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Ask HN: What is your passive income 2019?
307 points by throwaway_yc 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 294 comments
Time to ask again :)

Any side projects, Games, OSS.




I built an escape room! Startup Escape (https://startupescape.com), a parody of startups where you have "$1M to launch your startup" (1 hour to escape).

It's a physical game in San Francisco, but it's run day-to-day by a manager. Overall it makes about $15k/mo, and after rent/labor/etc I just make a few thousand dollars a month.


> Here's the logos of some blogs that haven't responded to our pitch yet

haha


I love this! Will book it for our next team event


Looks fun. Might have to recommend it for a team offsite.

But, um...

> Startup Escape is in <strike>the Tenderloin</strike> North SOMA! The address is 447 O'Farrell St, San Francisco CA

That's... literally the Tenderloin. Or is this (and the oxymoron that is "North SOMA") a joke that just went over my head? Haha.


"North SOMA" would mean "North South Of MArket" :)

(For those not as familiar with San Francisco - SOMA is a neighborhood south of Market St. where a lot of tech companies in SF are found. Tenderloin is another neighborhood that has a reputation as the most dangerous in SF and is nearby but north of Market St.


It's a joke! :)


A joke, of course!


Awesome concept! Sounds like a great team-building activity.


My first book was published six years ago. The title is in my profile, if you're willing to click through for the plug.

It has continued to sell well, and about two years ago I "earned out," meaning my royalties exceeded my advance, so now every six months I get a royalty check.

I've also agreed to several deals that allow my book to be translated and sold in different countries. Those deals are usually on the small side, but the only work involved is picking up a pen and signing the paperwork.

The success of that first book has allowed me to write several related books, and while the advances I've received for those don't count as passive income, my hope is that they will generate some passive income in the future, if I should be so fortunate as to earn out again.

To anyone who is thinking about writing a book, I offer this advice:

There are some cases where it makes sense to self-publish even if you can get a book deal. Niche e-books on technical topics written by people with large built-in audiences are one example.

But in general, if you can get an agent, get an agent, and if you can get a book deal, get a book deal.


Oh awesome, I really enjoyed your book! Now I'm wondering if I first heard about it on HN, or through some other means.

If you don't mind answering - what made you decide to write this book in particular?


I had a baby who wouldn't sleep, and at 3 a.m. one night, while in a rocking chair with him, my sleep-deprived brain thought it would be funny to write a book of science experiments you can perform on your baby. Woke up the next morning, still thought it was a good idea, and decided to pursue it.


That's awesome! Is that the first time you decided to write a book? Or was this something you were planning on pursuing regardless?


Wow, first time I've seen something on HN useful on baby related stuff :) buying now :D


Congrats. FYI - there are a bunch of dead links on the correlated dot org site in the footer.


That is amazing, I have gifted your first book, "Experimenting With Babies" to almost all of my friends who had babies.

Going to buy "Experimenting With Kids" now.


I feel like I heard about this book somewhere. Big Bang Theory?


Yep. At 2:03 in this video clip :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wzXqa_2KZ0


I think I found it accidentally while searching for gifts for new parents in Google or Amazon.


Nice job, and congratulations! How did you first get connected to your publisher? For that first book, did you have an agent representing you?


Not exactly passive, but side hustle that I hope becomes main hustle: https://simplescraper.io

Tryna fill the gap that Kimono left.

Aim to post as a Show HN once I polish it a little more.


> Aim to post as a Show HN once I polish it a little more.

Are you kidding? the home page at least looks really polished! great work.


FYI there's a typo in your home page...

> We surveyed the landscape of complicted web scraping tools


I must have looked at that homepage over 1000 times and still didn't catch that! Thank you, fixed it.


No problem!


This looks really cool, I was disappointed when Kimono was shut down. Please reach out to me (email in profile), I would like to learn more about your product.


Thanks. I will for sure - although unless I'm doing something silly, don't see your email when I click through.


Whoops, it should be there now.


I just used it to scrape some camera data from Adorama. Pretty, pretty good! I'll tinker with it more later today.


This is awesome! Will give it a try sometime.


Fails to scrape article previews from https://www.opennet.ru/opennews/



Would you mind sharing how you want to monetize this?


It looks like there are credits for automating it outside of your browser


Sure. I'm thinking a certain amount of cloud scraping / API request credits in the free tier and any number above that falls into a paid tier.


Cool! Will bookmark this


Investing in boring index funds has produced 20% returns this year. Can't imagine it will happen again next yr but who knows.

Actually I had an allocation in Apple which has had a crazy year..up 60% or so to all time highs.


curious, do you count unrealized gains as income as well?

I also did some passive index fund investments but I only count cash dividends as actual "income".


I don't count my investments as income until I put the money in my checking account. I invested ~$40,000 some years back (over time), sold $20,000 a few years ago for a one time purchase (to get some family heirlooms back in the family), and have $120,000 left. The current plan is to retire on that money for a year before I start touching my actual retirement funds - of course once I get closer to retirement I'll actually calculate how taxes impact this plan.

For the most part though I ignore it. The best returns consistently go to investors who have forgotten about their account.


I just feel like I'm playing a game of chicken with a 10 year bull market. I usually leave it alone but I'm not going to wait around if the next recession turns out to a bad one.


I plan to wait out the next recession - history shows most people lose more trying to avoid recessions than if they wait them out.

Of course if I was closer to retirement that wouldn't work out. However that is why financial managers suggest a regular plan of diversifying into less risky (but lower return) investments as you get older. Target date retirement plans do that for you.


Could you link sources on this? Want to share with a friend




If it is a liquid asset, you should count unrealized gains as income. If you invested $100k in VOO last year, and it is worth $120k today, then you have definitely made $20k in the last year. That's $20k that you can choose withdraw and spend, at any time. Just because you choose to reinvest the $20k (ie, by letting it ride) doesn't change the fact that you've made $20k. It's really the same as collecting $20k in dividends and then enrolling in the dividend-reinvestment program.


It's not the same on account of taxes. Gains are taxed when realized.


I am in this case..I don't really day trade, have dividends auto-reinvested and rarely sell.

The market does sort of concern me right now though. We're sitting at all time highs for the S&P but there's worrying signs everywhere. I don't know how it'll all play out next year, so I might gradually sell some to lock in gains before end of year.


only do this if you need the money < 5 years. Timing the market is not possible, and while I agree many troubling signs, it's impossible to time when to buy back in, and you lose dividends and potential gains during the time on the sidelines.

If you need the money short term, then it shouldn't be invested in equities.


In theory I agree...but it's been a 10 year bull market and I would really not want to see any of my non-retirement or retirement accounts halved if I can help it.

My amateur "macro" view is we're in for heavily volatile times in the next 5 years.

