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Ask HN: Those making over $1K/month on side projects, what did you make?
373 points by kashifzaidi1 on Oct 9, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 245 comments
let's re-open this topic to see how things are going on this front :) It can be a SaaS app, a mobile app, or any side project that is netting you recurring revenue

I am but I don't know how long it will continue!

My side project is: "How to Make an RPG" (http://howtomakeanrpg.com/) which I released in June.

It's a collection of code samples, art and digital book that shows the reader how to make an old-school, Japanese-style RPG. So, it's super niche! I wrote a little about my process here:


There was supposed to be a second part to this article but I haven't written it yet.

It's been over $1000/month very comfortably so far but it is trending down. This isn't uncommon for this type of project - there's often a spike followed by a slow decline.

Still, for the last three months I haven't actively worked on it and it's still sold well. I've moved country and been finding a job (all sorted now), so I haven't had much free time.

I'm not really sure where is good to go after this project. For now I'm building on the base the book introduces, just for fun.

Any interest in doing an interview for https://IndieHackers.com? I'd love to feature your story on the site! I spent many many hours as a kid trying to make my own RPGs, and IH could really use more indie game dev related stuff!

That's really cool. I wonder if you could make some money by doing actual in-person classes. It obviously wouldn't scale as well as a book you write once and release, but you might be able to charge a lot more for in-person education.

This is a good idea, and then potentially classes can be recorded and that would be another product (or special tier). I think this applies equally to other similar products.

You can try to record a course and sell it through Udemy or Pluralsight.

Very cool. Just curious, what was your marketing plan? How much time did you spend on marketing?

I didn't have a detailed marketing plan. An early channel was this article I wrote for tutplus:


I wrote it before starting the book (to test the waters) and had a link to sign-up to the mailing list. I used mailchimp for email collection.

I have ~50 articles related to gamedev on the same domain, so these get organic SEO and backlinks:


I quite enjoy writing them. The ones with a more technical bent get a lot more traffic than the others. 50% of my traffic is organic SEO. I haven't tried ads yet, but it's on my list.

More recently I commissioned some new art that I give away as a mailing list sign-up incentive. This hasn't worked very well so far :) I have to work on the messaging.

Tracking time spent is something I want to do but don't - each article at the very least takes a couple of hours. So there's 100+ hours, done in a very incremental way.

Revenue is from people paying for access?

Yes, it's a simple purchase and then the customer has access to all the content.

This great stuff , few questions if I may , What payment getaway are you using?

How did you market your site

I have also gaming how to site that I plan to monotize but not sure how


Any tips ?

I'm using Gumtree for payment and distribution, it's worked very well for me.

As for marketing, I've just replied earlier in the thread with a little more detail.

For a site with tutorials on game development, most of your readers will be using adblocking software. Therefore most popular monetization methods are: selling a book, a course or locking off content behind a paywall.

Here's an example of premium content: http://aigamedev.com/premium/interview/dying-light/

Here's an example where the author sells the source code for his articles http://www.wildbunny.co.uk/blog/

This blog is about all sorts of tech stuff but he sells his book "Game Programming Patterns" (which is very good!) in the side bar. http://journal.stuffwithstuff.com/

Gumtree seems to be only for UK and AU, is that right? (from a quick Google for the name).

Congrats on your work.

Sorry Gumroad, I often get those mixed up :)

Ah :) I did initially think it might be Gumroad, since Gumtree shows as a free classified ads site. But then thought Gumtree may have a payment and distribution feature too.

I wonder if there's enough interest to run a webinar on the topic? Or offer a higher tier that gives access to one-on-one with you if they get stuck during the course?

Can you please comment on those questions ?

Why you didn't go with eBooks publishers ?

Also how long it take you to write the book ?

In the payments can you tell how much percentage are using payapl ?


sales might pick back up if u wrote the 2nd part to the article

I've been working on a side project for the last 3 months and it has finally gotten to the point where I am making more than $1000/month with more than 25 active customers 100% through word of mouth. I am working on a Show HN with some of my learning from the process so I won't get too deep into it here but here are a couple of highlights:

  * You do have time. I work a time consuming job, have a wife and kids, and still found 1 hour per day to work on it, and that was enough.
  * Automate everything that you can. Early on I automated the deployment, the creation of new accounts, the management of the sales, and soon the marketing.
  * Have a plan and stick to it. I planned to use 1 hour per day and I did. I have a backlog and I work against that always.
  * Pick a market you understand. I help a lot with my kids schools and this is software to help with that.
  * Drop bad ideas when needed. I have started more side projects than I can think of. Sometimes in the past I have felt bad because I didn't want to give up on an idea. So I worked on a bad idea for way too long. Don't do that.
It turns out that when you have the right idea and are scratching an itch that real people have, it's not that hard to get people to pay you to solve their problem.

I think all of this advice is spot on. It's what I've experienced myself working on Taskforce and Indie Hackers, and it's backed up by what I've learned from interviewing ~40 founders of profitable businesses in the past few months.

Picking a good market might be the biggest thing. If you pick a market you don't understand, it's way harder to build a good product that solves an important problem well. You end up guessing a lot. It's also way harder to get the word out, because you don't know your customers well enough to know where they hang out. If you go to https://IndieHackers.com, sort by revenue, and pick the companies making the least, the most common phrase is some variation of, "I haven't really done much marketing yet," and it's often because they're in a market they don't understand well.

I'm also a big believer in automation. I haven't done nearly enough of it, but I just got into using Buffer for Twitter, and it's a tremendous time saver (I can do all my tweeting for a week in a single 2 hour block of time). I have a ton of other marketing tasks that I could automate as well. Also, Mike Carson of park.io is making like $1.5M/yr as a solo founder/employee, and he claims it's mostly due to automation, so that's kind of hard to ignore :)

Thanks for the comment. Two things - 1) Finding Indiehackers.com interesting .. digging deep into it. 2) ""I haven't really done much marketing yet," - and it's often because they're in a market they don't understand well. - makes sense..

Thanks for sharing park.io, I'd never heard of it. Do you have any links to related reading? I'd love to hear about how it was built, how profitable it is, etc, etc.

No problem, you can read about it here: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/park-io

Got any tips on recognising a bad idea early?

Actually, yes! Again, your milage may vary but I have had a few things that have been an indicator of a bad idea. Some of this has to do with process as well.

First off, if no one wants to talk to you about your idea at all, then it's probably a bad idea. I know this one is fairly obvious but I missed it a number of times. It's important to make sure you always are trying to get customers or users. If you can't get anyone at all then you're basically not making something anyone cares about. Psychologically you may say to yourself "if I only add another feature people will listen". Life is short. They probably won't. Try another idea.

Second, if people will talk to you but won't buy your product until you add a new feature, and everyone has a different new feature, you have a product no one wants. I have tried so many times to just add the next feature that will make everything sell. It has never worked for me. I should have just stopped and found a new idea.

