1. Create a course or ebook plus screencasts. Charge a lot (e.g., $199 for the highest tier that includes everything in a bundle). Typical income range: $2K - $100K.
2. Create an ebook. Charge a lot (e.g., $49). Typical income range: $2K - $50K.
3. Write a book for a high-royalty publisher (e.g., PragPub). Typical income range: $10K-100K.
4. Create a SaaS product that solves a consumer or business problem in a given niche. Typical income range: $0 - $1M per year (mostly the $0 end though).
5. Create a mobile game. Typical income range: $5 - $100K (the majority below $10K).
6. Create a blog and leverage affiliate commissions and ads. Typical income range: $5 - $1,000 per month.
7. Create a template or plugin for a popular platform (e.g., WordPress). Typical income range: $100 - $100K a year.
All require work. Some will be more passive than others after your initial outlay of work (3 being the most passive).
How good are you at marketing? Because for software we have Market > Marketing > Design > Code.
My suggestion is to go for 1, 2, 3, or 4. Four is the most challenging among these 4 options and the least likely to succeed. But if it does, there isn't much of a cap in terms of how much money it can make.
Plus you get to hone your development and business skills further. Not to mention that you get to pick your own stack so you can experiment with new languages, frameworks, and technologies of your choosing if that floats your boat.
In general, I would recommend spending your spare time doing what excites you the most. Does the idea of a web side project excite you more than writing a book? If so, go for that.
My other suggestion is to create many micro-launches. Create small projects. Many of them. Stuff that you can launch in 1-3 months. See what sticks. Kill what doesn't. You'll end up with multiple revenue streams. $500/mo quasi-passive income here and there adds up quickly.
You'll end up spending ~2-3 full time months creating each course. Then you need to market it (or use a platform but then you don't build up a customer list of your own that you can use later), and on top of that you need to support all of your students by answering questions (not as bad as you would think but it's something you need to do constantly).
Then in 6+ months when the tech you've created your course on gets updated you have to go back and re-record your course to keep it relevant. There are some tricks to minimize this burden depending on what tech you're creating content for, but I would say as a whole expect to re-record the entire course every year. By this point you'll end up re-planning the entire course, so it's not a simple thing.
This doesn't mean it's a bad idea, but don't get the idea that you just create the course in a few tough weeks and then sit back on a beach while you sell dozens of copies a day for years on end.
On top of that, passive income suggests that you make it and then collect money with no work for ... 1+ years? Games generally make all their income in the first 1-4 weeks and so are unlikely to turn into passive income
Games are also such a flooded market and user expectations are high, but because the top 5 earn millions, small devs keep playing that lottery hoping to win.
I get the impression that the Atlassian products (like Jira) make a good platform for paid plugins, because the companies using them are already in the mindset where they pay for solutions. At least we at $work use Jira with several paid plugins.
Here’s a couple of examples we wrote up: Atlassian Marketplace developer Wittified, a successful solo dev business, acquired recently by AppFire https://www.atlassian.com/customers/wittified. Atlassian customer Twilio, who use several add-ons from such developers and they talk about how it really makes their Atlassian products more valuable https://www.atlassian.com/customers/twilio-case-study.
There’s Bob Swift Software, a long-standing solo independent developer who started with us years ago and who has tens of thousands of customers, also acquired by AppFire. Theres’s our Marketplace developer eazyBI, a reporting tool started as a side-project by one person and now a profitable company with 7 employees. There’s even agile planning features now part of JIRA Software itself, which started as an add-on known as Greenhopper from an independent developer that we ourselves acquired some years ago. And these are just some of the smaller, solo and indie devs. The larger business that emerged on our platform are something to behold (one recently just took a $31M VC round!).
As the person at Atlassian who helped manage and grow this developer platform, I’m really proud of what the developers around us in our ecosystem have built - both their products and their businesses. The successful growth of sales and customers they’ve made in a few short years is extraordinary to watch and to be a small part of. If anything this post I wrote in 2013 is more true now than ever http://blogs.atlassian.com/2013/04/the-future-is-bright-for-.... If you’re interested in talking with some of these developers in our ecosystem, let me know and I’ll get you introduced.
If I want to get started again, where would you suggest me to look? I believe one should start with basic JIRA knowledge to understand the fundamental of the software/system/service before they continue to tackle the API (I believe most people, except Managers, use JIRA as told without knowing some fundamental idea behind it).
1. Start here https://developer.atlassian.com/jiradev/getting-started/gett...
2. Install the SDK (it has some pre-reqs) and build Hello World https://developer.atlassian.com/docs/getting-started/set-up-...
