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Ask HN: How much recurring income do you generate and from what?
293 points by djshah on Nov 19, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 335 comments
The same thread was started 2 years ago with a follow up last year. I think it's time for a refresh and updates from those who answered before. Previous threads: Last Year - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4467603 Year Before - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2567487

Bingo Card Creator is pretty firmly EOLed. Sales YTD this year are about $30k, probably $35k all-in for the year. Profits are stable at about 60% unless I miss my guess. This is down substantially from previous years, partly as a result of Google changes which I haven't made the least bit of effort into looking into. Also have ~$1k a month from books/courses, and hoping to get out another course before the end of the year, if life cooperates.

My main gig these days is Appointment Reminder. I'd describe it as "modestly successful." (A single signup for the largest publicly available plan is, probabilistically, worth more than BCC made in its best months. Historically, that has only received about as much sales effort as BCC clients got -- i.e. nil -- but I'm experimenting with having active inside sales starting this week.)

Please share your experience with active inside sales (when you have some anecdata) - I know many of us would find it a valuable read.

Could it be that decline in Google traffic was caused by your reducing the capabilities of free Bingo plan?

If users are disappointed about how little free product can do - they are less likely to open Bingo Card Creator's page in the future and Google takes that unwillingness into account.

> partly as a result of Google changes which I haven't made the least bit of effort into looking into

Do you know what google changed at least or simply that google changed _something_ and organic traffic dropped significantly?

Moz keeps a record of known Google algorithm updates:


In 2014 alone there have been more than a dozen of major updates. Keeping up takes significant effort.

Just wanted to add a note: Most people who aren't making anything won't be posting, so results will be drastically skewed. So for anyone here getting discourage because they think their a minority - think otherwise (And then get back to work on trying to get your own setup ;))

I wonder if it skews both ways. I tend not to post on these threads because a.) they come up so frequently and b.) it sometimes files like it's just bragging to keep telling everybody that my business stuff is successful.

I definitely agree on not getting discouraged. It's not in any way as hard as you think it is before trying. And you get better at it the more times you try.

My history of products looks like:

  - Hey, I built this cool piece of technology.  Maybe I should try to turn it into a product.  
    (... but never finished it) (X3)

  - Hey, Google Maps is cool and I like travelling.  Maybe I should launch a Travel Blog host.
    (... without any fathomable way to monetize it)

  - Hey, look at this cool one-day hack that got tons of Reddit love.
    We should totally start a company!
    (... with a flaky co-founder who never got around to doing any of the "business" stuff 
     before bailing for the next shiny thing)

  - Hey, I bet you could transform Amazon's cloud storage logs into CLF and
    feed them into Webalizer.  I should totally sell this for like $1/month!
    (... which actually turned out to be a good idea, but for $10-$300/month)
After all that, I expect my next product will be something with some form of actual market of people willing to pay money for it before diving in to the IDE. But then you never know...

Nice, it's awesome that you've been able to do so well with your Amazon product! What kind of things do you do/have you done to market it? Or did you rely on an "if-you-build-it-they-will-come" strategy?

Yes, my first paying side-project (virtsync) was the fourth or fifth thing I'd started. I currently have three other ideas I'm working on, but I find it difficult to focus on one.

FYI I find these threads really inspiring so please do keep reminding those of us not there yet that it is possible.

The flip side is that a lot of people with highly successful recurring revenue streams don't post at all, because it would invite competition into their niche.

It's almost a certainty that every idea for a website or app that is highly successful at generating recurring revenue already has multiple competitors. A lot of recurring revenue tends to mean a lot of users which tends to mean it's not a secret.

It's been several years now that I'd like to launch a few side projects. But contrary to the crowd here I'm just a normal human : when I come home I'm just exhausted and / or want to do something else than coding.

I could use the extra cash though. This month I even tried placing bets on soccer and tennis and failed miserably.

I've found that you have to work on something that you're passionate about, something you want to use. I don't have the magic formula for finding these things, but after trying several side projects and having them fizzle out, I've finally found something that I want to spend almost all of my free time on, and I do. I do hope to sell the product, but what keeps me working on it 40 hrs a week, in addition to my full time job, is the promise of actually using the device.

The closest I can get to making the process formulaic is to find a hobby that requires gear of some kind. Before you ever build something to improve that hobby, you need to enjoy the hobby. Then, find some aspect of that hobby that could be improved, most likely through some sort of automation.

I've come up with a pretty cool project with obvious business model this exact way. I started with a new hobby last year, quickly saw some inefficiencies and ways it could be made easier with technology/computing and have started building it out. Although I don't have as much time as I'd like to spend on it (newborn twins!), I'm definitely motivated and excited every time I crack open Sublime Text :)

If only I could figure out how to make $ working on my car or playing with my kids.

I realize that you're being somewhat facetious, but don't think of the hobby itself as the income generator. Think of something that is difficult or expensive, or time intensive about working on your car, and try to make it easier, cheaper and or faster to accomplish. Think of it from the perspective of people that work on cars for a living. Anything that saves them time/labor/equipment costs will be of interest to these people.

The bare essence is this: find a problem that a large group of people experience, and find a way that allows people to solve that problem.

Mechanics are people who enjoy working on cars; and beyond that, cars provide lots of space to tinker --- I remember being inspired by old Mother Earth News articles on converting your pickup to be wood-burning, or vegetable-oil-burning, or any sort of alternative fuel. Farming/gardening is a great way to play with your kids, and make a little money on the side too; the money is likely to not be significant, but the pleasure at making money from the work of your hands is personally palpable, since I normally am a knowledge-worker.

It has taken me months to build up will power to the point where I can work on coding projects in my spare time consistently. Fail. And not care and keep carrying on.

Some ideas that may help:

1. Enter a hackathon. Group up with people and you will be compelled to code.

2. Train for a half marathon. Increase your endurance and your ability of will to keep to the training schedule.

3. Have children. Ironically the ridiculous overhaul this has has on my life has increased my resilience. Last night I got woken up 3 or 4 times. That's normal. I feel OK. Also the children will motivate you to the long term goal of having more time with them and not being stuck at work for so many hours.

4. Do the equivalent of having children - maybe take a second job for a while to get used to the extra hours.

5. Give up TV.

6. Give up Caffeine.

7. Give up Alcohol

8. Give up Socializing

9. Learn to get an itchy feeling on any day you haven't taken action. It's a horrible feeling that keeps me glued to the laptop.

10. Therapy. This should be for everyone not for just the very depressed etc.

I seriously hope that "8) Give up Socializing" was a bit of a joke. I think that once this becomes the norm in your life, your life will suck big time.

Getting out there to engage and to talk other folk is great. A side bonus from this activity is that it is a great source of new ideas, just keep an open mind.

