Defining successful as a profitable business which provides the majority of the owners income.
I run a small software company (two, technically). Products include Bingo Card Creator (http://www.bingocardcreator.com), Appointment Reminder (https://www.appointmentreminder.org), and occasional offerings for training for other software companies. I used to do consulting, too, but quit to focus on products.
I'd describe it as "modestly successful." It's the sole financial support for my wife and I. I'm the only full-time employee of the business (for a very quirky understanding of the words "full-time").
That was a tiny little board where the owners of single player software businesses would get together to ask silly questions about how to update their shareware product's PAD files. There were a few hundred of these businesses represented there just among the regular users.
Most of them fly under the radar since, having products that provide a comfortable living with relatively low workload and no need to follow the latest hot technology trends, there's little reason your average Dot-Com-Thousandaire would ever stumble across a place like Hacker News.
Edit: forgot to plug S3stat (http://s3stat.com) and Twiddla (http://twiddla.com), my two main revenue generators, and FairTutor (http://fairtutor.com), hopefully the next one.
Drop me an email (in my profile) if you're interested!
I love the tone
My first attempt in online business was GetSSL.me (https://getssl.me), which has been one-man shop most of the time. It was pretty simple to set up and run, but the biggest pain point was payments, because of my geographic location. Also marketing was a big issue, because I am not a marketer and had to learn everything on the go. To be honest it was more like trial and error approach.
The point of GetSSL.me is simplicity, price and support. If you were buying directly from Comodo, you would overpay a great amount, because reseller prices are much cheaper.
A lot of clutter has been removed from ordering process and you can get certificate in just a few minutes. Our support is friendly and helps with basically anything. Also a lot of people want to buy stuff from small, approachable businesses not from large corporations (e.g. GoDaddy).
It's totally worth it for me to have the CEO and head of product development talk to your office manager for 30 minutes then custom code an import script, to get you onboarded at $200 to $500 a month. The 800 LB Gorilla basically doesn't care about you below $1k a month.
I'm used to my dentist's office manager calling me every six months to remind me about my cleaning appointment. This last time, the call was automated and I instantly thought "hey, Appointment Reminder."
No, it turns out it was SmileReminder that the dentist uses. When I went in for the appointment I spoke to the office manager and the light in her eyes was obvious: "Now I don't have to spend hours calling everyone to remind them. I love it" No idea how much they pay for the service, but it's obviously worth it to them.
This might only be common in the medical field, but I've always seen cancellation fees of around 100% of the appointment price.
(And, BTW, I know several hairdressers who can go well over $200 for a single appointment.)
Not sure what is so US American about this theme.
I started working on it full-time in October. It started as a hobby project about two years ago. It took particularly long because I have a non-technical, military background and had to teach myself to code, design, write copy, marketing, etc. It's been a fun challenge.
I still work on it 12-14hrs a day on average, but I still love it and I love the problem I'm solving. The last few months I started focusing on product again and my customers absolutely love it, which is awesome. Now I'm turning my attention back to marketing.
Like the other guys, I'm not making millions yet, but I'm 100% self-funded and in no danger of running out of money. I continue to put 100% of what I make back in the business after my essentials.
I'm not sure when I'll start hiring, but I have some pretty major plans that I'll need help executing. It's just one of those things where it'll completely change the game, but it'll also change the dynamic of the business.
I was reading the about page, fast skimming, and thought for a moment you flew the FA-18. Nope, just your awesome wife!
In looking over your site, it might be valuable to add a blog, where you write about the needs of small businesses regarding hosting (what's new, what's coming, etc). Can be a great way to build some extra traffic, and authority.
In grad school I built a website for my thesis (2010) and fell in love with web development. I originally wrote it in HTML, but became cumbersome updating menus on every page, so I 'discovered' PHP includes, which was like inventing the wheel for me. From there I started playing with different web development frameworks and doing more advanced stuff. I really just fell in love with web development even though I sucked at it (particularly because I'm color blind, figure that one out).