Third, you have a product that you don't want to sell. I know, this one sounds silly but I have had amazing product ideas but I couldn't drive myself to want to talk about it with anyone. Maybe I made myself feel better by making a landing page and crying about no one buying it every though "I was doing everything I could". But, it wasn't everything I could do. This one is a funny one because I might have been able to sell the product, I just couldn't bring myself to get up and do it. If that's the case, you have the wrong product idea FOR YOU. Stop, think of another idea, and move on.

Those are my biggest three categories right now. It all comes down to selling the product. If you can't sell it, then it's not something to work on. With my current product I love talking to customers and potential customers. I am excited and the sales line up with that excitement. They are excited to use the product. They enjoy the product and while there have been feature requests they are either a) after the sale is complete and I have money in my pocket or b) the same requests from every customer so I can tell it's a market need and not just a customer want.

Very insightful! I think these are 100% valid. I wish I had been sensitive to them before sinking a couple of years into a project. Thanks for explaining them in detail.

The interesting part for me is, I have used this advise for other people's businesses for as long as I can remember. There is something about building your own product though that somehow seems to overshadow your better judgement. I guess that is the differentiator (or possibly ultimate lesson to learn) for an entrepreneur. Can you throw out the ideas that don't work and pursue the good ones? I am still learning it, but it feels good when you get it right.

Really cool! What's your app doing?

It's actually management software for PTA's and PTSA's which is a fairly large market in the US.

https://standupjack.com is a side project I started earlier this year on my own. It's making more than $1k/mo now :-)

It doesn't work on firefox. Check your ssl score https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=standupjack.c...

Yeesh – I'll get that upgraded. Thanks for the heads up!

Great landing page! I love the screenshots with example conversations - it makes it crystal clear what to expect from the product.


Very nice looking website.

FYI, you have a typo in the FAQ: "Can I change the time I get asked for an update?". I think "change my time" should be "change my settings".

Good catch!

I really like the prominent screenshots, makes it easy to understand how the bot works.

How did you promote your bot? Just through the Slack store?

cool, id actually been thinking of looking for something like this as we do standups but now with an international team spread across timezones a phone based one isnt really practical

DAMN! i could / WILL use this ASAP.

Very nice!!

very impressive!

Good job.

How does it make money?

If you clicked the link, you'd see he charges $1/user/month for teams with > 3 people.

I clicked the link and it was definitely not obvious how much it cost. I even clicked to add it to Slack and it didn't mention cost or anything. Pretty reasonable question.

It is $1/mo/user over 3 users. Says so on the FAQ.

Curious if they've tried other pricing models. Beyond, say, 10 or 20 users the value proposition shifts against that pricing model IMO.

Definitely worth experimenting with some more. I have some 15+ user teams that think it's worth it though :-)

I think halisaurus meant that the price is a bargain for bigger teams. I would agree - this could easily be worth more than 15$/month for 15 users.

Wrote a guide that summarizes the science of building muscle: https://julian.com/learn/muscle/intro.

It made a few thousand in Amazon referral fees after being at the top of HN, Product Hunt, and Designer News for 4 days. As these traffic spikes wear off, I expect it to continue at at least $1k/mo.

To maximize referral fees, I use this clever service called A-fwd, which geo-redirects visitors to their appropriate Amazon.tld so that they can make a seamless purchase without switching regions. This also allows for my affiliate codes to stay intact, and for me to collect worldwide Amazon affiliate revenue.

I also had to learn the ins and outs of Amazon Associates policies, which are incredibly finicky (no Amazon links in emails, no showing product pricing on your homepage, etc.) and frequently results in unannounced account closure that requires you to pester their support team to get things back online.

I saw that HN post, it is a very impressive piece of work btw.

It also seems like a good fit for the HN / entrepreneur space. Was this intentional? IE did you plan it this way before starting the guide, or was it a marketing plan you figured out after it was already done?

Thank you!

I chose the subject independent of the audience — despite knowing how to distribute to the tech audience.

I can't write something I'm not passionate about or don't want to learn myself.

But I was fortunate that this topic appeals to many in the tech space — or at least a scientific approach to this topic does. I am an engineer myself, so I'm naturally writing for a likeminded audience.

Ultimately, almost anything can hit the front page of HN. This is a smart, considerate, and curious crowd. Good content tends to make its way to the top regardless of the niche/market.

This is the best resource I've ever seen, thank you for doing this. The training videos are great.

Thanks mate you responded. Somehow I could not find this post earlier.

what are the safest unnatural ways to gain muscle mass?

I'm not qualified to answer that. I neither experimented nor researched such methods. Sites like T-Nation and Bayesian Bodybuilding might have some quality advice on this. I think there were also some relevant guests on Tim Ferriss' podcast that you can look up.

What's PH and DN?

expanded abbreviations — thanks for asking

It made me laugh the way the guide turns into an Amazon shopping list. I started finding it hard to trust at that point. I wish you'd quote more studies.

https://IndieHackers.com is a side project of mine that recently hit $1k/mo. I launched it here on HN a couple months ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12269425).

It's pretty meta to be posting this here, because Indie Hackers is basically a huge collection of interviews with developers who are making money from their apps and side projects. I only include interviews with people who are willing to share revenue numbers, employee count, etc. There's also a forum/comments section where you can ask your own questions to the interviewees if you find my questions lacking :)

What is the main source of revenue for Indie Hackers? Congrats on hitting 1k/month.

Sponsorships account for 97% of my revenue right now. I send out a weekly newsletter, and in the first couple weeks I asked if anyone was interested in sponsoring the site. At least 4 or 5 companies have reached out to me since then.

I've also dabbled in Amazon affiliate links, but those don't seem to be quite worth it yet.

How do you evaluate what to charge the sponsors? My site http://thelogo.site showed up on the front page of HN and then ever since traffic has been growing. I have been just making money off of leads through the site asking for custom logos(on average about $2000 per month). But some people have enquired about sponsorship.

I am going down a similar route with my project RemoteBase.

But I am realizing that my scalability is limited because I can have only so many sponsors on the site. If there are too many sponsors at the same time, they start to lose value.

I think it might be worthwhile to diversify the revenue source from sponsorships in my case, and perhaps yours too.

Right, I've been concerned about the same thing. I can make roughly $1k/mo from every extra 100k pageviews/mo, and I have a lot of room for traffic growth, so I'm focusing on that right now. But eventually I'll hit a ceiling beyond which it's hard to grow traffic, and I'll have to find out what to do from there. Hopefully that won't be before I can pay my rent etc from the revenue!

I'm going to be writing about all my decision-making in a lot more detail on the blog pretty soon (https://IndieHackers.com/blog). Indie Hackers is all about transparency, after all.

RemoteBase is cool, btw! I'd love to feature you on Indie Hackers this week if you're interested.

If you haven't already seen IndieHackers, it's worth taking a look -- lots of stories about side projects and their associated incomes: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses

You guys are making cash off your side projects? Jeez. I usually just release them for free. I should get in on this.

