Do you have any recommendations, ideas, stories?
I'm making about $10k/month from several sites I don't really update. The trick is to install yourself in some customer acquisition path no one else figured out. When I started my first attempt I didn't even expect to make the domain registration fee back over a year, I did it mostly out of boredom.
Don't look out for affiliate solutions specifically, but keep an eye out for them. Especially when you found some product/service that's hard to find, but very valuable - do they have an affiliate program? Great, that's your chance - especially because, being a customer, you probably know better than them what's their main selling point!
No more details than that, sorry. I'm not trying to sell you anything. In affiliate marketing be super wary of those that try, most likely that's their real income source.
It's mostly a parasitic income but sadly that's how current economy is, honest productive work pays the least relative to what it brings. Mostly thanks to central banks that artificially prevented a giant systemic reset.
I'm very interested in this and am trying to figure out how to do just a basic affiliate site setup.
If you write convertible copy, you can find an existing affiliate chain and try to use that to leverage your advantage. Otherwise, I recommend trying something that's out there, realize you won't be able to compete in your first niche (too much competition), then use that to learn.
Your first ROI might be 25%. Try again, find another niche, until you find the right one. This is classic explore/exploit game theory (every well publicized channel, e.g. the "Bingo Card Creator" of affiliate world) will be Red Queen'd to death.
note - not "great" copy, but copy that converts! (Or maybe you make landers that convert like crazy, or you have enough money to buy a ton of traffic and conversion optimize like crazy)
After that, I realized it was all about the basics + a niche. you need to know the fundamentals of "buy traffic, convert traffic to business goal, collect money for successful business outcome", but that was table stakes.
Once you know the mechanics of the game, it's up to you to niche/exploit. You're not going to make money doing what everyone else does, so if you're asking for advice instead of trying your own thing, you're already losing.
Then there are blogs who happen to use affiliate links. These guys are content creators who don't want to show ads. If you go this route you have to be careful to avoid becoming (or looking like) a content mill. But generally these are people doing good, tasteful work and only writing about products they've actually bought and put through the wringer.
Finally, in distant third, are the companies affiliating because they want to fix the online shopping experience but don't have the capital to compete directly. Camelcamelcamel is the best example of this. My own site is also a fair example.
There are many shades of gray in the affiliate spectrum. It mostly comes down to how many "best practices" (aka dark patterns, like making all images go to affiliate links instead of larger versions) you choose to use. If someone says their operation is parasitic, they are probably right.
> Don't look out for affiliate solutions specifically, but keep an eye out for them. Especially when you found some product/service that's hard to find, but very valuable - do they have an affiliate program?
Are you suggesting to look at at a high-priced product that doesn't have an affiliate program, and cut a deal with the business owner to promote their products?
I don't think you can specifically look for a niche. That's how you end up doing the exact same thing thousands different marketers are doing. Just be able to recognize the opportunity when it randomly presents itself.
Thanks for sharing. I'll rack my brains and see if I can apply this myself. I'd love to read a blog post about this strategy, if that's something you'd ever feel like sharing (without giving away your secret sauce of course.)
One option is running a successful service company; this is by definition not passive unless you own it and don't need to actively manage it. So that's out.
Likewise, a productized SaaS company is not passive unless you have very minimal customer support requirements, new feature development and marketing to do. That's overwhelmingly unlikely (if you look through the routine threads asking HN for SaaS success stories, you don't typically find instances where there is a minimal time commitment).
I'm not trying to discourage you from developing a successful stream of income. I'm just trying to push back against the idea that you can reliably generate income passively using web development skills. There are a few options that can require very little time (in theory, I still don't think you'll easily get there in practice). But I think the only one that will leverage web development and still be mostly passive is running a network of websites monetized through ads that have low effort content. Other than that, maybe write a useful ebook and promote it until it has excellent SEO and referrals.
Passive Income the easy way: Invest money in an S&P 500 Index fund. Routine dividends are easily count as passive income. You need a lot invested for this to be a significant amount, though.
The reason this may be easier for a web developer than, say, a retail cashier is that the web developer most likely has a higher salary.
Owning a company, whether services company or SaaS is also another way to get passive income. However, unless you have huge capitol to hire folks to do the work, or put a lot a time in to build the company [and then replace yourself] it may not be practical; and it definitely isn't immediate.
I've done the writing route, writing, and self-publishing, technical programming books. It is a great way for passive income. Once it is published you get residual income each month.
