Unlike tech, you will not have a giant windfall with real estate; but also unlike tech, it's very easy to price your product, find customers, and figure out what your cashflow will be for years to come.
There are easier ways to live rent-free, unless, as I say, you have the personal skills to ride herd on grown children or if you are lucky enough to own your property in an area where normal people rent, and you can find good tenants on a regular basis.
I suggest rephrasing to
>Unlike most occupations, landlording may bring you into...
I've had a rental property now for many years. It's in an evolving, urban Boston neighborhood and the property generates ~$1000 more than the mortgage, taxes and insurance per month. I have 5 tenants who are all recent college grads. My agent did credit checks on all of the original tenants and many new ones have cycled through over the years. Aside from replacing a couple of appliances (which consisted of ordering them online and coordinating delivery with a tenant) I've had zero issues. In fact, the last 3 years, I've given each tenant $100 off of December's rent to let them know I like having them as tenants. I have about $80,000 out of pocket invested so without even considering the equity I'm building in the house, I'm getting around a 15% rate of return (granted at a higher tax rate that a capital gains...)
My parents have a small, older rental house that they charge less than market rate for, as they have never increased the rent for the current tenant who has lived there for several years. They have had renters trash the place before, and they know getting a little less from a good renter is a preferred scenario.
I actually had a year and a half with zero income from a house. None.
2. Do a thorough background check. (Wait for a quality tenant.)
3. Make repairs asap.
4. Be firm, fair and friendly.
These things can eliminate 80% of the problems landlords have.
No, I don't have citations, but I have been a landlord and know many others who are/have.
A stock index fund. :-) Usually much less yield for your money, though.
I did a course on lifecycle emails for SaaS businesses recently. That did pretty well - a few hundred sales.
A more professional-looking video on training.kalzumeus.com would've probably helped your conversion rate quite a bit. And avoiding the use of your internet handle on the site would've kept it from sounding cheesy to those outside the HN community.
IMHO success proves Patrick right.
I don't see how it would have. The whole point of making it more professional would have been to make it less cheesy. If you fail to do that, then you've failed to make it "more professional".
> IMHO success proves Patrick right.
Patrick's success has primarily been in the written word. This is his first foray into selling video-based content, and I think he has quite a bit of work to do on his presentation. Like most nerds, he's quite awkward on camera, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with some elbow grease.
Of course people will cite his Business of Software talk as a counterexample, but that was highly rehearsed (something he mentioned on HN) and consequently felt polished (yet still a little awkward), but the video on training.kalzumeus.com doesn't feel that way. Moreover, having to heavily rehearse every presentation you give does not scale very well when you're creating a series of them to sell online.
Some things that could've been easily improved in the intro video include wearing a proper suit (or at least a collared shirt) instead of a red tracksuit, properly styling his hair, wearing contacts instead of glasses (due to the reflections on them), not wearing an enormous geeky headset, removing the audio "booms" that frequently occur in the video, not being in a 和室 (Japanese-style room) and dropping the super-tacky gimmick with the $100 bill.
Actually, A/B tests prove him right. Or occasionally wrong! But that's the point of such testing.
He mentioned he has an A/B test going between video/no-video. I imagine that, if the video version wins, he could consider testing 2 different videos (time and expense permitting).
You can see the A/B testing in action by visiting these two links, which explicitly include/exclude the video, on the first link:
Regardless, A/B testing is not a panacea. Is it a good technique? Sure, in many situations. But just like with anything else, you have to take it with a grain of salt.
I think what he is trying to say is that Phil didn't test the higher order interactions enough, i.e. he didn't check that the effect that some pair of action have when done together (and the effect of triples, etc.). This is very important to note, and a good point. (I think one should preferably run a fully crossed factorial experiment, so that every combination is tested.)
But it is just saying "don't do A/B testing wrong", which is obviously true. I think a lot of problems with A/B testing are caused by people who don't have much statistical knowledge missing some of the subtleties that comes with any experimental design.