If they're not normal humans, it's only because they have more willpower than you. That's the best news ever, because it's been proven in studies time and time again that willpower can be built up just like muscles through exercise. Conquer your will, and you'll be able to use it to build what you want. Start with meditation if you're not doing it already. Regular physical exercise and meditation are excellent ways to build your willpower, and I guarantee that an inordinately large percentage of HN users meditate compared to the general public.

I agree that some people just have very little ambition and determination. However, I think the statement "If they're not normal humans, it's only because they have more willpower than you." is way too overgeneralized given the limited information you have regarding jmnicolas' life (unless you know more than can be gleaned from his post here).

There are any number of completely valid reasons why a person would be too exhausted to work on a side project after work hours. People do have limitations. Some people have very difficult lives. People do burn out -- and everything does not boil down to having the willpower or not. I'm not saying willpower is irrelevant -- it is relevant. It just isn't the only variable in the equation.

Actually in studies I saw posted on HN it's been proven willpower is not a muscle but a resource. However you can use more of that precious resource for things that matter by building up habits and avoiding unnecessary situations which drain your willpower. That said, physical state affects willpower level, so exercises and meditation do help a lot.

How do you get the willpower to start meditating and doing regular exercise? :P

I'll answer you as if you were serious, haha.

For me, it was a serious medical issue that was partly psychosomatic. Exercise and meditation were just parts of the recovery, and afterwards they stuck around as valuable tools.

For others? I recommend you stare death in the face and use that as motivation. One day you will be dead. Accept that. Then decide whether you want to idle through life letting your mind control you and drive you to do whatever is easiest and most comfortable for it because evolution taught it to seek comforts out, or if you want to accomplish your dreams.

If you want to accomplish your dreams, and know you don't have the willpower, the first obvious step is to build that willpower.

Every day you falter, stare death in the face again and get back to daily meditation and exercise until you've got the willpower to take on your dreams.

I'm half-serious :) I agree that the first step is to build that willpower. But you need willpower to take that first step. How do you get that? If I was the kind of person to persist day after day doing meditation and exercise, I'm not sure I'd need to build willpower :)

The first step is the hardest. Typically people need some type of life/environment change in order to prod them into additional changes. Moving, getting a new job, throwing away your TV :) might be just the things to facilitate a change.

Unfortunately, friends often get in the way of that change. Few people do it on purpose, but if you suddenly find willpower your friends may feel bad about themselves and then try to pull you back down. You don't need to dump all your friends, but there is certainly value in evaluating each relationship and making sure it is positive and healthy. Some people you may decide not to see again (hopefully not), and others you simply decide to spend less time with. The saying I like to use is you are the average of the 5 people closest to you.

In my experience, once you get something out there and see even a small number of people enjoying it, it's pretty hard not to be motivated by it!

People on H1B, like me, simply can't. It is ilegal to have any income coming anywhere else other than the employer associated to the H1B...

It is ilegal to even make money on ads on a blog... this completely sucks and is very frustrating.

People on an H1B can own a non-US business that does not make US-source income. The tricky bit is that there are two major considerations to avoid having the business' income sourced to the US: (1) permanent establishment, and (2) the IRC 861-863 income sourcing rules.

Without going into much detail, permanent establishment generally defines when a business is treated as operating in a country. The specific conditions are set forth in various tax treaties between the US and other countries. Generally, having an employee residing in the US and working for the business (whether or not as owner) is usually treated as resulting in a US permanent establishment, meaning the business is treated as operating in the US. If you are from a country which does not have a tax treaty with the US, the issue is generally much simpler: does the business have any income-generating operations in the US?

The second consideration is sourcing of income. IRC 861 and 862 define what income is US-sourced and what income is foreign-sourced. Generally, income from US customers or US payors is US-sourced income, and the same income from foreigners is foreign-sourced. For income taxation purposes, this distinction doesn't matter but it does matter for non-tax purposes. The H1B restricts the employee from engaging in US employment or business activities, but does not restrict their non-US employment or business activities.

A blog hosted on a foreign host, targeting a foreign audience, and earning foreign ad dollars is not a US business and generally should not violate the H1B rules, however you need to talk to an immigration attorney to make sure the analysis applies to the specific blogging activities you would be engaging it.

Thank you! The "ads on a blog" was just the most trivial example. The rule applies to any side project as an attempt to make extra $

IANL, but at one time I was on H-1B and now US citizen. It is not illegal to own a US business on H-1B. Also, there is no issue with business owned by H-1B having revenue, for example from ads on a blog. If you own a business, you can issue dividend to owners even on H-1B without any issue.

What you can't have on H-1B is the wage from 'unapproved' sources. You will need to get H-1B for every wage source. But there is no restriction on you receiving dividends, capital gains, etc.

Don't confuse "revenue" with income and "wage" with income. Income can be wage, dividend, capital gains, etc. H-1B only restricts 'wage'.

How about if the income is in your country of origin? Can't your side project just pay out where ever you're from? It's the Internet, websites aren't really located anywhere.

It is doable, but still not legal :)

It's not legal to launch a web service in your home country that makes money from people in your home country? How do other businesses operate?

No :) It's not legal in America for people resident in America on an H1B visa to operate businesses.

You could just ignore this, like I do, but if you're in America on an H1B visa, which I'm not, then you're probably best off following the rules, lest they expel you and never let you back in, without giving you time to organise getting all your stuff back first.

To be clear, we're talking about running a country in your home country, not in America, while you are currently on an H1B in America. I'm sure you know more about this than I do -- could you provide me with a link? I'd love to learn more.

It's perfectly fine to own a foreign business (i.e., not located in the US). But it's generally a violation of the H1B to run (i.e., operate/manage/supervise) that business from the US because the foreign business is then generally treated as having a US presence. See "permanent establishment" and the US tax treaty with whatever country you're from.

It is legal to open the business abroad, but technically you can't work for this business from the US on a H1B.

That is not true. You can be on H1B and not work for a business as an employee but can own a business. Making money on ads on a blog is perfectly legal.

It's a tricky hole to thread: if the blog is being run as a business it could violate the terms of the H1B. On the other hand, a blog that is run as a hobby and that makes incidental/minimal income should not violate the H1B. Generally, the difference between the two is that a business blog is intended and managed to maximize revenue (even if it actually does not make money), while a hobby blog is not intended to make money(even if it actually does).

Right, and if I can't work for that business what difference does it make?

Do you have any links that show that ads on a blog are legal? All the research that I've done came to the same conclusion.

Ask your mom,brother,uncle,etc to open a Google / iTunes developer account, get a little creative here :)

I understand... it is doable, but still not legal :)

We should not have to come up with "creative ways" to do something simple like ads on side projects (be it a blog or a free app).

