally I had 200+ images I needed to watermark where I could not find a tool, this made me create a command line tool to watermark my images.

Then a friend suggested I made a product out of it and the rest is history :)


Engineering has a lot of similarities with crafting :) Sooo I just started http://www.smiles-bags.com/ with my wife. I'm doing design of the products and she runs a business :)


bentbasket.com


Neat idea... Why does it prompt to join mailing list when clicking 'Order one now' and if I close that annoying pop-up nothing happens (still on main page)... Clicking the button again does work though. Latest Chromium if it helps




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