I tend not to follow textbook personal financial advice shrug


I cashed out in September 2018 and I am most certainly not crying about missed profits :) That money is happily deployed elsewhere for better uses and the next time I have excess savings it will go into stocks when they're at the bottom of the market


> when they're at the bottom of the market

Will there be an announcement?


Yes, but there's also no need. When 2008 happened, not only was it in the news 24/7, anyone looking at the chart understood they were getting a 30% discount on an index of the US economy.


A few weeks lead time would be ideal.


interesting, I don't auto-reinvested my dividends, I use those to slowly but surely diversify my portfolio with different companies and industries (which is still a reinvestment I guess)

It's kinds interesting and even exciting to "shop" for new investment opportunities when dividends are posted.

agree about the market and all time highs and it feels dangerous. The thing is that no one can really predict what will happen, the only decent advice is, again, to diversify? Diversify with assets outside of the regular market fluctuations, e.g with cash savings, real estate, precious metals


Earnings are tomorrow (2PM PDT Oct 30th).


I'm working on a website that calculates the unit prices on Amazon products. Hoping to help save people some money, since there are a surprising amount of times where buying in smaller quantities actually saves you money.

The website is https://unitprice.org/browse if anyone is interested! It's still very much in its infancy, but I plan on doing a "Show HN" soon! Based on the last two weeks, I have only made about $10, but that's been with very little traffic so far.


>I'm working on a website that calculates the unit prices on Amazon products.

Oh hey. Actual built a prototype around this. And even bought some domains that sounded similar.

I abandoned it when Amazon blocked my cloud scrapper. Also seemed quite manual labour intensive since the quantities displayed are so inconsistent.


Yeah, you can’t sneak past Amazon too easily. I am using their official API, so I’m trying to follow all of their rules and policies. Otherwise, I lose my affiliate status, and beyond having fun with this data, those affiliate fees are a significant motivator.


Good stuff. May I ask what route took you to affil? Blog?


Are you asking what led me to create a website that focuses on affiliate links? (If that's wrong, please correct!) I decided to create a website like this because I like this type of data, and it blended naturally with the potential upside of affiliate marketing fees. I wrote somewhere on the site about what first led me to this idea -- I was buying pacifiers for my kid, and it was cheaper to buy two two-packs than one four-pack. That made me realize that you can't always assume that larger quantities have a cheaper cost. Figured it would be cool to apply that sort of calculation at a much larger scale!


Do paper towels & toilet paper please :)


I've added some initial paper towel and toilet paper listings, FYI! More to come, so expect an even better deal later this evening! https://unitprice.org/categories/home


I will! Thanks for the suggestion! I have heard that from some friends as well.


I thought Amazon does show you the unit prices?


Good question. Sometimes Amazon does, and sometimes Amazon does not, even within the same product category. Or sometimes it will mix and match the unit. For example, sometimes they will provide the price per ounce for K-cups, and other times, it will provide the price per cup. Not very useful when wanting to do a comparison.

For each of these items that I list, I have manually audited the unit count (after usually automatically doing an initial guess). For many, there's not even an automatic guess, so I have to read the description, look at the photo, etc., in order to determine the unit count.


I run https://bannerjs.com which is a configurable banner announcement service for websites that currently brings in $220 MRR.

I also run https://www.junior-to-senior.com which is a career advice newsletter for programmers that currently brings in $0 MRR, mainly because I'm focusing on content and growing the audience right now and haven't looked into sponsorships or paid subscriptions yet. I'd like to get it to a point where I can run it as a publication with multiple authors.


I've always been interested din how people monetize email lists. What's your plan? I see from the site at the moment it's just a sign up box. IS that what you intend on it being forever, or do you eventually plan to have other content like a blog on the site to pull organic traffic?


I started a company that publishes email newsletters, we now have about 10, and there are several of us in the company. We make 95% of our money through sponsorship/advertising in the newsletters.


I work on a handful of different ecommerce sites for my day job. BannerJS looks like it could be useful when we run promos and sales across our sites. Thanks for sharing!


My primary frontend blog/website (https://www.impressivewebs.com/) is mostly passive, I post maybe one article per month, usually not even that much. The blog has been active for about 10 years, so I get lots of SEO traffic, which brings in about $400-500 per month.

I also sell ebooks that are compilations of articles and tips from my newsletter (see below) on Leanpub and Amazon. (https://leanpub.com/b/javascriptdombundle)

My main newsletter (https://webtoolsweekly.com/) is now also a regular income stream (about $400-700 per month and growing), but not exactly passive. Takes regular research, writing, etc. But it’s fun to do and leads to all sorts of paid tech writing projects.

Finally, my newest newsletter (https://techproductivity.co/) is not yet making money but that’s starting to change as the subscription number has started to rise to a decent number and it’s very easy to write that one, maybe 2 hours of work per week.


This is awesome stuff. This is exactly the type of content I want to start creating (development blog, newsletters, etc). Do you think it's better to build your own blog site if you were starting now as opposed to using Medium or something?


Yes, I think your own site is best. You can do Medium too for promotional reasons but it’s good to have your own brand and own your own stuff.


Impressive numbers on your newsletter projects. My newsletter project on Project Management is not working well at all. Congrats on the success!


What’s the URL for your newsletter?


The landing page is here.

https://mailchi.mp/8e0622427dd5/prjmgrwkly

TIA for any hints you could give.


Thanks. My suggestions would be to get a real URL/website and design a logo. That might cost you but it will look more professional and will give people the impression that it’s “here to stay”. I’ll include it as a link in my smaller newsletter to help you out with promotion!


Thank you for so much for the advice and adding a link in one of your newsletters. That's a good advice, i will have a look at what I can do.


Spent an hour on impressivewebs.com before I realised! Great blog, thanks for sharing.


Thanks! Glad you liked it. I wish I had time to post more on there, but I’m happy with heat I’ve produced over the years.


I have an outgoing SMS API called Textbelt (https://textbelt.com/). Kinda like Twilio but with flat pricing, smaller SMS packages for hobbyists, no dependencies, and allows 1 free SMS per day (good for crons or alerts).

I also run QuickChart, an API for generating embeddable chart images and QR codes (https://quickchart.io/).

QuickChart is fully open source, Textbelt has an open source version. Not always passive but they don't take much time. Combined they fund my non-mortgage spending.


Damn, I've been looking at building an app that requires SMS messaging. I'll give yours a look over before going straight to Twilio.

A bit annoying that I have to give an email address to get a key, just to get pricing info though.


There is a pricing link up top that goes straight there, but I'll add a link by the Generate Key CTA to make it clearer. I've also realized that mobile phones don't see the navbar link. Oops! Thanks for the feedback.


I sell a web service that randomly texts your kids to call you. Or reminds you to call your parents.

https://www.callyourmomanddad.com


Do people actually buy your service though? Can you share some numbers, am slightly skeptical about this idea but maybe am wrong...?!


