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Ask HN: What are your passive income sources?
200 points by introvertmac 243 days ago | hide | past | web | 144 comments | favorite
I do affiliate marketing. Just looking for few other options and would love to hear your experience/story of creating passive income sources !



I run https://IndieHackers.com where I interview developers/entrepreneurs about how they make money from their apps and projects. There are tons of examples there that fit into the "passive income" category as you define it ("making something that makes you money while you sleep").

A couple of good examples from the site:

- park.io (from Mike Carson) makes $125,000/mo taking domain backorders; he essentually wrote tons of scripts that buy expiring domains on behalf of his customers for $100 and that allow customers to bid against each other

- Instapainting.com (from Chris Chen) makes $32,000/mo allow customers to commission artists to turn their photos into hand-made paintings; it took him years to get to this point, but it's almost all automated and he rarely has to step in

Indie Hackers itself is my passive income source, although right now it takes a lot of work on a day-to-day basis. I'm writing a blog post about that that I hope to put up on my timeline (https://IndieHackers.com/timeline) by tomorrow. I'm doing just over $1000/mo right now, mainly from sponsors.


You're going to write a blog post on your site about how to make passive income, which you are doing by hosting your site about how to make passive income! I don't think it can get more meta than that!


I think that's an abuse of the term passive income - his site's product is the interviews he conducts. Unless he automates that away (which would be interesting), he's intrinsically tied up with it's success.


I agree it's not passive yet, but with a blog, he doesn't need to do much automation. Once the content is up, there will be a fairly long tail of visitors to whom the content is new.

When I applied for my professional engineering license in Canada a few years ago, I blogged about the process because I found a total lack of such content when I looked for it. I haven't touched the blog since I got the license (over a year ago) and traffic and "income" (I profit $5-$10 per month, it's a very niche topic) have increased steadily since then. Almost everyone finds it through organic search.


Good point .. now you just need a few hundred of these and could retire ;)


Nitpick: meta is too much of a catch-all, mise en abîme is more apt here.


On the other hand, people that I know actually use "meta", so it's probably a better choice if I intend to communicate information to another person. As used in the comment that you replied to, the intended meaning is unambiguous.


I can appreciate the provided alternative, thank you for sharing.


A stock portfolio that I've built through consulting profits is my main passive income source. Anything else is not really "passive."

This probably isn't the answer you're looking for, but in my view the average developer is much better off simply selling their time at the maximum rate and funneling the profits into a well-managed portfolio. The median outcome for this is much better than the story on most passive-income businesses.


> The median outcome for this is much better than the story on most passive-income businesses.

Thanks for the reality check. I currently follow exactly this strategy. It's not the perkiest way of living, but it's actually pretty good considering what most people have to do to make ends meet.

Still, passive income strategies make me curious. We devs are in the luxurious position to be able to tweak our income-per-hour situation like mostly no human ever could. I think it's not a sign of gluttony to aim for more but actually a sign of appreciation of the situation luck has handed us. We are one of the few people on earth who can get richer by refusing to work. Not only richer in a metaphysical way but in actual cash.


You're assuming maximizing cashflow is the most important factor.

Some of us would be willing to have a lower standard of living (possibly significantly lower) if a passive income could provide that.


In what way did I say that? if anything, I'm maximizing passivity.

You can live off stock dividends a lot longer if you lower your standard of living. Your comment is totally orthogonal.


> In what way did I say that?

That would be this bit here:

> simply selling their time at the maximum rate


Exactly. Not very passive.


I never contended that the consulting part is passive. It absolutely takes consistent time every month. It's the dividend revenue which is passive.


Ecactly. You had to work first. Work I've put in on projects now earns passive income, too. So there are other ways.


For 100% passive, you really can't beat this. Funnel your cash into dividend stocks and now you have a stream of income that's taxed at a favorable rate too. Even if you were to go with an S&P 500 index fund you get a near 2% yield.


Yes, if you don't consider the 35% corporate tax rate on the corporation's profits before the 15% capital gains.


And also you've taken on the risks associated with those stocks.


> Anything else is not really "passive."