It was fun to see my skills evolve. I still have a long ways to go, but as I iterate I see my own progress. Since I've worked on it alone it's like a journey of self-discovery.
Yeah, my wife is awesome. I surprised her in when I told her I wanted to leave the Marine Corps to turn my hobby project into a business, but she was totally supportive once she saw how passionate I was about it...really can't ask for more than that. She also works 12-14hrs a day and we don't have any kids, so it's perfect.
I agree, you're absolutely right about the blog. I've been 'meaning' to do it for the last few months and I'm finally getting around to it. The blog should be up in the next week or so.
It totally was, and it continues to be. I built the beta in my free time when I came off missions on my last 12-month deployment to Afghanistan (returned April 2013). When I deployed in April 2012 I didn't know anything about tech. I listened to podcasts (I downloaded hundreds before deploying, mostly Mixergy) when I worked out (still do) and read a lot of business books.
I feel like I still have a lot to learn, but I've come a long way in the last two years. It's been one hell of a ride, I'm just happy I'm still enjoying it. Don't tell my customers, but I'd do this for free I love it so much haha.
How do you market this stuff? How are you getting customers?
If you don't mind, can you share some stuff on the revenue numbers and what your experience has been from conversations with customers?
Is there a way we could chat up?
So you're selling snake-oil too?
There's no way to make a website completely hack-proof, so the guarantee means that any security related issues (hacking, malware, etc.) will be fixed at no cost to the customer.
In doing customer development I was surprised to learn how many small businesses had experience with hacking or had security as a primary concern. Website cleanup typically costs a couple hundred dollars on the low-end, so the guarantee provides peace of mind. It's a bit expensive on our end, but it's just an incentive to do an even better job.
Would you call that selling snake-oil? If so, let me know (my contact info is in my profile). I'm not a security expert, but I do hire them and believe the security guarantee is accurate. Please contact me if you disagree or I can improve it, I take this pretty seriously. Thanks for bringing it up, that's why I love posting here.
How did I get started on this? Sort of by accident.
I was working for Automattic after an acqui-hire thing. After a year there, I found that I missed working in security. I found a full-scope penetration testing gig three blocks from my apartment.
In my spare time, I started to tinker with a few ideas and released them as an open source project. Said project saw a lot of interest within the hacker community very quickly. I didn't expect this. Folks formed an opinion on it pretty quickly. Some people hate it. Others love it. Of those who know it, very few are in-between.
I left my pen testing job with a decent amount of money saved up. I didn't know exactly what I would go and do afterwards. I spent some time tinkering with Android, just for giggles.
I was very reluctant to start a business that used my "successful?" open source project. Partially because it leverages another open source project owned by another company.
I was at a conference in 2011 and someone from a US government agency asked if I was selling anything. I said no. He said that was too bad, because he had end of year money, and he liked my open source stuff. It was then that I decided to look at expanding my open source kit into a commercial product.
April will mark the two year anniversary of my first customer. My customers are well known organizations and they trust my software to assess how well they protect their networks. I'm constantly in awe of this.
The value I provide is synthesis of a lot of educational material that exists out there into a coherent package (a book). In many ways, my work is similar to what linux distro package managers do: ensuing prerequisites are covered before the main package is installed.
I remember hearing one of the early Internet/www inventors saying the Internet will allow people to "live from the fruits of their intellectual labour." Does anyone know who this was??? With eBooks and print-on-demand this is finally possible now. I would encourage everyone with deep domain knowledge about a subject to start writing about it and publish a small book. I think "information distillation" is of great value for readers. Feel free to email me if you need help/advice with the publishing stuff.
I actually have a draft on E&M which is 70% done, but I've now learned that it takes me about 1 year to get a book into good shape so I won't try to finish it just yet and instead spend the next six months working on the business side of things: scaling distribution and sales.
Two other topics which I feel competent enough to write about are probability and vector calculus so by 2015 I'll get to these topics too. I don't feel I have enough experience teaching more advanced topics to write about them---also there is less need for No Bullshit guides, because advanced math/phys books are quite good and bullshit free. It seems it's the freshman-year books that suck the most.
