Previous thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2567487
a) Got a job at a major software company for very high comp.
b) Spent an extra 5-10 hours a week working intelligently at my full time job; got promoted.
c) Invested the salary, bonus, and stock from my high comp. corporate job in real-estate and tech-heavy index funds, and reap the (literal) dividends passively.
b) is optional; even without the promotion, I would still make enough money to generate almost all of my passive income via investments. Not bad for zero hours per week.
A stable income has allowed me to buy a house at the bottom of the housing market, which will appreciate at about 1% over inflation; my other investments typically do 2-8% over inflation (especially retirement funds, which grow tax-deferred). All in all, at least $1K per month, spiking to much more. At the rate I'm continuing to invest, I'll likely double that monthly return within 18 months.
Sure, this is all pretty volatile, but no more volatile than entrepreneurship, and with much better worse and average case scenarios.
Best of all, these investments will, in the long term, outpace inflation, which is more than can be said for selling software or tech stuff, which tends to depreciate in price over time (after all, the marginal cost of software is zero, which depresses prices due to competitive dynamics).
In a past life, I read many books on investing, primarily Jack Schwager's Market Wizards and my personal favorite, Reminisces of a Stock Operator. There's a lot of interesting stuff about the markets--game theory, behavioral finance--but unless you're going to spend a lot of time on it, the markets can be approximated as casinos for which you do not have an edge. Best to put your money in small and mid-cap index funds.
Similarly, most consumer real estate investments take a lot of time to manage (rental properties), so I've focused on my home, something which I would have to maintain anyway. In this climate you can get a loan so cheap you're best off putting as little down as possible and investing the rest. But you may want to buy a house within the next year or so as a hedge against inflation and to take advantage of the unholy combination of low interest rates and a relatively cheap housing market. If the Euro cracks or the Fed ends up printing money, we may find ourselves in an inflationary environment. If you have a fixed rate loan, you're golden--your income will rise with inflation, but your monthly payments will not, cheapening your debts.
Overall, my advice is to focus on setting up some compounding investments very early in life. Many people dabble in all kinds of things, like entrepreneurship, as a youth because they're fun. It's important to have hobbies, but for things that really matter, you can't afford to fool around. For example, I could join Y Combinator straight out of school and spend two years at a startup eating Ramen, or I could join Google and eat Ramen. If I did the latter, I'd have $50K in my 401Ks and up to $150K in other investments. Invested wisely, proceeds from those two years will give you $4M of today's dollars at retirement, even if you don't invest another penny--a nice safety net which will allow you to do riskier things later on in life. Entrepreneurship is a lottery ticket which is likely to fail. There are only so many good businesses (born of confluences of macro trends) out there, and it's hard to be in the right place at the right time. You could try to get lucky and end up scratching a living out of hardscrabbble, or you could use your talent to rise within the few companies which are actually printing money, and then let your dollars work for you.
I'd have $50K in my 401Ks and up to $150K in other investments.
or you could use your talent to rise within the few companies which
are actually printing money, and then let your dollars work for you
* Raised my consulting rates to free up more time for products (= same amount of consulting income)
* Most new customers come via referrals from existing users and organic traffic (via targeted blog posts)
* Wrote a complementary book targeting people who aren't necessarily looking for PM software (http://doubleyourfreelancingrate.com), and upselling Planscope through that. Extremely successful so far.
These are the sort of success stories from you regular joes that are more common than the typical "1 billion dollar acquisition" startup.
A couple of questions if you don't mind:
a) What technology stack are you using/did you use to develop planscope?
b) How did you deal with scalability?
c) Are you doing everything by yourself? Support, Development, Marketing, etc.
Thanks in advance!
b) I really don't have any scaling issues. I have about 120 paid customers, and on a given workday half of them login at some point. It probably takes quite some time for the average B2B product to run into scaling issues (unless you're doing some sort of extreme number crunching or something)
c) I do everything. 20% of my product time is spent coding, the rest is marketing. Support whenever I need to (usually less than 30 mins response time if I'm awake)
Feel free to drop me a line with any other questions, I'm pretty much an open book :-) brennan at planscope.io
Again, congrats on your product and hope it gets better in the near future.
I did my own design, but there are plenty of themes out there that could incorporate the above formula and do just as well (or better).