Sure it is.

Yours is just a different method. You had to work to get the money, first. Passive income is the same. Some effort had to be put forth.

Passive doesn't mean do nothing and get something. That's idle income. I believe, particularly when we talk about it here on HN, it means to apply a set of already possessed skills, knowledge, resources, etc., and put forth some effort without a great deal of emphasis on making a profit, at least initially. Otherwise, it is a job.

But if successful and money is made, you have a source of income. And it may eventually become idle income.


I guess we have different definitions of passive income. Obviously you can spend a bunch of time to build and run a business (and, in fact, I try to do that). I just don't really think it's passive when you're working many hours a month on it.

In contrast, my portfolio requires literally 0 work on a monthly basis.


Pretty much the same. Do some work, create resources (money, website, app, property, knowledge), put the resource to work for you.

No doubt using resources you already have, which in your case is money, to generate income would fit the definition of passive income. More accurately, it's investment income, which also is not guaranteed. And you did have to perform work to get that money in the first place. Are planning on injecting more funds into your portfolio? That likely means performing more work to generate those funds.

Likewise, I have sites that generate income that I have not touched in months, maybe a year or more. Like you, I had to do some work to begin generating the income. Now, it's passive income. Not a business.


if you've never consulted before, how do you "start"? cold emailing people for freelance gigs that you see on hackernews doesn't usually parlay into high paying consulting gigs.


This might sound hokey, but think of getting into consulting as phases of software releases.

During alpha get to know people and the problems they face that you can potentially help out with (at this point you haven’t started consulting yet), in beta you drop whatever you were doing before, or cut down your time commitment enough, and getting into consulting (or more likely freelancing, where you’re doing more grunt work than being an advisor or strategic partner), in gold master you’ve demonstrated enough value that you’re at least making more than what you were previously and not hemming and hawing for more work.

Don’t expect to start at gold master.


reasonable answer! thanks. during the "alpha" phase, are you potentially offering your services to prospective clients?


> are you potentially offering your services to prospective clients?

Yes. If you’ve really understood the problems these potential clients have and they haven’t already asked you if you could be the person to solve it, offer your services.

Depending on your employer and your comfort level you may even be able to hit to beta earlier and do your freelancing on the side. I didn’t have the energy to work on other projects outside of my dayjob when I started. So I had to make a clean break before I started working with clients. You may be different.


Well, there are a bunch of job sites that also give the option of "contract" work.

AngelList for example.


Are you actually taking income out of this portfolio? I'm in my mid-thirties, so I invest in index funds, but any dividends are re-invested. It's not something I intend to touch until retirement or some extraordinary situation.


It varies. Since I'm a consultant, if I take a vacation or have a dry spell then I do have to take income from the dividends. In other cases, I reinvest all the dividends (and my earnings).


What's a good resource on how to do this? How does the "income" part actually come back to you? Do you sell a little stock each month?


Mind sharing how your portfolio is organized?


25% play money (stocks I pick individually), 75% index funds (with a focus on dividends).


Any statistics on how each of those are performing relative to each other.

I've never traded real money,only paper trading freshman year and played a game on MarketWatch where I traded like a monkey and made profits. I also put a prognostic on AAPL when it was in its 52 week's low and on ORCL and the outcome was as I had predicted. Maybe because there was no real money at stake.

I'm just curious and find this interesting.


Paper money is not real money. You won't act and respond in the same way as if you're dealing with your own cash.

Trading.. well, you'll probably lose your shirt. Investing however is very doable. Start with the stuff you understand well (i.e. probably tech). Why not just put in $5k and see where you end up? Even small amounts can teach you a lot.


> Start with the stuff you understand well (i.e. probably tech).

I worry about diversification. Tech is what I know, but I am already heavily invested: by far my biggest asset is my career, skills and experience.


Diversification isn't all people make it out to be. As an example: if you had to pick one stock would you be more likely to pick a great tech, mining or industrial stock? If you know tech and you work within tech, the answer will likely be tech.

Also, people have different risk levels. My personal opinion is that you need to make sure that, if you make a bet (by picking a stock) and you win, you win big (at least 15-30% annualised).