If you don't mind sharing, what's the rough size of your active customer base? Thanks in advance!


And what's your passive income?


People buy a subscription to get/give reminders to call their parents. Every first Saturday of the month I schedule 8-12 texts per US time zone.


Please avoid clicking on the link until later... apparently it is getting hammered right now.


I'm new to hyperlinking on HN. My apologies.


I’ve posted about it before, but since it’s being asked again:

It’s not “tech” and it’s refreshing to build something from scratch that’s very tangible. I want to walk away from data science and create something that allows me to open a store selling lifestyle products for men one day. To this end, I launched a men’s skincare line about 3 months ago (https://www.mendskin.co) which isn’t “successful” yet, but it’s my first experience selling physical goods and I think these things take time. Right now, I spend about 10 hours per week on Ads, customer service, and fulfillment. So, it’s kinda passive.

“Beauty products” (for lack of a better term) definitely require heavy capital, and it’s becoming hard to do everything by myself. All the individual things that need to be done aren’t hard- it’s just that there’s so much to do in order to deliver successful physical products.

But I enjoy it.


Wow! I'd love to read a blog about this and the whole process, any hope for something like that?


Definitely... I just didn’t think people would be interested :)

I have an interview with a publication coming up. After that publishes, I’ll post a link and talk about things in much more detail.


$25/month from Patreon for a very niche open source game. Not exactly passive, except that I was doing it already anyway, might as well have a Patreon for it. (https://spacenerdsinspace.com)


Wow, how many hours have you put into building this? And you are doing it all for free?

OSS developers are the carries of our civilization.


No idea how many hours, but coming up on 7 years in November. There's a long thread on freegamedev.net chronicling more or less the entire process. It starts off really simple and stupid, and then it just keeps going and going. https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3710 I'm doing it for free because it's essentially my hobby project. It's fun.


Game DB (https://gamedb.online/) - I take data from Steam APIs and show it in a friendly format. I am currently losing money, but hope to change that soon.


It would be great if it could help to find the next game, something like the most popular games or the trending games etc


@melenaos

Hi, I think the page you are looking for is here: https://gamedb.online/apps/trending. It could be more accurate with a higher sample rate, but would cost more.


How does this API works? You are charged for API call?


@siscia There are currently no limits on calling the API but eventually I will need to add some, 100/minute for example.


Why it is getting expensive then?


Not what you were looking for but real estate (mostly rental) has been and remains my primary passive income.


What would you recommend as training/resources to get started in real estate investing? I was thinking of getting a real estate dealer license as a way to get a better idea of how the system works and go from there, but any words of wisdom from someone already doing it successfully would be most welcome.

There's plenty of "real-estate investing" information online but most of it looks scammy as hell.

EDIT: I'm based in NYC, FWIW


I wouldn't get a license. There are a number of reasons why but one of the keys is your level of responsibility goes up in the eyes of the legal system. So a simple mistake goes from being something minor to being much larger liability.

There are lots of classes you can go to. The first thing I'd do is talk to local real estate brokers and ask them about the market and how things are going. Then see if they can introduce you to another investor that is local. Local knowledge is pretty key for real estate. Also, check into local real estate investment groups, the good ones are pretty selective but if you can meet someone on it you might be able to tag along and get some "free" education until you are ready. This is actually how I started way back when.


Real estate is local, so I would be wary of any "system" that purports to be able to identify undervalued properties using a one-size-fits-all approach. I would not recommend buying a property that's far away from you.

As far as landlording a small number of properties, most of the knowledge involved is how to be handy, or knowing trustworthy people who are handy. One piece of advice I would offer here is to charge slightly below-market rent to get better tenants, especially if you're an amateur.

And something a lot of people misunderstand is the relationship between appreciation and cash flow. They're inversely related because lots of appreciation attracts more buyers who drive down rental margins by bidding up purchase prices. Rapidly appreciating properties in a place like Seattle may have lower cash flow than you would anticipate given the demand, and properties with very little appreciation in a state like Ohio may have much better cash flow. But as I said, you should buy a local property and just accept the market conditions. If you want to invest in real estate elsewhere just invest in a REIT.


Is a REIT usually better for a more passive investment? Or does investing directly in a property gives greater control of returns?


Yes and yes. Owning a single property is less diversified, with more risk and more potential returns.


Also, one bit of advice I have found true in most states (but NYC may be different). Avoid home owners associations (HOA), they are almost always the death of a successful venture. I have only one property left in an HOA and we have been trying to sell it for 2 years but the HOA is known as an activist HOA so selling in that neighborhood, even at a discount, is hard. HOA's make rentals really hard, make flipping hard and drive the costs of everything up. And most investors will tell you the place you make money in real estate is in the older neighborhoods which are established, free of HOA's and are either being revitalized or have been already.

Townhomes and Condo's are a little different because you will always have a board for those, and I have had some good luck with Condo's but in general I avoid anything where another entity besides the local city/county can dictate what I can or cannot do.


Bigger Pockets is a good community and you can learn alot about pre-purchase analysis over there.


Kind of OT but I don’t understand why everyone with some spare time doesn’t get licensed for real estate to circumvent the cartel fees. It costs about $300 + the fees for the classes and 135 hours of time. But it can save you tens of thousands, gets you privileged access to listings, plugs you into the whole real estate ecosystem... it’s kind of a no brainer, as far as I can tell


Here's a couple of reasons why I don't want to do this:

1. 135 hours is a LOT of time to invest for even tens of thousands of dollars return. I could build and market a side project or two in that time, which could have potential for significantly higher return.

2. To recoup that return, I have to take a big risk, using a highly inexperienced agent (me) in a huge dollar transaction where everyone I speak with will have much more experience.

3. Worst decisioning -- if I am my own agent, I'm not in a good environment for optimal decision making.

There are other reasons outside the scope of your question (some people prefer lower touch investments), but those are a few.


Yea, to add one major point to that list, a real estate agent most states require you to house your license with a broker. And you cannot become a broker in most states until you have usually some period of time working for a broker. In my state you need 2 years under a licensed broker before you can apply to be a broker (there are some other things you can do to qualify too but it is still a lot of time). So in the end that means, you get your agent license (pretty easy <$1000 generally), work as an active agent in some fashion for 2 years before you can get your broker license and then, finally, you can eliminate 50% of the transaction fee.

The math just doesn't work out, if you get to the point you are doing that many deals, just hire a broker for your business.

Getting access to the MLS isn't that hard. And finding a good agent/broker to work with is very doable as they want to work with investors since it is a source of recurring income usually for them.

That all said, I am always interested in other peoples approach to minimize transaction fees, but most investors I know in real estate use this approach as it just works and minimizes liability.


