One thing I didn't realize when I started pitching the first book was that there would be "passive income" in addition to the book advance and royalties.
For instance, I've had three foreign-rights deals for "Experimenting With Babies," and the only additional work I had to do was put my signature on some paperwork.
And I have Amazon referral links on both websites, pointing to each book on Amazon. Those links generate a monthly average of about $40 in commissions per month, although my monthly high has been as much as $630.
I only read the first two "experiments" but it looks awesome! Waiting for a child of my own to try all these experiments on.
I'd love to hear about the history of the book - how did you decide to work on something like this?
I got the idea for the book while rocking my son back to sleep in the middle of the night. I realized that I had been doing lots of informal experiments, and I thought it would be really cool to adapt real experiments from various fields of child-development research so that parents could perform them on their own children, with no special equipment needed.
For "Correlated," I used a lot of natural-language generation, so I suppose you could say that my editor was Sublime Text, at least for the drafts. Then ported into Word format.
If you're hoping to get your book in bookstores, get an agent and work with a traditional publisher. Actually, I think going the traditional book-deal route is normally a better bet than self-publishing, unless you expect the vast majority of your sales will be digital and you have a large pre-order list that gives you an assurance of a larger paycheck than any advance you're offered.
Of course, authors must always be their book's best marketer, but having a publicist takes a load off your plate. In my case, the publisher's in-house publicist handled pitching media outlets so I didn't have to.
If you're going to spend money to publicize your book, spend it on pitching media outlets. A single mention in a well-read magazine or newspaper can give you a real bump in sales.
6 months: Regularly covering server expenses (which were ~$50-100/month at that point).
18 months: Would have paid for me to live nicely on the beach in Thailand.
30 months: Would cover my rent (and nothing else) at a nice apartment in a major city.
40 months: Passed the monthly take-home pay from my first (non-software) Engineering job out of college.
60 months: About what I'd have been making had I stuck with that first job out of college for 10 years.
80 months: Roughly a Senior Dev salary anywhere but the Bay Area.
As I noted a few years back for the first version of this list, this is for a SaaS subscription product that I built with the explicit goal of having a low-level income stream that I didn't have to put much time into. Early on, there were periods where I worked 80 hours or more per month to get the infrastructure ticking away to my satisfaction. These days, it requires maybe six hours of my attention each month.
This year, though, I've been back to full speed (meaning high single digit hours per week) building out and releasing a bunch of new features.
For the most part, the people who request the Cheap Bastard Plan don't have much in the way of traffic, so it's not particularly expensive to service them. Every once in a while I'll get a request from somebody who's a bit "cheap"'er than normal, asking for an upgrade after posting a comment to an online forum or blog entry, or even just a tweet. But for the most part people tend to have nice things to say about the product, and proceed to say them.
One possible application might be recurring revenue stats (growth, churn, etc). There are some solutions for this but they all depend on certain billing providers. Would be nice if you could just upload a .csv file of all your transactions, tag the columns, and get a nice report.
Out of curiosity does anyone know of a similar service for Google Cloud Storage? Really bums me out that they don't break out bandwidth per bucket.
They've been pretty bad the last few months. I think it's because the server was overloaded and response times were getting really bad. It was running on a GoDaddy $70/mo VPS with IIS, SqlServer. But that server was also hosting an Umbraco site and a WordPress blog. The PHP process was taking up 99% CPU nearly all the time.
Now I have it running independently on a GoDaddy VPS and all the static resources are on Amazon CloudFront. It is much faster.
My wife says the designs we have are out of date and we need to make some newer designs. This involves going to Target, looking at the greeting cards, place mats, napkins, and other nick-hacks to get ideas. Also, Pinterest is great for design ideas! Then, opening up InkScape or a D3 console and creating SVG color-in templates in the site's specific format.
| Mon (desc)| Sales |
| July | 128.70 |
| June | 227.45 |
| May | 124.65 |
| April | 301.50 |
| March | 274.40 |
| February | 287.35 |
| January | 415.25 |
| December | 128.70 |
| November | 175.65 |
| October | 188.60 |
| September | 132.75 |
| August | 330.25 |
| July | 343.20 |
| June | 297.45 |
| May | 505.90 |
| April | 351.30 |
| March | 484.05 |
| February | 188.60 |
| January | 248.50 |
| December | 38.85 |
| November | 155.40 |
| October | 89.85 |
| September | 209.65 |
| August | 179.70 |
| July | 299.50 |
| June | 329.45 |
| May | 229.50 |
| April | 279.45 |
| March | 419.15 |
| February | 249.45 |
| January | 149.70 |
| December | 119.75 |
| November | 199.60 |
| October | 109.75 |
| September | 99.80 |
| August | 99.80 |
| July | 70.80 |
| June | 25.90 |
| May | 25.90 |
| April | 38.85 |
| March | 0.01 |
Also, the number of template available seems very low. From your home page, if you add up the numbers under "Categories", you only have 10 templates to choose from? You need to get that to 100. Seriously. This is like a business card creator site - you need lots and lots of choices, and people will buy.
Not many want to custom design a complete cupcake wrapper themselves. Just pick a nice baby design and add text to it for the baby name.
Email some of your customers and ask them how you can improve.
My 2 cents. Congrats on the success, and good luck!
But, it's been on my to-do list for over a year to build a wizard on top of the custom designer with a step 1) choose a design, step 2) upload photo, step 3) enter text, type of experience.
Made a portfolio website for my girlfriend. Got positive feedback, refactored into Wordpress theme and published on ThemeForest. Not 100% passive as I spend 3-4 hours per week for answering support emails.
ThemeForest is a perfect place for passive income if you are a website developer. At first it challenges your skills as you need to create the concept, design it and code it. Then it challenges your business, marketing and support skills. You become a one man factory and learn a lot.
Definitely not an area your average web-developer can just drop into. I can definitely write the code but you also need a good artistic/design mind. Just to make everything more coherent and to create a real theme that runs through the template.