The S&P has good averaged annual returns and it's a good idea to invest a decent amount into an S&P fund. But if you pick an individual stock to invest in, you need to do your homework and it needs to be able to outperform the index.

Think George Soros vs Warren Buffet. In the early days, Soros would make massive bets on certain events and/or stocks. He bet his entire fund on the decline of the pound and made a killing. Warren Buffet is much more methodical about investing and gets great returns too. Both great investors, but they probably have different risk levels, different focus areas and different ways of approaching things. And that's one of the things that makes investing fun!


Analysis of this style is going to be tremendously subject to survivorship bias. It's obvious that amongst the biggest winners will be some who took too much risk - with extreme variance the lucky few will wind up winning biggest. But there's no reason I should expect to be so lucky.

Meanwhile, I am most able to put away the most money when tech stocks are doing well, and most likely to have trouble finding work (and possibly need to tap my investments prematurely) in an environment where tech stocks are likely to be at their lowest. "Buy high and sell low" is a poor strategy.


I have to laugh at "well-managed" portfolio. That's hysterical, in fact I'm still laughing. I might even wake up in the middle of the night and laugh.

Silly, active managed portfolios never beat their benchmarks over the long run. Anybody in the financial industry knows that... and index fund are only good till that strategy doesn't work anymore.


Are you saying that a company like Renaissance Technologies won't beat benchmarks over the long run?

According to Wikipedia, "Renaissance's flagship Medallion fund, which is run mostly for fund employees,[7] "is famed for one of the best records in investing history, returning more than 35 percent annualized over a 20-year span."[4] From 1994 through mid-2014 it averaged a 71.8% annual return."

If so, I would have to disagree with you.


Err, what? I'm not sure where you got the idea that I'm actively managing my portfolio. The vast majority of my money is in index funds. In my view, a well-managed portfolio is one which aims to perform at market and no better or worse.

> index fund are only good till that strategy doesn't work anymore.

The day that index funds cease to be the optimal investment strategy (for most individuals) is the day that stocks overall have stopped being a viable investment strategy.

Obviously you're just arrogantly trying to make assumptions instead of asking questions.


>>> The day that index funds cease to be the optimal investment strategy (for most individuals) is the day that stocks overall have stopped being a viable investment strategy.

Don't worry the day will come. ;) It's called a black swan.

I'm not arrogant, I'm just well educated and a student of the market. If you study the market long enough you will learn it's nothing more than just a big casino run by the federal reserve and the big banks.

Yes, Index strategy was great when it was invented in the 70's and 80's and probably the 90's. But if you have everybody rushing into index funds, well that causes an imbalance in the market. Similar to 2008, the tech bubble and even all the way back to tulip bubble. (google it)

I'm really sorry that disturbed your investment strategy.


It's hilarious that I'm being the one accused of arrogance when you're telling me to Google black swans and the tulip bubble as though I don't know what they are. You're being an asshole and patronizing me as though I don't know just as much about investments as you do.

Index fund over-investment is a red herring which is being promoted by active managers to try to justify their fees. In truth, the market balances itself out: the more passive money there is, the greater the returns to active management become.

In fact, looking through your comment history, you are in fact one of the pariahs of the internet who's trying to push your bogus options strategies on unsuspecting fools. Get lost and go spam somewhere else.


No I'm not a pariah. I'm just tired of the arrogance of people that thinking they know everything about investing on Hacker news. (This has been an epic waste of my time, there is no economic incentive arguing with a d-bag such as yourself.)

You are only mad at me because you are unwilling accept/understand/comprehend an alternative investment strategy. As I said before I'm really sorry I disturbed your investment strategy, ultimately hurting your fragile feelings.

What it comes boils down to is that you are programmer that thinks he knows how to invest. https://xkcd.com/1570/

Hmm... get your research correct. I don't offer services to individual clients only institutions. I'm also regulated by the SEC.

Cheers!


That XKCD is the epitome of why I tell people they should not try to build their own algorithms.