(On that note, there are many articles about why one needs to be careful using A/B testing, which do have the backing of statistics.)
: http://www.evanmiller.org/how-not-to-run-an-ab-test.html, http://www.cennydd.co.uk/2009/statistical-significance-other...
Right. Deliver an outstanding product right from the beginning with your very best work. That's the strategy I use. A/B testing, while important, is often overstated.
I personally really liked the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich -- it has a poor name but it's dense with incredibly practical advice particularly for people coming right out of college suddenly making an income.
First off, your employer match is essentially free money. It's foolish to ignore that. The tax benefits can also be significant. For instance, I contribute 25% of my pre-tax salary to my 401k. That works out to $1500 a month but because my taxable income is lowered my monthly net is only decreased by about $950. That's $550 a month into savings that I wouldn't have previously had due to taxes.
If you follow the investing philosophy of John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard, you'll likely do just fine. Assuming you're young, you just split your 401k between four index funds: total bond market, total domestic stock market, total international stock market and real estate investment trusts (REITs). I do 20/45/25/10. Yes, in the short term you might take a big hit but in the long term (>20 years) this is historically shown to perform very well. As you get closer to retirement you increase the proportion of your portfolio in bonds so as to lower your risk.
You don't even have to manage the split yourself, there are plenty of mutual funds that target certain retirement year changes and rebalance the portfolio as appropriate (basically: less risky investments as your retirement date nears). There are fees for this, of course, but for my fund they amount to $90 per 10 years per $10,000 invested. I think that's worth it if you don't want to actively manage your retirement portfolio.
If your employer doesn't match, then it can be a bit of a gamble. But you have the option to buy the market (index funds, etc) instead of a particular stock/fund, so you can bet on the entire economy.
And remember that both cases use pre-tax dollars, costing you less for the same investment amount.
This is long, so I apologize in advance, bare with me.
A 401k is NOT a safe investment. People constantly mistake prior history to future events yet there is no causality here. In fact, with QE3 in the wild, the value of your employer matched dollar continues to degrade.
The question I ask myself is "What will my dollars be worth at the age of retirement?" and the scenarios I paint continually are ones where I do not like the outcome, should I continue down a traditional 401k path.
@Saryant and @wikwocket's advice is reasonable, if the current model is sustainable. I have personally decided that it is not. This is just me. No hard feelings guys/gals. I just don't trust someone who manages my account making a gain in the good times, but suffering no losses in the bad times.
I really really love practical advice. And so you are in luck, because I have a practical "betting on myself" story.
When I moved to Bend, Oregon it was 2005, I was 24, and it was shortly after my brother had passed away. I was pretty emotional and wasn't in a rational state at the time.
So when friends, family, every-freakin-person was saying the following mantra.
"Buy now or be priced out forever"
And with this chant ringing in my ears, I went to a mortgage broker. This broker proceeded to approve me for up to 415k dollar loan, in Central Oregon, with my wage of 45k annually. (If you have been following the mortgage crisis this isn't the worst atrocity)
And sitting there with my young wife, wanting something solid to cling to, a small mechanism clicked in my brain, despite the emotion. It didn't feel right. So we walked away. I said to my wife
"I'll perform some research and we'll come back."
And so what did I do? I did what any solid nerd would do and went out to gather data. How? I learned all about scraping (screen scraping, web crawling, etc) from my new buddy Matthew Turland (plug his book not mine, which had not been written at the time but I'd like to think my quesitons helpd him realize his expertise. Yes it's all about me ;-) http://www.phparch.com/books/phparchitects-guide-to-web-scra...)
Using this knowledge I scraped and regexed the county records (http://www.deschutes.org/Assessors-Office/DIAL-Search-Form.a...) and do you know what I learned? I saw that on average the annual increase in real estate prices in Central Oregon hovered around 3%. Yet by the time 2005 rolled around, 50% YoY increases were the norm.