3. Bone up on Plugins2 a bit more https://developer.atlassian.com/jiradev/jira-platform/buildi...
4. API Reference https://developer.atlassian.com/jiradev/jira-apis (I recommend the REST APIs + Webhooks wherever possible).
I'm really keen to talk with you about your experience going through that - there's a lot of history and we're aware we need to clean up the journey.
_* If you were developing for JIRA Cloud you'd be using Atlassian Connect.
Like there's no one JIRA API via REST or something?
Thanks for the reply and the links. Really appreciate it!
I built a WordPress plugin, and definitely struggle with people expecting everything for free.
Part of what we're trying to do for our devs is grow it steadily year by year, and small developers are able to grow along with us (often faster as they first gain new customers). You may not know this but there's more than 60,000 organizations with anywhere from 10 to thousands of users in our customer base. There's a whole lot more startups with 1 to 9 folks too. They've collectively bought a few hundred thousand licenses of our ecosystem developers products so far since we launched.
I'd also counter that we're fairly open about what you can build. We work hard to have supported, public, documented APIs and patterns, but within that you can pretty much build anything you want. Candidly you probably don't want to build something directly in competition with Atlassian but there's lot of value to add around what we do. Last thing we released publicly on this was a while ago - I'm working on another release because our devs are much further along at this point but here you go https://techcrunch.com/2015/12/15/atlassians-marketplace-for...
Niche was key for this to work.
Which product are you selling?
Launched a few niche blogs which are monetized through Adsense, Amazon affiliate and a bunch of other networks. Had spent time in keyword research, content production and some SEO / marketing. Now I revisit the sites every few months for updates.
#1 and #2 always fancy me and I may write ebook or create course on Python, something that I am taking up these days.
For example, if you serve 10,000 page impressions per month with average CPC of $0.50 and a CTR of 3%, your monthly earning could be $150.
That's a very dangerous advice. Games are cultural products, not technical. You need to understand programming, game design, UI design, art direction, and marketing at once. Plus it's a hit-driven industry.
I'd say the majority is below $10 (ten) in revenue. $5-100k is nowhere near "typical income range" for independent game development.
I read the side project/passive income posts and have built projects that have failed because there is no market
Yes, but have you tried to optimize for code size, clarity and speed of creating features rather than just technical completeness. As a single dev there is an incredible amount of corner cutting you can do which you can polish away once the product gains traction. You can hack stuff together just as long you know how it's supposed to be properly built and how you get there from the rapid prototype.
With a team of 4 people it's very easy for no one dev to have a complete mental model, which leads to nobody truly understanding the weak points underneath.
Either you do quick hack because you want to play. Or you design nice stuff because you have to do something exceptional.
If you want passive income, you need to get out of that mentality. After work is still work, except you are the employer.
I am wondering if it is easier to launch in a proven market and get a small portion of the pie rather than create a new idea that might end up not working out.
Its a paradox of I can build anything, so why cant I build something that makes money
Hosting is really the biggest up-front expense, especially if you expect to have large spikes in traffic (SaaS around events or seasonal things) that you need to try to plan for.
 Meaning a large cash outlay to a person. You can get away with generic privacy, TOS, etc.
The LLC is also not a total firewall. You can always raise your top by having the wrong/no insurance, but that is just making the worst outcome further negative.
I'm not saying its bad to try your own buisiness, I'm saying its silly to think your only downside is lost time. Unless you are a social pariah that no one will assist, you will have a way to risk losses and you should think about that and try to set limits that are realistic enough to stick to.
I gave up on my first.
Usually these high reputation content sites are used to drive traffic to a paid product that you own rather than selling somebody else's product. A weak example... you spend a year building a content site around React.js which you really love. You can throw ads on the site and push other people's product...but after you build up a large following of trusted users, you can release a a paid ebook/course and start advertising your React.js consulting company which will be much more lucrative.
Then you pivot to teaching people how to make money online like almost everybody does after they have one success.
I wanted to provide ballpark figures to give a general idea. Some are from personal experience, othes from friends and people I have helped, and others from general industry knowledge.
I'm thinking of self-publishing a book on a somewhat technical topic that's trending upwards at the moment, so this advice is most helpful and timely.
Courses by Brian Harvey, Dan Grossman or Gregor Kiczales are real ones, while the crap could see on youtube, like Google's Python Course, is a disappointing waste of time.
Courses by Peter Norvig on Udacity are the gold standard.
Do not over-estimate your abilities. Good tutoring is hard. Just narrating copy-pasted stuff from the internet does not count as a course.
Same goes for books. On ought to grow up and become an expert first.