It just crossed 500 paying members. I started it with my wife, but recently the shipping part is no longer done by us two manually, but by a local supermarket. In the beginning it was just an email to some previous customers asking if they might be interested in a club like this. Then a landing page and a HN post. From there it grew through blog mentions and now there is a trickle of organic traffic coming in.
Before this I had some small apps on social networks that made more money, but were much more unstable. While Candy Japan could wither away, I expect the death would be more gradual. I still have some of the older sites / apps which together are still making around $500 / month, which is a nice bonus.
Probably anyone working as a salaried programmer in the US is making a more money than I am currently, but I enjoy the freedom and the thought that there really is no upper limit. If we ever do hit 1000 members I'm planning to have a celebration :-)
I clicked on the link, and being South African, I've been conditioned into thinking that all sorts of cool services/products from overseas either aren't available here or are prohibitively expensive to import. So, I was delighted when your page said, "Free shipping from Japan, even to South Africa". Thank you.
Question: what do you do about local laws for importing edible products? No doubt at least some of the countries you ship to has those.
With this few conversions, it's hard to make any judgement to what works and small tweaks in particular are basically impossible. Noise drowns everything. It's inviting to start getting fancy with A/B testing age ranges or gender targeting on FB ads, but unless I am mistaken about 230 conversions are needed to say A/B test male vs. female assuming it would give a 30% boost. If you know how to figure out the optimal targeting without spending ~$20000 on each test, let me know :-)
If I could get LTV up (reducing churn might be the lowest hanging fruit now), conversions up or write better ads, paid advertising could still be doable in the future.
But aside from that, I don't think you should necessarily give up on advertising on the larger platforms you've been working with. As someone with extensive experience in online advertising, I will tell you that campaigns that are break even from the start or even lose a little money often have huge potential for becoming profitable. Just getting conversions is a positive sign. Consider the full path from advertisement to checkout. There's almost infinite room for improvement from the copy on your advertisements, to the images, to layout of your landing page, placement of buttons, size of form fields, background colors, etc etc. Then there's all the backend changes such as lifetime value and product costs that you can create additional margin. Combine all these things and you can swing a losing campaign to a hugely profitable one. Then with additional margin you create, you have the potential to focus on scaling. G'luck to you.
I'm an avid cross-country skier, and traditionally daily trail reports are done by hand by the maintenance staff after they're out all night working on the trails.
I had the bright idea of putting GPS tracking devices in grooming equipment and creating the "what's been groomed" report automatically, in real-time.
It took about 4 seasons to really get it right, and there was no appreciable income for that period. Lots of lessons learned about equipment (antennas, good wiring practices in vehicles, power cleanliness in big equipment, etc), good ways to present the data, map projections, how to deal with messy data, dealing with non-technical users, cross-border shipping tarrifs, mobile-network provisioning rules, the list goes on. I did it alongside my full-time job for the first 4 years.
It's a tiny niche, and one I never expect to get all that big, but it looks like I'll be able to make it my sole income source next season.
Which is great, because it'll let me go skiing more.
Do you sell them a GPS tracker and show them their GPS logs in an online map maybe?
If so, I'd make the selling of the GPS tracker more obvious. You can also do customer testimonials.
The "customers" are ski area managers, they pay me to publish their maps and generate their trail reports.
The sign-up process is slightly obtuse on purpose. Because I'm still busy developing the site, only the really motivated customers actually contact me (via the "Contact" page), so I don't have to spend too much time doing a sales pitch that goes nowhere. I'm fortunate that I have a decent runway to play with.
I'll change that a bit this summer once I'm no longer frantically building out features.
There is effort required on my part for each sign-up, mostly around cleaning up GIS data that new customers supply, although I do supply a backend with tools for map management. The ski area managers are often extremely non-technical, and like the personal touch. I charge a modest premium for that.
A couple of areas are funding their subscription by getting a local ski shop to pay for the service. There's a huge range of budgets across the industry, it's been tricky figuring out pricing that works for everyone.