...Assuming that I ever finish a side project.

...And that I ever come up with a side project somebody would pay for.

Neither is very likely.

Being able to successfully ship things is a useful muscle to develop. People who can program radically overestimate where the bar is for being able to charge money for things. (And underestimate how much money businesses pay for just about everything.)

People who can program radically overestimate where the bar is for being able to charge

Very late response here just to second what Patrick said, but...

My latest anecdote to reinforce this is the person who wanted to pay me for the Arduino software I wrote for him in about 5 minutes, but I declined (that's on the order of the amount of help I give out on the internets for free). Not kidding: being generous, it took a grand total of 5 minutes including firing up the editor, while grumbling about how much overkill an Arduino was for the task...

It really is about providing value. He has a $250,000 machine sitting idle a lot of the time and that 10 minutes of code reduced the idle time so he could get more utilization out of it.

Phase 2 is figuring out how many other people have a similar problem and finding them...

Can you give an example or two of such overestimation, and how low the bar might be sometimes, so as to encourage people more?

If you haven't heard, patio11 is the original creator of Bingo Card Creator [1], which is both an excellent example for your purposes, and as a bonus he's helpfully shared many useful lessons from it on his blog [2].

[1] https://www.bingocardcreator.com/ [2] http://www.kalzumeus.com/greatest-hits/

Bingo Card Creator is a great example to patio11 answer. I'll never expect someone to pay for it, but we know it worked great for him.

Well, right now, I'm working on a MUD engine, and an online version of Thud.

I might get sued for selling one, and nobody would pay for either, especially given how many implementations of both are free.

But yes, I should work on shipping code.

They're interlinked. I've found that when I make more sales on my project, I'm motivated to do more work. Then when there's a lull, I think "I need to give up and start a new project". Money's a powerful motivator - if anything because it proves people really want your work.

You might be surprised. I put together a tool to help my kids design an art project one weekend 4 years ago, and google indexed it, traffic came, I added Amazon links, and it has brought in just under 100 a month for a few years now. Nothing major, but sometimes the little things add up.

I've started to create a side project with the sole purpose of generating extra revenue. Why do you see it as a sin? If you make just enough with your day job I would understand but just leave alone those who are savvy enough to grab some extra cash.

I don't see it as a sin, or anything. It just kind of never occurred to me to do it. I mean, I've never made a side project worth anything, but if I did, I wouldn't have sold it. Not because of principles, just because I didn't think of doing it.

Sorry then, your comment sounded like it :) I have only built one service like that, a torrent meta search engine. I haven't made any serious money, but it did buy me a nice laptop in 2009.

Now, after two failed startups I scaled back my ambitions/expectations. Best way to happiness :)

I started Hacker Paradise as a side project in 2014, and now we're a full-time team of 3.

We organize trips around the world for developers, designers, and entrepreneurs who want to work remotely while traveling. People pay us to organize housing, accommodations, and community events wherever we go (past speakers have been CIO of Estonia in Tallin, Matz in Tokyo, etc.).

Happy; to answer questions about running more of an ops business that still is related to tech.

I always thought this would be a great business as you can essentially create tax deductible vacations for entreprenuers just like all the doctors do.

See this page from a Heli ski operator which specifically markets trips to doctors: http://www.canadianmountainholidays.com/heli-skiing/special-...

Basically throw in some education or networking and your trip is all the sudden 50% off!

It would be very interesting if they could also exchange teaching/workshops (Scrum/TDD/Cloud etc) for benefits.. ( a night out, dinner, surfing lessons etc.. )

In my experience local (Here in Peru) shops are very interested on learning from foreign developers.

I am currently on the trip in Jeju. Hacker Paradise is great. Highly recommend.

Any blog posts or other info about this? Sounds great and a HN front page worthy business!

Thanks! We wrote some blog posts last year, but I've been meaning to do an update on the whole project.

Here's our main site: www.hackerparadise.org

Here's a blog post with some of our marketing experiments: http://www.hackerparadise.org/blog/2015/05/06/marketing-less...

What would you like to know more about?

How feasible would it be to do this year round? eg, do the trip schedules always overlap?

At $500-600 per week, one could put their stuff in storage, skip their lease renewal, and put a couple grand a month of rental expense towards this to reduce the overall cost.

My concern with that approach is that I would need to manage any intermediary periods where there was no trip. Shopping for short term housing is kind of annoying, and can be expensive without proper planning. eg, I wouldn't want to go live in a hotel from December 18th to January 7th, the time between the Bali and Argentina trips. I mean, I guess I could arrange to stay with family elsewhere, or grab an airbnb somewhere, but it'd be cool if that was handled too.

I also wouldn't mind seeing a program that stays within the continental US, with easy access to airports. I'm considering a couple of positions, and the more attractive one will require some occasional travel, which is easier to manage if it's not international.

I made http://feeder.co, a Chrome extension to simulate Firefox's RSS live bookmarks back in 2010. Now it has 500,000 active installs on Chrome and our cloud hosted service is netting around 1500 USD each month after costs (1700 subscriptions).

Me and my twin brother have had it as a passive income thingie for years. After a failed attempt at selling it (SaaS metrics are NOT easy) we met a guy who saw some potential and we're finalizing paperwork with our lawyer to create a Swedish limited company right now with him as co-founder. We will try to take the plunge and get it running as a full time company within a couple of years!

Achieving a lifestyle passive income project is surprisingly hard...

I just want to let you know that I've been a feeder user for maybe 3 years now, and I've really enjoyed it. The new Android beta app is pretty sweet so far.

Thanks for giving me a simple place to go after Google Reader shutdown!

Ooo that's awesome to hear. Super happy to find someone using feeder actually. :D Did you run into any issues with the Android beta?

Wow didn't expect to see you here! I've been a paying customer for years (though I had a paying hiatus when a iOS app update left many of my blogs poorly rendered). I had no idea it was just a side project. Keep up the good work.

Wow! Thanks, cool to hear. We're really trying to improve our communication and get our shit together. If you're still a user, or want to talk, we're listening at support@feeder.co.

Pardon my ignorance: but how one actually earns money with chrome extensions?

You can either sell your users data (we get a lot offers for that...). It is not scalable and does not feel good in the tummy. We've been approached by fairly large reputable companies wanting click stream data, and smaller companies wanting everything from DNS misses to adding affiliate links in webpages. These are not good for your users and will not scale. Also Google is constantly cracking down on these schemes and rightfully banning extensions that do this. It hurts the rest of us.

We're focusing on building a great product and a scalable business. Making money from our users should be off something that benefits them as well, like a pro service with more features.

You can ask the user to pay a subscription fee to use the extension. (a freemium model for example).

Then, the user, in fact, pays only for using the back-end API. The front-end, of course, is like a website, """open-source""".

does Chrome Web Store have this feature built-in (to offer and process payments for extensions)?

