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Annual Developer Income Report (kreci.net)
190 points by kreci on Aug 24, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 58 comments

Chris - your posts are one of the highlights of Hacker News for me. A few comments/suggestions:

1. It would be great if you could organize your revenue/expenses a bit more. Something like BCC Stats [1] would be great. Perhaps just take the metrics you are tracking now, put them in a Google Spreadsheet, and create some simple Google Charts that are automatically updated and published. It would take a few hours to set up, but your stats would be much easier to gather and publish going forward.

2. Have you thought about ways to make website flipping more passive? What are the sticking points on this income stream and how can they be removed? I have given this a lot of thought and was able to go from a website idea to gathering sign-ups on a website in less than 6 hours. My idea was not successful, but I wasted very little time/energy by using ThemeForest, AdWords coupons, and a simple email script to validate it. If the site became popular, I would have developed it more fully and perhaps sold it or just collected income passively.

3. On a more personal note, how does your wife/family view this "work" situation? I assume that they are happy, but I have found that sometimes family and friends do not understand how this type of stuff works. I'm married with kids, too. In my experience, most people equate hard work with high pay -- but we have found a way to work smarter not necessarily harder.

Thanks for sharing this information!

[1] http://www.bingocardcreator.com/expenses/profitability-pie-c...

Thanks for such long comment. Ad.1) I will consider adding costs. But those are very little - hosting $30, some domains I buy and renew. Plus tax and health insurance that is specific for each country. Ad.2) It looks very interesting to flip websites based on my stats. But what really matters is the good idea that sells. And it is hardest to get plenty of such. Ad.3) She is happy that I am at home. It is harder to work like this because there are many disturbances. But it is a way better to be your own boss + in my case double the income + have a lot more free time.

You are welcome :)

1. I meant to ask how you might be able to streamline/automate your monthly reports like BCC has done.

2. What is your idea generation process? If that really is the sticking point, then consider reducing the friction or cost of going from idea to MVP. My example of going from idea to MVP in 6 hours is very streamlined. If I had enough money to spend on AdWords, I could potentially test 1 idea per week and dump the low performers. My point of friction here is traffic. The only honest, reliable way to get traffic (and potential interested customers) is with AdWords, which is not free.

3. Very good to get your personal experience on this subject.

Thanks as always...

Would you consider adding time into the statistics? I agree with nasmorn that the absolute income would not come close to covering cost of living expenses that I'm familiar with, so having a sense of working hours would provide some valuable context.

Also - thanks for sharing the data!

I know you live in Poland and you already crossed your living cost threshold but in a more expensive country your report means I need to save up at least a year of living expenses because what you brought in would simply not pay my bills.

While I certainly don't live frugally I don't own a car and the money is merely for things like rent, food and such. I have a baby girl though and my wife is currently at home. When she starts working again the picture would certainly change.

TL/DR Not so easy to replicate if your cost of living is higher.

I have a baby girl and non working wife too plus just buying brand new car (with 50/50 loan). Moreover it pays all my bills (I am living in a own house) and I feel quite comfortable already. All I can recommend to you is moving to Poland ;)

I personally would choose Argentina but you know how it is with family.

I could probably blackmail the grandparents into paying a kind of ransom so I don't leave the country for an extended period :)

> I don't own a car and the money is merely for things like rent, food and such. I have a baby girl though and my wife is currently at home.

My apologies if this is unsolicited and unwelcome advice, but have you considered supplementing your income by replicating Chris' efforts on a much more relaxed schedule and in your spare time? Blogging handsomely supplements my income, without much effort (or time) required on my part.

No not at all.

I see you don't post too often. Do you submit your articles to many sites like HN or do they mostly get picked up by your existing readership.

I tend to take an active role in the promotion of my articles, through a variety of channels, and I recommend others do so as well.

High-Quality Content + Good, Ethical Promotion + Proven Monetization strategies = $x,xxx per month.