I've been considering doing the same thing with some of my sites. Do you have any tips on refactoring something we've designed and selling it on a theme marketplace? Are there specific site features that sell better than others and/or are requested a lot? Do themes with wordpress/php included sell better than ones without? I'm very curious - thanks!
If you look at other themes on TF you will notice how many features they have. Building your first theme with the same amount of features would be very time consuming. I went with "Getting Real" approach and focused on doing the fundamentals right. At the time I launched there were no customisable fonts, colors or sidebars (something that most of other themes had). But it still sold well, because people liked the way it showcased their portfolios.
Do a Wordpress theme. It sells much better than HTML only and selling price is 4 times higher.
I've contemplated converting some of my custom WP themes to sell on ThemeForest but I didn't think it would be worth the time.
edit: I often wonder if it would be worth it to try to compete with theme clubs. They seem to make a killing on recurring revenue and release a couple of themes a year.
There are a couple of high-selling authors on TF that established their theme clubs. They build up customer base using TF and then invite people to subscribe for a yearly fee to get access to all of their themes plus the ones to be released. I guess after you reach certain amount of customers such model is much more profitable.
Eg. http://www.themezilla.com/ and here's a link to their TF profile http://themeforest.net/user/OrmanClark
In general people spend a lot of money on themes. I think you might be better off competing with themeforest or more likely, any of the number of bootstrap theme website popping up.
You pay yearly to access to a bunch of quality themes. They pay out 50% commissions (and on renewals too) to affiliates but they have 200k+ plus users. They have to bring in a couple million a year.
I believe they started out at much lower prices and started raising it as they released more and more themes.
Direct link to the demo: http://inthe.me/demo/fluxus/
The interesting thing is that you can't control the price of your theme and it is set at the time of publishing by TF. Price range for WP themes is $35 - $50
Pluginbag offers 80% to the seller with No Exclusive lock in
Shoppers will benefit from the latest, well managed and quality work of the sellers.
PS: I'm the cofounder at pluginbag.com
Hope it works out, sounds like it's a better deal for sellers (which often makes buyers happier in the long run).
I've never had an idea good enough to make an app out of, or build a company around. So instead, I started investing a small amount of my paycheck in to my brokerage account. Buying lots of stock in Dividend Kings, I've earned $25 this year, with another $20 through October. It's not a lot, but I'm fully thinking long-term.
I guess the other thing I'm doing is finally putting money where my mouth is and putting money into companies I think will succeed in the future.
Getting $25/year would need around $3000 in the account. Although it might not increase much over the years.
The US has had very low inflation in the last decade or so with very small deflation in 2009. but interest isn't beating inflation here either though.
As far as "high yield" savings goes, for a normal savings account or money market account you'll be looking at 1% being the max rate right now, if you can find it. Last I took a glance I saw .95% being the highest. Those are for online banks. I get .85% with Discover Bank (online savings account). I also have a 17 month CD that earn me a whopping 2%. That was a one time special my [brick and mortar] credit union was offering. Those accounts are FDIC (or NCUA) insured.
Let's, for example, look at the history of credit cards. I am sure you can agree that the 30% interest rate charged today is unreasonably high. It wasn't at a time, and lets look at how it got that way.
Back in the late 70s/early 80s we had a recession with double digit inflation while at the same time all states had usury laws that capped credit card interest rates. Inflation was so high that inflation surpassed the highest interest rates companies were allowed to charge. Citibank was "going broke" with this model - they were actually losing money lending at that interest rate at that time. Citibank then convinced South Dakota to drop is usury laws on credit cards and Citi would move there in order to charge an interest rate that beat inflation. Citibank moved there and overnight the stage was set for the US credit card industry to now flourish. "All of their senior people used to say it,'' [then governor of South Dakota] said. "That South Dakota saved Citibank. I believe it did. That South Dakota saved Citibank.'' It was a result of an economic recession with high inflation. There was a Frontline special years ago about this - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/more/ri... - though it is outdated, since credit card legislation has passed that addresses a lot of the topics brought up on the show. you can watch it online for free - I highly recommend you do.
Delaware and Nevada followed with similar legislation, so that's why most (all?) credit card companies have a return address in SD, NV, or DE.
However, we are no longer in double digit inflation but the old interest rates and legislation stand, for the most part. New laws are slowly reeling in on some credit card practices to keep up with the economic times and current circumstances.
*Disclaimer: I have no idea about the economic situation of Ukraine. I am just making a point about judgements of different times/economies.
Mutual funds may be a much better option, though.
So yeah the returns are pitiful in a savings. The rates on CDs are lower than the one on the savings account.
In the short term it looks like a bad idea, because you could have more income coming from your dividends, but when a crisis or something hits, it's worth it.
A dividend stock is likely to beat inflation, (but not with as much growth as a growth stock.) Theoretically, if you're only using the dividends, it's just as good in downturns (as long as it's not GE/GM/BAC with huge non core financing arms).
My risk adverse holding is a major, regulated, electricity provider. If it goes out of business, it's likely that I also don't have electricity.
If you're talking something like a collapse of the entire economy, then yes, tangible assets like gold and real estate are much better. It's not impossible, but I don't know if it's especially likely that's going to happen....
That said, I do invest in gold/silver and real estate as well for various reasons. I also invest in dividend stocks for other various reasons. They all have a place in my strategy.
I haven't done much research on emerging markets, but isn't that a very high-risk/high-reward investment? For now, while I'm still stuck at my job and not yet "rich" (by my conservative definition) I'd rather mitigate my risk and have some control over my investments -- I plan to be successful and well-off, I'm not just hoping that I get lucky and one of my investments' value goes through the roof.
(I'm not criticizing and I didn't downvote you. I'm actually interested to hear others' investing strategies, maybe I can learn something new!)
In theory, dividends are a great source of passive income, but with effective yields of 2-3% you'd need a lot of capital to generate any meaningful income, i.e., a $1M investment would pay around $30,000 annually.
Dividend stocks have never performed that well; they never appreciate 10-20x like certain growth stocks, they usually underperform relative to the market, and when the market declines they all go down just the same.