* I don't have a CC paywall, but people I trust who convert much higher than I do recommend it, so I'll probably A/B test a paywall soon enough.
* Nope. There is no such thing as a singular product launch. If you launch, and no one shows up, figure out what went wrong and repeat. Persistence is everything.
I really like publicly journaling how my products are evolving over time, especially since it seems to be either helping or inspiring some people. And plus, I know I've received direct or indirect customers from doing this.
My main business (a bootstrapped SaaS startup) generates more than that, but the profits are mostly being reinvested back into the company, so I don't think it qualifies as passive income.
This little known tip can net you a lot more money, it has worked for me... https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/t2/a...
One of her friends is a professional photographer and gave her some pointers when she first started which helped a lot. Even still, if you look at her older posts, you can tell that the photos weren't nearly as good back then as they are now. Practice makes perfect I guess.
I definitely think the SaaS startup is relevant here. I just used the same title as the last thread, but personally I'd like to hear about any sort of recurring revenue. And as someone who's developing their own SaaS product right now, I need all the motivation I can get from others' success stories.
I don't wish to pressure you about your metrics, but how long did it take you to get your SaaS startup to where it is now? And are you working on it solo?
For now, here are some things you might find interesting/motivational:
-My brother and I started the company about three years ago. We launched an MVP in January 2010.
-After 6 months we had about 10 paying users (at $10/user/month). After 12 we had 50, after 18 we had 200. Since then things have picked up and we're adding >100 paying users each month now. Both my mom's blog, and the SaaS business took a long time to ramp up, but both had their tipping points after about 1.5 years.
-About a year ago we hired our first employee to help out with customer service and other random things. We plan on adding four more over the next couple of years, two of whom have already started working part-time.
I hope that helps. There's nothing better than seeing thousands of people passionately using a product you created, so stick with it!
Over 100 new paying customers per month is incredible in my opinion. Especially for what I would guess is one of the most competitive SaaS markets out there. If I can reach that many total customers on my cheapest plan I will be ecstatic.
If you don't mind me asking, what user acquisition channels have you found most effective for selling to small businesses?
When we started we spent ~$3,000/month on AdWords to get our initial customer base. Once we had enough users, we stopped advertising and word of mouth took over. We basically don't do any marketing right now, but that we're going to change that soon.
I have a few questions:
* Are you building on top of a blog platform, or is this mostly custom? (The BuiltWith page makes this site appear full of tech ).
* What % of the revenue comes from Amazon referral links?
* Are there other revenue sources?
* Can you discuss your visitor distribution (first time vs. repeat), and traffic sources?
Until recently, Amazon made up almost all of our revenue. Now that we're doing slightly better with advertising, Amazon makes up about 60-70%. We also sell a $1 eBook, but we only sell about one per day, so that revenue isn't significant. This information isn't up-to-date, but you can read a blog post about our monetization: http://www.lessannoyingcrm.com/articles/259/How_I_monetized_...
-65% new, 35% returning
-1.7 pages per visit
-1.2 million page views last month
-Most traffic comes from Pinterest or direct. We get ~3000 visitors from search each day. My mom (understandably) hates link building, so we don't have many inbound links meaning there's not much referral traffic, and we also have weak SEO relative to other blogs our size.
-Almost all traffic comes from the U.S.
Also, I'm curious about the platform your site is built on, the affiliate links are cool because they seem to all be related to the recipe; I'm curious how you handle the organization.
Thanks for the feedback.
Most of the revenue comes from the Amazon Affiliate program, but recently we've been making a decent amount off of display ads from the BlogHer ad network. Google AdSense contributes a little bit as well.
As for SEO, I wrote the blogging software from scratch (I don't like Wordpress) so the SEO is entirely under my control. I'm no SEO expert though, so I'm sure there are many things I could be doing better.
Sales are up by about 40% year-to-date over last year, owing to a combination of increased AdWords spend, organic growth in the business, and a successful redesign (and related conversion optimization) right before summer.
Appointment Reminder is doing fairly decently -- monthly recurring revenues (on the publicly available plans) are up about 4x versus the last thread. I've recently gotten some time to actually work on it (my wedding kept me busy for much of the earlier part of this year). My run rate is currently up about 50% since, oh, two months ago? (Why? Interesting question -- re-did pricing, tweaked my marketing knob to "slightly more than zero work", and started getting a wee bit serious about e.g. my use of email to people in their trial period.)