Yet you think an MBA and a few LAMP scripts qualifies you to dispense investment advice. Meanwhile I have actually run a fund with actual investors, but it's not something I recommend anyone try unless they are willing to do a lot of research and work on it as a full-time job.

You should really stop arrogantly assuming you know better than everyone else. I almost feel sorry for you, as your experience epitomizes the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Based on your continued responses and the fact your feelings are hurt, I'm wining this battle.

(I'm guessing you are millennial snowflake?)

Where can I sign up for your fund!

Oh I can end this fun... well because I do have better things to do:

You are right and I am wrong, there you go do you feel better now?


You continue to lob ad hominem attacks instead of making any substantive arguments.

I'm wasting my time arguing with you. Starting a discussion by "laughing" at my portfolio without even knowing what it is is not an adult thing do to.

I really hope you listen to feedback and grow as a person. Right now you're carrying a lot of negativity around with you.


I'm doing fine thanks.

Have great day!


I'm glad. I hope someday you realize that selling stock tips on the internet is a scammy business model and that there are better ways to make money than preying on the ignorant.


>> index fund are only good till that strategy doesn't work anymore. > The day that index funds cease to be the optimal > investment strategy (for most individuals) is the day > that stocks overall have stopped being a viable > investment strategy.

I believe that Index funds are a very good investment strategy. But before you make condescending remarks about the previous poster, you should read up a little bit. Index funds HAVE problems, especially if too many people use them to invest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/business/mutfund/the-ease-...


See above. No kidding. My point exactly.


"your investment strategy only works until it doesn't work anymore"

say what?


Black Swan.


Can you recommend advice or resources to being building a financial portfolio?


Check out Bogleheads and Vanguard index funds. In general, the people who spend more time thinking about and managing their portfolio get worse returns.


I've got a savings account. Interest on that baby is getting me upwards of 30 cents a month.


I know you're being facetious and your real-life investment portfolio likely looks much different but I need to say:

Savings accounts are a terrible place to put your savings.

If you have anything more than a couple thousand dollars, you can put it in a mutual fund and see several percent return on average, versus the fraction of the percent you can get from a savings account.

In certain situations savings accounts can be advantageous—They are very low-risk and the money is immediately available. But for a long-term investment, almost anything is better than a savings account.


> versus the fraction of the percent you can get from a savings account

Ally savings account is 1%. It's where I keep my emergency fund now. Once I built up my emergency fund I stopped putting money into it, however, but it's nice to see some noticeable interest gains every month vs. the pennies I would see with my Chase savings acct.


This may be the case in some countries (US?)

I'm currently getting ~3% on my savings account which is pulling in about $200 AUD a month.

That said, I am in the process of putting some of that in to a index fund (Vanguard).


but they do help you sleep at night. the market can drop 5% in a day and not many people can stomach that emotionally.


One should certainly tailor their investments to their own risk tolerance. But there are better investments even with very low risk levels. Money market, CDs, gov't bonds, and high-grade corporate bonds are all options that give better returns than savings accounts with minimal risk (well, before some gov't bonds were negative rate, anyway).


I make about 50cents a month.

But I hope to double it with a better investment strategy.

-- edit --

I just looked at my depot and it seems like I made about 4€ last month. Well, guess retirement is near :)


I run https://www.goread.io/ which is a subscription-based RSS reader. It's open source and runs on google app engine. It costs ~$2k per year to run and I make between $2k and $3k profit per year for nearly zero effort. Stripe handles payments and app engine keeps the servers running.

I consider it a high success because for the amount of marketing I've done in the last 2 years (exactly zero), it still has paying users. If I did a few months of code improvements and marketing pushes I could probably increase that income a few times.


Hi Matt, love the site. Do you mind me asking what brings the running costs up to $2k per year?


In 2015 I paid app engine about $1700 or ~$130/month or a bit over $4/day. I could probably get that down another dollar or so a day if I did some optimization and cleanup work, but I haven't cared.


Hmm just as a side-question. Do you consider the time developing this product as a part of the "expenses" sheet?

I'm asking because I did some side-gigs in the past and I always end up having a product ( aff.links ) that pays the server and some pennies above, but if I count the time lost on developing it, I will be on severe loss for decades.