There are a couple of areas that have tried to DIY, with limited success, they usually simply don't have the technical knowledge on staff. I've been surprised myself at the breadth of technical turf I've had to cover to create something that works reliably and simply. For a reasonably technical software engineer with a bit of hardware experience, it's not a big deal, but for everyone else, it's too complex a problem.
One of the really interesting problems I had to solve was reliably figuring out which trail the grooming equipment was traversing. Unlike roadways, the GPS data for the trails is typically either non-existent, inaccurate or just plain wrong. Cleaning that up is a bit of effort for each ski area. In addition, ski trails are often in much closer proximity than roadways, which combined with GPS error margins, means that I had to do some fairly gnarly stuff to avoid jumping between nearby trails constantly. It looks simple enough on the surface, but it required some real hair-pulling to get working reliably.
Contract negotiations with cell-network providers weren't much fun either. Many ski areas are in pretty marginal cell-network coverage regions, so finding devices that behaved well in that environment was critical (in addition to handling very cold weather, i.e. -40F for 8 hour stretches). The grooming staff are typically completely non-technical, working weird shift hours, etc, so the system has to be completely hands-off after installation. Finding a device that would do that, handle the harsh environment and be properly certified to operate on the north american mobile networks was no easy task.
I also make a version of the tracker that I pack inside a Pelican case and expose a cigarette lighter plug, for use on snowmobiles. Most people can handle plugging that in, no instructions required.
My local ski area has a couple of machines that they let me crawl through, so I take lots of photos of the important parts of the installation process, best places to place antennas, etc, and put them in an "install guide" PDF that I print and include in any shipments I send. I also wrote up a "how to test/verify that the unit is working" guide, and ask people to go through that before contacting me for troubleshooting. If they call, I ask if they've gone through the test/verify guide. If they haven't, I tell them to do that, then call back if it's still not working.
So far, so good.
Ski areas pay me to generate trail reports, and either link to the "default" report I publish for each area, or they publish the reports on their own websites. Reports are also printed and pinned up in lodges, or emailed by marketing departments to subscribed skiers. I'm not depending on people visiting my site for revenue.
What you have to realize is that people aren't out there searching for "gps grooming reports" (although I think I do pretty well in the search results for that phrase now). A this stage, they don't even know it exists. The sales channels that have worked so far are: word-of-mouth (it's a tiny industry where everyone knows everyone), personal introductions and a few cold-calls when I can summon the courage, and I don't expect that to change significantly.
This is the first "season" that I've worked on it full time and I've almost hit minimum wage. I expect to do better than that next winter. I have a decent runway, live very cheaply and don't have billion-dollar ambitions. I've supplemented the revenue with a little bit of side-consulting, but not a lot.
https://www.improvely.com and https://www.w3counter.com
Five figures a month, just me, I've written about my solo business a couple times in other Ask HN threads. Ten years ago (almost to the day), in my college dorm, I was looking at the Webalizer web stats report my web host provided for my blog, and thought "I could do something much cooler than this". So I did. I had built a few educational sites and threw some ads on them for a couple years before that, but W3Counter was the first service I actually charged a subscription for, and now I make a living building and selling this stuff.
The story is told a bit here http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/25/web-hosting-reviews-are-a-c... I was just tired after 10 years of still relying exclusively on my experience and the experiences of people I knew. Figured there must be a better way and I had been working with Twitter data for thesis and saw this opportunity.
love your site & framework. good luck! Will share.
I am always open to ideas and suggestions for how to market this better. And I appreciate you sharing it!
Maybe it is interesting for you to know, maybe not. Probably not.
Straight questions for people to compare two things they know.
As far as SEO, I get some SEO traffic although most of it is to blog posts that aren't that related to web hosting. The most popular ones are about creating a reverse proxy/caching server with nginx and long running processes in php. web hosting review seo is super competitive and I'm nowhere near the front page for most terms unfortunately.
I assum it converts well?
Solo, self funded and profitable. I work on it while traveling around Asia.
