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How much money are you earning from your software products?
199 points by ericthegoodking on Nov 3, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 190 comments

Improvely (https://www.improvely.com) passed $10k/mo RR not too long ago and is about a year old. I run several other SaaS sites with a couple thousand a month in revenue each. It's enough that I never regret turning down the standing job offers I had at the end of college 3 years ago.

Nothing really compared to the short-lived but very successful WordPress plugins I used to build and sell. A few days' work could turn into the equivalent of a year's salary. One had over $250,000 in sales in 18 months before I sold rights to it for another $90,000 to another company. I don't work with WordPress much anymore, and don't have much motivation to force myself back into that ecosystem to sell more plugins. It just wasn't as fun as running live services that handle lots of users and lots of data.

> One had over $250,000 in sales in 18 months before I sold rights to it for another $90,000 to another company.

For anyone interested, I'm guessing this is it...


Hey Dan,

I'm selling Wordpress plugins right now with nothing near the same success as you. Do you think it's a market that is too saturated to achieve the level of sales you saw?

I'd also love to hear how you managed to attract the number of users to your website that gave you over $250k in sales? It's something I'm having trouble with right now and any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

> Do you think it's a market that is too saturated to achieve the level of sales you saw?

Not at all. There are thousands of plugins, but there are 72 million WordPress sites.

True. My thoughts too which is why I got into doing this about 6 months ago but since I've only had limited success I've had a few doubts recently.

I wish I could find a really good online marketing guide. One aimed at developers would be perfect. It seems there is no shortage of "learn programming" resources out there but marketing courses always seem so scammy.

How do you decided on which product to build and the market to target?

^^ I bought your review wp plugin years ago. It was great and worked perfectly, I wish you all the success in the world

How and where did you sell the WordPress plugins?

Also, how did you market them?

This seems strictly worse than a job at Google, Facebook or Twitter assuming the same 40 hour week. Are there lifestyle advantages?

What about a job at Google, Facebook or Twitter would be better? If you think they're strictly better, there must be some huge downside to my lifestyle I mentioned that I don't see. They offer worse hours, less pay, less autonomy, higher cost of living, and they're on the wrong end of the country if I want to keep close ties to relatives.

The compensation at these is substantially better than what you've mentioned. Some offer regional offices around the country and world. I can see how the extra autonomy and reduced workload would be nice, but I'm not sure you can judge without trying both.

Glassdoor/Salary.com say an experienced Google software engineer makes $150k/year (including benefits and bonuses). That'd be a big pay cut. So would paying more to rent a one-bedroom apartment out there than I pay to mortgage my 4-bedroom detached house. As for "trying both", I have. I did the internship rounds while in college. Spent 6 months on the west coast with Microsoft, and a year at two smaller companies, as a full-time software engineer.

There's nothing about employment I miss. You could double the salary and I wouldn't trade lives with an employee at any of those companies. I wake up in the morning without an alarm, decide what I want to work on, program in my PJs, work as long as I care to, answer a few customer e-mails, and I'm done for the day. Some days I flip the schedule and shop/socialize/veg in the morning/afternoon, then work late at night. If I want a day or a month off, I just take it.

If I'm building something new, like the two months or so I spent on Improvely, I probably work about 4 hours a day, which is the most number of productive hours I ever got while working for someone else 8 hours a day. That's 1300 hours a year of time wasted on commutes, meetings, endless e-mails, employee reviews, forced socialization with coworkers, and kissing up to managers so you rank well for bonuses and get better projects. Ugh.

There is one downside to what I do. I'm on call to keep the servers running 24/7. That means I pay for some monitoring that can SMS me if something fails, and I carry a Surface Pro in the trunk of my car so that even if I'm away from home I can get to a computer. It's a once-a-year type responsibility. Had a hard drive crash in one server this year, and a power supply pooped out last year. Not a terrible burden.

cool! not many get the sort of freedom you have!

It's the freedom. You're a ball on a chain at pretty much any company.

Improvely looks amazing. No wonder it's pulling $10K MRR. I'm curious - how many people are on the team?

Just me


Bingo Card Creator will probably come in at about $30k profit for the year, which is a disappointment, but not enough of one to justify working on it. (Sales are down due to Google sending less organic and AdWords traffic, though costs are down impressively too, due to less AdWords.)

I don't talk numbers about Appointment Reminder, but suffice it to say that it's both modestly successful and on the Long Slow SaaS Ramp of Death.

I get about $1.5k in monthly royalties from book sales and in residual sales of the course on Lifecycle emails that I did last year. Hoping to launch another project like that in the near future and plow some of the profits back into AR - people are expensive.

" Long Slow SaaS Ramp of Death"

I've always liked that term (which I presume you used ironically). It's the most pessimistic way one could possibly describe the state of "If I don't ever touch anything from here on out, I'm still pretty much set for life."

I assume it was a Venture Capitalist who coined it, since VCs don't like profitable companies that get slightly more profitable month after month. People, however, pretty much universally would think that was a rather nice predicament to be in.

Congrats on the Ramping!