Here's an example: over the past two years P&G (PG) and Coca-Cola (KO), two dividend stock favorites, are up about 20% and flat respectively. The S&P 500 index is up 40% in the same period, Facebook (FB) is up over 200%, and Tesla (TSLA) is up over 700%.
To get that 700% increase in Tesla, you would've had to get in early; and how do you know at that point that the stock's going up or down?
While I'm sure plenty of people actually do make significant money on growth stocks, it's about appreciation and capital gains. Worse, it's about appreciation of an asset you don't have control over. It's got better chances than trying to win the lottery, I guess, but you can't really know what the future holds. Everything I've heard about other people investing in the stock market (and hoping their portfolio goes up) usually involves wins and losses -- which end up cancelling each other out. You also have to realize the gains to get them. If you don't sell when the market is up, you might lose when the market goes down.
Dividends (not the value of the stock, but the dividend it pays), however, tend to remain stable, even through crisis situations like 2008.
Now, I've read about some pretty complex investing strategies that involve options and all sorts of hedging -- strategies that basically ensure a return by mitigating the risk. But that takes a lot of learning (and time) and I'm not really a stock guy. I feel like my time is better spent focusing on big wins in other areas (where I have more knowledge).
You mention that dividend stocks don't perform well -- but the purpose of investing in dividend stocks isn't usually about watching the price of the stock rise. It's about the dividends -- which are nice by themselves, but also usually rise about 15% a year for those companies. It's also about DRIP investing -- reinvesting the dividends rather than accumulating or spending them. Between DRIP and annual dividend increases, the stock compounds on itself. With any compounding investment, the key metric is time -- so starting early and letting it compound over your lifetime is very beneficial.The idea isn't about investing $1m immediately for $30k/year immediately. Invest slowly over time to have $1m worth of stocks paying $30k/yr (while not actually paying that full $1m, since much of it came from DRIP and hopefully dividend increases)
However, I'm not saying you're wrong, this is all just my opinion. I'll admit my stock investing strategy is very conservative, but like I said, I'm not much of a stock guy. Until I discovered dividend investing strategies, I thought about investing in index funds -- and even before that, I avoided the stock market entirely. I'd much rather own and control my assets, which is why I'm bootstrapping a business and investing in rental real estate primarily -- and reinvesting the income into dividend stocks (when it's an attractive investment) for sort of a stable "base-layer" of "backup" income (down the road -- after compounding) that I honestly hope to never end up using.
EDIT: I just wanted to give an example.
Say you have a stock that's worth $50 and pays a 3% dividend ($1.50 per share). You buy 1 share per year for the next 30 years.
Let's assume no growth -- the stock stays at $50 per share and 3% dividend for the entire 30 years. So you've spent $1500, total, on this stock over that period, and purchased 30 shares. However, with dividend reinvesting, your total holdings at the end of that time are 47.58 shares (you can have fractional shares with DRIP) and the total value is $2,378, and pays a $71 annual dividend. The value of the stock, with no appreciation whatsoever, is about 60% higher than the total purchase price ($1500), and the dividend it pays is about 5% of the purchase price.
Now add a 15% dividend increase per year and an average 15% stock price increase per year (if the price remains stable, the math goes crazy -- you end up paying $1500 over 30 years and have a $2m portfolio paying $4m in dividends!). You pay $59k over 30 years for 1 share per year of stock. At the end of the period, you end up with 7 extra shares and your portfolio is worth almost $370k -- that's a 500% increase in value over what you paid. You also receive an $86 annual dividend per share, and over $3k total per year -- again, a 5% dividend at the end.
These are very simple examples, as well. Realistically, there are a ton of extra variables. You probably buy more stock as time goes on, simply because you make more money. You might also buy a whole bunch more during market crashes, reducing the average cost per share at the end of the investing period -- or you might buy less when the market's soaring. Stocks might stagnate, companies might go through hard times, etc. forcing you to stop buying or outright sell. Plus there's inflation and all.
You probably can also charge a larger than average security deposit to weed out the people with cashflow problems. Most states have a cap on amount of security deposit collected, I know here it is twice the monthly rent if under 60. Otherwise the cap is one month's rent.
Here's the rub: You usually gotta have a great place to rent that attract such tenants.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a landlord but I am considering becoming one. Yes, I FULLY know the risks, my parents were landlords for over a decade. So I know exactly what NOT to do as they only made pennies. My grandparents are also landlords and make plenty of money on their rental properties, so I have a positive model as well as a negative one. :)
My TOWN even has a whole book of additional rights for tenants/obligation for landlords in addition to national and state regulations.
Being a landlord is serious business.
Got to be careful with drugs because the police can confiscate the house via asset forfeiture. One tenuous link between a drug dealing tenant and my bank account and the department has a new vacation home.
Probably not though since I live in Brooklyn. :(
Sales are online only (have not pursued wholesale yet) and is enough to live off of if all else fails. After 6 years we are have about $600K in total sales.
Great animated GIF on the home page!
(There's more than one you know!)
The first week I made $1200, the last month I made around $450. Things have been slowing down with some personal things going on, so it's been mostly passive as of late. When I launched I had some real speed issues and a lot of optimizing to do, which was incredibly nervewracking as it's my first web app built on PHP and the first project I did that uses a database.
edit: forgot the link: http://space.galaxybuster.net/
Sales from that are well over 10K USD at this point. A lot of that was over the launch week, I've not had a huge amount of time to devote to marketing it over the last couple of months as our main business (which was a side project until it took off) has kept me busy, so it really is passive income at this point.
I wrote up on my blog about creating the various versions http://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2014/01/07/html-epub-mobi...
I've also recently presented on how to build books in CSS and HTML and the slides and various useful resources are here: http://rachelandrew.co.uk/presentations/css-books
The fonts and page layout make for high quality books.
Using pandoc you can convert pretty much any modern markup language to .tex (I don't recommend .tex as the source format, as it might be difficult to get used to if you don't have experience with it + it is not trivial to produce .html/.epub from .tex sources.