The enterprise pipeline, which is not tracked in those figures, is... well, like all enterprise sales operations ever, I cry a lot and dry my tears on stacks of money. Not terribly relevant to folks who like recurring revenue because it feels like avoiding work, since Enterprise Sales is pretty much exactly what work always felt like, but it is work you get to bank in the past and then get a fairly motivational check from monthly for the present and extending into the future.
I guess consulting doesn't count as recurring revenue, at least not on my model, so I'll skip it. I'm productizing one of my consulting offerings and should be releasing it later this month -- we'll see if that works out.
Is this a deliberate decision or just a question of sticking to tools/platforms you're more familiar with?
That said, there is literally infinite software that I personally will never write. That doesn't necessarily mean I would recommend against HNers looking at those projects either.
I've been doing mobile for the last 18 months or so but I'm strongly considering going back to my roots on the web for a lot of the reasons you describe. The lack of insight into user behavior and acquisition is really crippling.
It seems to me that people have gotten a little too caught up in the momentum of mobile. Certainly it's a very important and rapidly growing platform but I also think, as you say, there's still plenty of room for viable businesses on the "traditional" web.
What I think is pretty overdone at this point though are approaches that revolve entirely around a mobile app. Unless you're going for an aqui-hire or your potential customers just happen to all be entirely on one mobile platform I'd think twice about betting the farm on an app.
Any new Kalzumeus Podcasts coming down the line?
I'd love to see some more posts on Appointment Reminder too. I think many of us could benefit from your insights on selling B2B SaaS products.
Yes, we're recording one in next week or so.
I think many of us could benefit from your insights on selling B2B SaaS products.
If that subject is interesting to you, join my email list, as it seems to get most of what I write on that topic.
Pretty much all HNers capable of shipping product are equally capable of doing the sort of things I do to tweak those products' success upwards. There's not really any secret sauce or black magic involved, and to the extent that I'm better at it than other folks are, that's largely a function of a) having six years of practice and b) actually using the bag o' tricks. (Most common process failure with A/B testing: not A/B testing. Most common failure mode for lifecycle emails: sending 0 emails. Most common pricing mistake: doing no work on pricing whatsoever. etc, etc)
That makes for a much more interesting (and useful) read than a blog in which the author is apparently cut of a different cloth than normal humans from the beginning.
Should I quit it (brokeback style), spend some time making it mobile + setting a annual fee and trying to find the magic adwords amount to grow my userbase without losing money or keep on keeping on (trying to make some ad revenue with my current userbase of 150ish)
I know a bit more about selling software -- I can tell you, for example, that "Facebook integration" is not a benefit for most people (you mention it prominently like you believe it solves problems, but no golfer wakes up in the morning and goes "You know what was missing from my last golf game? Facebook!"). You're not making economically rational decisions trying to sell ad networ ads against a userbase smaller than X00,000 to X million. (You can have one-off ad deals which are viable much smaller than that, but that gets you into ad sales.) You're probably not going to have success with AdWords unless you can get people to a 3 figure LTV -- "make it mobile" does not strike me as getting you there given what I know about app store economics.
But help me on the golf front. Does this solve an actual problem real people actually have in their lives? Have you talked to avid golfers and have gnashed their teeth about how not knowing Average Score By Hole Distance is just crushing their enjoyment of the sport? Are these customers willing to pay for better golf scores, for example because it helps them invite more clients to more golf games and hence close more real estate sales, which is the reason they golf in the first place?
Talk to your customers. (Or the people who should be your customers if you were actually charging for this, which -- by the way -- is a great discipline to have from day 1 since it focuses you on reality.) If they're not wildly hair-on-fire enthusiastic about this, I don't know that I would spend lots of time on this when for the same effort of getting you from 150 non-paying users to 300 non-paying users would let you write software people that people would passionately care about.
That said, I think you need to work on your presentation and design. It doesn't inspire much excitement. Instead of listing features and talking about the app, I would focus more on capturing the user's imagination. Don't tell them what the app does. Tell them why they should care. Communicate more on an emotional level. That's where the decision to use/buy will be made.