I have been looking at your replies at this thread, and I think you are confusing legality with ethics (at least in the nature of the law and visa regulations). I am sure it is perfectly legal to work on something for your brother, while he earns the money off the product/app/website.

The point I am trying to get across is that such restrictions kill (or seriously hurt) any attempt of innovation coming from people on H1B visas. There are a number of ways to try to circumvent the laws, but the risks associated with them make it not worth the attempt.

I would not risk my status here or the possibility of owning a green card for a side project that makes me a couple hundred dollars a month. It is not worth it.

I really like this thread because it reminds me (and others) that creating a product is not only about leaving full time job, doing crazy hours and trying to raise money, like it's often portrayed. You can simply create a product with reasonable cash flow as a side project.

Thank you all for contributing to this thread.

What "results"? This isn't a poll. But i agree with the second-half of your comment.

Conferencebadge.com(+Leanticket.com) started in January 2013, generates ~$36k / month and growing. Interesting to note we were reject after interviewing in SF for YC S2013. We are a team of four working on this. Mostly part time, customer support, fulfilment with partners.

The money from this enables us to focus most of our time on a newly not announced projet, which we plan to launch in spring 2015. We plan to apply to YC with this one and are confident it will be a good match. Big vision, big plans.

I personally also have an old flash game portal (jeuxgratuits.net) started 13 years ago still generating ~1.5k / month. All legacy traffic from Google and 10 years of web links. 0 maintenance time.

What really good example of executing very nicely on one thing. Congratulations.

Really neat idea and well designed. Excited for the upcoming project. Where can we sign up for updates?

Follow us on Twitter: @plehoux, @etienneLem, @rafBM and @_tristan

Nice site! But friendly tip: you have a small CSS rendering bug in the prices listed on the front page when using an iPhone 5 in portrait mode.

Thanks very much for reporting this! It’s now fixed.

Looks really nice. I'm suprised lanyrd.com and similar didn't get that idea. Charging per badge is a nice business model.

Lanyrd.com is all about discoverability. Conferencebadge.com is more utility. Really different in my opinion.

I think the success of the plateforme was in our ability to mitigate all the pain points of managing attendees badges, which is not a sexy business.

Conferencebadge.com is very clever!

like it. textbook example of great UX

really awesome, thanks for the inspiration.


I wrote and self-publish a book named Mastering Modern Payments[1], with a fairly recent second edition. It's making about $2k/mo.

I am also selling paid support and add ons for my open-source Rails engine for Stripe named Payola[2][3], which very recently gained support for subscriptions[4].

[1]: https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com

[2]: https://www.payola.io

[3]: https://www.payola.io/pro

[4]: https://www.petekeen.net/payola-subscriptions

Edit: You can read a free preview here: https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com/read

> https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com >

Very cool. if you're helping people earn money, they will pay :)

Is the high-end team options selling? Also what it the split between the mid-price and the lowest price?

I'm trying to figure out the pricing for my book[1] so it (a) is dont-need-to-think-about-it-cheap, (b) doesn't devalue the book (if too cheap readers won't trust), and (c) interacts nicely with Amazon who are undercutting me on price. Any tips?

[1] http://minireference.com/static/newsite/ cf. http://minireference.com

The team option sells occasionally, mostly to agencies.

Low and mid tiers have sold approximately the same number of copies, which means the mid tier brings in about double the revenue.

Not sure what to tell you about Amazon. I don't sell there because I like taking 97% of my revenue instead of 30%, but for a math textbook maybe it would make sense. Do you market to math tutors? It seems like if you could get tutors on board they would be able to easily sell to their students.

I've been in contact with some tutors (and tutoring agencies), but the book is kind of competition to them. For $29 students get a lot of content, and will need less tutoring.

I'm thinking a good partner would be university departments who offer tutoring for free---the incentives would be there since they'll need to hire less tutors.

@zrail and just for anyone out there who wants a product idea. I really would pay for a book on the same subject but for ppl outside US and the first world.

To setup and collect payments world wide outside those countries is a pain in the ass. Any book on that (or good services) deserve money & success.

One option is Boku[1]. Several companies I know use it to great success for non-credit-card, non-paypal payments.

[1]: http://www.boku.com

How does one use it, though? Doesn't seem to have any signup page, unless I missed something (checked just now). Or is it only by invitation or something?

I think you have to talk to a sales rep.

Can't reply to you below (no reply link), so saying thanks here (about the sales rep bit).

@raphar: Great idea. Me too. I've been checking various online payment options for a while now, but all of them seem to have some issue or the other. I don't mean Stripe, since that is only available in the US and a few other countries, and I'm not in those.

I have an email course (autoresponder) -> course sales funnel setup for Double Your Freelancing Rate which nets about $1-1.5k a day in sales, mostly on autopilot. This is by far the most successful funnel I've created for any of my products, and is performing really stinkin' well.

Product: http://doubleyourfreelancing.com/rate/

Email course: http://doubleyourfreelancing.com/free-pricing-course/

I have to add that your free material is full of value. I am not affiliated with bdunn in any way, but I have gotten a lot of use just from some of the ideas in his free email stuff. Most recently it was regarding writing proposals, help me up my game in that arena.

So if anyone else is thinking of setting up this kind of autoresponder email course, make it valuable. I've been through a bunch of these kind of deals and there is a lot of crap out there.

You're making $365K-$500K+ on this annually?

I just crossed $200k in sales since I (re)launched in May, so yeah - about that.

That's awesome, congrats. How did you create your sales path? Did you use another model. Also, do you still work a salaried job? I assume this is your main source of income.

Haven't had a salaried job in more than 6 years, so no. All of my income is through the course I referenced, my SaaS (https://planscope.io), and a few other courses/books I offer.

That's crazy successful. I'm working on my own auto responder course. How did you build up traffic to the sales page?

I promoted it to my list of ~22k, and asked opt-ins to share it on Twitter. It also got on Product Hunt and a few links from various blogs.

What sort of conversion rate do you get on this funnel?

About 8% right now, with an average sale of a little north of $200 (so it doesn't take many subscribers and sales to hit four-figures a day)

Does the end of your sales funnel have some sort of scarcity built into it? Or are you basically just linking out to the sales page, to an always available book/course?

Yeah, so there's a coupon offered that expires in a week. I'm applying an "Eligible for discount" tag in my marketing automation tool when I announce the discount, and retract it when the sale window ends. And my sales site checks for the presence of that tag before applying the discount. This effectively allows me to create a sale-for-one type system.

Thanks so much for this. I've been trying to figure out how to create some sort of automated discount like this for a while now without success. Your sales funnel is actually very sophisticated. Do you think infusionsoft is the best automation tool to implement something like this?