Much to my surprise, I've found that programming books have a much longer tail than I would have expected.
Generally I make around $50 a month. I'm not laughing all the way to the bank; but it isn't nothing.
I assume most self published [technical] authors are in the same boat financially. There are a few 'lottery winners' out there, such as ngBook, but most probably trickle along.
I'd have to look up dates and run financial reports to figure out how long and how much. I don't spend too much time running the numbers for that aspect of my business.
I published "Life After Flex" which was explicitly targeted to Flex Developers who want to learn "HTML5" applications, primarily focused on AngularJS. That used the "Authority" model; so high price with lots of extras.
I retooled that into the "LearnWith" series which builds the same app in different technologies. It is intended to be "no frills" approach and I sell the books for $6.99 through Gumroad and Amazon.
I'm copy editing the Angular 4 version of it now; and with any luck I'll be working on a React [or maybe Vue?] version before end of year.
Here's the front page Ask HN from 3 weeks ago where we all spent a couple days talking about examples of businesses doing exactly that:
It's entirely possible to build a SaaS that takes close to zero of your steady-state time if you design it to do so from the start.
If you already have a full time job, you might be disallowed from side income derived from services (i.e. consulting). If you don't have such a provision, you can start by selling your services for web development to companies that need them. Search through patio11 and tptacek's comments to read more about this route.
In my opinion consulting is easier than productized software (even if it's less straightforward sometimes). But you can more easily scale up a software product and reduce your time commitment for it. So if that appeals to you, then you should start by looking at what domain knowledge you have.
We stuck with it though and today have a full-time team of 5 working on the app, are paying ourselves a similar wage to what we were earning in our full-time jobs and most importantly have almost complete ownership of our work-life balance.
I'd really recommend a SaaS business if you are after recurring, side revenue and as mentioned before https://www.oppslist.com/ is a great place to get some initial ideas. Your marketing skills will improve too - just stick with it for a year or so if you do go that route!
Although in short, we built a product to serve our own need, launched it totally free for everyone and ended up gaining around 2000 users very quickly. Within a year we had grown MRR to the £3k mark, so we contracted alongside running this 2 days a week. Now, another further year on we're full-time with a few employees.
Since everything is open source and I can't run ads or add any sponsored content, the only way to support it is through Patreon. I think it is a pretty cool idea and solves a big problem of not knowing how how best to start learning a topic or what learning some topic X is.
I hope people will find it useful.
> Since everything is open source and I can't run ads or add any sponsored content, the only way to support it is through Patreon. I think it is a pretty cool idea and solves a big problem of not knowing how how best to start learning a topic or what learning some topic X is.
How so? There is nothing in the open source model that prohibits this. Is it because it because you feel that the type of people who are interested in open source will get angry if you have ads?
I think the psychological aspects are vastly underestimated when people try to find ideas for a business. There’s a reason why startup land says don’t make a fuzz about ideas. Few people are interested in implementing solutions for problems that they don’t care about. Caring about the problem helps a lot to get through times when it all seems too much and you still don’t see any success.
I enjoy reading those idea lists, but I never implemented one and I think they’re worthless mostly, because there’s no emotional involvment from me.
I didn't have "an itch" for either problem myself but I did really, really love throwing myself into learning how to run a business. BCC felt like a relatively low-risk way to do that. (AR didn't ever feel particularly low-risk -- and the stresses implied by that are one reason why I'm glad I don't run it anymore -- but that is neither here nor there.)
Don't fall for the ease implied by the word passive. This is a concept designed to sell self help books and promote gurus.
What you can do as a software developer to make money requires effort and chasing something that does not is fooling oneself.
A better perspective is to ask what can I do to generate the most income; and maybe put up with a bunch of obvious and boring answers.
Make an Atlassian add-on!
It's been a (mostly) solo gig for me so far. Two months ago my own add-on happened to do $8K in sales within a 30-day window. That put me around the 150th position on this ranking (add-ons ranked by last 30 days of sales):
(Issue #15 in particular - base unapprove on: git diff target...source | git patch-id).
Personally, I released my app two months ago: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/easygit/id1228242832?mt=12
It takes me about 6 to 10 months to write a tech book in my spare time, and unless one hits the popularity jackpot at some point, I don't think they will pay off financially.
(But published books do make a very nice line on a CV)
It's a fun little cottage industry.