Keep up the good work.
You need to be building an audience for your book long before you actually launch it if you want to have a decent launch. Nathan Barry writes some good stuff about this, check out his book Authority: http://nathanbarry.com/authority/
I've written about it before, if you want to look through my history.
Mind sharing what the cleaning company is? You appear to be in the UK, and I will soon be in the market for a cleaner.
I'm assured things are organized now but its still a little nerve wracking. I know lots of people that would love to be able to reliably rent bikes in India and have often thought about doing what you have done. Your interface looks very professional and gives confidence to the user.
I live in Mumbai, do you have thoughts on expansion?
How do you market?
edit: to mention that it bounces around between $1.50 a day to $2.50 a day based on usage
What kind of plugin is it?
How do you monetize it?
W3Counter (https://www.w3counter.com) meanwhile generates less than 10% that revenue from 100x the users. They're really similar services fundamentally, but worked out very different. W3Counter ends up being used by hobbyists that want to see vanity metrics like page view counts going up, most of which will not pay for analytics, while companies eagerly pay for Improvely as a profit multiplier for their online marketing.
Aside from those sites, not much has changed. I have a few e-commerce stores that essentially run themselves as passive income, and a steady stream of commissions from various business referrals I made years ago.
Support is low - though it took a while to build the initial technology. I get a lot of traction from realtors and lawyers. I've tried paid advertising but the conversions are too low to make it worth it.
Initial goal was "vacation money", and it's currently on track to hit that level next year.
I've had a similar service, http://dbinbox.com/, slowly growing with entirely free plans for the last ~year and a half up to ~25k users and am about to add premium plans.
The site is a bit lacking in documentation (typical side project issue). It's $3/m or $30/year. I get a good mix of both types of subscriptions. I figure the price is low enough that it's not a barrier to entry for the majority of people. I also need to document better what premium accounts get you (ability to upload to different folders, etc).
I experimented with adwords and stumbleupon but nothing caused enough conversions to be worth it. Every now and then I turn adwords back on to play with keywords a bit, but it's just not worth it at the low price point.
No it isn't :)
The initial time outlay was quite large, but it was always approached from the point of view of generating a lot traffic to get the payback.
Won't share the link as it's a competitive niche.
Is the content in English, or a foreign language? Do you get most of your "long tail" referrals from google.com or an international version?
I suspect there are a lot of wide open playing fields for content sites in foreign languages that simply replicate popular US based ones.
Can you talk about this?
Also, how many ads and what formats/sizes work best for you?
For automating scraping/spamming protection, I would consider something like CloudFlare Security though, my own tools are good enough for now, but I would still be vulnerable to a DDoS or a botnet scrape - it's enough to stop one-man scrapers but I'll need something beefier soon.
Ad formats that seem to work best: 728x90 by a long margin. I generally top and tail the content section with a leaderboard ad. I do serve different sizes for mobile etc, but the leaderboard works way better. I've also experimented with skyscrapers and boxes, which performed very poorly (skyscrapers especially).
Email in my profile if you are interested in details.
I've posted this before, but I wrote up some thoughts about things I've learned about launching a side project here that you might find helpful: https://medium.com/@mjwhansen/things-ive-learned-launching-a...
* Google's free tier is 2,500 a day. But if you need more than that, you have to sign a yearly contract ($10,000+). Our pricing is 2,500 free a day with additional lookups at $.001 each.
* We don't place any restrictions on our geocodes. The major providers often a lot of restrictions on how you use their lookups, like having to use it with a particular brand of map, can't use it in a backend, can't resell, can't store them, etc. Our lookups are completely restriction free.
* Related, at the enterprise level, we have an option for unlimited geocoding for $750 a month. Major providers usually have a daily limit for their enterprise plans, such as 100,000 lookups a day.
* We provide additional data that people often need along with lat/lon, like timezone, Congressional district, school district, and state legislative districts.
* We're non-developer friendly. We have a CSV upload option (http://geocod.io/blog/2014/04/30/csv/) that lets people upload a spreadsheet of addresses and download it directly from the same dashboard.
A big difference is that we're US-only for the time being. Additionally, it's worth noting that our data is close to Google quality, but not quite. They've embarked on an ambitious, admirable, and expensive quest to map the world and have cars driving around the globe daily. We don't.
Admittedly a lot of people don't read these fine prints, but they are overly restrictive for a lot of uses.
I looked at various services to do postcode/zip to lat/long and eventually settled on just doing it in-house using downloaded data. After a bit of data massaging it actually works really well.
Didn't expect much but amazingly it pulls in consistently $70-$110 a day (about $2,500 a month) for a few months now (not counting the initial release spike).
Game is free to download with 1 In-App-Purchase that unlocks the full game.
Thinking of doing an iPhone version soon which will be a bit more involved than a straight port due to the small screen size and different screen aspect ratio, but I'm currently convinced it will be worth it since the genre actually usually does better on iphone than ipad.
Just wanted to add this to counter all the doom & gloom posts about iOS games not doing well. If you have a great and unique product for a good target market with good retention and monetization, then you can still do very well without too much marketing.
(I actually run ads with about $4 daily budget. Not sure if it actually helps, but I think it does.)
Embrace the competition. Plan for it. Set time aside for it. Make it work for you.
I could try other ad channels, but I'm talking with a publisher who might be interested in publishing it so haven't tried that yet.
Might help your negotiations, or else you just got started more quickly than you would have otherwise.
There's about 10 minutes of support work per day, but besides corporate customers occasionally needing some phone salesmanship and some manual tweaking, everything else is automated.
Yes, it's probably more expensive than if I used EC2, but I've never been awoken in the middle of the night to need to reboot a server, troubleshoot a memory issue, or scale up my instances.
Effort is relatively low, a few weeks of on and off work to get it online, styling, moving servers a couple of times, etc. I need to move servers again I think, or at least upgrade all the software, it's kinda wonky for some people at times.
Not a lot but it’s something. And I built the validator without even thinking about monetizing so it’s quite nice to get rewarded with some pocket money.