The first time I heard it was Gail Goodman's eponymous talk at BoS 2012. It refers to the unlikelihood that you'll have a hockey stick revenue curve. Most SaaS businesses add recurring revenue fairly slowly and steadily, over time, and take a long while until they get to the "totally milk it!" part of the model.

Indeed, but to a one man shop, being stuck in the flat part of the curve at, say, $2k/month in profit and growing by $100/month/month is a completely different thing to a 10 man shop at the same place.

One venture is about to fold. The other can safely quit its day job and start entrepreneuring full time without having to worry about starving in the immediate future.

Your candor in matters of business is _incredibly_ refreshing. Thank you.

I make $300-$500/mo. with http://www.makecupcakewrappers.com

I started it three years ago with a single web page and an email-me-when-it's-ready form. I barely got enough emails (50-60) in the first couple months to justify moving forward. But I did, with three designs and a simple design-by-form interface. Fast forward to today and I have dozens of templates and a custom drag and drop interface done in canvas. I have a pretty good conversion rate given that I only get ~90 uniques per day.

It's interesting that you have adwords on your homepage. Does it bring in any revenue? To me it detracts from the overall look of the site. I just Googled custom cupcake design and you are 4th, maybe there just aren't that many people after the service?

I plastered them all over the site in an experiment to see if I could move to 100% ad based monitization since so many visitors are just looking for free printables, but they only make like $50/mo. So I need to remove them. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The whole site is just a playground at this point since the search volume indicates I'm close to maxing out the potential revenue. My next move is to package the technology as Custom Designed Printable X for your business and sell it along with a setup and maintenance fee.

Clever little niche! Well done.

http://www.postjobfree.com ~$19K/month revenue -- mostly premium subscriptions from recruiters for job advertising and resume contacts, but also job alerts, revenue from sending job applications to job network and AdSense (in declining revenue order).

If it looks inspiring, keep in mind that:

1) It's revenue, not profit.

2) PostJobFree took about 4 years part-time + 2 years full-time.

3) I'm not doing it alone.

4) I still would be better off financially if I just worked as a programmer for hire.

Startups are tough.

That is fascinating. A year ago I had a talk with a friend about doing exactly same, but in Russia. Though I had strong concerns on how will the job-sites react on us automating the process and potentially spamming their boards.

I am curious, on how are you posting the jobs? Have you made an agreement with these websites, are they willing to provide an API at some cost? Or, simply, pretending being a human and submitting form POST requests?

Great job on the service, not only it looks promising, but is essentially improving lives of many people.

I make around $600 per month on http://www.binpress.com. I sell 6 software components for iOS. Most of them were component that I had already developed for other projects. I just tidied them up and made them available for purchase. The income's very passive - max 2 hours a week. Here's a link to my profile: http://www.binpress.com/profile/ben-smiley/14290

Great job with the site, it looks very clean!

Symphony makes $2500/month (http://www.symphonytools.com). Launched 4 months ago. Back in December, my co-founder and I spent 3 weeks brainstorming and wrote 25 business plans for 25 ideas. And then chose this one. Started building it in January.

It's written in Python. Hosting costs about $700/month on Google App Engine. It doesn't cover our costs yet, but it's growing. Hardest challenge so far has been to find ways to let the world know about it.

Why are you still on GAE if it costs that much? I learned Django and migrated my projects off GAE a year ago. It was rather painless to learn the bits of Django needed to replace GAE, and looking back it was a great move.

I think of it as paying a little extra to outsource the boring parts of my job to Google. I don't worry about sharding, load balancing, replication, ...etc. I've done those in the past, and it wasn't that exciting. I like spending my time on code, and it lets me build things faster.

App Engine has it's disadvantages as well. At one point I used typhoonae (open source framework that let's you run you GAE apps on EC2) and was about to switch, and then decided against it.

How many users do you have for $700 a month on GAE?. My game Neptune's Pride that also makes about $2500 a month and has about 1000 - 1500 DAU only costs around $100 a month.

Only about 200 DAU (3K MAU), some are paying and the rest are on a 30-day free trial. But we do a lot of processing for each user. For example, we have a unified inbox for all your mentions and messages from all your social networks, so we pull a lot of posts on a regular basis. Our database has 3.7M records, and a total size of 15GB (8GB for data + 7GB indexes).

I expect the cost per user to go down as the percent of paying to trial users goes up. Trial users stay for 30 days, and then most of them stop. But paying users continue using it much longer. Also, there is a lot of room for optimization, which I'll get around to doing later, once the key features are in place.

Could you easily move out of GAE? I made a site on that platform a couple years ago for fun, and would get anxious every time I'd get an email from them with terms of service or API changes.

Not too easy, but not as hard as people expect either. The App Engine SDK is open sourced. This is the layer that connects your code to Google's infrastructure. There are a couple of projects that have taken that SDK and modified it to connect to MySQL, MongoDB, memcached, and so on. They allow you to run your GAE app on your own server, without changing your code. I tried typhoonAE a while ago and managed to get my app running on another server with about a day of work.

Hosting SHOULD NOT cost that much with GAE. What's the bulk of your cost (I'm guessing DB writes)?

I was able to get my GAE costs way down by focusing on minimizing DB writes. Some tips:

- Instead of storing an array in the database directly, store it as a json string. storing an array uses a DB write for every array element.