"Whoa" I thought channeling a Matrix style Keanu. "This is Not sustainable"
And so this is the beginning of "betting on myself". By analyzing the data, I knew that this growth was not going to last, so I convinced my wife (bless her for trusting me) that housing was a malinvestment, even though ALL our friends were arguing our stupidity.
It was almost like the biblical story of Noah, where everyone thinks you are crazy for saying a flood is coming. With everyone thinking you are crazy, you eventually just shut up.
Then the RE market stalled. This were slowing down, but no one was putting it together.
Then Lehman Brothers Crashed. And the World was like "WTF Lehman? Alright this sucks but the losses are limited."
Then the market frickin crashed. By March of 2009 it was beyond ugly. http://www.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&...
And here is where I bet on myself again. I poured half our savings into GOLD.
This really is gambling. But the data and the research I had, helped me see that there was this crazy opportunity. Buying into everyone's fear.
One thing I'd like to point out, is that I consulted with my wife. I told her my thesis and she concluded.
"Well you were right about housing, I'm going to trust you. If we lose the money, we will move on."
The last bit was really important. I only risked what WE were willing to lose.
Ok. Where was I? Oh yeah...
So I buy gold, then I start tracking foreclosures. But I get really bored of tracking them by hand. So I write this sweet bot that scrapes the county records and converts the PDF documents to readable text using tesseract (<== so much badassness, I love tesseract)
https://github.com/jfolkins/Deschutes (<== teh codez)
Finally, last year, I reasoned that it was decent enough time to buy (Rent VS Buy argument and data to support it given our local environment) and cashed out our gold and bought RE.
Quite the rant, I realize. But hopefully it articulates the "betting on oneself" philosophy that I've taken.
It may not pan out, I'm ok with that. I like my odds better than the 401k folks.
One thing that sets me apart is that I've learned a crap pile about a ton of different topics I never knew anything about. (Scraping, Economics, etc) and am leveraging what I consider expertise into hopefully long term gains.
(This is not investment advice. blah blah blah)
Some pointers to help you be able to make these kinds of predictions (and thus maybe look for better data for more interesting and profitable investments)--
The book "The creature from Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffen (?) is the history of money in america, the federal reserve, and the "bailout cycle" that happens over and over every 20 years. (And people act outraged at the "bailouts" in 2008, as if it hasn't happened dozens of times before.)
And "economics in one lesson" by henry hazlitt-- you can find a free copy of this out of copyright book online if you google around. A great overview of economics, starting from the premise of the broken window fallacy and how it illustrates why so many efforts that sound plausible totally fail (like keeping interest rates low and making banks loan money to people who can't repay - the Clinton and Bush policies that led to the housing bubble.)
Also the topical articles at http://mises.org are great and that site also has around 900 free economics books you can download.
I went the options-spreads on canadian junior mining companies route, and I got out of the market in the summer of 2007 when I felt the crash was imminent. (I was a year early, but for that kind of deal you don't worry about not nailing the absolute top!)
Spreads might be something good for you too-- "Options as a strategic investment", by McMillan is the bible. (Using spreads I get better returns at much less risk than people who buy stocks directly.)
Economics is a lot like programming- the basics are easy but there's no end to what you can learn, and it gives you such great power-- especially when the rest of the world has as much understanding of the science as the average person does of writing software-- essentially none. And, even better, the people who create economic opportunity for you telegraph what they are going to do years in advance- they campaign on it, even!
> Or more specifically, an understanding of economics.
You are very correct. I had no frickin clue about economics. I kinda feel like you have to have the experience and wisdom to judge books. I didn't have that at the time. I needed to fill that gap in. So although it may appear I wasted a lot of time, I feel that I have a really solid grasp on many things that were mysteries to me before. And I can't really put a price on what that is personally worth to me.
> I went the options-spreads on canadian junior mining companies route, and I got out of the market in the summer of 2007 when I felt the crash was imminent. (I was a year early, but for that kind of deal you don't worry about not nailing the absolute top!)
Heh, that is awesome! Nicely done.