I did not count my own time, no. If I did I'd almost certainly be below profitable. But I was doing it at the time because I wanted a google reader replacement, not to make money. I only started charging because I had so many users (at the time, most are gone now) that it was costing me above $50 per day, which adds up quick.


This post itself is marketing. You just target developers who do word-of-mouth referrals. ;-)


Trying it out now. I hope I'm hooked enough to pay you at the end of the trial. Not really satisfied with my current solution, which I also pay for. Thanks.


I have a card game business that's aimed towards women, PoCs & the lgbtq community - groups who aren't traditionally served.

Every couple of weeks I ship product to an Amazon warehouse and do a bit of advertising on Facebook. It brings in around $40k/mo and 3-4x during the holiday season.


That's awesome.

Would you be willing to email me and talk at me about how this came about?


What is the game send link


Is that net or gross?


Gross.


I still get royalties from programming books I wrote about ten years ago - the content has been updated by other authors in the mean time, and the corresponding royalty split has declined, but I don't do anything active either.

On the not-quite-as-passive side, I have an iPad game that I had basically left out in the Apple App Store for several years, where it sold with no involvement or investment on my end. Only recently, Apple required all app developers to resubmit their older apps or face delisting - in my case, it involved updating cocos-2d to support the latest ARM architectures, and making a whole lot of changes for everything that had happened in iOS in the past couple of years.

I also run a small API-as-a-service, which runs on reliable infrastructure, and doesn't take much real work to monitor and/or run.


What type of programming book did you write that is still relevant 10 years ago? Presumably something not tied to a specific language or technology?


I run https://www.weheartswift.com/ the first site dedicated to the Swift Programming language.

I've wrote a book that teaches people how to code in swift from the ground up. https://www.weheartswift.com/swift-programming-scratch-100-e...

I've also made an exercise platform similar to codeschool/codecademy/etc that is available as a mac app using playgrounds or online by using our swift sandbox https://www.weheartswift.com/swift-sandbox/

The site generates about 30k/year in revenue growing at a steady pace. Operating costs are around 10k / year for servers/software/subscriptions/marketing.

I need to spend about 2 weeks yearly updating the book/app to the last version of swift. I also spend about 5 minutes per day replying to customer emails. It's not that passive, but really close. (ignoring time spent developing products/book)


Any advice on writing a technical book? I'm thinking of writing one on developing for Alexa.


actually teaching the content to people helped me the most.

gitbook is awesome and free. https://github.com/GitbookIO/gitbook

blog a lot and start making a list of subscribers yesterday.


Portfolio of index funds based on http://canadiancouchpotato.com

  25% TSX (Canadian market)
  25% S&P500 (US market)
  25% MSCI EAFE (Developed market excluding Canada/US)
  25% Fixed Income - cash,bonds,'high' interest savings account, etc.
Requires about 4-5 hours of time once per year to rebalance portfolio and update some partially automated Google Docs files to track performance.

Works for me...also planning to get a rental property at some point.


If you don't mind answering, how long have you been doing this for and roughly how has your rate of return been?


I've been following an older Canadian Couch Potato portfolio for a few years now. The market has been mostly growing since 2010 so it probably doesn't count, but it's been returning an average of 7-8% every year (dividend+gain). Even last year, when the Canadian economy didn't do well, its return was positive.

It takes more than 4-5 hours a year for me though. I invest a part of my income every month. It makes sense since I don't pay any commission on purchases, so YMMV.

More info: http://www.pesfandiar.com/blog/2015/05/01/how-i-invest-my-sa...


Thanks for the info. It is appreciated!!


Odd how few seem to mention property (real estate)? Even those alleging actual returns worth a damn on stock portfolios. Surely the most obvious route on the planet is property. For two reasons:

1. It's leveraged. I.e. a bank will usually give you a 4:1 loan (mortgage) to buy property. Interest will usually be close to the central bank rate, so it's about as cheap as a loan gets, especially right now. If you then rent the property you are receiving a monthly return on the leveraged sum having only invested the deposit...