- Don't index things if you can get away with it (indexing doubles writes).

In my case I was using about 600 writes for every user action when I only needed two. This may be common knowledge, but I was pretty surprised that storing arrays was costing me so much.

I minimise costs by using a mix of GAE and AWS: Host the main application on GAE but for background services use AWS. E.g I use AWS SES for mails and S3 for storing uploads and blobs.

Also storing objects that don't need indexes as pickled blobs in a parent model helps a lot. The advantage over JSON is that you don't need extra code to parse, (de)serialized and validate the object.

have a few side projects. here's a fun one:


it is making absolutely zero money (yet), but the engagement on the site is INSANE. also, the site itself, and the people who come to it (and email/tweet/blog/instagram/vine/smoke signals/carrier pigeon/etc about it) are passionate and willing to support craft beer.

besides the benefit of interacting with super cool, kick-ass people who love craft beer, i've also been in touch with some breweries who are wanting to partner on a multitude of things, and i've been invited to come brew a batch at a few of them, with the head brewers!

so to summarize:

• making no money on this side project.

• not losing any money on this side project.

• over 75 million hits since launch, over 1 million people and over 50 million suggestions every month.

• fuckloads of fun interacting with the craft beer lovers and the craft beer world.

• the amount of engagement the site has will help support the next phase which will make money :)

• ...

• profit!!

So, after it got mad about me putting in Bud Light or whatever, it suggested "HOFBRAUHAUS BERCHTESGADEN JUBILÄUMSBIER", which I then copied and pasted back into it. Instead of telling me to fuck off, it just blue screened and hung there forever. If you replace the fancy "Ä" in there with an "A", then it will not get stuck but still tell you to to fuck off.

thanks for the heads up, thought i pushed that fix! will update it shortly.

you have broken the system and you should be rewarded for such a thing… go drink a good craft beer and celebrate!

What exactly am I looking at here?

It just mocks whatever you put in and suggests something else?

Or will it actually express approval if you put in something 'good'?

i'm guessing you aren't drinking any good beer if all you are getting is insulted!

It told me to go fuck myself when I put in Mephistopheles Stout by Avery. I think it's broken

you're broken. the actual beer is called "Mephistopheles' Stout" if you typed that in, it will offer congratulations and offer to fuck your face. and even if you were to just type in "Mephistopheles" it would want to hang the fuck out with you.

if on the other hand you typed in "Mephistopheles Stout" you would of course not have entered the name of the beer, and you would be rightly told that you are an inspiration for birth control (or other such wonderful life lessons)

or at the end of it, you can be like the others who get it and realize, it's vulgar insults and vulgar encouragements that helps suggest craft beers to drink after you're done drinking the one you're currently on. either way, thanks for looking and taking the time to type in your beer to see if a shitty website approves of your (mostly) shitty life choices :)

well... did you? if not, go ahead, then report back.

but really, it's not an exhaustive list as there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of beers and new ones getting all of the time, so I'll make sure to add it. and like it says on the site, shoot an email if you've got suggestion ;)

It told me Victoria Bitter made me a God among men, but Coopers Pale Ale bagged me "Nut Smuggler".

Definitely broken, VB is worse than sea water.

see my response below. or you're wrong. yeah... you're wrong ;)

It told me to go fuck myself when I entered Sixpoint Crisp, what's wrong with Sixpoint?

abso-fucking-lutely nothing! got nothin but love for brooklyn beers, i am a huge fan of six point and brooklyn brews.

the real question is: why don't you know the beer's actual fucking name?!

THE Crisp (by Sixpoint)


it's even IN the url slug! ;)

But dude your app still swears at me when I tell it I drink Sixpoint beers, Sweet Action too.

but did it swear at you in an endearing way, like wanting to fuck your forehead? or did it swear at you saying you were a dick bag? because there is swearing in a site that has the word "fucking" in the domain ;)

ps: i typed in "sweet action" and it went all green for me. i submit to the jury exhibit B that clearly shows that ANDREW RITCHIE can not fucking type!

but how about you go drink a sixpoint and then take one of the suggestions it's thrown at ya?! enjoy a good fucking beer tonight :)

it doesn't like dale's pale ale. dale's pale ale is fucking delicious (I am in fact drinking it right now) and definitely "craft".

the site is called "should i drink this fucking beer ?" not "should i drink this fucking beer by this brewery?" ;)

typing "Dale's Pale Ale" brings forth the lovely foamy compliments i so desire in a green, hoppy, insulting website. go give it a shot and you'll feel warm and fuzzy (from the website, not just the beer)

so tonight, i raise my bottle of pliny to you and tomorrow i shall raise my can of heady topper to you. for you will have checked out a site about beer. and typed your shit correctly.

Just don't input Keystone Ice ;)

FUCK NO!! :)

Carmack, Romero and two other guys were making $60K a month from Commander Keen in its shareware format. That's after Apogee's 60% cut.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander_Keen

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Masters-Doom-Created-Transformed-Cultu... - highly recommended, really good read

Well here is my journey. A few months ago, I built a vertical jobs board platform, free for developers and paid by companies announcing their job offers (yes another one).