One of the things my data has also brought me is friendship. Usually from people many many years my senior. One of them who has really helped me in life and I consider a mentor, also pulled this exact same thing. Getting out in 2007. I was always impressed by that.
Economics in One Lesson is so cogent that it will, I think, let you absorb a great deal. And then the Creature from Jekyll Island, which is really a history book that reads like a thriller, will let you see how the departure from economics has had an effect on the country-- an effect the most recent version of which you correctly identified. (Which was impressive, frankly, can't tell you how many times people argued with me about house prices between 1998-2007. Sadly, going back to them in 2008-2010 and saying "See, I was telling you this!" didn't earn any kudos for my having called it correctly... I think their worldview is plastic and easily gets remapped by TV news.)
Anyway, the departure from economics is for very sound reasons-- it profits the people who are peddling the bad stuff. But that also means we can profit from it too.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you the books I thought would be most effective for you. I read a lot of investment books when I needed to learn how to invest (Vick's books on Warren Buffett I found particularly interesting-- now I calculate what my return will be before I make the investment. People assume that buying stocks is really risky, but the reality is risk is quantifiable. I can buy a stock and know that I will be able to sell it for a specific price at a specific time-- you can calculate this!)
Anyway, good luck! I admire your datamining-- there's a lot of opportunity for you out there if you keep that up.
IMO, the best approach is to spread your bets. Obviously getting rid of debt is the easiest first step, and 401k plans are less-than-ideal because of the restricted investment options, but you can minimize the gambler's influence by choosing index funds (if you have the option).
The stock market itself is a gamble, of course, but so is just about everything else, so minimizing your exposure to any one risk is the best you can do. I've been in dividend stocks for years and making $500/month or so with minimal exposure.
I love to work on them and often do, but I'll frequently take weeks off at a time to travel and everything continues to run smoothly. The entire business is based on the drop shipping model, so I don't have to stock any inventory and can run the business from anywhere. Plus, the initial capital outlay was just $1,500 so I didn't have to take on any risk.
For anyone interested, I blog about running my two businesses and eCommerce in general at:
And no, my wife would not let me do this :)
Then you have to process it, which a pound can be trimmed by a professional in about 10 hours. BTW you need to supervise them or do it yourself.
Then you get the hassle of dealing with the clubs consignment drama... Not to mention the stress of worrying about being robbed throughout the whole cycle.
> I think it works out that you can make $10-15k/year
> for not much work.
This topic cannot be talked about enough.
We haven't done any serious research or marketing for it. We simply focused down and built the highest quality app we could build, and it worked.
You could probably sell this for 5x as much and still make more money - the bride will want everything to be perfect for the wedding and will be willing to spend whatever it takes.
On the other hand, after 1.5 years at $5 we've been trying $2, and revenue has been consistently higher since the change. I suspect this is because it drove us into findable range in the "Top Paid Music" chart, but with no analytics it's frustratingly hard to prove.
This is something I hadn't fully considered. One of the biggest expenses in running a wedding-related business is advertising. Unlike other purchases, wedding-related stuff is only purchased once in a lifetime (well, twice or thrice these days in America, but you get the idea).
Thus, brides and grooms rely on the opinions and advice of friends - word-of-mouth promotion is key. But ultimately, heavy advertising is the only way to reliably get information about your product out to the general public. And the App Store is a great form of free advertising (well, not counting the cut Apple takes), especially if you make it into one of the "Top" lists.
Not split testing the sale price though, it will be free. (It's just too hard to get people to buy an app outright) I want to split test in-app purchases. I think this should be fairly straightforward to implement. The only downside is in the app store 2 different items would show as top in-app purchases with different prices. People might be upset about that, but I doubt anyone would notice.
(Note: I had "pro" as much as the next version, but seems better than a multi-hundred dollar DJ)
A DJ will cost something like 50 - 100x that.
But a DJ is more than the money; they control the tempo/crowd for the other things like garter toss, cake, parent/child dances.
I could ask why a developer in California is soo much more than a developer overseas - and they answer would also be they are kind of a like, but you get what you pay for.