Here is the simple reason. It is better to team up with or employ someone with the license then to hold it yourself. There are lots of legal obligations and other issues that trigger when you are a licensed agent. Not that you are trying to do anything illegal, but simple mistakes become much bigger issues when you are licensed. Also, when licensed you have a ton of disclosure rules you must follow and missing one can be a major issue, so better to employ someone or team up with them than to be licensed yourself.

I do agree in reference to fees from brokers etc, but if you do some deals you will find someone you can work with and honestly at that point they'll work with you on the fees and you won't care as much either because they'll take the liability so their fees are fair.


Yep, that's what I'm thinking as well.


I recommend checking out Graham Stephan on YouTube. He's got a lot of great content about real estate investing.


You don’t have to do work as a landlord?


I have myself setup where no, I don't personally do any active work as a landlord. I get payments deposited into my account every month and I have some loan payments go out but outside of that I am not active month to month doing anything.

When things to break or need service (usually a few times a year something minor pops up), my involvement is approving a repair or calling on a company I have used prior to take care of it for me. I have service providers for each property that maintain it for small fees, so like lawn, pest, sprinkler, AC is all taken care of on preventative maintenance plans.


Has there been any point at which you have lost money, e.g. expensive repairs, long vacancies, etc.?


Yes, but only short term. For example, I only do rentals when I can make them cash flow positive monthly. But there are times when say, you need to replace a water heater and that requires a permit and licensed plumber, so say $600-$1200 in my area depending on the unit etc. So I might lose my cash flow positive side for the next few months to pay that back, but in the end the net/net of the unit will be cash flow positive.

I did have one home we sold at a loss because of the housing crash. It sucks, but it also taught me a number of valuable lessons, and really improved my game.

With real-estate, there is a cliche saying, you make the money when you buy the property not when you sell. This is so true. If you buy it right, you will do well, when you buy it wrong it will almost always bite you.

Flipping is an easier place to lose money if you aren't careful. But if you are flipping you aren't doing it for passive income. I do like flipping but it is not passive and in my area has been hard the last few years because of the local market trends.


Many people can outsource to management companies that handle this for you in exchange for a percentage. I've seen averages around 10%, with some outliers (PenFed credit union I believe?) doing 7%.


Correct in my experience 10% is a good guideline.

I actually set things up slightly different but essentially it follows the same process. I have service providers I negotiated and setup that manage different aspects for me, so most all I have to do is make an approval or call and I don't have to pay a percentage fee each month. I learned how to do this after I had a bunch of properties in the past and was paying 8-12%/month in fees for each property but all they were doing was making calls on my behalf or setting up service providers to do it. Once I figured that out, I setup all my own service providers once and cut out the management fee. There are even people that cover the stuff like evictions etc as a service so you don't have to be involved on it.

It requires maybe a few hours of my personal time every couple of months as an average.


Do you have any advice on finding service providers or contractors? It seems like it's mostly word of mouth but people with dependable providers/contractors don't want to lose them to other landlords or developers.


It is somewhat trial and error but a lot of it is based on recommendations. It took me 4-5 years before I found a handyman type that I trust to just take care of little things. But for other things I signed up with larger known brands. Like our AC maintenance contract is with one hour AC for all our units, this means they take care of preventative maintenance as well as fix things as needed at a reasonable rate.

Plumbing I found through trial and error, and to be fair for any job where I see a bigger repair bill, e.g. > $500 I'll generally get quotes to keep everyone honest. There are exceptions of course, but when I start seeing bigger repairs being requested it sends up some red flags because we maintain everything really tightly.

Our lawn service and our pest service are the same ones we have do all the units and our own home too. We found both of them through a referral and tried them at our home first. Then slowly gave them more.


Trial and error.


I pay 7% and the property management takes care of renting out, collections, notices etc. They have a list of contractors to do work but I always seek out multiple bids.


This is usually my recommendation for anyone starting out too. It buys you time to learn and prevents simple mistakes that can cost you money. Once you have done it for a few years you'll have seen a lot of the basics and can start doing things differently. That is exactly what I did, started with a real estate company that did my rental management and then as I grew more comfortable and had built up my list of trusted people I stopped renewing with the agencies.

I actually found out that in many cases my background checks were catching stuff the rental agency did not which really pissed me off. I use the local sheriff's office to run the background for $20, and then credit check with an online company for $15. I get a true picture of the person/people this way, the rental agency wasn't doing a background check, it was only a want/warrant check and credit check. I prefer knowing the background of people and being able to deny for valid concerns, like the one I found out had been evicted from their last 3 places but lied on their application about prior evictions. The real estate company running my old checks would have never seen that since they just did a wants/warrants check, but I did and denied these people the rental for lying on the application about prior evictions. That said, I had a young family rent a house from me one time that had been evicted and gone bankrupt the prior year. They never lied to me, were honest as best I could tell, and upfront with me about everything so I rented to them after meeting with them. I only required them to provide a full months rent as security instead of a reduced amount, which they totally understood. Never had a problem with them and they got their security deposit back cause they took care of everything.


Do tenants communicate with you via email for repairs, etc?


Email or text. I setup Twilio as my go between so I can receive and send texts (or calls) to renters without them having my personal number. There are a couple of long term renters who I have had for many years that have my personal cell, but most don't.


https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/level-design/mod...

Launched this a few months ago. I've made about $14 a month. In terms of return on investment I would have been better picking up pennies in the street, but it was a fun side project. Also, haven't done any real marketing yet... All sales have been organic discoveries through Unity store.


Looks great! Good job, I don't have any clue what the unity already provides but the snapping and the flow that you created this house it really great. I was working on a Architecture building software long time ago and it was nothing close to that fun as i see here!

Couldn't you use this plugin, the unity editor, a bunch of ready made objects, walls, doors, floors etc and bundle them into one autonomus executable and sell it?


Thanks! Yes there are possibly applications in the architecture space but I'm not very familiar with it so it's not a priority right now.


I am working on Mascot Gaming Logo Maker (https://mascotlogomaker.com). It's a tool that allows you to create a gaming logo for your esports team.

As of now I have private beta testers using it and while it's not enough to call passive it sure pays for some video games gg.


Great idea. I have a friend that just created an eSports team logo, would've loved to share this with them if it was up.


Currently i have mainly two different passive income streams. A side project and multifamily property investments.

My side project (https://www.teamcalapp.com) returns around $2500/month and growing. I think the main improvement to be done is doing more marketing, which is unfortunately not so passive.

Im also investing in apartment complexes. Right now i have 4 passive investments. Since I’m only a passive LLC member that income is truly passive. Those investment deliver nice regular cashflow (8-10%) and appreciation once sold. Right now I’m in the process of buying my own property together with friends (50-80units). That will then be a bit more work but still partially passive once all is setup with the property management company.