I describe in detail the steps I take in my upcoming book on technical blogging. (Shameless plug: http://technicalblogging.com)

When I'm too busy to promote an article myself, my regular readers will usually do it for me organically. They are generally not as thorough as me, but they get the job done. :)

Your book sounds really interesting, thanks for the plug. Any other material you have that you can point us to?

Not at the moment, but I'm considering the possibility of turning http://technicalblogging.com into a blog on the subject. If I go for it, I'll announce it on the newsletter.

Right now I'm entirely focused on putting the best of my advice into the book.

Not so easy to replicate if your cost of living is higher.

I used to get variants of this comment all the time. "Pfft you people living in low-cost countries like Japan have things so easy..."

I know what you mean--I get these comments too, and I've been living in places like Germany, Belgium, England, Mexico (Mayan Riviera ain't as cheap as you'd think) etc., while earning dollars, and still making it happen.

People always ask how I can manage to travel so much and live independently when my take-home pay is so low compared to a salaried developer. The answer is that just like everything in life, it's about priorities. One person might prioritize cable TV and an iPhone for $200/month, whereas I'd put that money to a plane ticket. Granted sometimes things like babies or health problems don't give you a choice, but for many people, it is a choice to be chained to desks job they hate.

Don't know about living costs in Japan, but I've lived in Thailand and Russia where doing a bit of remote consulting and a bit of product development earned me around 2000 USD a month without a whole lot of sweat.

In those countries, it was more than enough to live well above average. Taxes are naturally also much, much lower which have a large effect.

At the moment I'm back in Europe for a contract. 2000 USD while living here? After 50% tax, that's only enough to cover half my rent! Techies in low-cost countries really do have it easier, as they can price their products / services to an international level, while still having low local prices.

Quick question, are you taking those stock photos yourself? Or contracting out to photographers, buying the rights, and just running the istock account? Seems like some solid stock photos there.

He mentions on his blog that he's a photographer, so it's likely they are his photos.

Also, it's always the same woman in his photos--I'm betting it's his wife. :)

This is great representation of how the Internet has flattened the playing field. Thank you for sharing this information so openly.

As usual comments are welcome and strongly desired =)

nitpicking... first line "It is over a one year since "

I am not native English speaker. I live in Poland. Would be glad for showing me my language mistakes.

I believe it would be corrected as "It has been over a year since..." :)

Thanks for all your hard work documenting these findings! You're an inspiration to all of us waiting to get started for ourselves.

Would be glad for showing me my language mistakes.

I'm trying to parse this, and I'm sure what you mean. "I'd be glad if you could point out any other language mistakes"

sorry after reading the article im assuming you arent a native english speaker? (just based on the tone throughout) not trying to be a dick about grammar or anything

I was surprised to read that the ebook is only marketed in your blog. It seems like a great product for an affiliate program like clickbank.

Didn't mean to bring in an iphone vs android battle here. But I'm curious to know the reason why the author targets at Android rather than iphone. There seems to be a concensus that iphone users are more willing to pay for apps. Does that mean he should have made a lot more, should he work on iphone apps instead?

It was easier for me to buy an Android phone when I was starting my online business. But in future I am planning to release some apps for iPhone as well. Moreover as being said I can not sell paid Android apps (not allowed by google) - but can sell iPhone apps.

Maybe I am wrong. I thought you can create a LLC in the states via those shell companies. Then you can sell apps via the LLC?

I can create it - have been thinking about it - but cost of running company could eat the income from paid apps (those do not sell as well on Android as on iPhone).

Sorry to hi-jack the thread slightly. But where can i find out information about creating a shell company? I am in a country outside of the US. Thanks

Talk to a lawyer!

Wouldn't that require you to pay additional taxes in the US?

LLCs are pass through entities. No additional taxes.

> LLCs are pass through entities. No additional taxes.

Are they pass-through to foreign entities?