If you price this at $25, you'll lose that group of people that were looking to save money, (you could argue that at $25 it's still cheaper than a wedding planner).
Not every bride is foolish enough to think that everything will be perfect. The more money you have the more 'perfect' it can be. Those on a budget will opt for a $5 DJ that can get them as close to perfect as their money will allow.
That's exactly my point, when your competition isn't even anywhere in the neighborhood, you might as well raise your prices. A bride-to-be isn't going to see a $25 wedding DJ app as being expensive; she's going to see it as being 1/10th of what an actual wedding DJ would cause. You said people are only willing to pay for wedding-related services - well, this is replacing a wedding-related service, and you have to consider the competition when determining pricing.
And I don't think it's only wedding-related services that cost a lot. There are plenty of purchases associated with weddings (clothing, food, etc.) that are way overpriced.
> Not every bride is foolish enough to think that everything will be perfect.
They don't all have to be that foolish, there just has to be a big enough group of them that you have a solid customer base. In this situation, I think that's definitely the case.
It would also be good to have paid for content - like pre-chosen track listings, affiliate sales would be high for this too!
Pricing it at $25 would be a disaster. You can bet the barn on that.
There was a controversy a while back about how Target figured out a teenage girl was pregnant before her dad did (based on her purchases) and started sending her ads for baby products. The reason why they did this is because people don't shop around for the best deals on everyday items, not really. People think they're getting the best deal, but they're actually trapped in their habits.
One of the few times when these habits are reshaped is when a baby is born, because newfound parents suddenly start buying a lot of new stuff, but don't have a lot of free time to research the options. By detecting customers who will become parents in the near future and sending them specially targeted advertising/discounts ahead of time for new products that they'll need, you can snag them as customers for years to come.
>>We haven't done any serious research or marketing for it.
It could be a personal taste question, but why not any marketing? With enough traction to be paying rent based solely off word-of-mouth and organic, you certainly seem to be creating value for people. There are easy/free/cheap ways to market apps, definitely at least some amount of money being left on the table.
Congrats either way, good stuff :)
We've done some experimenting with marketing, but couldn't figure out any strategy that could convert a bride or groom for $3.50 (the amount we net after Apple's cut). We tried and abandoned Google ads, Facebook ads, and advertising on wedding blogs. Virtually all app-marketing services focus on free apps, and most of them are grey hat in some way.
For a general-purpose app (like our upcoming Party Monster, a more general music app) you don't need to be targeted, but for a wedding app you need to target engaged people, which is expensive!
How about fitness? I do fun-runs and I would KILL to have playlists for warm up, first 1km, middle run, last 500m, victory and warm down.
- Party Monster, a general casual DJ app with crossfade, queueing, etc.
- Event DJ, a more generalized and pro version of WeddingDJ that could be marketed to conferences, small theatres, etc.
Otherwise I can't think of much of a difference.
Generally does very well. Way better than other stuff I've tried, like SEO/Marketing etc. The only problems I have is using a crap design, so it pays to know what the audience really wants before I try selling it to them.
It hit the front page of "Featured Technology" projects and lived there for almost the entire funding run.
I used UPrinting for the printing, who I'm quite happy with. It cost less than a thousand dollars to do the initial run of 500 posters.
Initially, my approach to shipping was to buy 500 poster tubes from Uline (no relation to UPrinting) and ship them myself. This was an unmitigated disaster; a cataclysm; a miserable shit-show of Brobdingnagian proportions. There is simply not sufficient support for the "hobbyist shipper"; USPS doesn't know what to do with you, UPS and Fedex charge too much (especially for international shipping), and the label-printing tools are across-the-board some of the worst software I've ever worked with. After months of Kafkaesque hijinks with USPS, I gave up and shipped my inventory to Fulfillrite, a third-party fulfillment provider. Thank God for those guys.