It’s not 100% passive, as I do spend a little time maintaining it and adding new features, but what income is 100% passive?
I think £55 a year is best case scenario. At least it likely covers web-hosting costs.
While it's not a completely like-for-like comparison, I suspect it will be tough to justify $299 per single web site for many businesses that might use these tools in the first place. Personally, I'd want solid data about conversion rates to back up the marketing on the creditcard.js website before I'd consider spending real money on anything like this.
I was surprised since I'm a software guy I didn't write the book to make money, I just did it for something to do.
Although my software business makes much more money, I was surprised at how truly "zero maintenance" book sales are. My software I'm constantly fixing, tweaking and improving (which I enjoy). The book is just "out there" and is priced at $30 per copy. I sell > 1 per day.
The book: http://www.growthhackinghandbook.com
I've checked on App Annie ans your app seems to be around 500 (grossing) in health & fitness in the US. I find it a bit surprising that there are 500 apps in health alone making >2k month.
That said, my site seems to get picked up in an unhealthy number of "top free images for your website" type list articles - I'm not sure if other sites would get picked up at the same rate, but you could always try.
By end of august I'll be split-testing moderenizing it (it's not mobile/tablet friendly, backend makes it a pain to add content (especially text),etc) - I'm hoping making it nicer doesn't hit the income.
Now that my kids are old enough to travel easily, I plan on taking picture-taking vacations to some cool places once a year - and let them take a shot at learning photography on the job.
It's zero maintenance, and sometimes I even forget about it. I spend maybe 1-2 hours updating the website to a new Uglify.js version per year. It's a simple single file node.js app hosted for free on Heroku.
Honestly I just created it for myself back before Grunt, Gulp, etc. after searching for some simple online tools and not finding any that allowed uploading and combining multiple files together. The first version was PHP, and I switched it to a node.js app in 2011 after Uglify.js came out (there were a lot of problems with the PHP library I was using).
I created the website in 2008, so it's been going for quite a while, collecting backlinks and traffic ever since. I am not looking at the reports right now, but I believe it made less than $200 the whole first year I had ads on it (it didn't always have ads).
As for numbers: http://www.bingocardcreator.com/stats/sales-by-month Historically, multiplying by 60% usually gets a good approximation for profits.
My first side business was profiting $10k/mo but I ultimately lost it because of neglecting support emails.
I've checked again today, and now I don't get a SSL warning. I am pretty sure I've never visited your site before, so I don't think it's caching on my end.
Hawaii passed law in the past couple years that says you must have someone on the island representing your unit incase something is goes wrong or your tenants need assistance, so we do pay someone to be on call for that.
Edit to ask: do you mind sharing which island/area, your rental is in? 90% occupancy rate sounds pretty amazing.
Our place in on Maui near Kaanapali beach. Hawaii is nice because it isn't too seasonal.
My own iPhone photo app, Liquid Lens:
actually briefly cracked the top 200 photo apps this month and pulls in more than $90 but is still only in the coffee money income bracket.
After four years of the indie iOS thing I'm tooling back up to do web dev again.
So far this hasn't been true though. Currently IAP revenue from the free version tends to be about 1/3 the revenue of the paid version even though free app downloads outnumber paid by at least 10 to 1 on most days. It does seem like IAP has been ticking up a bit over the last few weeks though. Maybe people have to play with the app for a while before they're willing to pay for it?
Personally I'd prefer to just do paid apps, since adding IAP + store transactions adds a fair bit of work.
Independent Nurseries and Garden Centers (the sellers) sign up and can instantly upload their items for sale directly to customers expanding their sales region of their niche products from just their neighbored to the entire USA. Since its niche customers who are looking for specific items customers find the site fairly easy through search.
The site is now doing about $2,000 total revenue per month. I'm taking a proportion of each sale. For now, I'm mostly covering cost, but hoping to work on some automated marketing tools to increase revenue.
As others have mentioned, my best performing referrers in terms of sales completed are often Forums (as opposed to AdWords, organic search etc).
The site does marketing via emails and some top products Google Ad Words, Facebook, and hopefully Titter soon. I'm using Google Analytics with the e-commerce plugin to build Adwords remarketing campaigns and plan to do Facebook rmarketing campaigns soon.
It's not totally passive as there's some support request, but I'm hoping to bring on an on-demand virtual assistant for support requests as discussed by the Internet Business Mastery guys: http://www.internetbusinessmastery.com/ibm-218-work-less-mak...
"buy variegated peperomia plant" #7 / DuckDuckGo #2
"jackson vine" Google #9 / DuckDuckGo #4
"rainbow eucalyptus for sale" Google #22 / DuckDuckGo #6
Apparently I need to start using DuckDuckGo!!! These results are great!
From the attracting perspective sellers (nurseries), the "Buy Plants Online" search has a lot of competing bidders on Google so I'm going to have to get creative there.
Can you let me know how you reached the required login page so I can fixe that?
I really was hoping to be earning a meagre passive income by now, but i'm searching for a second job.
Books are not dead. I believe there is a great opportunity for specialist to "distill information" in their field and offer it to others as books. People don't pay for the content (which can be found on the Internet) but for the analysis and the curation of this content.
It's not "easy money" because writing and editing a book takes years of sustained effort, but if you're an expert in X, you already spend your days explaining X so writing down your explanations won't be //that// tough.
 noBS guide to Math and Phys: http://minireference.com/
PS: Anyone interested in writing a book about Chemistry and/or Biology? Get in touch with me so we can combine forces and take over the UGRAD textbook market!
If anything I'm interested more in how it works than how I can do it myself!
The bots written in JS running on a node.js server. The strategy (bet pattern) I use is actually pretty simple. But it's not betting on low odds only, tryed that and failed :)
There are a few places on the net explaining this in more detail.
On average it generates around $1 per day (in Bitcoin, of course :-)
At some point you have to wonder when it moves from ethically wrong, to you're an idiot if you don't do it.