I'm around $5500 a month total from 2 Udemy courses and a launching Traction book. It breaks down like this (all links below):

My SQL for Marketers course on Udemy does about $1500 a month, and has been pretty steady since launching the course on Udemy in late April. This takes almost no maintenance, though I am starting to work on improving it in response to student feedback.

My other course, Productivity for Mac Users, is a simpler keyboard shortcuts one can use to be more productive on Mac. This one makes $400-800 per month, though average over the lifetime (launched in May) has been around $500.

Lastly, we launched Traction book 3 months ago, and it continues to sell really well. Even after splitting with my co-author, I make about $3500 a month from that. You can see full numbers breakdown in the blog post we wrote summing up our launch.





How much work went into advertising your Udemy courses? Was it something that took significant advertising / reach to gain students?

Honestly, no. One post to reddit, one to Growthhackers.com and the rest has all been organic.

Pretty good ROI it seems like. Thanks for sharing!

Udemy offered me the SQL for Marketers course on Black Friday sale for $10 (down from $199?). I couldn't pass that up.

One day, I saw opportunity. I called in sick from work the next day (because I just couldn't wait for the weekend!) and hacked out an Android app. Net result after several years: $50,000 in revenue.

The way it happened is that I was already working on my Iridium Flares app, when one day I saw a certain new app launched. I knew I could do it better and I already had some useful code from another project, so I called in sick from work for one day, and hacked out a better version of what this guy had just launched. That app's user reviews told me exactly what to build. It took off from there.

I have built several Android apps in the early days of Android. The just-mentioned app, which was my most profitable one, was selling for $3.95 and netted about $50,000 over the course of its life. Highest monthly income from that was $1500/month for about two months.

I also had an Iridium Flares app for Android. It contributed maybe about 5% of the numbers stated above. This app was priced at $1.95. Both apps had a free version running ads. Most of the revenue came from the paid version of the other app.

In the early days, simply putting an app on the Play Store was enough to have people find you through the search box and the 'new apps' list. I remember I was scanning the list of new apps every few days for neat new things to try on my G1. Making a better mouse trap would ensure your app got installed.

Which brings me to the present: I just launched a cryptocurrency price charts website a few weeks ago with a friend. https://pizzacharts.com Got about $20 in donations at launch. We have a freemium model, $9/month only payable in Bitcoins at the moment, and ads. We'll see what kind of revenue comes out once we scale, fingers crossed.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm not sure it's a great idea to advertise the fact that you wrote your app on company time.

He didn't, he was on a sick day. Dishonest about being sick, but still not on company time. And more and more companies just lump sick time and vacation into one pool of "paid time off" so it doesn't really matter what you call it.

Edit: in fact, we don't even know that his company pays him at all if he's on a sick day. Many jobs don't, e.g. if you are paid hourly.

Exactly. Whether you work on your projects in the evening or during vacation/sick days is the same thing. I never provided reasons for my sick days and it wasn't requested/required, so I didn't lie either. I feel that having people justify their time off worsens a company's culture.


https://pizzacharts.com doesn't work for me (get an SSL connection error) and my ISP (Virgin Media in UK) blocks http://pizzacharts.com

Would you be able to provide more details on that SSL error? The http url should redirect to the https (if your browser doesn't do it for you first).

It's even worse for me, the site is blocked by Sophos. It tells me it contains Mal/HTMLGen-A

So your money is all the result of a big lie?

I sell math books and courses at http://betterexplained.com and on Amazon. It's about 3k/m currently, hoping to improve that with better landing pages, a/b testing, retargeting, drip campaigns, etc. [the patio11 playbook].

More details on how I got started here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=870015

Hi kalid. That's awesome to hear you're grown the business to 3k/mo. Clearly the model of free content online + sales of curated book-length content works. Imagine now if a bunch of people with tutoring experience in chemistry, biology, economics, etc. write textbooks on their subject. Wouldn't the life of the ugrad student get suddenly better? (Stop the exploitation of ugrads! )

BTW, since you cover a lot of high school topics, you should consider making a textbook that is aligned with the common core math state standards---the big textbook publishers are scrambling to update their books right now...

Hey Ivan! Been meaning to reach out about your mini reference guides, I really like the approach. I agree on aligning with common core, I've been out of school so long I forget what old textbooks are like (the courses I have are more like "enrichment"). Well-written, reasonably-priced books that teach lasting understanding would be awesome for undergrads.

I bought one of your courses a while ago. nice work!

Awesome, glad to hear!

I currently make about 1000EUR/month consistently from an Android app I sell for 9.99EUR.

It's a tasks app that syncs with OmniFocus. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.quantus.app...

That is quite remarkable, do you think the OmniFocus integration is the killer feature that gets most people to pay?

I think so, the app is purely focussed on OmniFocus integration and reuses their backend.

Most of my customers pay for the app because they are heavy OmniFocus users on the Mac and recently switched to Android.

Do people _buy_ Android apps?

Around $2k / month from real estate rentals after expenses. It'd be a little less if I hired a property manager to make it fully passive, but I actually enjoy doing the property management myself as it gets me away from the computer and exposes me to things I would never otherwise be involved with.

What's the yield on those properties, and how much capital did you invest? Did you use any debt? Also, what city/cities are the properties in?

Done the same over the years. Although slum lords can do better, I prefer the higher end, where appreciation is part of the equation. Property management headaches typically go down at the high end because there's more $ per unit, and the things that break tend to be per unit/person. You also have more $ to fix things and can do it "right". Finally, you can enjoy the places yourself.

Typically, I shoot for ~5% rent to value ratio, e.g. $100k/yr income on $2mm worth of property. With appreciation, I can see why old people do this.

I used the time to bootstrap a company to 40 employees, and profitability-- boy, that wad hard work.

bbf.io/snacks -- killer food for bay area offices and startups

Sort of similar questions I asked the OP:

How much capital did you invest, and how much debt did you use?

Sorry, this is confidential. :-(

Also, the capital equation is something you can compute: if you want $x in income, then how much capital cost is there etc

Keep in mind, we're in a low interest rate environment.

Absolutely. :P

Was just curious how you would run something like that, by raising equity, instead of putting up all of your own money. I know it's possible in some cases, but often, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Do you have a normal full-time job also? I sold my rental property partly because it was taking up too much time on top of mine.

I have some properties while working a full-time job. If I didn't have a manager, I wouldn't have the time for them, full stop. Sure, hiring someone will eat into your margins. But it's worth it unless you're willing to make real estate your full-time gig. I tried to do it without help once, for about half a year or so. It was painful.