Would you be willing to share the name of the sponsors you invest with in the LLC? I am interested in doing the exact same and am an accredited investor, but I don't want to invest in the fundrise.com of the day, what they offer seem very "bottom of the barrell".

I would rather find some sponsor who would like accept a more limited number of accredited investors with whom to build a long-lasting relationship (ideally for decades and many deals), and in exchange I would be happy to invest larger sums of money (e.g. 50-100k per deal?).

I am asking because, if you are contemplating buying your own apartment complex, you definitely know what you're talking about and might be able to give me some very valuable advice :-)


Sure! Send me an email, address is in my bio.

The sponsor/operator is definitely the most important thing. I would argue even more important than the property itself. Thats also why I don’t like to invest in REITs as its not clear who manages those.


Silly question, but how will your product survive if Google decides to just implement that type of view on the calendar?


Google has neglected their calendar product for almost a decade. I wouldn't be too concerned.


Good question! The lack of this feature was why I made TeamCal because Microsoft has it already a long time in Outlook. It doesn’t seem that Google invests a lot in Google Calendar improvements, especially for B2B use cases. Thats why I’m not overly worried.


I was selling computer chips, old but still valuable for resale in my local market. Had to stop due to new restrictions on imports, namely elimination of tax floor for imports. Now everything is getting taxed, and that means my margins are gone.

It was fun while it lasted, I had about 10k USD Per year in profits , used it for beer and travel money.

I would do personal deliveries in bakeries, and only bakeries. My alarm would blare reminding me of making a delivery with the message "Chips at the bakery". I would also do shipping with snailmail, but I enjoyed the personal encounters.


Lemme guess , Aussie GST changes?


Umm, not quite. But let's say just say it's the same OECD bracket.


Fair enough! They started charging the 10% on all imports recently, which I know killed a few peoples side import/resales


Semi passive rental income - one unit. Looking to acquire more and retire in 4-5 years. =) failed at monetizing my side projects in a scalable way


Same, although I have four rental units and one AirBnB. I wasted years of my 20s trying to come up with a monetizable SaaS product until I realized that I could earn passive income through "boring" businesses like rental properties.

Now that I've had a taste of passive income through real estate, I've come to despise the tediousness of writing software. I can barely bring myself to do it anymore now that I don't "need" the income from my job to survive. My plan is to keep acquiring rental properties over the next fews and then quit the tech industry for good once I have enough to live comfortably.


I am in a similar position and would like to know how you got started with rental units. Are you using a property manager like it was mentioned in a previous comment? Do you recommend AirBnB vs. long-term rentals?


I used equity from my primary residence to finance my first investment, since I couldn’t find other means of financing. I don’t think my area would be good for AirBnb although I haven’t tried, should probably read more about it. I am doing everything myself for now, since I get better ROI, but will probably move to prpty mngmt once I have more properties.


I self-manage since my properties are in the same small city that I live in. It's not the much work. I love AirBnB but you have to be careful with it - a lot of towns and cities have outright banned short-term rentals or at least made it very difficult to operate them legally.


A coworker who lives in PA sold his unit after laws were changed that would no longer allow his AirBnB to be profitable. He would have to add a sprinkling system and other things that cost 30k+


Followup question (if allowed). If your passive income involves software and you're also employed at a software company, how do you deal with the potential legal problems?

Most contracts don't allow for commercial side projects and the company owns anything you create even outside of working hours. Do people just keep quiet and not tell their employer? How risky is it? I know some people who simply don't bother telling their employer (and may or may not pay taxes, too), but I guess you can only do this up to a certain point.


> Most contracts don't allow for commercial side projects and the company owns anything you create even outside of working hours.

Those are terrible terms. You should never sign something like that.


And that rarely holds up in court, especially in California. Some common sense comes into play e.g. if you're building a direct competitor or using their IP, then of course that's going to be an issue.


> And that rarely holds up in court, especially in California.

Flowchart to help determine employer ownership of inventions: https://www.oncontracts.com/docs/Who-owns-an-employee-invent... (from 2010; annotated w/ citations to state statutes) (self-cite).

EDIT: Ownership of copyright in an employee-created "original work of authorship" will depend on the facts. Here are a couple of cases:

CASE 1: (A) The employee-author acted "within the scope of employment" in creating the work, AND (B) the employer and employee do not have an agreement altering ownership. RESULT 1: Under 17 U.S.C. 201(b), the employer owns the copyright in the work. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/201

CASE 2: (A) Employee-author did not act "within the scope of employment" in creating the work, AND (B) the employer and employee did not have an agreement governing ownership of the work. RESULT 2: Under 17 U.S.C. 201(a), the employee owns the copyright in the work.

Note that calling something a "work made for hire" doesn't automatically make it one — the work must fit into one of nine statutory categories [0], AND the parties must agree, before the work is created, that the work will be a work made for hire.

[0] https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Community_for_Creative_Non-Viole...


Is "invention" to be interpreted in a very broad sense here? If I build some cookie cutter CRUD app that nevertheless provides an income, is that an invention?


It may not hold up in court, but your employer has more lawyers and more money than you and it simply may not be worth fighting.


That goes both ways. They know they'll lose. I've been in this exact situation with an estranged CEO. They send their cease & desist and hope you take it down, but won't go further than that. Sure, you might have a psycho on your hands ready to lose all his time and money, but at that point, you shouldn't have ever taken the job, so moot point.


> Most contracts don't allow for commercial side projects and the company owns anything you create even outside of working hours

Well, they don't. This is an obvious case of common law. An employer is not your slave master. Don't use your employer's resources, and you're fine. Plus, most employers don't want the expense of having to operate a product they have no knowledge of.

In some states, like California, this is explicit. If the employer is in California, I believe that, even if they write this in the contract, it's completely unenforceable. Feel free to cross it out, or sign it. There's no way it'd hold up in court; they can't even argue for it.


I would double check that the company owns anything you create outside of work hours.

At my employer in CA, they don’t claim that. Their only restrictions are that you disclose the nature of any IP you generate on your own time; they will only prevent you from working on it if it conflicts with their business interests or relies on info you could only get working at the company. Which is pretty reasonable imo.

Also, I think those moonlighting clauses are to prevent people from having multiple full time jobs. In practice they won’t care if you work on a prototype for a side project or run a small business, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your regular work.


> Most contracts don't allow for commercial side projects and the company owns anything you create even outside of working hours.

I never understood this. I have friends who were developers at a software company and afraid of doing anything after hours since they felt their company essentially owned them and anything they create, 24/7. I am not a lawyer, but I reckon unless you’re building and/or running your business using company property or company proprietary IP, that section of the contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.


Seems to depend on the location and the specifics of the situation and the contract, but it's not out of the ordinary: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2016/12/09/developers-side-pr...


Use your own equipment on your own time and you'll be fine. When I was in University they made us sign a document saying they owned everything.. I was like what? I pay to attend this school, you don't own anything!