I have just launched (like a few days ago) http://photobrix.com - but that is yet to bring in a penny from the limited adverts - I'm likely going to add a higher end/more featureful interface to generate instructions that people will spend $3 - 5 or so on. Additionally I'm aiming on allowing users to order their own prints (rather than deal with the hassle of individual bricks).
Similarly, if you're building a content site, the time to do it is right when the hype around your topic gets started. Think upcoming movie releases, video games, elections, etc. Build out the content around the hype, then when the time comes you're at the top and nobody's gonna knock you off. I know quite a few people banking some serious coin from this strategy alone.
| Year | $ |
| 2004 | 343 | (I was 24)
| 2005 | 440 |
| 2006 | 2,800 |
| 2007 | 8,900 |
| 2008 | 11,400 |
| 2009 | 12,500 |
| 2010 | 12,400 |
| 2011 | 18,000 |
| 2012 | 21,600 |
| 2013* | 34,000 |
| 2014* | 19,800 | (probably about $39k by year's end, more like $50k if I can help it)
I've made redesigns and adjustments over time, but it's been mostly passive, specially the past three years or so as I haven't touched it at all.
Don't ask me the URL, it's fugly and I'm embarrassed (though you can probably find it). Over the past few months I've been actually working on the side building a platform to help me launch other similar projects in a more useful, less ugly fashion. Too much to do, too little time. Stupid wasted youth :D
I never done a calculation like this before, and I didn't realize it's its 10th year anniversary! How cool is that. I would live like a king at 24 with my current cashflow.
It's been more challenging to get going than I anticipated as it's a significant upfront cash investment to get good cert reseller terms.
Powered it with an IAP to add 'My Story' support and small banner ads at the bottom of the screen. The app got about 2,500-3,500 downloads a day up to a total of 165,000 downloads. When searching for 'Snapchat' on Google play it was the 2nd or 3rd result. IAP brought in about $25 a day (after 30% removed) and the ads peaked at about $70 a day, so total was between $90 and $100 a day when things were good.
Didn't last long though, took a while to get to that daily amount and Google/Snapchat removed it from the store after the 3rd month of availability. So total was a few thousand. Still a very, very good result but not full-time income.
Side note: Java library that I made for interacting with Snapchat API hosted on GitHub (https://github.com/hatboysam/SnapHack). Contributions are welcome and it supports even all of the new Snapchat features like messaging. Feel free to recreate SnapHack!
I made a Pathfinder Ability Score Calculator last year and it got picked up by d20. There's an ad on it so I get revenue from it. Right now only about $40-50/month but it's been steadily increasing since I put it up a year ago.
A friend was going to sell me his hosting business but that fell through. That would have added about $100/month.
Now I get about 1.5% their purchase price gross in rental income every month. After buying them and fixing them up the majority of the work I do on them is at tax time (still do taxes myself to stay in the loop). HOA and property management fees eat into it a bit, but it's not a bad haul. In addition to the cash flow, they've all appreciated from 20%-50% in the last couple years.
These days dividends from Apple stock (not bad for a tech company) and some other investments are doing better, though not even close to as well as the real estate.
The key is often to save up enough money to be able to take advantage of opportunities. For example, we just decided last week that we're moving to Florida. We were planning to rent, but we found a 3BR condo in a high-rise gated community on a golf course about 1mi from the beach for around $300,000 that went for $800,000 before the financial crisis. Luckily, we had the cash to be able to capitalize on the opportunity. I assume the property value will at least double in the next 5 years. Even if it doesn't, if we had to rent it out tomorrow we could break even on what we pay for the mortgage + HOA fees with rent.
It's risker than other endeavors, but investing in residential real estate like this is the best kind of investment I've found for my risk profile with the amount of money I'm willing to invest.
The hard part is getting together the initial capital to do so. I started working full time at 21 and it took me until around 25 to be able to make my first investment saving most of my modest income during that time.
It demands from me 5 minutes each day (or 3 hours monthly, so it is not exactly passive..). It's a niche blog about architectural models: http://archimodels.info that I started as a hobby to learn about web development. I know that I'm near the bottom in the hierarchy of passive income but anyway I'm leaving my 2 cents. Tips:
- Good content is better than SEO, but you only pick the fruits 1-2 years later as your work compounds. Use your expertise. It is much easier/faster/more rewarding if you blog about something you are an expert.
- Adsense is (and probably will always be) ugly but is the fastest way to monetize a blog. I was making 15€/month before adsense and now I have slightly less traffic. Text ads or images ads? If you have a text intensive blog go for image ads and vice versa.
Mining is so rediculously hyper-competitive that I hope you'll understand the lack-of-detail. You learn to keep your mouth shut, head down, and just hope that you'll remain marginally profitable after the next difficulty adjustment.
Can't quite get myself to bootstrap this idea...
Marketplaces are hard to bootstrap. For the last 6 months I've been trying to grow pageviews and leads by doing low-touch marketing experiments: post listings to Boating and Yachting FB groups, asking for feedback in /r/sailing (lots of great feedback and pageviews), replying to craigslist ads for boats suggesting they list on docklister.
I have a several great blog ideas and I have a newsletter with approximately 45 people that I plan to start actively emailing content to.
Currently doing ~100 pageviews/day.
edit: forgot active link - https://www.docklister.com/
-$2000/m in power/space/bandwidth in costs
+$4000/m in fees
Banking a little under ~$1700 after I account for taxes for what amounts to an hour of effort a month.
I'd also either need to purchase a new cabinet or move into a cage -- which is not really an upfront cost (or the headache of contract negotiations) I want to take on for a hobby business. In either case, I'd have to start running my own switches (and god forbid router) and while I roughly know how to administer both, those are better left until I have more time to devote.
On the flip side, I have toyed with racking up a few 6U blade servers (~50 blades total) and renting those out as unmanaged, 0-support servers. The problem here is its a race to the bottom with blades and I'm no Softlayer or OVH and can't buy these things at hefty discount. I have worked out the math and after the first 3months, if I sell at least 60% of the blades I'll be paid off and the margins are significantly higher than my current servers.