And yes, Chrome web store allows payments. We have http://braintreepayments.com and http://paypal.com. Having them play together is hard enough...

If you don't mind; How much are costs? What does the backend do? Thanks!

Our servers are costing us around 600 usd per month, Linode and AWS. Here is a screenshot of Linode manager and AWS billing console: http://imgur.com/a/UUQ65. The names of the servers perhaps give it away, but we use redis for message passing, 4 servers that crawl around 100 000 feeds every 10 minutes, 2 cassandra databases storing posts, 1 mega MySQL database for metadata and users (post lists, unread post lists, etc). AWS for SES (e-mail notifications) and S3 (extremely cheap key value store for large items, post contents).

Then we have additional costs of http://chartmogul.com (love. required to know your SaaS metrics) http://intercom.io/ (love love love, awesome product).

Edit: Oh, and after a really bad downtime we're paying for pingdom and statuspage.io. So our total expenses are now probably around 1000 USD per month. Braintree and PayPal also take around 5%-19% of each payment.

Still interested in selling?

I doubt the value of feeder today is such that it's worth selling off... We're trying to grow everything, user-base, product, revenue, and are still figuring a lot of things out. If you wanna talk about it some more, my email is erik@feeder.co

I no longer make that kind of money through any side project but I did during ~ a year of college. It was one of the worst projects (coding wise) I made, and I made it all through ads.

It was just an Android soundboard app for a very popular TV show in Spain. You could tap a button and it'd play some funny sentence from a character from this show. Long press, you could share that sound.

Revenue model: a little ad bar on the bottom of the screen.

It grew from 60$/month to > 1000$ in around 6 months, only through word of mouth. That lasted another 6 months or so until the show became less trendy.

Probably not very sustainable as I was piggybacking on the popularity of the show, but it taught me that making money was 100% not about writing 'the bestest codes'.

IANAL, nor am I in Spain, so I don't really know what I'm talking about. My sense, though, is that in the US the TV show owners could sue me for copyright infringement, and I'd be on the hook for up to $150,000 in damages for each "infringing work" – I'd think that means audio clip, in this case.

There's a "fair use" defense to that (where I'd say that the clips didn't impact the market for buying the original work) and they might not go after me anyway, since it would presumably reinforce the popularity of the show.

Was any of that stuff you ran into? Or is there no similar copyright concern in Spain?

There was an eventual copyright complaint and cease&desist which I had no intent to fight. I talked with a lawyer (friend of my family) who said I could probably win or find a settlement in court.

They only went after the app a few years after the show was in its prime (it was making ~40$ a month more or less) so I just removed the application from the Android Play Store as that was all they were asking for.

Feem (http://www.feem.io) is making over $1K/month online; and I'm from Cameroon, Africa.

Feem is a great cross-platform way to share files within your LAN.

Awesome product! and I am more than happy and inspired that you are from Africa

Looks really cool! Appears to be a potentially useful tool. I'll check it out

Nice finding another west african on this site. I wanted to send you an email but you do not have an address listed in your profile.

How do you make revenue?

It seems to be answered in the FAQ:

> How is Feem different from other similar apps.

> 3. Business Model. Our business model is simple: If you like the app, you'll pay for it. Similar apps focus on growth only, then later switch to serving you adware and malware.

Congrats! is there pricing anywhere on the site?


The pricing is "revealed" when you use the app.

Created http://encycolorpedia.com a few years ago, kind of neglected it until recently (it's looking very dated), a version implemented in Rust is 90% complete - cheaper to run (more beer money, thanks Rust team!) & more features than the node.js implementation it will hopefully replace in the coming weeks.

> a version implemented in Rust is 90% complete - cheaper to run

Is it cheaper to run because of Rust? Why is it so? Could you please explain, don't know anything about Rust though.

A lot of the colour space calculations are orders of magnitude faster using Rust (LLVM). This would be the same story had I chose C/C++ of course, but Rust was chosen in part for educational purposes.

I had originally started the re-write in Google Go, but I experimented with Rust and had a much better performance profile for the more CPU intensive stuff like using the more modern Delta E methods (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_difference).

I had to use the more primitive colour distance calculation methods for the node.js/JS implementation (CIE76). Not only that, I also had to cache the output after the first run. Using Rust I can use better colour difference methods, do it in real time AND get more requests/sec.

I should add I still use Go on the API side of things.

Rust code is likely to be very much more efficient, reducing the server requirements.

I wouldn’t expect this site to have particularly high requirements, but hey ho.

(Example: NewsBlur was at a certain point using about 50 servers, for a specified load that by careful calculation I am confident would fit on one server (though not with much headroom) if it were written sensibly in Rust, rather than however it is in Python/Django.)

Nodejs's strength is that you can write code quickly and it handles IO well. The drawback for nodejs (and similar languages like python, php, ruby) is that they are incredibly slow, especially for CPU bound work like calculations. People use the slower language because it's simply easier and faster to be productive in some categories of projects.

Glad to hear it's working out! If you ever blog about the experience, let me know.

Here in Mexico, you get an XML for your invoices, which you must keep in order to be tax deductable. However, it gets messy very quickly, as it must have your Tax ID, it has to exist in the tax office's database and then you must keep it for 5 year. It is a chore.

I run http://www.boxfactura.com, an email service for your digital invoices. It has been quite a journey because everyone I speak to has some kind of trouble with their invoices, but they don't know there's a product for that, so first you have to market the idea of it, and then the product.

How much do you charge? What's the most popular accounting tool there? Quickbooks?

Felicitaciones, un muy buen sitio.

I started basically when I stumbled upon a problem myself. https://thehorcrux.com/why-i-built-horcrux-app/ TL;DR: Google disabled my account. So, built an email backup app to not get into this situation again.

I started building the app 4 years ago. I put it on Hacker News and it blew up a tiny bit. That was enough to keep it going until now.

There is still a lot of work I can put into it marketing or coding wise. So far, it's been going well ($800ish). I recently rolled out a UI/UX improvement.

Its 4 year anniversary is in 2 days. :)

Do you have any plans for a linux release? Or a windows?

Well, I don't think Linux would be my target market.

I feel like Linux users are tech savvy enough to use open source scripts like Gmvault etc.

I must think about Windows however.

This answer is awesome because so often on HN confuse their friends/coworkers with their target audience. Good job, cool app.

Gotcha. But I must say that not all are savvy enough, a lot of new people are coming to linux fleeing windows. They will need different solutions on linux soon, though there are bigger problems on linux than not having a mail archive browser.

https://www.ganttplanner.com is one of my side projects. It turns your Google Calendar into a gantt chart. The project is making a bit more than 1k/month and is currently on auto pilot.

I created this project for learning purposes and because it was a lot of fun. I open sourced the actual gantt component: https://www.angular-gantt.com

Not a "side project" in the usual sense, but I teach as an adjunct professor (mathematics) every so often, and at a rate of about $1000 - 1200 per credit hour (depending on the institution) I can make a little under a grand a month after taxes. Teaching can be fun for many people, and I think it keeps me grounded in the fundamentals, where my day job is entirely application oriented.