> company owns anything you create even outside of working hours

Probably depends on the country you are in. I would never work for a company under those terms. What I program in my free time is my code. Sounds terrible that a company would even try to claim ownership of stuff you do or build in your free time.


>the company owns anything you create even outside of working hours.

It doesn't legal in most countries even if it written in contract. So this is not a problem at all.


you can pass ownership to a company not run by you or legally move the ownership to someone you trust


Not exactly passive, but... I teach online webinars/in person tutorials on the basics of Data Science and ML with Python: https://www.data4sci.com Started beginning of the year and hoping to make it to $20k


cannabis online store. my profit share currently nets me around than CAD10k per month.

started about a year ago when a few friends pooled money together to take over a failing online cannabis store, which are not legal in Canada but are sort of outside of law enforcement interest currently so we operate pretty freely at this moment. i've always been keen to do this as i've heard how profitable it is, so when they asked me to manage all the computer stuff in exchange for a small profit share, i agreed. i had minimal experience with SEO, but learned along the way how to tweak little things here and there, like which types of promos worked, etc and managed to do a decent job in the end. it did require some work at the beginning but once most of the things were set in place, my role was reduced down to mostly designing promos and customer service, which i performed simultaneously at my full-time job which i maintained. the customer service largely involves me just engaging with customers on Discord and answering emails.

it didn't start off 100% passive, and it probably still isn't considered passive, but i don't feel that i do much work for it now and i'm still getting paid roughly CAD10k. my next step is i'm in discussion with one of the partners to start up a new shop, this time as an owner.


What were some of your pain points in handling the tech?

I've been toying with the idea of starting a cannabis software company to help people like you.


Myself and a buddy run:

https://SQLizer.io - migrate data in CSV, JSON, XML, etc into MySQL databases.

It's doing ok, but growth is static and we've tried a lot of stuff. Feels like we're hitting the total available market for "people who want to convert to SQL".


I built a portfolio management tool for cryptocurrency investors. I was able to get to $2k MRR in the first month with a MVP without quitting my job. Here’s how i did it:

https://www.hodlbot.io/blog/zero-to-two-thousand-mrr-in-one-...


With 2 friends, we have built a "pokemon-go" like platform, called https://geogaming.io, to create fully customisable scavenger hunts.

We sell it mainly in B2B to companies who sell team building events and that need a touch of digital... We have other customer segments coming (zoos, theme parks, tourism offices...)

We also use the platform for individuals,like for birthdays (http://birthdays.geogaming.io) or hens/bucks parties etc.

This platform brings us ~15k a month but it's growing very very fast.

Our architecture is based on AWS lambdas so our infrastructure costs are very limited and the product is highly scalable (games have been played with thousands of players)...

We are based in Sydney.


My wife and I make some money with a couple of cheap renting units. To make the administration work easier I started to write an application last year (https://adpro.sun.com.py/en). At first it was very Paraguay-specific so currently I'm working on the last part of internationalization which is the contract and invoice editor. From the start I integrated the ability to also administer renting units for others.

It is very useful to us but I'm not sure about product/market fit. I'm eager to learn from others who rent out what they use for administration and such a system makes sense to them. If I really go after the idea I'll also need a co-founder, please contact me if you are interested.


I mean, it's worth asking, but anyone with a good niche would be smart to not post it publicly unless the benefits of publicity outweigh the risk of competition.


Eh! Based on what I know of people, the odds of any competition are slim. The odds of any effective competition are slim to none.

Most people are basically lazy and will talk a good game, but not actually do anything.


Sure. But most good passive income ideas are good because of how easy they are, and because they're the perfect size for a small market. Usually even one more competitor entering the market is enough to significantly disrupt them. If you are sitting on one of those, why would you post about it in an HN thread that will be archived and trawled by capable competitors specifically looking for ideas? If it only takes one competitor to disrupt your golden goose, why would you post about it here?

While there are many interesting ideas in this thread, I expect there are a fair amount of people lurking with much more profitable and higher leverage products. So maybe just take the thread with a grain of salt and don't think of it representative of a ceiling on what's possible to build in 2019.


I invest in Tesla stock and it would be great if a lot of people could also agree that's a good idea :)


I agree there's niche websites that generate tonnes of money and have been around for years but nobody really knows about them... And the webmaster likes it that way



If you have a good idea you already have a lot of competition. Bad ideas have no competition because they are bad ideas that return every few years to fail again.


I have a website that attracts about 100 unique visitors a day and it brings me <$100/mo via Amazon Affiliate. Getting bigger than that requires a lot more traffic, which requires doing things like SEO research and marketing work which I'm generally too lazy to learn how to do.


That's promising. Been meaning to set up something similar - with modest targets (<100)

The whole one income stream thing is starting to worry me out of principle rather than $$$.


For 3000 visitors/month Amazon pays $100? That seems quite a waste.


Not a waste. Last month I got 2800 uniques, 5300 views, and made about $50. The thing is, The blog is there anyway. It's truly passive income.


Well, I meant waste on Amazon side. But I guess all that money is paid by the consumer of those products.


traditional ads would earn maybe $7-15 on that amount in most categories


Roughly $1,500 a month or so with a web hosting affiliate site - https://www.whatsthehost.com/

There's decent money to be made but a ton of competition, so for newbies I'd recommend easier niches to start!


Your site breaks the use of my scroll wheel.

Please don't try to implement custom scrolling methods in JavaScript. It never works properly on all platforms and just breaks things. It's also highly infuriating.

EDIT: Here's some good rants on not messing with scrolling: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13883433


Do you actually sign up for these services and test them out? Or is there some other way to legitimately compare them?

Asking because there are so many Amazon "affiliates" that just write reviews without ever trying the physical products. Not sure if this is the case with web hosting review sites though.

1500 is good amount, depending on the effort you put into it. Kudos!


That's a great site! Every now and then I think about trying a hosting affiliate but it's so saturated.


$250/month this year -- I created Video Hub App as a personal project that became good enough to share with others.

Nearing 1000 purchases since its launch (1.5 years ago), earned about $3500 (just about all went to my favorite cost-effective charity, Against Malaria Foundation). Released version 2 a few weeks back and had about 100 sales this month -- perhaps over the years it will earn a lot more. Was averaging about $250/month this year.

https://videohubapp.com/


Asked by your local Tax office.


Are you concerned about something specifically, or is this just another Reddit-like comment to be ignored, and that shouldn't have been made in the first place?


Are you trying to teach me manners?

I run a business automation services site (https://www.mergeyourdata.com/). Basically I build an automation for small businesses and schedule them to run. Took years of learning the ins and outs of the biggest pain point areas for businesses and the technical solutions that would solve those. The learning all pretty much took place at my regular day job and I was just able to expand on those lessons.