(Though I realize you're doing more than that if you're renting out physical boxes too.)
On the whole, I could probably net in the 11-15K range per month if I expanded but that requires a lot more work and I'm not sure the money justifies it. At the moment its a (usually) enjoyable hobby that helps me keep current in sysadm-land and make some money at the same time
After a little bit of feedback about "making the keys bigger" I threw together a paid for app http://www.simonwaite.com/apps/glockenspiel-plus which brought in £2.50 from the android store last month which I was deliriously happy about.
The free one has about 10-20 downloads a day on iOS and 80-130 a day on android.
I was inspired by the 7 minute workout app posted here, and set aside 8 hours to build the whole thing. All told I ended up spending about 40 hours on it and haven't really touched it since.
I started selling it at $.99, but sales were slow and I wasn't really making anything at all off it. So I raised the price 5x to $4.99 and sales didn't really change much. Now it brings me in about $50-150 / month that I use as extra cash toward paying off my student loans.
Still in the red, but I've handed out about 10,000 free copies...
I created it to help people that can't surf into Google Map's in their own language. the link's forces the selected language manually and ignore the automatic language detection.
Started a few months ago and it's already covering my hosting in ad revenue. hopefully I'll have better numbers to report on the next Round of "...best passive income.." :)
Progress has been slower than I'd hoped due to personal distractions.
My plan is to spend equal parts on marketing and development. I have released a free version of the plugin in order to get it listed on the wordpress repository and to start seeding my mailing list. So far I have 20 people that signed up for "product updates and early release pricing".
It's been online for around eight years or so now. I typically work on it maybe 15-20 minutes a night or every other night uploading new designs that have been submitted.
Currently planning to re-develop it and make it so designers can sign up and manage their own profile and designs but I'm a little afraid to touch it and end up losing all of the little bit of money I'm currently making.
Eventually I made another blog about local and regional politics and analyzed and repackaged some government data as a whole series of posts that proved slightly popular. Now I'm up to around $1000 per year.
I'm working slowly at making a few sites based on the data I've already done and some new data.
The portfolio is inside a SIPP (self-invested pension) and the funds funnelled into it have been the profits from my contracting business which would have been liable to higher-rate income tax here in the UK.
Keeping money from the taxman which then makes me more money is great, shame I can't access any of it until 2040 ;)
Since January, I've netted roughly $13,000 after Apple's 30% cut. I also make income through Apple's affiliate links that are automatically applied to my apps on my website - http://mohawkapps.com
Not exactly an intellectual exercise but it gets me enough money to pay for public transport, lunch etc.
If you're interested just google Punting Deals ...They've got an article explaining how they do what they do.
PS Australian only I think
I quickly recovered, but became obsessed with finding a way to live - indefinitely - off of the savings that I had accumulated in my 20 year software career at that point. I had chosen a path around increasing responsibilities of management as opposed to startup founder (though I am one now). And I had diligently saved money, but didn't have not-work-anymore money.
I looked for a way to generate 20% returns reliably on my money, requiring little effort, manageable risk, and - mostly - passive. The stock market proved to be an answer. I ended up developing a couple of theories about how markets behave, generated some derivative trading algorithms and have been investing 100% of my spare cash since. The mini hedge fund requires activity once / week (generally) towards the end of the week, and also has two nice benefits of mostly getting taxed at long term cap gain rates along with being in all cash (fully liquid) with more core funds every weekend.
For this year, the algorithms have produced a return of 14.11% YTD. Since beginning the algorithms, they have averaged a yearly return of 24% compounded. I have traded these algorithms in a normal trading account and in an IRA, though the IRA returns are a bit lower around 20%. When the market has a flat year, vs. an up year, the algorithm is likely to perform closer to 30%. Down years that drop less than 10% will return closer to 30% as well. Up markets return lower.
I publish a white paper on this, and happy to share with anyone interested. It's a few quarters out of date, but the essence is all there. You can email me tylerjewell [at] gmail dot com for the paper.
For those that are curious, the algorithms depend upon a few assumptions:
- The market has never crashed "up" - they only crash down.
- As a result, the market climbs upward very orderly, but moves down very disorderly.
- Time is infinite.
- There is always volatility.
When you start with those assumptions, and then you apply maximum leverage (with safety nets for blue moon crashes with a max 35% loss), then you can start to derive algorithms that achieve the results expected, by using your money as an insurance provider to others in the market place by selling derivatives.
FWIW - when I started playing with the concept of the algorithms, I did not think it would be possible to achieve these results. So am quite pleased that it's possible to do so. Also, it's very easy to down dial the algorithms to be 1/2 the risk and get about 1/2 of the returns as well.
The S&P500 total return last year (2013) was 32.39%. The year before (2012), 16%.  The two year annualized: 23.92% which is really near your 24% compounded. Weekly trading sounds like a lot of transaction cost for not much alpha. It sounds like you are doing better this year-to-date, but be careful drawing conclusions on a system when the market is going gangbusters.
Does this strategy involve a lot of covered calls? That would seem to fit better returns in flat/down markets and lesser in raging markets (since you'd be taken out early).
Link to the book: http://www.discoverphaser.com
More sales number: http://blog.lessmilk.com/ebook-sales/
We're completely revamping the app because it's very hard to be noticed when all your books are in one app, so we're splitting the app into individual books. But this "library" app does quite well.
Would love any marketing ideas, as I don't know how to spread the word quickly and effectively.
Sadly the spammy made for adsense sites I had did much better than the one legit site I poured most of my time into. I think this is part of the reason so much crap exists.
I purchased one in January and it's been doing pretty good. Hopefully the second half of the year is just as good.
Profits realized from a very long term Bitcoin investment: 10000$
Bitcoin miner: 600$ (profits) so far.
Now I'm covering the costs of running my own SaaS  with these profits to create a more sustainable business (I've lost confidence in Bitcoin from an investment standpoint). At this moment my SaaS has 2 trial users but no paying customers.
I'm not proud of this product by any means, but it is good for experimentation and A/B testing.