The numbers:

I launched during summer and have made around $200.

Have 1125 developers subscribed to daily alerts

Have processed around 1500 applications for 81 jobs posted (most of them through 100% discount tickets given away)

The idea was not very well thought, but something simple to start with. I used it to start gaining experience and also to start building a reusable code base (mailing, billing, etc) that would let me move faster with future products, not expecting to make any money at all from it. As a single founder/developer/designer/sysadmin/marketer/support guy etc, I found it very hard to accomplish, but very rewarding once it was launched.

I built a few sites:

for django jobs: http://djangojobbers.com

for ruby on rails jobs: http://railsjobbers.com

I also have boards for javascript, php, java, android or ios, but with not a lot of subscribers, so they are free for publishers for now. The links are http://php.jobbersnet.com, http://ios.jobbersnet.com, etc

Now I am getting ready to launch a new thing (identee.com) to help low level users increase their security by storing their usernames & passwords encrypted in the cloud.

That's funny, for a few years, I had gisjobbers.com registered but never got around to building the site. I think I got the idea from an open source "jobbers" codebase. Was this your inspiration too?

Not really, it was just the result of twisting a few related words until finding a non registered domain not sounding too bad :-)

Is there a way to filter notifications by location? I don't want to get notified of openings in Berlin and Amsterdam when I'm in Toronto

It is not the first time I hear that. For now its not possible.

I am currently very busy trying to launch my new project, but as soon as I have some spare time to dedicate I will try to build this feature.

Thanks for your feedback.

Fan of the Week plugin for Facebook pages. It chooses one fan each week and highlights them, kind of like an employee of the month. http://www.fanpageapps.com/

Last month made $474.85 from premium upgrades, $152.53 from ads. The servers cost $144.63.

The app has been added to 601,409 Facebook pages so far. For each of these pages I do a weekly dance with FB to look at their feed, see if access tokens are still valid for automatic posting etc., so it makes for a pretty interesting server usage pattern. http://i.imgur.com/Q1WylAY.png

I love these posts. They are super inspirational. I'm a relatively new developer and have some saas ideas geared towards restaurants and bars. I'm hoping 18 years of domain knowledge and great customer service skills will trump any lack in developer skills that I have.

Congratulations to everyone that's found success doing this. And a huge go for it to those of you on the fence of writing your own product.

If you have customer service skills that rival development work, there's a lot of people who are precisely flipped, myself included. I would suggest finding a Yin to your Yang, but only if you felt inclined. Its not to stick you with the customer facing parts only. It could be a mentor/partnership where you build that up in someone while they mentor/partner your developer chops. This may be unmanageable and hard to find the right fit where you aren't the one giving more than taking. I just think there's some pretty high value in domain knowledge and customer service skills that if you have deficiencies that eventually halt progress, finding someone to throw you over a wall is a definite advantage. I just got a flash of coop games like splinter cell and the analogy seems way too spot on. Co-founders should help you reach places neither of you could alone in a "single player game". Now if I could just remember this when the time comes to put myself on the market, so to speak :>.

Thanks for the comment. I think there's a lot of truth to what you have to say. At this point it's about building up enough trust with someone that I'd want to take them on as a partner. And vice versa as well.

SimpleCrew (http://www.SimpleCrew.com - a mobile photo app for businesses, real estate investors, marketing street teams, etc...) is earning $1,600/mo RR right now... ~35 customers averaging just under $50/mo per customer.

The number isn't enough to support us in the US yet, but it excites us regardless because of its implications. Between the revenue and usage (weekly photo totals are consistently up and to the right) we believe we're on a reliable path to financial sustainability with this one:

Assuming ARPU stays at $50, we're earning 6 figures per founder (ignoring costs, just revenue) at just 333 customers, and we'll reach 7-figure earnings at 1,666 customers.

Those numbers are completely doable! God bless the economics of monthly recurring revenue, and DHH for spelling it out so clearly in his Startup School '08 presi (on YouTube). I can say without irony that that video has deeply influenced the course of my life.

Watch out for patents in the US. I worked on a similar MVP for a client a few years ago and he did some patent research and did not move forward because of what he found.

Good work dude!

My side project http://www.browser-details.com is doing about $100/month right now. I haven't started to do any marketing yet as I want to give it a small makeover before.

It started as a tool for my company so I know there's a need for it - not sure yet how to best market it, though.

Just a little note, your browser-dection page seems to be missing its Windows 8.1 icon (the icon image 404s).

Wow, thanks - I'll get that fixed up.

That is an incredible idea.

Making around 500$/month from a carbon ad on my http://bootsnipp.com (free Bootstrap snippets), plus a couple hundred from affiliate income that I link to from the site... Time spent originally was 4 days.

Released a new improved version of the site two weeks ago (the rewrite took about 60-80 hours total but has bigger potential for the site). Now thinking of selling templates or skins on the site too - that would be a whole lot more $ than the ad...

I think you site is the second best thing that happened to design challenged after bootstrap. Thanks for all the work.

I have a feeling that if you set up an online course which teaches how to design using bootstrap, it could sell pretty well.