I haven't run the numbers to determine my exact profit & loss, but I make more than just beer money. I don't know if I'll ever sell enough to come even close to what the Kickstarter originally made, but the web store has been bringing in around $750/mo in revenue, which translates to something in the range of $350 - $500 of profit.
I tend to make money to the extent that more eyeballs hit the site. Last month, someone mentioned the poster in passing in the comment of a blog I'd never heard of, and I made $300 in six hours. I have no idea how to advertise, though, so that kind of thing is usually just lucky happenstance for me.
I'll probably do another couple of poster projects (bash, emacs, etc.); if they are even nearly as successful as this one, I might eventually be able to live exclusively off the profits! An exciting prospect, but one that is quite far off.
Feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions. I really ought to condense this stuff into a blog post some time.
I run Correlated (http://www.correlated.org), a site that publishes one surprising correlation a day, using data generated by readers.
It was never really intended to be a money-making project, although I did give display ads and affiliate links a try, with very little success.
And then ... a book deal fell into my lap.
I had been shopping around a book proposal for "Experiments on Babies" (http://www.experimentsonbabies.com), and one of the publishers that was interested in that book also happened to note that I was the creator of Correlated, and asked if I would be interested in a separate deal to turn Correlated into a book.
I got a very nice advance for the two book deals, and in the case of Correlated, the writing involved is, for the most part, what I'd be doing anyway, deal or no deal.
I'm not getting rich off it, but it usually brings in a few hundred bucks per month and I like hearing from fellow developers who benefit from using it.
The browser-based ones have improved quite a bit recently. I use Advanced REST Client whenever I'm on a Windows machine - it is quite good.
There are a few features that my tool has that make it worth a few bucks for some people, I think, most notably being able to save requests and share them with other members of your team. I've heard from a few folks who have them checked into source control as part of manual testing scripts (there are some interesting opportunities to automate this kind of testing, too, but I haven't had time to focus on it).
And I'm releasing a feature soon that will let you paste in cURL commands and turn them into requests, which is handy when you're working with a webservice that has examples of requests given in the form of cURL commands (which is a lot of them).
Even if you're competing against free apps that match and even exceed what you can offer in some areas (which is frankly going to be more and more common), you can still find little features that might be fairly simple but add a ton of value for a certain subset of people.
I'll look into making the minimum window size smaller for the next release - thanks for the feedback.
I wouldn't call it totally passive, but if we ignored it, it wouldn't stop making money. We have consistently grown the sales over the last couple of years, and we are about to introduce a premium in-app purchase.
I have always thought making iPhone apps was a good business, despite what you hear on this forum.
I'll say this - I used to work on this app day and night, and now I try and just do the part I enjoy the most, and leave most of it to expert developers and friendly support people. My focus is now on growing the platform, business development, and design work.
How do you get 'outdoor maps' into the App, ie do you license them or are they available freely somewhere?
All in all I get ~1200 USD of passive income which would be considered an average pay in Poland. I've got a startup on top of that which brings a lot more though.
I actually burned out within 6 months of trying to bootstrap the fledgling forum with fake activity, clever backlinks, and entertaining the trickle of registrants.
Burned out enough to take a a break for a while. Came back months later and it was a bustling forum of activity. Apparently I'd just reached that critical mass necessary for the community to be autonomous (able to entertain itself and cajole newbies to stay) before I took that break. Nowadays, I do very little beyond pay the server bill. It's staggering the amount of work volunteers (moderators) will put into maintaining a community and I'm grateful.
Recently had adsense disabled on my website after some automated process decided my website was "mature/adult-themed". The automated email cited a post in our forum's off-topic spammy section where some user copy and pasted the phrase "sexual intercourse" over and over again in Mandarin. Just some non-Mandarin-speaking teenagers being silly for a moment. Now I'm working on getting adsense reactivated.
I play on fanduel.com almost exclusively. If you have any questions or want some help getting started, send me an email (in profile). My referral link if you're so inclined: http://www.fanduel.com/?invitedby=yudarvish&cnl=da
It's formatted to be similar to poker sit-and-gos.