Agree with patio11 there's probably way more than would speak up here. I seldom contribute to HN or the bootstrapping forums mentioned in another reply. I browse a little, but 99% of my time spent in front of the computer is spent working on product or replying to customer emails.
How I got started:
I've built SaaS apps before but they were the dreaded "solution looking for a problem" type.
Then I decided to do things strictly the Lean way. Got out of the building. Talked to customers about an idea I had. Pretty soon I discovered an adjacent problem that everyone had, that sounded fun to solve, and that I had specific domain knowledge in. I built and launched my MVP in one month, from a beach in Koh Samui. I've been traveling ever since then, spending each month in a different country.
Charged from day 1. Had paying customers from day 1.
I find changing my environment enables me to compartmentalize my work better - like I try to get major new features rolled out before I head to my next destination.
Not planning on doing this solo forever. Not ruling out hiring some help down the line and maybe a permanent office somewhere.
But for now it's pretty fun the way it is!
Everyone: When sharing information about your app, I would request people to share marketing approaches as well. It would greatly help people who are just getting started.
Facebook tokens aren't unlimited but they are long enough such that the user doesn't have to reconnect all the time.
Peashoot did ok but in the end there were too many free competitors (twitter analytics).
I think if the same thing happened now, I'm a more experienced entrepreneur so I'd be able to deal with free competitors better - figure out what customers are still willing to pay for, aim for the enterprise market etc.
I got started because I wanted good backups and there were no solutions available which I was satisfied with.
Basically, there is a market for vintage computer hardware, so I post some adds offering to take away old office items they can't just throw away. Such as old keyboards, terminals, etc. and they pay me a nominal fee ($1 - $5 per item depending) to rid them of their "trash". I then resell those items after cleaning them up a bit for extremely high profit margins $35 - $120 for 20 minutes of work (since I was payed to take away the trash).
One of the things I did was sold Model M keyboards which I made USB compatible: http://austingwalters.com/keyboards/
Another way I make money is by tutoring or helping out with programming, I use to help out local people, but I have since switched over to Google Helpouts. Usually, it's just explaining some algorithms and writing some C code. Pretty easy, no real upkeep, and I can set what ever hours I want.
Pinegrow has been paying most of our bills since launch and I have a lot of expansions in the pipeline: full support for Foundation alongside Bootstrap, developer edition that'll work with templates, a similar app for designing emails...
For now, I'll continue playing with it on my Mac, but Linux support would be the best.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gyzegb9sae3jlwh/Bv9NtDF96z (select ... and Download as zip).
Please let me know how it works out.
I'll also be testing out the linux client, and I'm sure that you are probably aware of the fact that a lot of web devs use some form of linux as their main desktop.
Give me some time to fall in love, and I'll happily pay. It seems so shortsighted, as if I'd somehow use up all the usefulness of your app in 7 days or perhaps even 30 days.
Its a tool for work, and if it can reduce my load in any significant way I'd pay $500 for it. Now, I'll never really know. Too bad... for both of us.
I get your point and have thought a lot about it before deciding on 3 days.
3 days was a compromise between having a short sales cycle (we are bootstraping the app) and letting users try the app before they buy it. We also have an online version available for free without any time limitations. The only thing the online version can't do is open local files.
We'll reconsider extending the trial to 7 days.
If you like the app and feel it could be useful to you it would be a shame to blow it off simply because of the short trial. If you need to try it out for longer, just send me an email and I'll set you up.
At the moment it uses Chromium to render HTML, but I'll add a custom renderer to support various templates.
Any plans to support the SASS version of Bootstrap ?
There's also a number of podcasts (notably "Startups for the Rest of Us" and "Bootstrapped With Kids")
Rob's book is an obbligatory reference in this space too:
My own thing is not 'successful' in that it's not my main source of income just yet, but it's not too far off, either: http://www.liberwriter.com
One of the key things I've learned from it is to go do something that matters to 'ordinary people', rather than something that's "cool" from a computer guy point of view.
I like that you kept the layout simple using only bootstrap. that's a lot faster & cheaper than doing a full blown design.