Thanks for the warm feedback =) I will be speaking about Bootstrap at Socal Code Camp this Saturday, maybe will do a quick poll about what people would pay for, course or videos or skins/templates, etc :)

Currently https://www.photographer.io is costing me about £100 a month to run, as its income is only via referrals to Digital Ocean until I add a subscription model. I've been holding off for a few months as I don't feel happy charging for something which I still feel is incomplete; at what point do other people feel happy charging users for their products?

I'm thinking of offering early adopters a significant discount for helping pay for the costs whilst the site develops, as it's nowhere near the point where I'd be happy charging a similar amount to Flickr/500px yet. However the popularity of the project has helped me out personally; I've been offered a number of jobs due to my increased visibility as a developer.

> I don't feel happy charging for something which I still feel is incomplete

It's not so much a question of what you feel happy charging for, as what your customers are happy paying for. The only way to find out is to add paid tiers and see what happens. You can always round out the feature set by adding additional 'premium' features to the paid tiers - free upgrades for paying customers!

Aye I have a number of features planned which will need subscriptions. One of them is the ability to host your own portfolio site on the platform, which I'm planning to add fairly soon as I need it for my brother's and father's websites :D

Always charge and set your price high unless your running a freemium model. Its much easier to lower your price than raise it. And if your customers pay and are upset you can always refund them.

> I don't feel happy charging for something which I still feel is incomplete

If you're like me, you'll never feel like it's complete. But, is it useful?

I'd suggest charging now or very soon. Early adopters who are willing to use an incomplete service want that service to grow and be around. Charging them a nominal fee increases the changes of that happening.

I hope it's useful! It seems to have a small number of dedicated users right now, a number of whom have said they'd like to support the site. I think I'm going to aim to get subscriptions in within the next month.

I must admit that one reason why I've been putting it off is having to finish setting up the business side of things. I probably can't put off figuring out my accounting much longer :D

It feels like I've seen photographer.io for a while now. It isn't my bag but I'm honestly surprised you aren't making anything yet. It seems long overdue, honestly. I think the other advice is perfect and to some users, they may not see value until you put a price on it you can live with.

I must admit that it has mostly been my laziness, mixed with a variety of real-life situations (girlfriend finishing her PhD, me having a tonsillectomy etc), which have delayed me adding paid account support. I'm finally back into the swing of updating it now and I'm aiming to get paid accounts in within the next couple of months at the latest. I'd be happy if the site just made enough to keep itself running, to be honest.

Thanks for the advice!

The product looks pretty good imo. You should start charging soon. Btw, which one of DigitalOcean's cloud servers are you using? Did you find it reliable for a startup? Also, do you mind telling how many users you have?

Thanks! The current server setup is: 2x2GB servers (web+workers), 2x1GB servers (DB & replicated backup), 2x512MB servers (one HAProxy loadbalancer, one running redis & memcached). All running a fairly recent version of Ubuntu, based in the Netherlands datacentre. I could run it on fewer servers but I like to separate out the roles so a failure in one place doesn't take everything down.

For the first month reliability was a bit spotty but for the past 3/4 months it has been really reliable. The only problems I had at first were network latency which they seem to have resolved now.

I'm happy to answer pretty much any questions about my projects! There are currently 1687 users. Signups go in bursts when I promote the site; once I've got a number of improvements done over the next month or so I'm going to try to promote it again.

I'm also really excited by what other people are doing with the codebase. There's a chap in Japan who's managed to get it running for his figurine fan website, which is impressive mostly because my documentation is so shockingly bad :D

Thanks for the detailed answer. ;) That's a good number of users. You shouldn't have any trouble at all getting your first paying customers. All the best. :)

I created http://www.twimemachine.com. Costs only about $6 a month to run (S3 static costs). And I make between $70 - $100 a month from just the one ad box on it. Pocket money that usually goes into buying some more Bitcoin.

nice! thanks for sharing

Making 500 Euro per month and after expenses I am making 450 euro . My first customer and 110 customers in beta list which I am going to starting releasing beta next week . here is the product . http://bit.ly/HDcvfA

This is inspirational! are you working on it alone or do you have a "team"?

got 2 freelancers , but as a founder , I am alone. I am a 2 time failed entrepreneur and both times Investors rejected my startup just bcoz I am a single founder, but still fighting alone to show what a one person can do :)

Sorry about the throwaway account. Would rather not link the numbers to the site at this point. Revenue about $60k/month; fairly even mix of affiliate programs (mostly a couple big ones) and advertising (mostly adsense/ad exchange). Earnings before taxes and my draw ~ $500k/year.

Have tried out many alternate ad networks and exchanges, and the only other one I've found worth taking space from google so far is AOL's new Advertising.com. Individual relationships and niche affiliates can be worthwhile too, but come with more overhead. I'd generally rather optimize UX and try to attract more users than worry about managing a bunch of advertiser relationships. For a larger or smaller site that would probably change though.

Very inspirational! I have got few questions (1) From your own experience what marketing strategy would you recommend that has worked for your software products? (2) How did you come up with the idea? (3) Are you working alone?


Around $150-300/mo. with http://testyourvocab.com from Google AdSense. Tells you the size of your English vocabulary. And it was HN which popularized it in the first place!