2. Property is an appreciating asset (US,UK,China,FR,etc). It's a systemic matter in many countries because it ties in a large part of an individuals net worth and retirement expectations.

Your 200k leveraged with a mortgage will net you more than most stock portfolios unless either you're Renaissance Capital or you just like a gamble.


>Property is an appreciating asset

Isn't this the cause of the housing bubble? If everyone thinks this? Why wouldn't profits be driven out if everyone thinks like this? Simply curious.


Over-valuation causes bubbles as opposed to appreciating assets. E.g. the common wisdom says equity is a generally appreciating asset class because the expected return over a long horizon is positive. Similar is true of property except that no-one will give you a 40 year loan of 400k for peanuts to go trade the S&P.


To put this another way. It's really not difficult to find mom & pop who made 300k on a small property portfolio with no special skills because of systemic capital appreciation, a liquid rental market and leverage(loan/mortgage). You'd struggle to find such a high success rate in any other asset class.


Are you willing to field some questions via email?


Sure. Leave your email and Ill reach out.


Small tools and web apps that provide a quick solution to very niche problems. Mostly aimed at business. Primarily based on obscure forms that occasionally need to be filled out for shipping. If I find myself googling something but don't find a great fit for what I need or many relevant hits, I look into building it. Or if I find myself manually gathering and formatting data or info, I see if I can automate it. Some end up being useful/found by others. Some don't. I currently see about $300/mo through adsense. A few of these things could turn into something more if I was ever motivated to do so, but would no longer be passive. Some probably not. Most interesting is seeing what takes off and what doesn't and trying to apply that to duplicate the success.

I've tried a couple affiliate projects, but have not found a great fit yet.


I run https://mapchart.net which is a map chart creation tool. You can quickly create a map chart of World, USA, UK, Europe and more with custom colors and descriptions.

It is completely free to use and my only source of income are Adsense ads on the homepage and some sparse donations. Since May, when the site was featured on the front page of Reddit, my audience has increased with a steady rate, along with my ad revenue (almost $500 last month).

I don't really do anything maintenance-wise, except for answering questions from my users. I work on it from time to time, mainly adding new features or new country/regions maps, and I still enjoy it, as it was my first real programming project (I actually submitted it as a final project for EdX's CS50x course!).


Great site, I have used it in the past to create a USA states map for a presentation. Did you run any Ad campaigns to get it high places in SERP?


Great example. How long have you been running it? How did you get on the front page of Reddit?


I started it on December 2014, with a pretty ugly interface and only three maps available (World, USA and Europe).

I already had some success on Reddit, where I created interesting map charts with it (like religiosity by US state, most popular browser by country,etc.) and shared the link to the site in the comment. This got me many users that would either come directly from the Reddit post or see another map somewhere and google my site.

The big spike came last May, when I shared it on /r/InternetIsBeautiful (https://www.reddit.com/r/InternetIsBeautiful/comments/4jcadt...) , which is a specific subreddit for internet tools and single-purpose website, and it propelled to the front page.


Awesome. I love your "dogfooding" marketing strategy. Very smart.


I had to google that, but yes, spot-on!


Neat. How did you come up with the idea for this?


I was hooked up with front end development at the time (simple things, the site is still plain HTML/CSS and jQuery) and I wanted to create a simple webpage as a final project. At the same time, I saw an election prediction map for my country, Greece, and tried to find a way to make one for myself, but could not find any tool for it. Thus, I spent some time creating the first map chart page for Greece and then extended it to the World, USA and Europe maps (and more; there are now almost 22 different maps).

The competition in this niche is either stale (old sites that don't have a modern interface and/or many options) or premium services (whole suites of applications that cover a range of options), so it is currently the #1 Google Search result for queries like 'create my own map', 'make a world map', 'custom USA map' etc.


About $300/mo on an app that provides real-time train tracking for Boston's commuter rail. Thankfully for me the MBTA is a mess, so each system meltdown (which happens about once a week) causes a spike in downloads.