That's about what I figured. Mine didn't take up all that much time in the absolute sense, the trouble is that most of the time spent was for meeting repair people and the like, which mostly had to be during business hours. Doing that more than once in a while tends to get tough with a full-time job, especially considering the other personal tasks you'll need to do during business hours sometimes.

How do you find good tenants? Do your tenants tend to stay for long periods or do you have a lot of turn over? Thanks!

how many units do you manage? what would you guess you spend, time wise, managing the property per month?

2 properties, currently looking for a third. Probably about 3 hours / month right now max.

Edit: It's so low because I buy properties that are in good shape. I have a full time job so I wouldn't have time to focus on doing repairs and improvements.

Feel free to email me for advice

Any advice for someone looking to get into real estate investment?

been looking into real estate investment lately, what do you consider a good roi?

Rule of thumb is that the monthly rent should be at least 1% of the purchase price.

More specific ROI calculations are good, but people typically forget a lot of expenses (repairs, vacancy, time spent managing, etc) and end up calculating an unrealistic ROI. After accounting for all that stuff, at least 8% cash-on-cash, plus more in debt repayment.

First of all, I know very little about RE. However, this seems quite high, no? Is this for a property you need to do some redevelopment on yourself (i.e. put in a new kitchen and/or bathroom, and do some painting), or for something that is in an acceptable state to rent out?

It is a high number, but it's also just a rule of thumb. You can find a lot of debate about "the 1% rule" if you look.

Is that a hard number to hit? It seems like it could be, without getting great deals on auctions, where it might be hard to predict necessary repairs.

wow... that rule of thumb makes it virtually impossible to buy-to-let in my neighbourhood. a "Cheap" 2-bed apartment is £150,000 and MAX rent for that kind of place here would peg somewhere about £600, but definitely nowhere near £1500. Even at a liquidation auction or lowballing a desperate seller, there's no way to buy anything habitable for under 60K

I do BTL in the UK. For our market, look at 1% of the mortgage. So, if you put down a 50% deposit on a £150k place, you'd want rent of £750.

Actually, it depends very much on your circumstances, attitude to risk, how much you're happy to pay in agency fees etc.

Also, in the UK, we don't tend to have 30 year mortgages, which makes predicting a stable price very tricky.

The UK also has vastly different tax rates - and a changing rental culture - which may also affect the price you want to charge.

Huh, that seems like an odd rule-of-thumb. That would guide you to put more money into deals with lower absolute returns, which would lead you to really low ROIs. eg, if you were willing to put down 66% on that property (£100k down, £50k mortgaged), then a £500 rent would be ok. Or am I reading that wrong?

I am completely ignorant about UK real estate, so I might be missing something obvious.

It's about the minimum you need in order to cover your costs & start making an ROI. Obviously if you can charge more, you'll start making more.

OK, those numbers are a little more favourable. Good to know if i'm ever in that position again.

To be specific, it's a rule of thumb in the US. I would not be at all surprised if UK real estate works differently. But yeah, in some markets you just won't find things that reach that return. Then you'd have to decide if it's worth buying those properties, or buying in a different market, or just doing something totally different with your money (stocks, bonds, startups, whatever).

It pretty much confirms my suspicions that it's too late to get into RE (here) unless you already have some. (we almost got a place where the numbers worked very well about 8 years ago, but various delays meant we missed out and got married instead...

How much would you make if you hired a property manager?

That'd probably shave off $200-300 / month

$0.00 from my free game "Barnyard Politics" on Android. Immeasurable wealth realizing I could make the game in 4 days with a game sdk verses the whole summer I spent chasing an idea that I never released but used OpenGL, Android NDK, OpenCV. All the technologies I learned led to the next couple years of my work innovating for my employer so it was a good thing. Time well spent.

Long live SDKs, APIs and other ways to get a product out the door without coding every bit myself.

Fun teamwork results from these side projects also. Such as my wife recording her custom mix of "Old McDonald" + "Hail to the Chief" to be used as my background music for the game. She did this at 1AM of election day, 2010 so I could release the app that day.

Can lessons in life be measured as recurring revenue? Maybe not monetarily but certainly in wisdom and the ability to execute better the next time.

What SDK did you use?

For Barnyard Politics, I used AndEngine. Since then, I have used and loved Unity3D for hard core conceptual prototypes and am in love with Construct 2 now for my current side project though. I am walking my kids through developing and I needed something less complicated than Unity3D. Construct 2's dev environment is fairly easy to use and it exports to html,css, js. Better than that is that I can make my own plugins in js and make them available to people that will create content for my future website / app. I have extremely limited non-corporate time so I plan to author the first content to get started but then make tutorials and allow others to create.

Note: My opinions on game SDKs or anything else here are entirely my own and have nothing to do with my role in the corporate world. The experiences I mention here stem from the fact that I cannot stop programming or thinking about apps when I come home. I love this stuff. And yes, I deeply desire to get to MRR at some point.

I wrote virtsync, an alternative to rsync, which performs much better on sparse, GB+ files that don't change much (like VM disk images). http://www.virtsync.com

It's a niche product that makes me $1-2K per year.

More importantly, virtsync customers have hired me for other jobs.

100-200 a month from having an android app.

The free version has had 483k downloads, makes ~5$/day advertising (admob/adsense). ~250 downloads a day, been on the market since 2011.

The paid version ($2.99) has had <2000 downloads over the ~3 years it's been on the market.

Unfortunately I've no time to keep it updated so last update was in 2012.

thank for sharing. it's surprising that nearly half a million downloads translates into such a small amount of revenue. is this the nature of in-app advertising, or is this because the number of active users of the app is much smaller than the number of downloads?

my app's a bit special - it's purely SDL / opengl / C with a tiny java wrapper just to get going. TBH, there's some key technical problems with it with respect to onboarding, and because of those problems and likely technical problems there's <20k installed users.

It's DJPad, feel free to try it - the library functionality is embarrassingly bad but the audio engine and UI's half decent.

Probably the biggest feature is that it's lower latency than the competitors written in java. It doesn't hold a candle to any of the DJ apps on iOS whatsoever though.

I started a new job/career 2 years ago, and now I'm a dad - suffice to say my free time is gone. If I had stuck with this project I would have rebuilt the library and built a dedicated onboarding walkthrough.

I've made $1500 in the past month on my Android apps. I also did some additional Android stuff with a partner, so that would be another couple of hundred dollars on top of that.

All from ads. Mostly Admob, but also Millennial Media and Inmobi.

$30K per month from https://www.improvely.com

A few thousand per month from https://www.w3counter.com

I'd love to hear more of your story - seems like you have the perfect gig. A lot of your customers seem like small/medium sized businesses. How did you go about acquiring them?

Wow, so is improvely is run just by you? 30k a month is impressive. I checked out your blog, but have you ever had anyone else working on it or have you always maintained the full stack?