I really like testyourvocab.com. I use it from time to time to check my progress.

Cool site. I wonder if you would make more on AdSense if your advertisement was above the fold.

just checked out your site, i think its decent it would be great if you made it easier to tick the words, its difficult to pin point and click too many check boxes

You can use tab + space instead of clicking.

After doing a lot of listening in forums, on my email list, etc... I launched http://jfdi.bz as a response to a common pain I kept seeing: there's so many people building products by themselves (alone in their basements). They want a social connection with other folks who are doing the same thing (more here: http://jfdi.bz/guide.pdf)

Did a small launch in August. It's now just over $1,000/month in revenue. I use WPEngine to host the site. It's built mostly on the open source BuddyPress platform.

> Registration will be open until Friday, November 6th.

Uh? Is it Friday today? I am unsure whether I shall hurry, or the site wasn't updated for years.

Neptune's Pride 2, an online strategy game is only doing $2500 a month. http://triton.ironhelmet.com

I'm looking for remote work if you're hiring.

All your games look awesome. In general I saw your (well I didn't know they were "yours") games many times as they are the type of projects I am (falsely) imagining I would try to make some day. I think it's much harder to survive from gamedev than more boring SaaS projects. Besides being much more hit-driven and unpredictable you also usually need to pay for art and other resources. (I signed up to 2 of them)

Hi, How are you making money form this? ~ curious

I sell premium accounts that let you create your own private games with custom settings.

Worked on VineTube(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appsinthe....). It was turning in $2000/mo in revenue before we sold it for $7000.

If it was making 2k per month why did you sell it for just 7k, seems to low. You should have asked for a higher price.

Vine for android as well as Instagram video had been launched, usage went too low. We couldn't find someone willing to pay more.

$1000 to $2000 per month (winter vs summer) from Buoy Explorer iPhone app [1][2]. I plan on releasing an update for iOS 7 in the near future.

The backstory on why and how I created it is available on my blog[3].

[1] http://buoyexplorer.com/

[2] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/buoy-explorer-noaa-marine/id...

[3] http://matthewmorey.com/buoy-explorer/

I make about 100 Euro/mo with PhotoSlim (http://photoslimhq.com), a simple windows software to reduce the size of pictures. I built it although there are lot's of apps for image resizing. But they all had either too many options or were too complicated. So i tried to build the simplest possible solution for this problem. I didn't really believe, that anyone would buy it, since there are a lot of free alternatives. So I am quite happy with the outcome.

Oh nice, looks kind of like http://imageoptim.com/

We are mostly using OSX, but it is really a struggle to learn people to run their images through an optimizer.

Interesting, how did you market it? Also, did you try different pricing?

Bugrocket (https://bugrocket.com, since March 2011, bug tracking for small dev teams) is subscription-based and grows slowly, currently around $500/month in revenue.

CourseCraft (https://coursecraft.net, since December 2012, e-course creator tools + we handle transactions for 5%-9% of sales) is a lot less consistent but growing faster, currently $300-$400/month in revenue.

Mastering Modern Payments[1] has earned more than $14k in revenue since I launched it in the middle of August. Real ongoing costs are $5/mo for the VM that the sales application sits on, and that's basically it. I figured that I broke even for time-spent when it hit $7k.

[1]: https://www.petekeen.net/mastering-modern-payments

Zero now. Was a time when I was making $100/mo from ads on my free Android app (took the ads off, now it's just free as in free) and I sold another Android app for $2.5k. Those were my first two software projects ever so it was some awesome feedback, convinced me to get a CS degree.

I make on average £330 a month from a WordPress plugin https://www.getmecooking.com/wordpress-recipe-plugin

The idea was to get content for the main website so that it would make money. I've got over 2000 recipes now but traffic is still under 1000 hits a day so I've still not tried to monetise the main website.

I've now started to develop a job recruitment website as I can see that earning money a lot easier. Other sites in the niche have 10 job postings a day each and charge on average my prices which would mean £1000 a day. I just need to solve the recruiter / applicant traffic problem... http://www.platejobs.com/

Beathound (http://beathound.com) is making between $50 and $100 a month in affiliate revenue from the various music stores. I'm working on rolling out some new features that will increase that.

Interesting! Plenty of room to grow considering it's iTunes-only and (anectodally) most people I know don't use iTunes... What music stores do you support? I've seen lastfm has 7digital, amazon, itunes and juno but I've never used any of them.

Right now it's iTunes only, but I'm doing a lot of research into what to support next.

Some of that research has led to new projects (http://magic-playlist.com puts music recommendations into your Rdio or Last.fm account), but all of them contribute to the overall ecosystem. I'm hoping to eventually support everything.

Right now only about $300 a month but it is fairly passive. I also do freelance work and sell other products.

I recently started using Google AdWords as so far I've done very little marketing. Hopefully AdWords can improve that number into something far more impressive.

I'm also building a couple of other websites which I think have potential to make a lot of money but they will take a while longer yet.

It's my ultimate goal to build a sustainable living from software products online. I think it's a realistic, yet very difficult goal but I'm enjoying the challenge!

Can you share what kind of product this is?