Very interesting. If you wouldn't mind sharing some more details: Are you receiving fairly steady order flow now? Where do most of your customers come from?

Thanks!


Orders come and go inconsistently since almost all of them come from referrals and/or organic site traffic. This does result in a wide range of requests which keeps things interesting.

Basically all of the work is in the beginning then it’s just subscription based for the automation refreshes (or an agreed upon amount if services are continuously running) and any minor updates.


I invest in large industrial real estate ($2-10M) with established tenants (often publicly traded companies) in the Midwest with a group of other investors. It's kind of like Fundrise [0], but with a handful of people in a 2-3 deals a year. With ~180K invested, I'm around $1750/month in positive cash flow.

0. https://fundrise.com


Now this is really interesting to me. Just peeking at their website the returns data only goes back about 5 years. Aren't you concerned about losing that money if/when a recession occurs and big-business investment dries up?


I run an independent, localized wedding registry platform. Couples pay a one-time activation fee. A friend and I built the site some years ago and never really changed anything. All we have to do is to reply to 1-2 support emails per month and keep Google ads running. On average it generates a profit of about 1,5k per month.


Honestly it's not sexy but https://incomedata.org and https://nsndb.com. Simple data backed sites. They end up being pretty fun to make and useful for specific people.


This is really fun. I just spent ten minutes looking through zip codes I've lived in and the "interesting" ones you linked.

Do you make money from it? I don't see any ads or information on payment.


I noticed the latest data is from 2017. Is the data after that not available or you lost interest on the website?


I’m making around $1,500/month of passive income. Here is what it worked for me: I created a web tool for stock technical analysis but instead trying to acquire clients by myself, I contacted some players with a solid distribution channel who lacks some tools to sell. So I offered them white label to sell inside their website, splitting the profits by 50/50. No cost for me to acquire users, sales, marketing or even support. I believe it can work with any kind of product. Pretty much the same as selling your app in a marketplace, but I would say it is easier to sell having a brand on top of it.


A diversified portfolio of index funds. This year return so far is ~15% (which in absolute amounts is more than my after-tax salary, even after accounting for long term capital gains), and my annualized return since when I started investing (~a decade ago) is ~10%.


Which index funds do you like? I've been going back and forth between considering one or more index funds or just getting a target date fund and leaving it alone altogether.


I basically replicate a target date fund manually, using the standard Vanguard funds like VTI, VXUS, BND, ...

That way, I can tune allocations if needed and I can take advantage of tax loss harvesting opportunities, so I get some extra benefits.


And target dates usually have a higher expense ratio than funds like VTI. So you keep more of your investment income by doing it manually.


Any thoughts on Michael Burry's index fund bubble?


I basically plan on not ever selling for decades, so the volatility/liquidity issues that Burry was talking about that would happen if everyone tries to selloff at the same time don’t worry me too much: as long as I don’t sell, I believe things will recover just fine after a few months/years. I have enough invested in fixed income to being able to weather a very significant storm, including me losing my job for several years.

If things don’t recover after that, then I think I will have much bigger problems than my investment portfolio.


This is the best answer to that question I've seen yet. Thanks!


I sella boutique Jekyll theme for software folks and academics which makes about $400/month. The base version is free, maybe somebody here likes it too: https://hydejack.com/


I used your theme for a blog I ran for a few months last year:

https://blog.spaceduck.io/

Thanks for creating it!


Not entirely passive, but I'm a Nominet registrar and buy/sell domains as my side gig. For the most part, this involves taking preorders for domains which have expired and are about to drop, then trying to catch them when they do. I also hold my own domain portfolio which currently consists of just over 200 domains. I generally have an idea for how to develop most of these, but I'm mostly just holding them until I get time to work on them.

Depending on what's dropping, my earnings from the domain side can vary drastically. It usually covers its own costs, and my best month so far (I only started in April this year) earned me around £1000


Mind u share how do u register the domains ? API ? Manual ?


A combination. For any preordered domains, I poll the domain until it drops and automatically register it using the API. Each day I'll review upcoming drops for the next day for anything I want to chase myself, and also review the drops from the previous day for any that weren't worth chasing but are worth manual registration.


I built MerciCookie (https://www.mercicookie.com/) an API to send cookies to customers, partners... I'm in France but we can send cookies in all Europe, US...


As per the title, what's your passive income?


Not sure how to properly put an adjective to it, but I'm doing some side money on crypto trading.

I started with a rather small amount of money (~0.15 btc) that grew to around ~0.21 in two months before the shitcoin I was playing with went literally to shit (They are not called shitcoins for nothing) and was left with around ~0.12.

I'm testing the waters now with a more stable shitcoin.

FWIW mine is (seems to be, at least) a very stable brute force approach. That I'll make no comments about ;)

P.S.: I obviously have data to back up my claims - the transactions log of my crypto exchange account - but as well the "method" I'm employing can be inferred from there, as it's rather obvious.


What are we calling "passive" these days? Is there a notion about the amount of (ongoing) sweat equity/maintnence to payout we all have in mind? The original notion seems unlikely ==> finish initial work/build and then just sit back and collect checks. Seems like few of the projects posted so far, if any, meet that high bar. Realistically there is almost always ongoing maintenance, and if it comes from a passion, probably also constant tinkering and improvement. I've definitely got one of those -- I can't let it sit long enough to ever call it fully passive :)


Usually it just means recurring revenue in general with relatively little work involved.


We've built Bugfender 5 years ago as an internal tool at Mobile Jazz for solving our own need of iOS and Android debugging and remote logging. After the first 2 years or struggling we've now just crossed MRR $23k USD and the business continues to grow healthy with small and big customers.

https://bugfender.com/blog/bugfender-growth-from-side-projec...


Have some small sites that have generated a few hundred each month from ads that continue to do well. I don't have to do anything with them. But I have started to double-down on some of these successes by offering some paid SAAS options around them. After an initial push, I hope they will mainly be passive, as well. The free sites serve as the lead generation. So I am OK with them growing organically that way. It's slow, but easy. If one shows more promise or potential than others, perhaps I will put in more feature development or marketing efforts there.


I made a twitter bot (@schumannbot) that posts the Schumann Resonance graphs from http://sosrff.tsu.ru/new/shm.jpg It gained close to 10k followers within a year.

I started selling related T-Shirts, and make ~$60 a month. Nothing big, but it's beer money. I plan on expanding the related website and even starting a YouTube channel, but it's not exactly something I planned on monetizing.


Running the same passive project as 2017 - a day trading robot focused on Canadian (TSX) market conditions. It's been wildly successful closing positions on a nightly basis and exploiting market patterns that work at a scale that I care about. I spend almost zero maintenance time per month, less than 10 minutes per day interacting with it.

It's also proved an excellent toy for me to constantly retool and play with new languages, frameworks, and databases. Couldn't be happier.