The screenshots also look a bit dull. I know it's just an analytics dashboard, but I think a shiny interface is going to be important. You don't want someone's subconscious visual impression to be 'glorified excel spreadsheet', you want it to be 'futuristic intelligent stat crunching engine that magically improves your score'. Regardless of what the app does, the way it looks will deeply influence how powerful it is perceived to be. Imagine a golfing scene from some sci-fi movie set 100 years in the future. What's the interface on their super advanced tablet going to look like? That's what to aim for.
Last piece of advice: I would look at the ads in golf magazines or on TV for guidance on design and language. Selling equipment, gadgets, and media to golf nuts is a huge industry. The companies that have been around for awhile are experts at marketing to this demographic. The same techniques that convince someone to buy a new $500 driver or instructional dvds or some useless magnetic bracelet could definitely convince them to buy software that provides useful statistics if you present it right.
Also - I think you should work on your slide show content and the headlines. Title's such as "Golf Stats" and "Golf Handicap" will not inspire your users. Hit them with something more interesting and thought provoking.
Your main heading might be the first thing your potential customer reads so make it memorable.
A few thoughts..
Have a free individual version (many of which are league members), and give them an incentive to switch their league to this platform.
A mobile scoring system integrated into league play allowing you to see realtime scores against your competitors may be compelling.
It's the best app I have ever purchased, and the most expensive. It does pretty much everything the amateur needs. They'd be tough to compete with.
http://residentevilradio.com = -$10/month in shoutcast server hosting (will switch to HTML5/Flash jukebox soon)
http://timeforzen.com = $0 no monetization or affiliate links yet
http://tasck.com/2 (NOT finished, PRE-ALPHA) = $0 no monetization or affiliate links yet
===== Dead Links Below =====
http://moviestop.info (success, no income, now offline/sunsetted)
http://humanchan.com (failure, no income, now offline)
http://humanchannel.net (failure, no income, now offline)
http://onenotes.com (failure, never launched)
http://businessgardening.com (failure, no income, no traffic, now offline)
http://extremephotoshopping.com (failure, a little traffic, no income, now offline)
http://chrisnorstrom.com (the best site I ever launched, a small collection of my ideas and inventions (the non-patentable ones anyway) )
BTW, We should start a fail thread where everyone posts all the failed projects/startups they've worked on over the years.
This generates between $60-$90 per month, depending on... well, I honestly have no idea what it depends on. Pizza money. And bragging rights.
This app is basically in maintenance mode though I have a lot of things I want to do with it. Android programming is so difficult, though (difficult documentation, impossible for me to figure out how to do anything gui-related) that it's been hard for me to really make big enhancements.
In fact, since going to Google IO this year, I'm no longer a VM customer! Might buy a cheap VM account to do maintenance on this app, which would still be profitable for me.
Why is this? Do you have much experience programming in Java? The Android Developer  website is a fantastic resource for learning about both the design and development standards on the platform. The User Interface Guide  is particularly exceptional at explaining how to implement different UI components on a technical level.
I'm really really proficient in Java. I used to teach it in school, I've done it professionally, etc. So I had no trouble at all writing the actual "guts" of the app, or even the android-specific APIs. And while I'm not great at swing/awt, I can make it work if I need to.
But it really breaks down when I get to the Android gui+os-specific things. I find myself having to memorize (and reference, and re-reference) words like Activity, Intent, Bundle, View, etc. You have many kinds of menus and dialogs - options menus, preferences menus, etc.
Of course, all of the information is there, and perhaps it's worth reading all of it, one page at a time, in order become a proficient android programmer. But it's so specific to that one platform, and has has such a new set of vocabulary which isn't common anywhere else in computing, that I personally have found it really difficult.
It looks like the documentation has gotten much, much better over the past couple of years, so maybe you've inspired me to give it a fair shake. But I really wanted to "jump in and build" and that has a much larger learning curve than I would have liked.
They have a feature called AdWhirl, which automatically displays ads from different providers depending on who will pay you the most at a given time. I have not tried this. If you do, let me know how it goes!
I have no idea what I'm talking about. But there's a lot of interesting tests to run.
Also - and the AdMob guys told me the same thing when I talked to them at google io - my app only has about 30k active users. This is hardly enough (because click-through rates are so low) to be able to find meaningful trends and test them, because the data is so inconsistent and I'm probably not getting high-quality expensive ads anyway.