It's a few products actually, mainly aimed at small businesses who need web software. My main product is http://paymentsplugin.com which gets most of the sales. I enjoy putting products together though, some hit, others miss. It's good practice on the sales and marketing side of things too as I'm mostly a developer.

Interesting product, how well is selling through envato working for you? I've looked at it before but the rates seemed a little too much for new members.

It's a tough trade-off really. Envato have millions of members so I get regular sales but the commission rates are very unfavorable. I'm working on moving some of my more popular products from Envato marketplaces and onto my own websites. It's a slow process though as I want to keep the benefits of the traffic from Envato throughout. Plus I'm still learning with regards to internet marketing and can't hope to attract the types of traffic Envato can bring me.

Well, that looks interesting :). Thanks for the share. And yeah, putting products out is definitely the best way to learn for me too.

Scanii.com (https://scanii.com) practical API for malware/virus detection. Low thousands/month and growing quickly, profitable from the beginning and we effectively spend $0 in marketing. Honestly, there hasn't been an easier time to do a startup or side project - I know that's cliché but it isn't. If you know how to consume cloud services you can keep your operating costs amazingly low.

I'm making zero dollars right now with http://togspots.com. It's a SaaS where photographers can add and find photography locations. I'm working on setting up a subscription that would allow users to save private spots and a few other features. The biggest issue is getting more locations. Currently I require users to add 1 location before they can search which is working well so far.

Making about 500EUR/mo from selling motivational posters at http://squaredo.com - primarily to startups

$400/month from "Play Piano HD" iPad app: http://mobilesort.com/play_piano.html I've tried a few other apps, but they haven't done very well - this one is consistently in the top 100 iPad music category. I think having a very clear message and value proposition is important, especially for small apps (impulse buys).

$250-350/month from App.net for an extension I spend very little time on anymore.


I just launched a new App.net project that I'm hoping will bring in a lot more.


So far $0/mo off Neutrino (https://getneutrino.com) as I'm still getting up and going. I built it for myself to help keep track of my own side projects and then decided to embrace the idea of "sell your by-products". I'm now getting a crash course on marketing and sales.

About $350 in the first month of Double Dynamo (http://doubledynamo.com/), a memory and rhythm game for iOS. I haven't put significant work into viral features, which could probably substantially increase installs, but at this point I've put the project on the back burner.

Wow that's great for just the first month! How did you initially market the app?

Menutail (https://www.menutail.com) which generates about $300/month at the moment. The site is kind of niche as it used to generate nutrition facts labels for food packages.

I mainly get new e-mail clients from cold e-mailing contacts from the farmer's market database courtesy of data.gov.

$0 a month on http://numberduck.com

Hopefully that's because I'm competing against some established and open source projects, so anything with a lesser feature set isn't good enough for people to pay.

Now I'm slogging away on features to be the best, then hopefully the sales will follow.

This is a good idea.I would actually use it if i was working in a large firm where excel is used for everything.

I make around 2-3000$ from my TSR product suite : http://www.tsr-soft.com

Started 3 years ago, have one part time employee working on these besides me. I only work part time one them too.

I have dialed up the revenue after I attended a conference resently by turning more 'pro'

About $15 a month from a military reading list site (http://militaryprofessionalreadinglists.com). That's $14 affiliate, $1 from ads. It's on a $40/month Rackspace VPS, so it's halfway to covering its costs.

Wow - you must have hefty server requirements. I'm running http://dbinbox.com (which handles ~10,000 file uploads/month) on a $8/month VPS.

Fascinating site! I'll have a good look through the book lists :-)

Launched my first SaaS app a little over 2 years ago. Monthly recurring revenue is currently a little over $4000. 506 paying customers to date, growing around 1.5 paying customers per day and working off ~2.7% conversion rate (freemium business model). Single person "team".

What does your app?

Sorry, I'd prefer not to disclose the app name - it's a simple website builder targeting a niche.

I made $5K in a month with http://textbooksplease.com (textbook search engine for college students) after spending ~$4K on advertising, but textbook buying only happens twice a year.

Re-investing all profit into advertising.

Earned $1 from http://gyaansharing.appspot.com because of Disqus ads. It has been used by less than 10 people, mostly friends, till now and it's been a while since anyone posted anything.

I am running http://www.versioneye.com. Currently don't earn much with it. Most people are using it for open source projects. Still thinking about how to monetise it right. Any ideas?

As it is, I find it hard. If you stick to bundler/npm/etc would there be benefit it not only notifications but an automatic update feature? Tie it to git where possible to have a "newest" branch that keeps this out of master and/or tie it with the likes of Travis CI to make sure things didn't break. There's almost too many moving parts but I see high value in keeping a project on the latest dependencies without much involvement from myself. Its not foolproof though and may be too error prone to pull anything off without pulling your hair out.

Thanks for your feedback. I know what you mean. VersionEye has already a pretty good GitHub integration. Currently we are working on automated change logs. And I want to work together with TravisCI and CodeShip to run tests against newest versions. I think together with automated testing it can be very valuable. I maintain a couple open source projects by myself. And I don't release new versions just for fun. Releasing a new version is a lot of work. If I do it than there is always a very good reason for it. For example BugFixes, SecurityFixes, New Features or Speed & Memory Optimisation. And I think if somebody else is releasing a new version of an open source project he has the same reasons. And that are all good reasons for me to update. That's why I started VersionEye.