I'm still in the process of experimenting with my method to see how far I can take it, but the basics of it work already.
A lot of what people define as "passive income" is questionable. Most, if not all, passive income investment strategies require you to hold down a job, or other income, while financing assets that some day, HOPEFULLY, will be paid off enough that you don't have to work ever again.
Most of those plans take too long for my satisfaction. There are other means and methods if you learn and apply yourself. My book will hopefully detail and compare my method with a majority of others.
The obvious ones to look at, if you can invest time and/or money -
* Share trading
* Property investment
* Property flipping/options
* Google AdSense (or similar)
* Affiliate marketing
* Tim Ferriss' muse / 4HWW
* Network marketing/MLM
* Website flipping
All of them have varying degrees of learning curve and time commitment to make happen. Few people will tell you how much commitment you need to make, they just focus on dangling the carrot.
If you or any of these people are so good and know all these 'secrets' to success and money - Why don't you just get rich off of it and retire? why would you let everyone know you secrets? Won't this just crowd your space? Why do you need to sell this product to make money? Some of you claim that you just want to give back or help others and you have such success, then why are you charging me $20-$500+ ?
So I am always skeptical. I think that this is generally snake oil.
Just to be clear - the strategy I'm proposing is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It's "create a passive income stream", with the focus on "passive". The definition of passive income is simply "I don't have to work for this money."
There are several reasons why I'm writing a book. 1. because it's not a simple strategy - it requires explanation and details. 2. I know that a lot of people here would be looking for the same solution that I have found, and they shouldn't have to go through 10 years of exploration and experimentation to find it, like I did. 3. My knowledge and time is worth money. People who recognise that are willing to pay money to access it.
But the key reason why someone like yourself might pay someone like me money to learn from my book is the same reason that I have done the same for others. Without paying for that knowledge, I would not have this opportunity to earn passive income.
That said, there are certainly gurus who are merely selling hope, often because the easy money has been made and they can wind down what they've learned because the edge no longer exists.
You know what I can't figure out though? Why is Mark Cuban shooting a commercial to pimp lame shoes?
It's the same deal for SEO, used to be a easy way to promote Adsense, CPA offers and what not, but the penguin change just makes it harder and harder to rank for keywords.
2012 has been definitely a slow year for Internet marketing, the worst I've faced since I started in 2006.
Coming from someone who has done a fair bit of CPA/ Adsense stuff in the past myself.
A paltry $100 per year in ad revenue.
In my experience it's much easier to price higher on the Mac App Store compared to iOS. Especially when you're selling a constantly-running notifier/utility. Feels more worth it when the app is passively used every time you use your Mac, as opposed to whenever you happen to find and use the random app on your 3rd home screen in iOS.
- EdgeCase http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/edgecase/id513826860?mt=12
- Reddit Notifier https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reddit-notifier/id468366517?...
- One-Hand Keyboard http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/one-hand-keyboard-one-hand/id...
Bunker is my SaaS solution which I market to freelancers and consultants who are looking for a complete solution for their small business (from creating quotes and proposals over project management and time-tracking to invoicing and payments).
Most other services specialize on a subset of what's needed (e.g. they're only doing invoicing, or only time-tracking, or only project management) and you have to go shopping for multiple solutions (and cross fingers that all of them integrate well with each other!). With Bunker my focus is on providing a complete, well-integrated experience.
So you could say my niche is "covering multiple niches" ;-)
I'd say that Bunker provides me passive income because my support burden is negligible and my churn-rate less then my conversion-rate. So if I wanted to I could go completely passive, but I'm committed to improve the app further and grow it.
Compared to my book, which fizzles out when I'm not actively marketing it, building a B2B subscription product is the best, most turnkey income source I've ever had.
To me the idea of "passive" income is that you might spend a certain amount upfront but after that initial push it doesn't require a lot of attention, i.e. passive.
You can also do really well by just optimizing the hell out of the visitors/expired trials you already have. SO MUCH EASIER than attracting more eyeballs.