One thing that I should point out is that even if I don't write any code, I'm still thinking about how to improve it and looking at the analytics, so having a passive income is not totally free.
Around $500/mo at the moment, with very little marketing and sales effort. Putting more effort into sales now, aiming to have it cover one full-time person on the project in the next few months.
It's 100% passive and is free to run, although some SEO should increase that, which frankly I neither have the time nor the expertise to do.
How much is your invested capital?
EDIT: I think I got my answer: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7749253
 http://assembleyourpc.net - a pc builder tool
That pays the server costs for http://citystrides.com which hasn't generated much revenue, yet.
It yields about $50 a month, I'm just happy it pays for itself and requires little maintenance. During Black Friday(November) it made $400, other months are a lot slower.
I have not done any marketing and my friends like to use it so its fun.
It brings in about $1,800-$2,400/mo. I'd sell it if I had a buyer.
Where did you get customers?
1) Remove that under construction thing. Granted it has no gifs, but as a potential user it distracts me.
2) Describe what value I can get from using it. What problem do you solve?
It's not lame at all. How many hours of maintenance does it require per month?
Whats the content like? blog/photo/aggregator?
It requires zero maintenance. I haven't touched it or written anything new in a couple years.
Edit: this is a good example of the type of courses I mean http://www.diygenius.com/courses/ (not affilated)
Is it on your own site? Or the likes of Udemy?
I do everything through my own sites and find customers through via free podcasts, free and promoted youtube videos, etc. Udemy's on my list, but I believe in always owning your own brand, customers and leads.
> I do everything through my own sites and find customers through via free podcasts, free and promoted youtube videos, etc.
Very clever, creative promotional strategy! I would love to read more if you have a blog (again without giving too much of your exact products or niches away). I'm building up a side business currently, and cost effective, targeted promotion is high on my list...(there's a great idea for a premium course btw, would purchase in a heartbeat.)
> Udemy's on my list, but I believe in always owning your own brand, customers and leads.
I guess there's an important trade off between owning the customer relationship 100% and getting exposure on a huge marketplace...
I definitely want to get around to doing work in Udemy, but I do have to say that they're not as big as, say, Youtube. :) For example, if you have a popular video, that gets embedded and linked to a lot. That builds link juice to your Youtube channel page and main site if write your video descriptions right, then suddenly you are ranking in Google search faster than you would normally. Same for a podcast and episode summaries. Having position and your own users in one channel also lets you ratchet up another by launching to those users. Over time, you build up big lists of people who you can re-launch updates or work with to develop new courses and products. Some people also use the leads to do affiliate marketing, but I personally prefer not to.
Anyway, owning your own traffic and lead list gives you the ability and permission to do that, so it's my approach.
btw, I forgot to mention I do have some free iOS apps to drive free users too. That by itself accounts for maybe 20% of my leads. I haven't touched Android yet.
No idea is stupid if you can monetize it.
To explore projects outside of clients’ demands, we began a Labs initiative in March 2012. Think of it as a palate cleanser between client work. It's resulted in about ten completed projects. The formula is pretty simple. Find a problem, build a website to solve it. If it can be done in an afternoon, we don't even think about it. We just do it.
Of the ten sites we've built in the last year, the most popular are: RainyCafe, CalmingManatee, Is this Retina?, and Will there be mail today?
Getting traffic is a pretty straight forward process. Submit the site to blogs in relevant niches. In the case of RainyCafe, we submitted it as a tip to Lifehacker who posted it the next day. Once you've got a major blog exposure like that, having frictionless sharing (in the form of social media buttons) is enough to keep it going. However, this assumes the content is compelling enough to share to begin with.
Sometimes doing that much isn't even necessary. CalmingManatee was different. We tweeted it once, and about a week later it was everywhere. A million visits in the first month everywhere. We received requests for interviews from NPR, Huffington Post, and some other random blogs as a results.
The success of these afternoon projects was a pleasant surprise, and the free publicity was welcome, but what would be even better is some extra revenue. As freelancers, having recurring revenue is critical to building our business.
Our first attempt at monetization was to sell Manatee greeting cards through Zazzle. After six months, we sold so few that we couldn't meet the the threshold to get paid out. Fail.
We switched to donations. Using WePay, we allowed people to donate via three suggested donation levels. That netted about $100/mo. Better but not great. We had to reconcile dozens of micro-transactions in Quickbooks which, when you factor the time, made it a net loss. Fail again.
Then we tried making a RainyCafe iOS app that we planned to sell for $1. Apple rejected it because they found that our Rainy Cafe app provides "a very limited amount of content and a very limited set of features" specifically because it "only contains two ambient noises." Strike three.
Finally, I got off my high horse and switched to AdSense.Not only did we hit out of the park with AdSense, but it was the easiest of our four monetization attempts to implement. I wish I'd done it sooner.
Lesson learned: Simple is great. Ever since CalmingManatee, if someone in the office has an idea that can be implemented in less than an afternoon, we don't even debate it, we just implement it, put AdSense on it, and see what happens. Some work, some don't. At the very least, we always learn something from it.
It's a shame. I'd pay up to about 2 dollars for the app as it is now, up to 5 if it had:
- copy hinting at how I'm going to make much more money with this app thanks to increased productivity compared to working from home in silence and saved coffee/transportation money;
- copy bragging about all the binaural recording techniques and smart processing you used to achieve exceptional realism and deep immersion, hours of café recordings without discernible repetitions, etc.;
- actually those techniques implemented;
- higher customizability (pick rain/storm, ambient audio image characteristics).
There's http://www.coffitivity.com/, but frankly their sound plain sucks compared to yours. Their “Morning Murmur” has hissing recording noise all over it and unrealistic rubbish instead of stereo image. They do have an iOS app, but I wouldn't have it for free.
I realize their hiss may result from actually higher quality audio (though they still need to filter it out), but in this case even audio quality is of questionable matter. In a real café I can put my headphones on in order to reduce distraction, but in this case I can't, so the recording has to be pre-processed (certain frequencies subdued) or allowing to pick from a number of processing presets.