It's always just been me. This is a lifestyle business for me, and I don't really feel time-constrained at all. The variety of skills you have to develop to run a software business alone is what makes it interesting to me; I never get bored with the work since there are so many roles I can choose to take on each day. There's always something new to learn on the horizon, and great motivation to do the learning (like ack! you're about to have more traffic than one server can handle, better learn how to handle that!).

The only downside to working alone is being on-call 24/7/365 for the servers. I have a good alert system that will wake me up if anything goes wrong overnight, though most components of the stack can fail without taking down a site. Lots of load balancing and warm failovers at a second host just in case.

Cool, inspirational that you were able to get the business up to that level alone.

Great saas's! how much $$ from this saas you paying to servers?

I notice you have the 4-tier (299/149/79/29) pricing system. I'm curious what percentage of your revenue comes from each tier.

It's actually "$299+" which links to a page with even larger plans (299/599/899). I also do custom pricing when that makes sense. There are customers at every price point. Nearly everyone starts at $29/month but as their business grows with Improvely's help, they grow into larger plans as time goes on. That keeps our interests aligned, and also keeps the average customer LTV growing every month without changing prices or upselling other services.

nice stats. i have signed up for w3, proceeded to add a site, noticed i cant make the counter invisible, saw the pro signup page, closed the site. maybe you should consider to let the first site added to be free with pro features and charge for the next sites , or maybe for a 60 day period and then ask for pro.

Thanks for the feedback. W3Counter has around 79,000 users despite never being advertised; I don't really care to grow it faster by giving away more. The PRO features cost money because they cost me more money -- they include real-time reports that take more server resources to scale.

W3Counter's always been a pet project I built for myself, back in the days before Google Analytics existed, that I've just been happy to see pay for itself. The site turned 10 this year.

I am a Google apps reseller and have a few customers. My customers get the accounts for a small discount then what they would direct and I make a small margin. Right now the total on that is about 1200 a year. I pretty much use that as a "toy slush fund" and use it to buy geeky stuff without getting in trouble from the boss ( wife ).

Would you mind telling us how you got into such an area?

Do you provide just customer service? Or do you also manage the accounts for them as well?

Would love to hear the detail about Google Apps reseller? What is it exactly?

Personalized kids books on the iPad (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/little-heroes/id477247738?ls...) ~ 2K / month

This is awesome.

Very nice indeed

I earn about $1500 a month from a program called BatteryBar, it's a laptop battery meter for Windows laptops. Sales are driven mostly by referrals from web forums and Q&A sites where users recommend it. It's a freemium model with the vast majority using the free version.

I find that both eye opening and inspiring.

Couple of years ago, I developed a battery meter and alerter for windows. I never thought anybody would buy it, much less use it. Never published it anywhere :(

Should go the extra step now and publish it..You never know.

That is an awesome program, I have used it for a while. Good work. :)

Email me and I'd be happy to send you a free Pro license key.

About $450 a month from my share of a spanish language bookstore, reader, and audiobook player app. It provides public domain books and Librevox recordings in a nice UI and all cleaned up. Users can buy books for 0.99 or 1.99 or buy the whole library for 4.99

I spent about 4-5 months working on it full time and kind of consider it a failure, but revenue isn't dropping. I don't know how to grow it though because it is search targeted.


I generate about $1750 USD per month producing training videos for Pluralsight, most recently on how developers can make sense of agile. http://www.pluralsight.com/author/jeremy-jarrell

The $1750 month is the current rolling average. It can be much more when a new course is launching.

Just a note, I got a lot of great questions about how producing training videos works.

If you have any questions later, or are curious about things you don't want to ask in public, don't hesitate to hit me up directly either on twitter at @jeremyjarrell or by email jeremy AT jeremyjarrell DOT com. I'm happy to answer anything.

I also have a contact page on my site that I monitor: http://www.jeremyjarrell.com/contact/

Same question as to the other Pluralsight creator. What tools do you use to create these courses?

Hey Nico!

Regarding hardware I record with a Blue Snowball cardoid mic and a pop filter. The entire setup including mic, stand, and pop filter cost me a little over $100 on Amazon. Pluralsight also reimbursed the majority of that after my first course was delivered. (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Snowball-Microphone-A...)

Regarding software I record and edit with Camtasia for Mac ($99) on a MacBook Pro. I've used Camtasia for my last three courses and while the Windows version is quite nice the Mac version is...painful. I'll be starting a new course in January and plan to record with Screenflow (http://www.telestream.net/screenflow/overview.htm) and edit with Adobe Premiere. Screenflow and Premiere are more expensive options and, as painful as Camtasia was to work with, it was more than adequate to get me started.

I also use a bevy of other free tools to support the production process. For example, I do all scripting, outlining, etc in Google Docs and track the entire production process in Trello. Each course is a fairly large undertaking (the course I'm wrapping up now will have about 135 hours into it by the time its done) so being able to keep track of where you are and how you're pacing for the deadline is critical.

I also have a full time job, am married, and have two young kids (a 3 year old and a 3 month old) so I have to make time for production at odd hours of the week. This makes trello all the even more important for helping me manage the process ;)

Let me know if I can give you any more information.

I'm curious if there is a reason you don't use Quicktime's built in screen-record functionality?

Oddly enough I didn't realize that Quicktime could even do that until about a week ago until I'd already made the choice to switch to screenflow.

I haven't tried it yet but it did occur to me as an option, perhaps I should revisit it.

From only two courses? That seems pretty darn good!

Thanks! Believe it or not about 70% of the revenue comes from the Creating Effective User Stories course. I have another course in the same vein, Agile in the Real World, coming out in a few weeks that I hope will do as well.

The trick seems to be to find a niche that people are interested in and that will continue to be interested in for some time, since the course revenue will decay over time.

For me, agile seemed to be that niche...groovy, not so much :)

It also helps if you already have a brand going in. For example, if you're already well known from books or a popular blog you'll have name recognition and some of your audience will follow you. This wasn't the case with me, but I've seen it happen several times with more well known authors.

Interesting, how is pricing decided?

Good question, Pluralsight uses a subscription model so the courses aren't actually priced individually. For example, at the lowest tier a subscriber can pay $29/month and get access to the entire catalog (which is several thousand courses).

When an author produces a course Pluralsight actually acquires the copyright and therefore exclusive distribution rights for the course as part of the transaction. In return authors negotiate a royalty rate for each course which is a function of how much that course was watched per month versus total viewing of the catalog by paid subscribers. These royalties are where your revenue as an author actually comes from.

If you distribute your course through a subscription company like Pluralsight this is pretty much the standard model across the industry. As a matter of fact, it's actually pretty similar to how artist royalties work in the music industry.