And that works?

I had assumed the evil Goldmans of the world had thrown enough cloud power at everything to find ever free penny already


Absolutely - rather predictably, but only within the segment I use. If you're an HFT trader you can't win. But if you have patterns you've noticed, can act on and encode... well quite frankly it's incredibly consistent on baskets of stocks (not daily), but very much based on a variety of characteristics.

Over the last year I've met two to three traders (as in big bank) who literally do this for weeks.


I do microlending through Lending Club, own a Pawn shop (which is managed day-to-day by someone else), and own a Great Clips (Sounds silly, but, again, managed by someone else).


I’ve become increasingly curious about things like owning a ____ franchise (mostly from watching this fantastic location by my house go through a revolving door of poorly-run franchises and wondering “I bet you could make some money if you just ran the place right”). So this doesn’t sound silly to me in the slightest. But I am curious if you would indulge my curiosity, how’d you come to decision to pursue such investments and what’s it been like to own it?


I just know that I needed to diversify what I had -- and, it was between buying a Great Clips franchise or opening up a pizza joint.


My conversation about owning a similar "utility" store with SO came to grinding halt at "We'll talk once you find someone who's actually done this".

Well, now I do! Thank you !

Would you please share some details; how you started, what it took time and money wise, what to avoid, what really matters.

It may seem silly to you but I really need this. I'm willing to communicate offline/in-person/chat/phone whatever works for you. You will not believe how hard it is to find someone who's done what you have.


How did you get into the second 2? I've always been curious about purchasing a physical, but never known how one goes about it.


The Pawn shop was my Father-In-Law's idea, but, it requires a LOT of paperwork (including getting your FFL Type 2), a lot of regulatory stuff (retaining DL's and video on all transactions, reporting to regional fusion centers), and a lot of time (it was probably 18 months before we were profitable).

The Great Clips was just a chance thing -- Sport Clips didn't seem like it was up my alley, and it's also located in Eastern Kentucky, where not a lot of people go for $70+ haircuts. Existing owner wanted out of his franchise agreement, and I was more than happy to purchase it from him.

Eventually, I might try to market and sell the Pawn Shop's POS that I wrote for it, but, that's years down the road.


Is anyone still making ad revenue?


I used to run an online forum, showing google adverts. I also had a couple of them dotted around the most popular pages on my personal website.

I set them up years ago and averaged about £80/month. I was just thinking a couple of months ago that I'd not seen any "You've got payment" emails. So I went to check on my account, and despite serving a ton more traffic these days advert revenue just dropped through the floor.

I guess it is adblockers which killed the income for me. Anyway it was nice while it lasted, and I figured I'd just remove the adverts to increase page load-times.

I suspect if you have more niche content, or more tightly integrated adverts than Google Adwords you could probably still do OK. But adblockers really did rise from nowhere to become extremely common.


While in college I started a price comparison site for textbooks (https://www.affordabook.com) that generates affiliate income.

Back in the day it generated great income and warranted full time work, but these days it still generates some solid passive income. A lot of the traffic is from SEO, but we still have a small social presence and a healthy amount of repeat visitors.


Same as last year. High-dividend stocks and ETFs. Everything else (including my rental property) is a lot less "passive" than most people think.


My personal opinion is that retail investors love dividend stocks and they are more expensive than non-dividend stocks.

Further to this, I have strong preference for firms which re-invest their cash flow resulting in capital gains which is much more tax efficient than a dividend.


I think retail guys love div stocks because they don't realize that when a div gets paid the stock price drops by the same amount. You wont't believe how many people think its just "free money". You even see strategies where people buy the stock before ex-date and sell after. Bonkers.

I would agree with you that div stocks are more expensive on a Price-to-Earnings basis. Check this comparison: https://pages.etflogic.io/?compare=DVY|SPY|XLU

High yield (3%+) div ETFs like DVY and XLU are trading near 25 P/Es whereas the S&P is closer to at 22 PE yielding just above 1%.

As interest rates tick down people look for income/yield. So high div stocks get bid up because of this


Could you make money by buying a div stock a bit of time before the dividends are distributed, but then sell BEFORE dividends, then short it until after dividends and people sell?


Good remark. I always tell people that a trade exists because a trade exists. In this case you're trying to game the "dumb" money. Question is how much alpha is there? If any, is it arbitraged out by people who have made the same observation as you? So something that worked in a backtest may cease to work when you implement it.

Stock splits are famously positive alpha events. The mere fact that a stock has now become more "affordable" because of a lower per share price causes people to buy it. But I don't think any professional investor in their right mind would trade such a strategy.

The pre ex date div strategy you suggest may be more relevant because there's a higher frequency of events. The effect may be more pronounced in more "retail" investor focused names. I wouldn't trade it in its own. But maybe group it together with a suite of other signals in a stat arb like strategy.


If you short on div.date you are paying the dividend.


I don’t disagree, but the question was specifically about passive income. Buying and selling stocks isn’t what I would consider passive income since it’s not recurring. As with most things, there’s a tradeoff for the payout schedule. I’m perfectly willing to take the small total return hit in exchange for regular cash injections I can use for other things.

Of course, my portfolio is more than just dividend stocks, but it’s a good passive income source.


> My personal opinion is that retail investors love dividend stocks and they are more expensive than non-dividend stocks.

This is absolutely not true, there's plenty of stocks around here with low P/E ratio and dividends. You just have to look outside of tech to find them.


I made a generalization so there will be counter examples and I appreciate that some stocks/sectors will have attractive dividends. I would put REITs in the expensive dividend-focused sector...

The main issue I have with a dividend paying stock is that they pay corporation tax and then I pay income tax on the dividend....with a group which re-invest its earnings, I do not pay income tax on that and if I need cash, I can sell stock and pay capital gains tax at a lower rate.

The main issue with dividend stocks is that when the dividend gets cut there's forced seller by the dividend ETFs and stared retail investors so the drop in share price gets exacerbated which is unfortunate.


Examples?


kr & wba are two that have what I consider a good P/E and a good dividend.


STWD


it's REIT, with all the tax etc implications


I released the initial version of https://datamaps.world at the beginning of September. So far I earned around 200$ from subscriptions and 100$ from selling the license to my datamaps chart library.

I have a full-time job and I'm working on this project only in my spare time.


I've been running https://kriptode.com a bunch of services that run with Bitcoin on Lightning.

Most popular is http://sats4likes.com where you can earn/pay Bitcoin for twitter likes.

It's not exactly passive or profitable but I learned a lot.


Kernl (https://kernl.us) - WordPress Plugin/Theme Updates, Git Deployment, Analytics, Load Testing, etc.

Currently around $1200/month with fairly linear growth. It's a fun project to work on and I get to make money on the side for doing it.


This seems to be more active than passive.


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