I have made several small mobile apps. (http://anthonytietjen.blogspot.com/p/my-portfolio.html) I charge for some of them, but my White Screen Flashlight has ads. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anthonytie...) If you are into programming, and are considering an app, make something super simple (like my Cost Per Sq Foot Calculator), and you might be surprised that people actually pay for it.


Ha I tried this (trivial app, get paid) and no one paid!


Was your app for iOS, or Android?


I run a few high frequency trading algorithms on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These are research-grade and not scalable (I already make 20-30% of trading volume on some exchanges), however, it still brings me around $200 per month.


I'm actually thinking of doing this starting this weekend (mostly for fun). Any tips you care to share?


1) Have fun 2) Start from obvious opportunities first, then move to less obvious 3) Commissions are the killer, minimize it at all costs.


I created http://www.ipaidthemost.com over a year ago, and I can proudly say it's earned enough to buy a couple coffees. Well, if you ignore hosting. And the few times I dropped $50 onto it to try to advertise it.

It's odd. Most people who see it think it's clever and neat, and a few will buy, but when advertised, people bounce right off.


Suggestion: since it's a vanity-based project, allowing people to add a photo - either through gravatar, or via an upload - would probably increase conversion.

Also, the actual paid-for message being in such tiny text is pretty odd given that's the (user-side) purpose of the site. And that part is somehow the hardest to read part of the page for me, perhaps because of the double background (image + black background) interaction.

IMO, it's a lot of such small nudges that's reducing the effectiveness of the site.


What do you think about http://sidekiq.org gem approach where you have free open source tool and paid pro version. I did similar thing with my open source gem knapsack for test suite parallelisation in ruby. I run pro version at https://knapsackpro.com


I hope it's working out for you! I'd love to hear how things are going if you want to email me privately.


I wrote a book to help boostrapped startups choose the best hosting solution:

https://www.hostingforappdevelopers.com/

Promoting the book has been the major issue for me, which is probably why it hasn't sold as much as I would have wanted.


If it is actually good (ie, you stand by it, proudly!) then put it on Amazon KDP and link to that high up before your landing page (which is your website it appears).

You can even drive traffic right to it, ie from FB ads to the amazon link... and if you have positive reviews then it should sell if you target the right people.

And drop the price also in line with the rest.


I'm invested in forex (foreign currency trading). There are 3 buckets I'm in:

- $3500 deposited, run since Jun 3 (~5 months), current balance is $5200 (48% total profit, 8%/mo).

- $5000 deposited, run since Jun 28 (~4 months), current balance is $4590 (8% total loss, ~-2%/mo).

- $3000 deposited, run since Sep 2 (~2 months), current balance is $3218 (7% total profit, ~3.5%/mo).

It's certainly not for everyone but it's an amusing hobby. I've made a net profit so far so I'm happy.

I came to this after stocks as the research I'd found seemed to show that foreign currency fluctuations were significantly easier to predict (and profit from).


did you apply Deep Learning / ML techniques here? ;)


I created http://convertcsv.com and make about $750 a month off google ads. I also have one affiliate link but it isn't producing much. I spend a few hours a week answering emails, and another 2-10 hours a month working on enhancements. As a developer I work with data a lot, and noticed the lack of tools for converting delimited data - so I created my own tools online.


How did you spread the word in early days of your project?(Any platform in particluar helped or performed better for marketing?)


No marketing, all traffic came from search engines. I focused on SEO from the start and that helped with the rankings. I also made sure my site was more functional than the competition. 100% client-side code.


How long have you been running the site? A long, slow ramp-up, I assume? Were you ahead of the competition timeline-wise?

Most of the good ideas I think I have end up being fairly saturated, which is discouraging!

Well done. I now have your html tag remover on the reformattext.com bookmarked for a current project. Thank you.


Right - The site has been running over 3 years now. There wasn't much competition at first but in the last year I've had real competition plus a bunch of copycats, some who actually copied my code and changed the front-end.


I run BitPixels (http://www.bitpixels.com) that provides automated website thumbnails. I purchased Bitpixels from another HN member a few years ago and have continued to build and market it.