Thank you for the detailed answer. Handling copyrights and exclusiveness sounds bad to me... Did you try first to sell your videos independently?

I didn't try to sell them myself, but I did consider it...HEAVILY.

However, fpr me there were a lot of big wins for going with a publisher like Pluralsight. For one thing, they take a lot of things that are not really related to video production off of the table so you can focus on content. For example, - distribution (i.e, an LMS platform with video hosting that actually works across the globe) - payment processing, especially if you want to do subscriptions since that entails a whole other level of PCI compliance - dealing with video piracy, which can be a bigger problem than you'd ever imagine

Now, I'm actually a software engineer by trade so I could eventually build all of this infrastructure myself if I really had to. But once I realized that I'm in the business of producing content and not creating an LMS that path made much less sense to me than it did at first. Basically I just asked myself 'what would be my differentiator?'. Was it doing video hosting? No. Doing PCI-compliant payment processing? Nope. But, making sense of all of the mud around agile techniques in a way that normal developers could actually use start using them day to day was. So, why not focus on that an outsource the rest.

On top of all of that though the biggest win with going with an established publisher is being able to tap an already existing audience. As I mentioned previously I didn't have an established brand going in so any attempt to launch videos myself would have likely launched to the sound of crickets. Launching on Pluralsight immediately gave me exposure to a large audience who were already paying for this type of content. I'm not sure if Pluralsight makes their subscriber numbers public but, as an example, their twitter account has over 200K followers. Now while not all of those followers are paying subscribers you can assume that those who aren't are at least prospects since they've expressed an interest in hearing about which videos are being released. Getting immediate access to that audience, as well as a marketing channel to reach them, can be huge for getting you started...especially when you don't already have a brand of your own.

Does that mean that I'll never release a video under my own brand? Probably not. There are a lots of LMS as a service providers now on the market that make it much simpler to launch my own video distribution platform than it would have been previously. In addition, one of the biggest drawbacks of using a third party publisher is that you lose visibility into the entire sales funnel. For example, I can track people through my funnel through twitter, to a post on my blog, to a CTA at the bottom of that post that directs people to a related video available on Pluralsight, but I don't have visibility into whether or not they actually convert...which is the most important part. Distributing under your own brand gives me visibility into the entire funnel which would help give me the ability to really grow the business. But, before that's a viable option, I need to have a more established brand than I do now. Otherwise...I would simply launch to crickets :)

Stocks, depends on the month: 1000-2000 on average. Link: http://mays.co/i-made-6k-this-month-doing-nothing/

Webhosting: $20 (Mainly just pays for my VPS)

Launching soon: http://gymbrew.com (Subscription box service for protein goodies)

This blog post is highly misleading. The only reason you made $6k in a month with index funds is A) because you would have already had about $60k in the account and B) because indexes were recovering from a large drop just before that one-month time horizon. To give more perspective, the 3-month return for your most heavily weighted fund is about half of the current 1-month average. To make $6k/month assuming average annual growth (not something you can always count on, but let's keep it simple), you'd need closer to $900k already in your account.

Should people invest? Yes. Should they invest in index funds instead of day-trading? Almost certainly. Should they expect $6k/month returns from whatever change they scraped from underneath the sofa cushions? No.

I have more then 60k in the account. Yes, results are atypical. I said that in the blog post. I also said assume 8% a year returns on average.

Edit: Btw, everything you said is true. And great advice for those trying to follow a similar path. I rarely even check my on my stocks, it's mostly set it and forget it. I simplified this for family members and friends who I think would benefit greatly from investing.

Hey Steven,

I saw what your investing allocation was from your blog post 60% VTSAX, 25% VTIAX, 10% VGSIX, & 5% VBTLX

Have you heard of betterment? https://www.betterment.com/portfolio/

What do you think of betterments portfolio strategy and allocation? For younger people they recommend 90% stocks 10% bonds.

I think betterment is AWESOME, and well worth their nominal fee. As a matter of fact I am switching all of my non-tax advantaged investments over to them very soon. Mr money mustache on betterment: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/04/why-i-put-my-last-...

I like lazy allocations, take a look at this: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_portfolios

Also, keep in mind that any investment you do it is WAY better to do it in tax advantaged accounts (401k, roth ira, ira, etc). Typical advice goes like this

Max out 401k up to company match Max out roth ira (currently 5500 a year) Max out 401k fully (up to 22,500 a year) Invest in non tax advantaged accounts

When you contribute to 401k it lowers your taxable income, so if you make 80k, and contribute 20k to your 401k, you only pay taxes on 60k which can be great for tax savings.

Why Betterment over Future Advisor? I really like the latter, but haven't really looked into Betterment all that much.

They cost more. They charge .5 percent on assets vs betterment charging .15 if you have over 100k, and .35% if you dont.

They both do the same thing, tax loss harvesting and automatic rebalancing. That fee difference over 30 years assuming an investment of 20k per year and an 8% return could cost you like 400k - which is not chump change.

How do these compare to https://www.wisebanyan.com?

It seems to be roughly the same idea, but without any fees at all (I haven't used any of them, so I'm likely missing something)

Probably also good to point newbies at the chart from late 2008.

Even accounting for 2008 and the great depression, historically the stock market returns 8% a year. It's a solid vehicle for wealth growth.

I agree. I just think newbies should understand the market doesn't only move up.

But the other tips on this blog post are right.

Yes there are some good one about saving money, but don't have kids? Don't get sick? Used clothes only? There has to be some balance, life isn't only about saving money.

While I agree with an indexing approach and follow one myself, classifying this in the same vein as income is a bit misleading, as another reply pointed out.

While income from side jobs can be irregular, returns from investments mainly concentrated in equities can be more volatile.

Volatility in the S&P 500 (as measured by the VIX) has been relatively quite low for the past few years, other than a few marked events. (US debt ceiling crisis, etc.) A chart of the S&P 500 shows more-or-less an upward trend over the past five years; certainly since the beginning of 2013 there have hardly been any wild swings.

This can lull investors into a false sense of security about the distributions of returns; just because returns have been steady (i.e. low volatility) over the past few years does not mean things will remain this way.

I don't dispute the long-term average yearly return of ~8%. What I am saying is that, as with many other things, averages don't tell the true story. One year, you could be down 30-40% in equities and another you could be up 30%. Getting a constant 8% return every year is unlikely.

For some long-term investors, they aren't concerned about the volatility and this is a perfectly rational thing. However, there are some people who cannot bear the volatility of such investments and will be in constant worry. Such individuals would likely have to apportion a higher percentage of their to less risky assets and perhaps miss out on some overall return.