If any of the above is wrong, then let me know! I'd love know how this stuff actually works, especially as it applies to small-potatoes devs like me.
I bought an el-cheapo Android phone from Virgin Mobile and was annoyed that I couldn't check to see how many minutes I have left. I searched on the internet, and others had the same problem, and would post about it (eg, howardforums.com)
So I wrote the app and then posted to those message boards: "Hey, check this out, I created a free app. It's crappy but it works."
(This inspired me to hunt down that forum post. Here: http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1686978-Intercept...)
It started catching on from there, and it also shows up when you type "virgin mobile" into the android market store.
So besides plugging it on the internet (a few forums, on HN, telling friends) I haven't done that much.
I recently moved to Manhattan, and was in a radio shack buying a top-up card. I was chatting with the cashier, who was also a VM customer, and asked her if she'd ever used my app. I showed it to her, she liked it, and said she would recommend that all of her customers download that app when they buy VM phones. I have no way to know how many sales that generated, but it was a cool feeling!
Experiment 0: I bought a hotel affiliate site off of flippa. It did pretty well initially, but I didn't do enough investigation into how the previous owner had been generating traffic. In short, there was a lot of untoward stuff going on. As I was getting all of that straightened out, the site got (deservedly) banned from Google's index for a few key terms. I made my money back and learned a valuable lesson: don't buy sites off of flippa.
Experiment 1: I created a few different sites around a big product launch, and monetized via product reviews and the Amazon Affiliate program. This worked very well for a period of time; the site was grossing $100 a day for several weeks with essentially 0 work. Slowly, my site dipped in the rankings for the key terms as much bigger players got their act together. From this, I learned that one-off sites can be valuable, but probably not in the long term. I should've sold the sites at their peak.
Experiment 2: I wrote some algorithms to find underpriced stocks and then examinate a few strategies around that security's options. This was actually a lot of fun. Based on my program, I ended up buying out-of-the-money puts on 5 or 6 different stocks. I'm sitting on a small profit right now. The next step is to exit my positions, finetune the algorithms based on a few key things I learned, and put more money into action.
So buyer beware but there are some gems in there...
Improvely is a monthly subscription with a free trial period, W3Counter is freemium, and DialShield is pay-as-you-go. They are all bootstrapped and profitable.
Of all the SaaS entrepreneurs I've found, you seem to be the one who's closest to exactly where I want to be eventually (running a suite of SaaS products).
Do you have any general tips for people following the same path? Anything you'd do differently?
Not very impressive (who knew selling a niche tool in an environment where $5 is considered "expensive" wasn't the road to instant riches?), but it has been fun to make and it is always cool to hear about how useful the tool has been to fellow developers.
If I were trying to make a full-time living off something like this, then there are a bunch of things I'd do differently - such as what you suggest.
"Sell to the boss" is one of those little revelations I've had lately and, like any Damascene conversion, I'm being a bit of loudmouth about it.
I expect to have a similar Android portfolio in the next six months anyway.
I tried creating/selling other things to businesses. This time, it's mostly you and me's, paying it out of their own wallets. Never expected this to work so well.
Edit: I see 'from what' is also the question; I have a bunch of entertainment related sites.
1. How long did it take to reach this level of income?
2. What is the total monthly traffic that generates 122k?
3. How much time does it take to manage the whole thing in its present state?
2) 8 million monthly uniques
3) Hard to say. I can take a month off and it'll probably go fine. If it crashes, I'm on it 24/7 (if I care for my wallet). I do work on it full time, but that's working on growth as well as managing the present state. I try to outsource as many chores and secondary tasks as possible, leaving the multi-disciplinary work for me.
Surely, there are methods to squeeze more revenue out of Adsense, or any display ad for that matter, but you'll risk being banned. So that's not worth it, especially when you get bigger.
I do recommend trying out different ad networks and having them compete with each other and with adsense in an ad server such as OpenX or DFP.
I would probably work with other ad networks, but that wouldn't be cost effective to monetize my long tail of smaller sites. It would lead to a significant, if not huge, drop in revenue.
You do get in personal contact with people at Google starting at some level of revenue though. So if it ever happened, I guess I would see it coming in some way.
Or the market you were operating in?