I'm not sure about the iOS vs Android reason, but i know that the developer is based in Poland and i think thats why KreCi develops free apps with advertising over paid apps as Google doesnt pay to Poland yet or something.

if iirc, he lives in country (poland?) where apple won't pay developers, for whatever reason. In fact, I'm not sure that google/android does either, but he makes money from a 3rd party ad network that will make payments in poland.

apple pays to poland. at least I'm getting money from them every month :)


Did you read the whole article?

The iStockPhoto revenue looks amazingly good. I took a look at your photos and they're pretty well done (not too abstract, good model, very grounded).

Makes me wonder if this is an arena where we can all make some extra money?

is there room for more people to share their monthly/weekly/annual income?

If someone is interested I can accept guest post on my blog.

my question is more of a general one about the current world-state. in America it is typically taboo to discuss compensation. to ask often evokes physically palpable feelings of discomfort and sometimes outright aggression. my belief is that these feelings derive from the widespread association between self-worth and compensation. the fear is if my compensation is low (or lower on a relative scale) then i am worth less. i don't believe this is true, and i see it is an impediment for having an open and stress-free discourse about pay.

do these ideas resonate at all with you personally? have you experienced anything like this in Poland? did you have any second-thoughts or misgivings regarding sharing your pay?

Its also taboo because we don't want to alter others' views toward us based on how much money we make.

That's precisely what I think is so flawed about these feelings. The amount of money that you command makes a statement about your value beyond money.

So the question is, what happens to those of us whose pay is already public (state employees, professional athletes, C-executives at publicly traded companies, movie stars), and for those of us who freely divulge the information?

Is there backlash from this behavior? Is the taboo justified?

I make a much higher income than almost all my friends and most acquaintances. (I'm a programmer, employed full-time by a company, got about $350k in 2010, living and working in NYC.)

I never really took the taboo against talking about income seriously either, until I realized that answering these kinds of questions honestly was seriously poisoning my interactions with people. Some people would just get jealous and resentful, others would make silent, unwarranted assumptions about me, still others just became more prone to "hey, can you cover me and I'll pay you back?" me with no intention of doing so and for higher and higher amounts.

So, I now discuss my income only with people who I know have a high one as well. Everyone else gets a very frank "I'm sorry, but that's none of your business." What's interesting is that I get more pleasant reactions now than when I answered honestly.

So yeah, based on my experience, it is in your interest to obey the taboo and keep your mouth shut.

Instead of being frank and saying "I'm sorry, but that's none of your business.", I just say "A good amount." and no one has the balls to pursue further. :P

Has anyone here read Chris' Make Money on Android ebook? There are quite a few ebooks about "make money fast on Android". I'm curious how Chris' ebook compares.

How many Ad impressions do you serve per month? If you don't me asking. I made almost $4 yesterday which is one of my biggest days yet lol.

Anyone know what the Android Apps are and how many downloads he has had for each?

I am amazed at his income for 4 prank apps and a couple other very simple apps. I need to get something (anything!) up.

From his website:

X-Ray Scanner for Android (joke)

Cracked Screen (joke)

Detector Pro (joke)

WP Stats for Android (blog stats)

Virtual Drums Don’t push it! (joke)

Daily Beauty Tip (RSS Reader)

he has a list of his apps on his website.

Android dev making 2k a month? Come to the Bay, you'll make 5x that.

Are you referring to being a salary worker? I think that's what he LEFT to start making money on his own. Not having a boss is worth 5x his salary IMO :)

But he's in Poland. What about his expenses? I wonder if that would be multiplied by a number less or more than 5? (see other subthread here)

Average polish wages, according to his post, are about 12k a year. Average american is around 50k, he would have to multiply his salary times 4 here to match cost of living increase, roughly.

Average american is around 50k

I thought that's for the entire household? And that for individual earners it was closer to $25-$30k? I only ask as $50k seems really high for an average salary - might have to investigate moving over, even ;)

According to Wikipedia, you're right, but for a man the individual median is still pretty close: 45,000 for full time work.

Which will be almost enough to rent a couch in a 2 bedroom apartment where 4 people already live.

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