The trick is that after a few times around, the courses require a bit less preparation.

Adjuncting is an absolute nightmare if you are trying to do it as a full-time job. But as a side thing for beer money when there is a staffing need? It's pretty light on stress. Since I am not gunning for tenure track (or even a full time position), there are little to no stakes involved.

Weirdly, I think the folks in my position (teaching as an adjunct as a side gig) along with the tenured full-professors on the opposite end of the academic spectrum are actually very similar in that regard.

Adjunct side-gigs can be fun. Teaching students who started at zero and wound up quite capable of sophisticated hacking was very rewarding for me. If you have been curious about teaching and find an opportunity, I highly recommend trying it just for this aspect of teaching.

But I taught a course as an adjunct and the preparation time totally killed me. I wound up re-working the entire course from scratch. Worse, the course started almost as soon as I was asked to teach. By the end of the course, I was often prepping for the class the night before lectures.

Despite promising myself to not repeat the experience, I have just accepted another adjunct lecturer side-gig for the spring. The main difference is that excellent and up-to-date materials already exist. I'm hopeful these materials make the course prep less intense.

I saw the previous post as well. I know how it feels having a good idea is not easy. Even people say talk to people and find pain points in their work is easier said than done.

I guess it's partly because we are used to these pain points for a long period of time we don't feel it as a pain point anymore or even though we have a good idea it's not easy to build it as we need lot of capital to do so.

Also even if we have a good idea monetizing is a whole new ball game altogether. Like the chrome extension I'm hacking together on weekends which allows people to search for restaurants around them. I have no idea how I can monetize it and just build it for the challenge of making it.

I think one option is to keep on making cool things. Do something challenging and keep pushing out new things whenever you can. And finally one will stick. I don't think it's easy but if one keep persistent in shipping new things definitely one will become a success.

Like in a similar post I have made like this in the past I remember one commenting, we as HN users believe that everything that we make should be like Airbnb or Uber due to the illusion of success in many startups. But that is not the case and it all comes down to being persistent and enjoying the journey along the way.

> Like the chrome extension I'm hacking together on weekends which allows people to search for restaurants around them. I have no idea how I can monetize it

Have you considered paid promotion by restaurants to be at the top of the list?

As a user, I don't think I would want the contents of the list influenced by the restaurants.

I would look into something like the OpenTable affiliate program.

what if you get coupons ?

Mmm nice idea. I'm wasn't thinking whether restaurants would be willing to pay for something like that. Maybe I should give more thought to it. At the moment I am pulling data from public apis. Maybe I should think more about making a db of my own :)

Years ago, I created an affiliate site advertising the Snuggie. A couple months after I created the site, the Snuggie craze took off and I was making several hundreds of dollars per day. Then, consumers realized how absurd this fad was and the money dried up nearly as quickly.

Loads of fun while it lasted! Gave me a nice income bump for 3 holiday seasons.

Digital magazine company. I have thousands of subscribers that pay me $2 / month. I pay royalties to content providers. I work about 10 hours a month on the project.

Did you negotiate royalties with individual content providers at the beginning, or find the content through a marketplace of some kind?

I'm wondering how you can find good content cheap enough to be profitable at $2/month.


I just wanted to say that I really like these kinds of posts an enjoy seeing people ask them every few weeks. Its exciting to read business ideas that people like myself can pull from. Curious if anyone would be interested in doing video cast where some of these respondents are interviewed for ten to 15 minutes about their business. I know sites like Mixergy exists but I think something more raw and down to earth would be cool. :)

edited for clarity

I made two TypeScript videos for Pluralsight ("ES6 with TypeScript" and "Practical TypeScript Migration"). I put them together in the evenings and weekends using the knowledge I got at my day job and from working on TypeScript open source projects like grunt-ts (and a lot of research).

It was a lot of work, but it's a great passive income now that they're done, and I'm quite proud of how they turned out. The Pluralsight authors are a great professional network to be plugged-in with, and being an author is a pretty unique differentiator on your resume.

I'm going to put together a third course soon.

They're always looking for new authors. https://www.pluralsight.com/teach

That seems interesting. How much do you make a month?

I prefer not to say exactly, but it's enough to post on this thread and also enough that I'm considering making another one. Their top authors make serious money.

what tools did you use to prep/record your videos?

I record on Windows using Visual Studio and Atom with the atom-typescript extension. I recorded the video using Camtasia and bought a nice mic with a pop-screen and boom arm (Rhode podcaster USB). It was about $600 for the Mic and Camtasia. (Note I made this investment back easily and I have it forever now). Camtasia includes all of the video and audio editing capabilities required for Pluralsight, but I also used Audacity to do some of the audio editing because there was a nice compressor plugin that another author recommended. PowerPoint is required for the slides. Many authors use Macs and Keynote and similar software is fine - they just take mp4 files as the final deliverable.

https://basketball-gm.com/ is a basketball management sim video game (sorta like football manager), and it makes more than that from ads.

This is brilliant. May I ask you a question? I assume you are not using real team names or real players. If you are using real names, how do you handle the licenses? Sorry, not a baseball enthusiast hence could not figure if your team / player names are real.

Yeah, that's the reason I don't use real players :)

A lot of similar games simply ignore the law and pray they don't get sued (or that the publicity from a lawsuit would actually be good).

But I do have support for uploading custom leagues, and people have made them with various real leagues like the NBA https://github.com/alexnoob/BasketBall-GM-Rosters/releases/t... and the Philippine Basketball Association http://www.mediafire.com/file/1e8cq2l3rrndln5/PBA-GM-2016.tx...

This seems like a good idea. Surely you can't be sued for user generated content which uses licensed team/player names.

I had previously mulled over trying to make a fantasy sports site using bitcoin, but since I am based in the US, the gambling laws are too prohibitive, even just using bitcoin.

> Surely you can't be sued for user generated content which uses licensed team/player names.

Probably not but I think they might be able to send a DMCA notice.

Very cool. Where do you get your stats from?

Thanks! I wrote a basketball simulation engine, it does a play-by-play sim of every game.

In what language?


Cool little game you got there. Do you have this on iOS or Android?

No, but it runs in Firefox and Chrome on Android, and it'll run on iOS too once Apple releases a good version of Safari or allows competent browser devs to publish better browsers :)

Where did you get the initial traffic?

https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/1j1e6q/i_made_a_single... got some initial traffic, and then it grew steadily for a while (although it seems to have reached a plateau this year).

Ah this is cool. I'm thinking about making a passive income sim game for the web. Didn't think of it as a monetizable thing but your experience is changing my mind.

I created Meteor Toys, available at http://meteor.toys

It's been very good to me, but also trending down as people seem to be diversifying from Meteor. Certainly not what I expected when I got into it.

The story for it is a simple one: I solved some of the annoyances during development for myself with by making a devtool, and then open sourced it.