We are currently making a few hundred a month on Doccy (http://doccyapp.com) its not something you go looking for but once you do it makes sense to use it. Its also only a few months old

PageBlox (https://www.pageblox.com/) earns about $300 a month and is growing steadily... The hardest part has been SEO and marketing, something I am still quite new at.

I lose about $15 from http://selfstream.io . I havent't launched yet as I have been waiting for Paymill to activate my payments processing account for over a month now.

Human Software (http://usehuman.com) - $250 monthly revenue, not enough to be profitable but folks like my app (Prospect) and it's enjoyable to run a small SAAS company.

I literally just launched http://fmhgifts.com last week so it's a bit early to say but I have heard rumours of similar websites making several thousand a month.

Freemium (http://StockPhotos.io) photo sharing site. Earns probably around $15/mo from Google Adsense and was made to use as a free image bookmark manager.

Have you guys considered turning this into an API? I know of a successful wallpaper API that's making decent profit

Vector graphics app http://vectorpaint.yaks.co.nz Calculated revenue would be $200 a week selling a small upgrade but leave it free at the moment.

Fyrebox (http://www.fyrebox.co) makes $250/month, 5000 users, 1% conversion rate to paying customers that pay $5/month, launched in June

nice clean design! I like your front page.

- Just sold my wordpress plugin business for $4k.

- Run hosting company that just became slightly profitable.

~$110/mo fully passive affiliate commissions for referrals to recurring membership businesses.

- Looking to enter into personal development niche.

How long have you been running the hosting company? What level of input does it require from you?

I basically started it to get away from Hostgator which along with other providers started to oversell anything under the sun and presented gradually degraded speed and quality of service.

So I got dedicated server to myself and fully configured it for hosting needs including automated iptables-based firewall protection and malware protection. Then i sent emails to my past web. dev clients out of which a few signed up.

Right off the bat I started to offer malware protection for which site5 charges $30+/mo (10 sites max) and thevault.com charges $40/mo (1 site).

I offer everything for $25/mo, unlimited sites, no BS, firewall, complete malware detection/protection, daily account-wide, off-site (off-continent actually) backups for which I renting specialized service in another country.

Originally I was hoping to just cover my costs but it started to become profitable already - so I plan to boost this side of effort.

People do see value in this where they feel protected and having fast service without doing anything.

Did you build your own control panel or are you using something like Cpanel?

I had WHM which comes with an ability to fully manage (create/edit/suspend/delete) CPanels for clients.

I make exactly $0 pm on www.mixthread.com that I haven't launched. It took me 8 months part time to develop but have been waiting to graduate so I can devote time to running it like a business.

SharpPLM (document and quote management for small/med manufacturing companies) is still pretty early but I make $200/month. I feel like I am still figuring out product/market fit.

How early are you if you don't mind me asking? Are your secondary plans ready to go? (I assume you only have your current customers on the lowest plan based on your revenue)

I'm pretty early since I only work on it part-time and I'm learning marketing/sales at the same time as this. I want to get a few more customers to prove out the product fit before putting a bunch of resources into adwords, etc.

How are you marketing it/planning to market it?

You must have just hit my site? I noticed someone was on it from Palo Alto. Anyway, I'm mostly doing calling and emailing of networks and local businesses. Why do you ask? If you're interested in more info, drop me a line scott@companyname.com.

I'm losing about $200 a month so far on https://blankpage.io, the subscription model took longer than calculated to implement.

Visiting in chrome and firefox yields me an issue with your certificate and a large warning about how your site is potentially unsafe. That may be an issue with your certificate.

It also may be a reason for poor returns if this has been going on for a long term.

Thanks, something with how parse.com handles SSL certs generates this crap. :(

Ditto, definitely makes the site feel less "legitimate".

Thanks guys, it's apparently a problem with how parse.com handles SSL certs.

Curiosity -- what are your costs? $200 seems quite high to be solely your hosting.

Chose bad backend provider. Thought I'd use Parse.com for a quick start. Ended up rewriting the whole thing to plain node. But until I have time to write it all, parse is cashing in on me. After that, It'd probably go down to around 30 bucks.

Noticed a minor bug: clicking "sign up and write" and then the "X" on the popup still has the spinner going on the signup button

Thanks Aturek!

Even though http://hdragomir.github.io/facetogif/ it gave me around 120$ from donations.

$100/mo from http://assembleyourpc.net - a simple tool for assembling pc online.

I bet you could easily increase the revenue by simply localizing the currency. As I have no clue of the current currency being used, it drows the pricing feature useless to me :(

Thanks! Actually, the prices are lot different in some countries, so it gets little tricky, but I'm working on it.

$2000/mo on a Mac app

Hi, Can you tell us what it is?

is your app, desktop only? do you mind sharing what it does and how you market it?

desktop only marketed through the Mac App Store and mac update

4-5k/mo from iOS apps and occasional contract work

i earn about 2000 aobut the software about ukash sell it my site http://www.ukashkartim.com

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