Matching students with exam proctors.
Online education is the future (and to a large extent the present!). A common requirement for students is to find an exam proctor. I had to do this myself. I was lucky enough to know someone that qualified (a high school teacher) but a lot of people won't. Googling for a proctor service didn't help much. There's an obvious need there.
Besides, even here there are a lot of people that qualify (anyone that works as an administrator at a university for instance). The thing is, there isn't much in the way of structured services (unless you happen to be doing a large certification course where others nearby also are).
Schwab is now beating Vanguard on fees on their equivalents of Vanguard funds: https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/m/indexfunds.html?va...
Schwab also just recently lowered its commissions... a lot. Equities trades are now $4.95 flat whether you buy or sell 1 share or 1,000,000 shares. Fidelity also lowered their commissions to match Schwab. Everyone else is still higher, including IB depending on your volume.
(Disclaimer: no relation to Schwab other than that I am an extremely happy customer)
I don't know why the original post got down-voted. Crytocurrency is still in its infancy. Much money can be made from it. And it definitely qualifies as "passive".
Now, everyone (ie professional investors) knows about cryptocurrency so you have no advantage over them and you're just gambling.
Here's a strategy that works: Take an amount of money that you own but can miss. This means that you won't go totally crazy when you lose it all. Put that amount in Bitoin, Ethereum and Monero for example. Let it sit there for the next 10 years.
In 10 years, it's either $0 and you lost it all, or it became the best investment you ever did. And that is counted in factors, not percentages.
Worked out so far.
An example, I've seen is a site for property managers to share information with their landlord customers. It's just a CRUD app with a list of transactions, area to post pdfs of invoices, etc. The web app is old, ugly and basic but I bet they're collecting big regular subscription payments from their customers who can't justify hiring their own web developer and building and maintaining their own site.
The key here is having knowledge that most web developers don't have. It's going to be an uphill battle trying to sell golf clubs or restaurant bookings or solve any problems that everybody and their dog understands.
“Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace, and those who read their Graham & Dodd will continue to prosper.”
Opportunity trading (what Mr. Warren and others who occasionally profit from the market do) on the other hand, are entirely different animals.
Not sure what you didn't understand.
This explains a lot: Wall Street is definitely succeeding brainwashing even the smart people that investing is something very complicated and everyone should be happy with average returns... Years ago the rage were the mutual funds, now are the passive buy and hold index funds (don’t get me wrong I have one long-term strategy investing in SPY, but making twice the average)
No good deed goes unpunished here I guess... Not that I care very much, since I am not selling anything or peddling a personal blog for example... But what opens my eyes it the realization, that those people that dismiss the idea about making money from the stock market are the ones I am making money from one way or another, in the end it is a zero sum game, so if you are not making money in the stock market you are probably loosing one way or another...
And your so-called good behavior in hn is; you show no substance whereas they provide something to start hacking.
Perhaps this helps?
All in all, the YCombinator is a for profit corporation, which by censorship and bullying (or so called "down voting") is shaping the people on Hacker News to frown upon small or lifestyle businesses, because they need the flock of dreamers to get their underpaid workers to work on mostly failed startups... They are not out to help you or anybody else, this is how they make the money in the end and they go after everyone who threatens their business model... If you are to remember just one thing from my short stint around here, please remember this: They need you, but you do not need them!
First link doesn't constitute a trading strategy at all. Again, all rant and no substance. I'm starting to think asking for more is pointless after this moment. I give up.
Basically, doesn't the value of index funds reflect how much people think index funds will rise in value?
EDIT: Apparently you can exchange the ETF for the underlying securities at any point, and vice versa, so the ETF's price can't diverge much.
Specifically, in the case of SPY, if the ETF was trading higher than the underlying, they would short the ETF and go long an appropriate number of shares of each of the 500 companies. The difference in the price is their profit. The very act of doing this brings the two prices inline and eventually you sell both sides and close the position for realized gains.
Brokers let you do these transactions atomically. Of course, for transaction fees alone, this is not a strategy available to retail investors.
It also helps with tax efficiency since the creation/redemption process allows for shares with significant appreciation to be retired.
It would be interesting to study the market cap effect of going from #501 to #500 in the S&P ratings.
If you think the entire market is overbought, then they might not provide the best returns over the short term. However, most people are very bad at timing the market or picking the strongest companies that will thrive in a down market.