But I want more growth, so I'm still actively working on promoting Planscope.
I bet you will make way more money from those 1,000 daily uniques with a good jersey e-mail submit.
I guess people are lured onto the site by your meta description and then, searching for links, click on the ads. Evil!
Income is in the early 5 digits per month range (USD). Traffic dropped a bit from August to September so I've been working more on it lately :)
At a variable range of 0-100 hours a week, your top end is very far removed from the passive income part of the question.
In this case the average number of hours per month may make more sense to discuss.
Also, considering that I've been working on this since high school, I used to have a lot more time for it back then ;)
In a regular month I probably average around 20 hours per week. However, during a particularly overzealous month I may go to 35 or higher. I think at 20 it still falls under passive income.
Just to give you an idea of how my commitment varies. A year ago I had a full time job and I would sometimes work only 5-10 hours per week on it. Also, I completely neglected it in my first year of college (yet it paid for my college) and by my 3rd year there were enough problems that I had to again spend considerable time bringing it up to spec :)
I'd love to call it a hobby - because that's how I feel about it - but when 24 hours of downtime can cause more than a few hundred dollars of losses - it becomes tough not to take things a bit more seriously =/
I found that interesting.
I get like $6/mo in affiliate fees, but I don't really advertise it so I'm lucky I get even that.
It's effectively an online desktop publishing system aimed at making it easy for HR teams to deliver TRS (Total Reward Statements) in 10% of the time, at 10% of the cost, and with fewer errors.
It took a couple years to write, so I wouldn't say it was an easy investment, but it was fun to write. These days it ticks over and I don't spend much time on it at all.
Perhaps I should work on advertising more...
It makes ~2 dollars a day from adsense. Breadcrumbs, but I haven't spend any time on it for like half a year. Amazon affiliate adds almost nothing to this. Being in the Chrome Webstore seems to have helped a lot in page visits.
I still wonder from time to time if I should put some effort in upping this a bit. But my time is limited and the app doesn't fit my current strategy (mobile, mhealth specifically).
Launched in 2007 as a free service, got covered in CNBC India. Got loads of requests overnight so had to make it paid afterwards.
Around USD 2-3k income without doing lot of efforts.
It is one of the most unique ideas you can ever come across. Requires no paid marketing. You get extremely happy when Olympians, photographers use signatures designed by you on their websites and photographs as autographs.
Highly gratifying passive income.
Although it hasn't even broken even, I'm now equipped with a ton of expertise and I have a few efforts I'm working on that I think will be quite popular. :)
I got 4 euros (minus google checkout fees) so far.
Of course, they pay a lower interest rate than taxable bonds. Thus, the only reason these tax-free bonds would be better than taxable bonds is if you are in a high enough marginal tax bracket to compensate for the difference in interest between these tax-free bonds and taxable bonds.
An example should make this all clear. Assume you have a marginal tax rate of 40%. (You earn a lot of money.) If you invest $100,000 in a typical taxable bond that pays 10%, each year you will get $10,000. But subtract out the 40% tax, and you are left with only $6,000 after-tax.
Compare this with what would happen if you invested that same $100,000 in a tax-free state bond. This bond only pays 8%, being tax-free and all. Each year you get $8,000. But you pay no tax, so you are in fact better off than if you had bought the taxable bonds!
Now, lets change your marginal tax bracket to 10%--you don't earn much money, so your marginal rate is low. You invest that same $100,000 in the taxable bond that pays 10%, you will get $10,000 pre-tax but only pay your marginal rate, 10%, on that sum, so you are left with $9,000.
With the tax-free state bond at 8%, you only get $8,000, though you don't pay any tax on it. So at your low marginal rate, you would have been better off buying the taxable bond.
My point is, tax-free bonds are probably only useful if you earn a lot of income each year to put you in a high marginal rate.
Source: I'm a law student and we learned about tax-exempt state/municipal bonds today in Tax!
Now if only we could find those muni bonds that pay 8% ;)
So how do you price that risk?