The reaction was very positive and encouraging. Between the opportunity to make more tools, and the downside of having to maintain them, I decided to create paid tier for the tools.

Website background becomes black as soon as I scroll down, making all the text unreadable and the entire site unusable. Chrome 53.0.2785.143 on OS-X 10.11.6

Same here with Opera 40.0.2308.81, on OSX 10.11.6.

Made a quick screencast showing the problem:


(and yeah, I haven't bothered to set up https on that box ;>)

Update - Same problem happens with all 3 browser extensions disabled. (https everywhere, ublock origin, privacy badger)

Hey thanks for the heads up! This seems to be a bug with the latest version of Chrome. Until I figure it out, please try on an older version or Safari/Firefox.

53.0.2785.143 on OSX 10.11.3 is fine. Perhaps an extension is throwing it off?

Same blackout issue for me. OSX 10.9.5 Chrome 53.0.2785.116

I just updated to 10.11.6 like the original reporter (thanks for that, Apple stopped nagging me I guess?) and still can't reproduce it on my end. Does it do it for either of you in incognito?

Same issue with incognito.

This is what I'm seeing on Linux/Ubuntu in Chrome Version 53.0.2785.143 (64-bit) (including incognito mode): http://www.awesomescreenshot.com/image/1689878/3854f0ab61741...

Here's an error I'm seeing: Uncaught ReferenceError: Mousetrap is not defined. Not sure if that would have any bearing.

when you say 'diversifying from Meteor', what is going on here?

I think he means that the number of people using Meteor to build apps is decreasing.

I migrated my side project away from Meteor and write about why and how: http://stories.remotebase.io/post/rewriting-without-meteor/

I created an online game called Pit of War (http://www.pitofwar.com). It's a strategy/management game that puts you in charge of a stable of gladiators. You train your gladiators, outfit them in armour and weapons and give them a set of strategies to use during the fights against other players. Strategies start off simple and grow in detail and complexity as gladiators gain levels, skills and better equipment.

I've always been at least mildly interested in game development, but what has stopped me cold to this point is my inability to create the necessary artwork. Did you create the art yourself, or did you have someone else do it?

Even if you can create the art it's a lot of work! More work than coding the game, even.

Seriously, I started learning Blender so I could make assets for my own games and even though I have some training in art it is one hell of a learning curve. Not Blender itself, no. The first three weeks were a bit slow but then I started to get a workflow going and now I'm confident I can make decent-looking characters.

No, the real hard part. The serious drain on time is the art part. If you haven't had years of experience making art on a very regular basis you're going to have a slow go of it. Not only that but experienced artists will look at your work and give you a handful of tips that will make you feel both stupid and inadequate.

Art is a skill that can be learned... Just like programming. However, just like programming you're going to spend the first few years making absolute garbage. It takes time to be a decent artist.

You can learn to make one kind of art pretty quickly. For example, I successfully mastered the art of creating 3D anime girls (which are for the game idea) in about a month. Can I animate them with any semblance of, "that looks kinda natural"? No. I'm still working on getting the hair right. I've yet to even begin animating walks or arm movements!

...and for those who've done this: Yes, I'm using Rigify to save time. I'm in the process of writing a Python script that works like the Ragdoll script for hair or rope-like structures (because I'll be damned if I have to spend any more hours positioning a pony tail by hand @60 FPS!).

Edit: I had to take a break for a while to work on non-art stuff but here's where I stood three weeks ago:


Note that she has eyes but they weren't showing up in the Cycles render output for a reason I haven't figured out yet :)

The entire head was made from scratch by me. The hair was my focus when I was last working on it (the animation thereof).

I did some of the UI art myself, but for the character art and gear I hired artists to do that. I directed them but they made the magic happen. If you're interested in making a game but don't want to do the art or can't do the art yourself, consider using a game engine like Unity where you can then use their asset store to buy the art you need. There are also open source art sites out there with free art you can use such as OpenGameArt [1] to get you started. Start with free (or cheap) art assets to test your game ideas and learn, and once you have a fun design and game you can consider hiring someone to make better looking art or something more specific to the style you had in mind.

[1] http://opengameart.org/

I've launched Sentopia (https://www.sentopia.net) as a side project and it is still easily making over 1K with just 2 medium sized clients but it is not passive income, requires some maintenance & customer support but still very much worth it.

This year we're launching new features and a simple API: (https://sentopia.net/apidoc/)

Very nice, what did you use to generate your api docs?

Thank you! I used apiDoc (http://apidocjs.com/)

Are you trying to grow beyond the two clients?

There are more than 2 :) But since most use the free plan, the 2 I was referring to make up almost 80% of the monthly income.

Indie Hackers (http://indiehackers.com) also has some great projects earning over $1k/mo on it. It's been on the front page of HN multiple times.

I run https://uimovement.com/ and it makes just over $1,000 a month from sponsorships and ads most months.

The majority of that is from sponsorships for the weekly newsletter, which has almost 13,000 subscribers now. Currently doing cust dev and what not to see if there are income opportunities that don't involve ads.

That's awesome - I've been a big fan of uimovement!

How did you determine the pricing for sponsorships? Is there a good guide out there?

We're looking at possibly adding sponsorships to the https://rubythursday.com/ newsletter next year.

How did you get those sponsors?

I emailed people from companies that I saw had previously sponsored other, similar newsletters (like hacker newseltter) - I'm also making progress by emailing subscribers who work for companies that could be good fits as sponsors. I do need to spend more time finding sponsors though.

I tried releasing an iOS sticker pack app that had an actual use case (allowing you to markup and annotate iMessage conversations). I was hoping would give some passive income. Had a good first day and then dropped off a cliff.

Link: https://appsto.re/us/zMHnfb.i?app=messages

Care to share what games?

I built my side project "Documentation Hub for Developers" DocsApp.io (https://www.docsapp.io/). I spent 1 year+ to build it. Current revenue around $800 per month. Now I still spending night time and weekends to enhance it. HTTPS for custom domain powered by LetsEncrypt is on roadmap.

The project started because there is always need for documentation for software projects (in my career), and a lot companies are not used to have one. At the same time, I want to learn Scala so I pick up Play! framework to play and build real world app.

Happy to answer any questions!

I'm one of the cocreators of readthedocs.org, in the interests of improving this free platform, what features does docsapp provide that aren't available on rtd?

One of the features I think RTD missing is DocsApp support upload swagger.yml file and auto generate API browser (https://demo.docsapp.io/docs/swagger-api) as well as API Tester (soon).

Another one is DocsApp is using markdown editor instead of pulling docs from SCM (git). Which good for users that do not know to use git.

DocsApp also support generate Github release page (https://demo.docsapp.io/docs/github-release) so users able to download artifacts without leaving DocsApp.

PS: I never use RTD so I might wrong.