Hope that makes things clearer. Again: You're doing a great job!
You'll find a lot of one-person businesses targeting tiny, but profitable, niches like mine. What's great about it is that often when you find a tiny opportunity, it opens up a lot of other problems that need solving that you would never find otherwise. It's also a great way to learn the skills of running a business in a relatively stress-free way (at least compared to running a startup).
The only downside is if you're anything like me, you'll get antsy working on small projects and yearn to tackle bigger, more ambitious problems. Sometimes 1-person companies have the potential for turning into a company with startup-like growth, sometimes not. I'm still trying to figure out how far I can take my company.
* Textbooks Please: a textbook search engine for college students. It's grossed ~$20k, almost all of which has been reinvested, and not paying myself that much.
* dbinbox: an inbox for your dropbox for receiving files too large to email. It's got ~25k users, but has made less than $1k in donations. I need to give this one a reboot soon.
* Email Tip Bot: send bitcoin with email. Launched two weeks ago and I've already got my first 200 users :D
I really enjoy the process of making these kinds of things, but I find it enormously exhausting to do the other half of marketing, SEO, publicity, etc. I'm working on getting better at SEO, but would love to find someone that likes the marketing side.
I started it in 2007 as a gin side project to teaching history. I'm no longer teaching and it is the majority of my income.
if you inspect element, is there no text as well?
I've been adding new features recently, like the pinterest-like area for browsing office photos by room.
My goal of late has been to help people find and interact with the old posts that would traditionally be lost in the date-archive format of a traditional blog.
Basically I saw images of Google's offices and wondered if there were any sites that showed only office photos. There weren't any that I could find so I bought a domain and started posting photos I came across.
It was a collection of candid photos that weren't very good at first, but it is mainly architectural photography submitted by design firms now.
Founder Maciej Cegłowski wrote about it here:
As of myself, I am currently trying to educate myself into dividing my time better between my "day job" and my product. Hard to do, though, when your day job absolutely rocks... It's very easy to work all day long without realizing you should have stopped in the middle of the afternoon. Not a bad problem to have, mind you.
I've tried to get the revenue numbers up, but I've never been able to break a $2,000 month.
Try charging $9.95 instead of $8.00? :)
Then if eventually you release that version, mailing that list could make quite a bit of money for very little effort now. If the list grows very large, it would add further justification to develop that version too.
"The undersigned, for one, agrees to welcome our robot overlords."
Also, clear title at 33 should meet anyone's definition of successful. I just got a mortgage at 28 and that day is a long way off. Must feel good :)
Its a traditional desktop app (windows, mac), but only sold online via our own website or the mac app store. I created it about 4 years ago, and work on it solely in my spare time. In fact I'm employed full time at a major tech company but this I keep separate.
To claim its profitable is a bit misleading, because of cause the major cost in developing such software is my own time. I've incorporated as a limited company here in Finland but do not pay myself a salary, so the only costs to the business are web hosting and occasional hardware purchases (computers, cameras).
I started this as a project for personal interest; at the time I was working as a software engineer developing financial trading software. Smart Shooter was a good way to develop something that covered both my interests in graphics programming and digital photography, to alleviate the borebom from my day job.
So for me its been successful, its still an pleasureable hobby, allows me an excuse to play around with the latest cameras, and brings in some pocket money. It doesn't generate enough revenue that I could quit my main job, but the possibilities could be there if situations change.
The name of the service is: https://www.bizify.me
For an introduction to the service: https://www.bizify.me/hacker-news/
A website generator and a login/fetch user info/filter service attached for brazilian firms/hotels/inns that offer rooms to rent for long periods/temporary housing.
A very niche market in which I fill myself inn, was developing something just for me and got the idea of offering it to others. I have just one client (so I don't qualify to "successful"), but I'm following patio11 advice of offering services do niche underserved markets. Does anyone has any advice?
My biggest problem is how to market to such a niche. I'm trying to email people, but the people in niche are really non-computer users, so it is difficult.