I can't imagine that a publisher doing 25 million of revenue per year couldn't get in touch with anyone at Google.
What makes Adsense unique?
- Are all your websites revolving around the same niche?
- How many do you deploy for particular keyword and its long-tail keyword?
- How many years/months you spent on keyword research? I mean when did you eventually ended up on this niche?
- All your income is just Adsense? or Affiliate marketing too?
- All yours websites are ranked #1 on SERP or few just somehwere on page #1?
- Is your traffic source completely organic?
- How much of black hat SEO involved?
3) How many what? Links?
4) I started out in the niche without knowing any SEO at all. Started building a product and built a lot of links for traffic. The authority and product I built then were the fundament for everything else. Not annoying my users, and building a strong site were always very important, as opposed to doing short-term black hat stuff while forgetting about content. I continually do keyword research; always keep my eyes open.
5) Not just Adsense, some other ad networks as well. All display ads though.
6) Depends. There are many keywords, some rank #1, some page #1, some don't rank at all. Depends on the quality of the content as well, I continually work on that.
7) For this project, yes. I've done PPC on other projects, but it doesn't seem to be profitable so far for this one.
8) Depends on what you call black hat. I've never spammed anything. Have bought a link here and there in the past, but I do have a huge amount of natural links as well. I guess that for industry standards, I'm pretty clean.
I'm in business since 2008, and this is my second business, first one was hosted PBX service.
What is the general purpose of the app?
Back when Android had no apps (2008-2009) and all you could do was check the 'new apps' list for new releases, I noticed a spy camera app was released. The app was terrible and there were many comments asking for various features. I took a day off work, repackaged some camera code I had from a work-in-progress app, implemented the requested features, and blew the competition out of the water.
-- Old Chinese curse
Oftentimes many of the recurring services are easily replicable. So until a market leadership position is cemented (until you set up the moat) you don't want others to know that building XYZ service actually could be significantly profitable.
Even though the site has been up & running (and stable) for almost a decade now, they don't want to make the jump unless there are OTHER entire school districts already on board that they can talk to.
I'm not quite sure how to solve this chicken/egg problem yet. And since it's a side project, I'm not even sure I want to solve it right now -- that would sabotage my primary work, unless I could rapidly find someone capable to help with it.
But posting obviously-non-corporate-level sales numbers just a google away really doesn't seem like it would help things; ESPECIALLY because those same numbers will still be just a google away 5 years from now, even if the actual numbers are an order of magnitude higher by then.
http://www.casualgirlgamer.com - $200 a month
http://www.musicgames.co - $5 a month
http://www.tiki-toki.com - $5,000 a month
http://www.peopleplotr.com - $100 a month
I make extra licensing some of my software but that does not count as recurring income and can vary massively month to month.
What I would recommend is reading up about different ways to make money, looking at things that other people have done in the past, then find ways to think up what niche you could fill.
After that its about getting it done.
Look up Patio11 and read his comments, that's a great start.
http://courtdatereminder.com = ~$100/month
http://enigmatic.me = ~$200/month
http://jobs.consultutah.com = ~$30/month
http://rubytoolbox.com = ~$10/month
Do you happen to work on anything related to that? Thanks!
(For those interested, it's a security plugin for Wordpress: http://www.panic-press.com)
Pricing page needs a sign up button
- ~45 educational rap songs, divided into middle school subject areas, that include PDF worksheets and multiple versions of each song
- One-time purchases via song/album downloads and shipped CDs; recurring subscriptions to rrr.fm, a streaming music service for schools we contracted out (built on Rails)
- rrr.fm signup happens via Formstack, which drops the data into Campaign Monitor, PayPal, and our app
- $0 spent on advertising
- Sells mostly to teachers directly, but also to schools, libraries, etc.
- Part-time help to handle support and ship the CDs
- Still paying off debt from production and high burns 2007-2008, but comfortably cash-flow positive for a while now
I'm looking for a developer that can help take the site to the next level if anyone's interested email is in my profile.
As I see some 'used to' posts as well; I used to make quite a bit from blogging (especially reviews I did, but real ones, not paid ones), however Google Panda tanked that. Even though it was nice content. It made over $10k/month. Dropped to around $100 which is just enough to pay the server.
Having income from a "job" is active income where you actively have to work (or pretend to work if your work can actually be automated and you've managed to fool your boss otherwise).