BitPixels currently makes ~$1k/month which is enough to cover the App Engine and DigitalOcean bills plus a bit extra. I'm working to find 1-2 more marketing channels that can drive sustainable growth.


Not 100% sure how this works or what it does. Can you explain?


Definitely, so imagine if HN decided to show a thumbnail image beside every link on the front page so users get a preview of what they'll see before clicking the link. When looking for a solution HN will quickly discover that auto generating website thumbnails is a nontrivial challenge to do well.

BitPixels solves this challenge by providing a simple img tag HTML code that HN would use to automatically generate and cache a png thumbnail of any URL.

Behind the scenes, BitPixels uses a server farm of real Google Chrome browsers to load URLs and take screenshots so the thumbnails look exactly like the real website. Most competitors use open source libraries like phantomjs or cutycapt that produce inaccurate thumbnails on modern websites.


You should chat to the indiehackers guy, sounds like you could help eachother out!


I make about 30 bucks per months on a single ad on my jquery plugin docsite[1].

I lose about 25 bucks per months on website for artists that I built over the course of a few years in my spare time[2]

[1]http://mkoryak.github.io/floatThead/ [2]http://exhibitionnest.com


I do peer to peer lending on an internet forum, VAs handle most of the work, ~$1k/mo passive, ~$3k/mo when active (but it's been passive for the past several months). I can try to answer what I can, but I can't divulge much more because it's not at all a defensible revenue model, and anyone with access to capital can do it.


I do run http://notationtraining.com not the biggest source of money (~ 200 USD/month), but it keep earning money for six years in row, so I am happy about it.

Other then that: rental property, p2p loans portfolio (~ 6% pa) and small stock portfolio (around 5% pa).


A small portfolio, some adsense on a blog, a game on the play store.

By all their powers combined here comes 70$ a year.


I launched https://askdns.com a few months back and making around ~AU$75/mo just from Adsense. There are around ~3M links in G now so the traffic coming in is slowly increasing.


If I may ask where do you get updated data to search for domains?


Target retirement date funds, a handful of individual stocks for entertainment purposes. I also have dabbled with Lending Club (annualized ROI went from 15% to less than 5% recently) and the money saved on interest in paying back my student loans early.


I've been developing a tool that lets you create your own HackerNews. Then it grew to a SaaS that lets you create, manage and grow an online community.

http://www.hellobox.co


$2/day on a simple ios/android app. Now I just need 1000 more apps.


3-4k per month. I own a rental property doing nightly rentals. I've automated all of the notifications, door code programming, arranging cleaning, etc.


absolutely nothing. Turns out its pretty hard to monetize open source developer tools. Really wish there was other stuff I enjoyed working on in my free time.

If anyone wants to start paying me for the JsFormat sublime plugin, let me know, I'll gladly take your money.


if you hire the right people anything can be a passive income.


Passive income: something that makes you money while you sleep(read it somewhere). Any examples, what type of businesses you are talking about?


owning real estate that someone else manages or really owning any business that someone else fully manages for you.

i know a gentleman that owns storage units up and down the north east, never steps foot in the states for years at a time.

AirBNB & rentals can be hands free too, as another example,


> owning real estate that someone else manages or really owning any business that someone else fully manages for you

If you've ever owned real estate or a business you'd know it can't be 100% passive. Even with a property manager, there are always things to fix, change, or update, and the associated decisions to make about it. One bad tenant or a property manager with bad judgement, and you're 100% back in full-time landlord mode to clean up the mess (literally or figuratively).


you can in fact pay agencies to deal with ALL of that, they just take it out of your cut. have you owned real estate or a business? I have both and i can attest they can be fully managed by others, without headache to the owner, its very simple. industrial RE investors do this all the time.


I do in fact own both, and they only run on whir own until your agent screws something up. It may require less work than other forms of income, but if you expect it to work out long term, it can never be completely passive.


I get paid to sleep on overnight shifts, does that count?


Not unless you can do it from anywhere AND you are not expected to be available during overnight if the situation demands :)


Oh I see, now we're moving the goalposts ;)


What about "money that would get into your account even you were recently dead" ?


So ... life insurance?


This is awesome!




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