In the early days, I worked to stay visible through conducting interviews for my company blog - that got us on the map in the sports community. It also helps that we never say no to a request...ever.
I'm down to a single client (much easier to manage than multiple clients) so I can pretty much pick my projects, work at my own pace, and get paid fairly decently.
I don't make millions, but I make enough and am happy.
Below isn't really business but was a brilliant idea by someone. It isn't my site but maybe it'll inspire someone to do something similar: http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/
btw - I'm making a club for people to discuss/show their side projects and startups with other devs, check my profile for the link.
Then came a whole load of copycat sites. As far as I know most of those failed.
It proves that you don't need to get multi-million-dollar valuations to be successful and that the general entrepreneur is pretty content with the amount he/she is making (+1 to thousandaire).
These are stories entrepreneurs (who are realists) should read about and we'd probably all be better off avoiding those "billion dollar acquisitions" (for fear that it will consume us mentally, physically and emotionally).
I live entirely in the consulting space working on SEO/SEM and content marketing, and have done so alone since 1997. After a few pivots in web design, hosting and domaining, I've ended up in a place where I can be picky with clients and charge good fees. I hit the website development market on its first big wave, and moved into search before 99% of other SEOs even knew the discipline existed (and before some were even out of elementary school!)
I make much more than a full-time employee would, but there is a lot of bosses and stress comes in waves. I have learned how to fire clients (hard to do) and how to size up opportunities. But the company is me. It's not saleable - no intellectual asset exists beyond what I bring to the table. So it's never going to have an "exit." This is my main gripe.
Also, I relocated to Kentucky after writing tons of code in The Valley and ended up in Lexington, KY - a great university town with a highly educated population (and a Google eCity.) This has offered me a nice lifestyle, plenty of time to raise my kids and material rewards for probably 60% of Santa Clara's cost. My company is at http://www.buzzmaven.com. Good luck!
Do you have any (basic?) license enforcement and anti-reversal protection in your code?
What do you mean by toxic search engine landscape?
Read my lips:
And, no, I like my income. I'm not telling what I'm doing!
Currently i created a member management site on www.ledenboek.be/EN for sport clubs, i'm still improving this. But it's also a test for marketing and gaining clients.
Next up is Surveyor ( a email/sms marketing web application which i used myself (not public yet). I'm going to use it first for clients who ask me to create their website.
But the big one is a document management system, that is totally different from the existing onces. I already have interest have a company with +/- 100 users and we are setting up a small demo in April there (ps. This will hit Hackernews in about 2-3 months)
I am really not that worried about slow growth or not making much money, I am enjoying what I am doing, works on average 6 hours a day and can spend rest of my time on learning new things and thinking about life and philosophy.
I started because I felt that market (and so do I) need such simplified software. Most of the options were too complicated and were very costly.
I will soon be touching 100 paying customers so will write a detailed post and share it on hackernews.
I sell e-books on my site and through affiliates, and sell print books on amazon. All told I make around $3,000 a month in passive revenues. I also make $4000-$5000 more in tutoring revenues.
However, the site is fairly new (I just sold the books through affiliates/print previously). As I grow the site I expect I may be able to get over $10,000 per month passive.
The LSAT is an admission exam for American and Canadian law schools. My materials/lessons teach people how to do better on it.
I have a team of community volunteers that do a lot of day to day moderation and member management.
I got started simply building a set of community resources for the radio communications and hobbyist market.
We're very profitable and these businesses provide the majority of my family's income.
I first created the Android version about 3 years ago, then the iOS version about 1 year ago. It currently makes just enough to cover some bills, although I believe it has a greater potential. I'm currently looking for ways to make this a recurring revenue stream instead of a one time payment gig.
Do tell if you have any specific questions, and I'll be more than happy to help out!
I get a lot of consulting (development + design) business when clients learn about us via this application.
I also use it set up landing pages for any Startups/SMEs are developing their MVP/Beta application with me.
It may be the only way to do it very quickly. Most companies don't just go viral on day 1, they work very hard to get customers. Some times advertising makes sense, other times it doesn't, but it's certainly not the only option.