What do side projects that make income tend to have in common? When I hear about people's side projects or read them here, I'm not certain what the lessons are. I personally do side projects just for fun but heck if interest/passion could somehow be directed toward money making side projects that were good for the world then i'd direct my energy toward those. Possibly. It's a good thought exercise everyone should at least consider, can a hobby be monetized without fucking up the reason you loved it in the first place? Can it be done in a way that makes it less like your day job, so to speak?

They solve a small problem most startuppers / entrepreneurs would not jump on because the market is so small (or at least they think it's too small).

They don't want to change the world, just make it a tiny bit better.

> Can it be done in a way that makes it less like your day job, so to speak? Of course, just do things when you feel like it to do, no stress, no pressure.

http://getlivead.com and http://chattorney.com. They're different front ends to the same backend. Makes everything from aubscriptions. Not enough to live on as primary income but not shabby either. It has been a long four year road, with a couple of pivots and rewrites, 3 years of attorney's fees for patents but hugely personally rewarding and self-sufficient now.

I liked the idea of getlivead.com and went to the pricing page.

149 for what time period? Hard to sign up like that.

For most people, that is way too much for a tool that only does one niche thing. The thing is, everyone could use that one niche thing every once in a while. You should have a casuals tier with limited use/time for people who have some stuff to sell because they are moving or whatever. Bigger clients could give it a test run and upgrade if they want.

Thanks for the feedback. If you're interested in some of the thought pattern I can give you an abbreviated history. Also, if you're interested I can give you a code to sign up for free.

We started to service attorneys only, but as a clearing house of sorts. Attorney signs up, registers practices and regions, and when a user sends a message in that region/practice, all subscribed attorneys are notified and chat begins. That is challenging from a marketing perspective. So we pivoted to a more simple embeddable chat box, with the core still being web to SMS.

We then tried to expand to include the casual user, hence texttheweb.com and getlivead.com. At the same time, the prices dropped to $5/week or $10/month - thinking craigslist seller.

Fast forward to now and we have resellers - some targeting attorneys, others targeting local professionals (plumbers, electricians, etc). They get funny about pricing and undercutting, so we've basically jacked up the 'published' pricing so the resellers can make some money. It has effectively ended passive web sales, with all sales coming through resellers.

Probably more than you asked for, but figured I'd offer some insight.

Got it, but you still need to say 149 for how long. I have no idea if that is per month, quarter, or year, etc.

Radio show archive website, it's been running for about 10 years now.

I created pro version of my ruby gem for test suite parallelisation https://knapsackpro.com I released it last year but started validating it by charging users since July this year. $1K/month is my goal by the end of this year, so far I'm halfway there.

You never said net or profit. My side project is now making over $1,000 in revenue. Soon it will actually be profitable.

It's an apparel company for women who like to: hunt, fish, and be outdoors.

VERY random for a vegetarian software develop, from Portland.


How can you make any money at this? Printful is expensive and you offer free shipping on orders. Say one of your women's shirts runs 22.99. Printful charges 16 for the shirt and 5 for shipping, so you're only making 1.99 on that order. You're going to have to sell a whole lotta shirts! Are you planning on doing away with the free shipping at some point to increase your net or are you doing this for fun?

I only ask because I was considering using printful for our online shirt sales so that I wouldn't have to do much but they ate up all the profits. If you have the cash to pay upfront, screenprinting is the way to go.

How did you get that up and running?

A friend of mine started this label therhinestonecompany.bigcartel.com as a side project and I joined a year ago. We had (and still do) a lot of interest but we both became busy. But I'm tempted to pick it up again only because I feel it would do well with proper execution. I've been a silent Hacker News reader the past year or so (I'm a journalist turned coder) but your post grabbed my attention!

I've been meaning to write a blog post about it...

We use Shopify with a printing and fulfillment service: http://theprintful.com

It's been a decent amount of work, to be honest.

Interesting - will check it out. Thanks.

Without sharing too much info, I'm making ~$1.2k/monthly right now off of a Bitcoin arbitrage bot I made.

I'd share more, but the arbitrage only exists because of a market inefficiency and I'm sure that if anyone here started competing with me, the market would become too efficient to easily profit :-).

How long have you profited on this op? Is it actual arb or stat arb?

3 months. It's not really a "real" arb because actually dumping the coins is hard, but it takes advantage of a spread across exchanges. Closer to a financial services company.

I made https://www.switchup.org - all the revenue is from advertising. I spend around 10 hours a week on it and have another full-time job/startup. The website is run by two freelancers and a full-time hire.

I made a platform where people can hire a mentor to learn programming (ruby/rails, frontend, devops, big data). I've focused on mentorship with a per-week payment, so not a 1hour tutor or 15min "solve concrete task" service, but a real, long-term mentor dedicated to sharing all the knowledge with students.

Initial customers base grew from the free ebook I wrote and various blog posts available on the website. Lots of success are due to email newsletter, which I'm trying to keep useful and rarely send any ads there.

I'm taking 20% from each payment and that's be growing quiet well so far, especially after entering english-language market. Website is https://mkdev.me/en

Love this idea. How do you vet the teachers and how do you make sure they keep going through your site (and not just go direct)?

I am very careful with picking mentors and I generally just trust them to do their job. :-) It might not scale well long term, but that's the problem I don't need to solve right now. Right now if some lead tries to go directly to mentor, mentor always 1. Reports it to me; 2. Tells this lead to pay through mkdev.me.

It's simply much more convenient to mentor through mkdev.me than to do it on ones own.

My app makes roughly around $1K/month. A simple utility to backup(free) and restore(paid, in-app purchase) mobile phone contacts. Check it out: http://c2x.eastros.com/

I only know for Android since that's the only mobile OS I have ever used so excuse my question if it sounds stupid:

Why should I pay for your app if Android has a built-in backup/restore system for contacts? Or does this work by creating backups periodically in case you accidentally delete a contact you might not have wanted to?

Good question, and there are couple of reasons why people buy the import feature. (1) If you are switching from Android to iOS or vice verse, app can make the contact transfer process very simple and convenient. (2) People like you and me can find very easy ways to transfer contacts, but there are a lot of non technical people who don't know about auto backup and restore features.

I make well over $10,000 / month operating several mobile games.

Hi would love to know more details.. specifically what genre of games do u make?

yeah i'd love to know more - just how you make money. Ads? IAP? Percentage breakdown and genre, and dev platform ... Thanks!

I run a productivity app called Complice (https://complice.co/), which is currently making me about $3k/mo. If you want to learn tons more about the process of getting to profitable, you can read my profile on IndieHackers from back in August: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/complice

I run https://skysight.io/ , which does weather forecasting for aviation.

I created MEAN studio, www.meanstudio.com, where I charge $25 per hour to create highly functional prototypes in couple of weeks. I use existing code from other projects so my coding velocity is fast and never charge the clients more time than I spent on it. Clients see the quality and speed and just spread the word. I am making $1500 per month in the 3rd month of it running.