I do freelance coding, but I do come back to the site every couple months to play with new technologies and improve the user experience.
The product was launched on february this year and it's growing nicely so far. Not real recurring yet, as every sale comes with one year of free updates.
Do you guys have any ideas on how I can increase revenues?
Thinking of a subscription based model with a lot of killer features but don't know if there is a market for it.
Haven't done any marketing other then contacting a bunch of blogs (~20) before realizing that this feels a lot like "farming" in a MMORPG, which I hate doing, so I stopped. ;-/
Other than that, it's a nice playground for trying new stuff, which in some cases is directly reused in the products I build for the startup I am working for.
The basic living needs of my family (food, clothing, mortgage, utilities, cars, etc.) has been covered by my investment portfolio for several years by now. Any additional income goes straight towards increasing said portfolio.
Rough estimates for the source of the principal for the investment income:
- 50% - savings from worked income
- 30% - earnings from real estate investments
- 20% - earnings from outside consulting / freelance software projects.
I personally believe that anybody who exercises a fair amount of discipline to save away their income and spend reasonably can become financially independent within 15-20 years. Thanks to what I learned from my accounting classes, I was able to accomplish this in less than 10 years.
I got there after placing subcontractors for about 2 years with various companies, which built up the cash reserves that let me purchase the rental properties with no mortgages.
I got /there/ by inviting some young dude to a conference I organised whom I'd met at another conference. He and I worked together to match talented young programmers with companies that wanted them. Nice work if you can get it.
You can read a sampler here:
I don thave a website yet, because Im still testing the idea to see if its worth investing time in. Plans would be to write a collection of stories and then sell them. Maybe some merchandise if any of the stories stick.
I would try something like $25 a spot and try to make them sign a 3-month advertising contract. If they balk, just remember you have 30 other food trucks and only 3 spots. This makes more sense if you had a good amount of traffic.
I am considering a lower pricing tier for a menu. Currently only St. Louis has a couple menus, because curating and formatting the menus is a pain.
I've been working on a cached serverside implementation that uses multiple IPs to overcome this, but it's too much of a pain. In addition, I would have to completely redo the UI to accommodate that many trucks.
I think that the current site will stay for mid-sized cities (30-50 trucks) unless a developer steps in. I had almost finalized giving 49% of the company to have the rails shop in town completely redo the site and do the caching.
Also, to reiterate what other people in this thread have said, find better ways to monetize this. Think about bigger ads, charging trucks to send email to your subscribers, etc. Traffic solves one of the bigger risks for a food truck.
Having a real business plan here means you can give away a much smaller chunk of the company, or pay cash, and give away no equity.
Right now I am working on a new book that launches on Tuesday about designing iOS applications. If you are interested in iOS apps you should check it out: http://nathanbarry.com/inside-app-design-handbook
Together they make about 30-50€/month. I'm working on a couple of new features and I'm searching for a new name, but currently school takes up most of my time.
I gained almost 50 $/month during last two years and it costs me some hours a year for customer support.
Aug 3rd - Sep 2nd 2012:
Unique Visitors: 54,386
Pages / Visit: 39.35
Avg. Visit Duration: 00:14:12
% New Visits: 63.69%
Are these numbers good enough to even start thinking about monetization?
Royalties: passive income 1.0.
I setup an etsy shop on which I put some posters I've made.
I actually have made -$1.40 b/c that's what it costed me to put up the posters. It's been up for about 2 weeks now.
It's kind a hybrid between Trello and Basecamp (yes, the interface design is influenced by Basecamp, but it kicks ass :) )
Basically it's a Kanban board with added time tracking and reports.
Not sure it could go much further though.
Currently I am planing a SaaS Newsletter Mailer.
I'd still prefer it over SaaS Mail because I don't have re-occuring costs every month and I like being in control of my own email lists and the iframe embedded email newsletter signup is awesome. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm the one that asked you about how to check the database to see if a user had already signed up for a specific category newsletter before adding them to it again. That's another thing you should fix.
3 little flaws but the rest of the script is just sooooo perfect. It's sold over 1800+ times because designers/developers like us HATE SaaS newsletter mailers. We like your script.
It tends to depend on how close it is to the basketball season. We found the in app purchase model to work really well for us.