How much time do you spend to generate the $1500? Is this your full time job, or do you do it on the side? Do you have any plans to scale up somehow, or are you content with what you have going right now?

iPhone apps combined revenue ~$1k/mo, most popular unlocks a Mac using iPhone bluetooth mac address when it's in range.

Over 3-4 years I seem to average around 800 per month, but the last 2 months have been over 1k, and around 1-2 times per year this happens (in the meantime, it's very low).

It is software, 3-4 small utilities of high quality in the niche platform it is. A launcher, a screenshot tool and such items.

I've actually just started http://valleyhunt.com with the hopes of reaching $1K/month. It's basically a curated list of domain names for startups, so if anyone has any - feel free to submit yours.

I made https://readability-score.com/ - a site for measuring the readability of text. It's been a bit of an accidental success, but it's proving to be a great project.

I have a website that largely runs itself right now. C++ based desktop products for the Windows environment.


My side project is http://codeposters.io. Revenue is hit or miss. I'll occasionally get big bumps in traffic. Conversion rate sits at almost exactly 1%.

That is quite low, if you were to optimize it a bit you could net a decent amount of money I presume.

I spend very little time on my short/solo podcast but it makes a decent amount (much more than $1k) each month with long-term sponsors.

Browshot (https://browshot.com/), a screenshot service.

High frequency trading algorithms.

How did you get started with that?

It's been a project of mine for about 6 years now. The algorithms trade off of "orderflow" principles. Same algorithm is applied to equities, currencies, futures, etc. with decent success. I use compiled linux distributions for a little bit of an "edge" with trade execution.

I created a political news aggregator in France, with a nice community...

Could you link to it?

I started a (strictly e-book) publishing company. We publish public domain titles on Amazon, and Apple's iBookstore. GooglePlay has gone by the wayside just like all of their "cool projects."

We don't just copy-pasta public domain titles. We actually go through it, and create a really nice table of contents, include flourishing images to chapter headings, link any footnotes, and re-typeset so there's pleasant vertical rhythm to the paragraphs. We really pride ourselves on creating a great user experience rivaling titles from major book publishing companies that have delved into the foray of e-book publishing. CSS for e-books is a repeat of browser compatibility problems reminiscent of the 90s unfortunately.

Our average price is usually $0.99. Our genre is theology, so we publish books from Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Calvin to name a few.

We make over $1K/month, but sales are on a downward trend. The hype of e-readers has faded in the past 2 years. It's not that e-reading isn't cool. It totally is. Just like the mp3 player was a great successor to the Walkman. The problem is that there isn't One Great Device for e-reading (like the iPod was).

A review of e-reading devices:

iPad: No person with eyeballs can read on an LCD screen for more than 2hrs, but I can read a physical paper book as long as I want. Dead-on-arrival in my opinion. Sales from this market never overtook sales from the Kindle store for my company.

Kindle: Better than the iPad. That's not saying all that much because they're only better because they use e-ink. That's it. Navigating and whatnot is still really janky. The worst thing about the Kindle is that all text is justified. There aren't any settings to change it to left alignment. It's nuts. You have to see a screenshot of some text to see how absurd this design decision is.

Kobo: These guys make the best e-readers. They are e-ink like Kindle, but they have this revolutionary technology called "left alignment of text" instead of justified-only text on the Kindle. You don't have the sophisticated backend infrastructure like Apple/Amazon for synchronizing your books/bookmarks/highlights/blabla. But it's not that important really. Just sideload your e-books, and dupe your e-book library on your computer. That's an end-to-end backup plan. You may not have heard about Kobo because they don't have the marketing budget like their competitors.

My company is called Fig, because I started the company on Fig St in Escondido, CA while I was in seminary. Here's some of our titles on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dd...

Footnote: I probably went too far with this off-handed hardware review, but I'm drinking wine and felt loquacious.

How do you get sales? Do you have any customer analytics on cross-selling through amazon's recommendation engine or anything?

Amazon doesn't give you access any kind of information about your customers. I just see raw sales figures for each e-book. Apple is the same way. The reason for this is they benefit the most by keeping you and your customers separated, so you can't wiggle your way in between them and "cut out the middle man."

So for us, we don't really have any kind of marketing plan other than trying just trying to make a great reading experience.

I have a project making $200/month, 100% passively (I just renew the domain every couple of years). But I think it would be so dumb to just tell what it is here. Why would you invite more competition to your niche?

Anyone who visits your site (who are more likely to be interested in and knowledgeable about your niche than random people here) could copy it if they wanted to.

By posting here you may increase your traffic/ad revenue, now and/or in the future (not everyone cares about or has the time to rip off every site they see), and you may get some constructive, helpful comments or advice.

Totally your choice, just giving possible benefits.

But if you visit my site, you wouldn't know if it makes money and how much. So you don't know if it's worth days of work copying it.

True, though you don't know if it's worth it anyway until you spend the time to do it. Just because you make $200 with your (established and known) site doesn't guarantee someone else would just by copying it.

I do get your point of view though, and it's fair enough, I just think the risk of someone copying a site they see here (and hurting that site's bottom line) is minimal.

I doubt you're going to copy every site on this page and I know I'm not, and yet they collectively bring in several thousand dollars a month.

Anyway, good luck with your site, whatever it is. :) And to everyone else who posted.

I think these kind of threads are really interesting, mainly just to see the different kinds of sites or apps people are making, but I think they serve as an inspiration for people to create something themselves (not just copy), and I'm glad people are not shy about posting what they're doing.

For smaller SaaS companies I think this approach is best.

If you have a stable passive income, whether you rely on or not. Why post about in an arena where people have the ability to copy and undercut you easily and threaten your income.

I sometimes find posts like these slightly disingenuous.

Sometimes competitors can be inspirational; they might attack the problem in a way that you don't consider, or they might push out features that suggest to you other things you could offer.

Me? I just wrap Amazon's route53 DNS with some git-magic, so you can host your DNS records in a git repository and make changes via `git push`. It's a simple idea, and yet it is surprisingly popular. https://dns-api.com/


    > 1 domain  | £1pm
    > 2 domains | £2pm
    > 3 domains | £3pm
    > 4 domains | £4pm
    > 5 domains | £5pm
Do you ever get emails asking how much 6 domains will cost? :D

In the past I had a sliding scale, but it just confused people. So I simplified a little and never quite rewrote that text. It seems to do no harm.

But for people with many domains there are deals to be had so haggling is always an option ;)

Then why even make this comment?

I think it's helpful to know others are having success, even without the details.

That said, I'd love a high-level overview without knowing the niche GP is in. "It's a content site" or "It's a blog reviewing popular products in an Amazon niche" would be helpful without exposing them to undue risk.

Well at least, is it from ad only? or subscription?

Adsense. I experimented with Amazon Affiliates, but that made me 1/10th of the money.

So why post anything at all?

Website to learn to type faster: http://learn-2-type.com (I am getting close to $1K/month, just $998 usd more to go....)

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