I heard of many people freaking out just because the mini-correction that happened in mid-October. These sorts of people aren't cut out to be investing like this as they will panic and sell during downswings.

By stocks, do you mean dividends? Or do you cash out the gains you make periodically? Otherwise, I don't think I would count that as 'income'.

Dividends and gains. I do not cash out and "realize" the gains, but my net worth increases. Net worth increases I count as income as it decreases my time to reach financial independence.

I own and run a website, in the category of special-interest news stories, that's making 10–15k a month consistently for almost 10 years. (Yeah, we got started early, which is probably why I have good search engine rankings.) Google AdSense is the only means of income. We get close to 1 million unique visitors a month. Just me and one other part-time employee running it, so it's been a pretty spectacular (and unexpected! It started as a hobby) success.

Can you share a link? I'm curious to see how the AdSense ads are integrated with the content/layout.

will Google allow me to display adsense ads on a website like this http://www.mega.pastemehere.com ?

We run a network of product microsites that use PricePlow's API to hook users up with good deals and free samples.

The new microsites are actively maintained (blogging, product updates, support questions, security) and definitely not passive, but some of our older ones from 2010-2011, like http://www.coconutwaterlife.com sit around collecting Amazon money for doing next to nothing.

The non-maintained network of sites earns about $500/month.

That sounds great, but honestly, I wasted so much time building so many of them -- scaling business in the wrong direction instead of building a real brand -- that at this point, I believe that had I spent the time working on the main PricePlow setup in those two crucial years, my returns would be far higher than what I'm getting from screwing around with a ton of microsites.

Plus, pareto principle. 10% of the old sites make 90% of the passive revenues. The rest of them were total WOMBATs.

$800/month with an online proposal software app: http://nusii.com We are open for 2 months now.

Site looks nice, did you use a specific frontend/css framework for the design?

Thanks! Mostly it is all from scratched. I used bootstrap for the grid. Here a little article about the process: https://medium.com/sketch-tricks/how-i-used-sketch-to-design...

That's super awesome looking. I signed up just to use the interface.

Nice looking site!


Crappy t-shirt designs. I have a bunch of random shirt designs (I am no designer, just made some mediocre SVGs with funny ideas I had in Inkscape), and sell them on the German spreadshirt marketplace, makes about 20 Euros/month.

Most of them trivially translate to the English-speaking market, I should really do that. Does anyone have a hint where the best place to sell 'low-end' t-shirt designs in the US is?

Don't know if they are the best, but I used zazzle.com and redbubble.com. One argument for zazzle is, that you create a product once and it is available in all countries where zazzle is present, e. g. UK, Germany, Spain etc.

I think that you can start on threadless.com

I believe threadless designs are much more refined that what I have produced.

I wrote and publish a book through leanpub about Ember.js: ember-cli-101[1]. I started to sell it without finishing it and it was bringing about $500/mo, but now that is completed sells are going up. I hope it would be above $2000/mo for the following months.

[1] https://leanpub.com/ember-cli-101

$190 / month (net profit, after tax, fees, everything) from my cheap-as-hell VPS company (http://kihi.io). Helps little-businesses get off the ground for only a $2 VPS. Fortunately it hasn't had many orders as of late since everything is quite full.

Largest customer base has been China & Indonesia which brings in a lot of happy faces and awesome customers, so I got that going for me at least, which is nice.

Been looking at alternative plans (disposable VPS' maybe?) and other ways of profit.

I've done enough Android development to warrant a decent app, so maybe I should create a few more in the horizon.

That is "cheap-as-hell."

People who have ran other hosting companies have claimed that "the lower the price the more support you have to provide" (because in the low end many users won't have dedicated technical personnel or are just penny pinching and will shift problems to you when possible).

Has that been your experience? How do you cover the cost of support time in general at $2/month. Also is there a language issue as your customers are Chinese and Indonesian?

Yeah, that is one issue that I did encounter at first. Supporting users.

Luckily, since most of the marketing comes from word-of-mouth, a lot of users have a decent knowledge of Linux / VPS'.

I also make Ruby scripts as well as using a crap-ton of custom shortcuts in Mutt (terminal-based email) so answer support tickets quickly and without a ton of effort.

The occasional ticket I usually get involves some form of client-side/user issue such as a borked Linux package install. Usually I bite-the-bullet and say "We don't usually provide support.. but I would suggest having a look at X or Y on your VPS." 90% of the time the customer fixes it with my guidance and they learn what do to next time it happens. The other 10% I unfortunately say tough luck to and suggest to hire a Sysadmin or I link them to someone who can provide support for cheap setting things up.

Funny enough, most Chinese / Indonesian customers rarely ask questions! Even if they don't speak English well, we can still understand each-other in Linux terms. I don't know if it's a cultural thing, but most Eastern clients countries try and figure the issue out themselves first. Western clients usually open a ticket first, then figure the issue out.

$2 per month sounds too good to be true. What is the catch?

Low I/O speed in comparison to other VPS' companies.

The link for "Pricing" in the footer is 404.

Fixed! Thanks!

Solar Panels. I've 4kWp systems on 2 properties in southern England. Making about £3k/year with them. The money comes from the Government and is guaranteed for 20 years. First 8 years will be enough to pay off the cost of installation. Money is tax free, but does depend on the weather (and components breaking). Lots of details at https://shkspr.mobi/blog/solar-graphing-faq/

I run a silly little Amazon (UK) referral tumblr - http://fiverfun.tumblr.com Makes about £100 / month - which is enough to keep me in cheap electronics :-)

Tried adverts & paid apps, only ever made ~£10/month.

I rent out a couple of properties - that's ~£1,600/month (before tax, mortgage payments, new carpets, fees, more fee, insurance, more tax, etc).

The key to all of them is to find things that take as little effort as possible. The panels need checking every quarter, the tumblr is a few minutes in the evening, the properties are handled by professional agents. All that leaves me time to work for a living :-)

My German job board https://englishjobs.de started generating around $50 per month on some link referrals, but the site is still on dippers.

Do you scrape the jobs from somewhere else or from where do you get the content from?

Everything, I get proper referral feeds, RSS feeds, some scrapping and on-site posting. Everything that is not posted on-site is a just link to the original source.


$200-$600 a month from a book I wrote 2 years ago: http://www.amazon.com/First-World-Problems-Reasons-Terrorist...

About $15 a month from 3 iOS baby tracking apps. Built to scratch my own itch, so to speak :)

Here's one, and the side bar lists the others.


Scratching your own itch is the best way to get started! Congrats, keep it up!



Usually around $50/month. A little more lately since I launched the new gamified getting ready for school project.

On average, $400/month from https://the.wubmachine.com, an online music remixing app. Split pretty much evenly between Google AdSense and Android/iOS In-App Purchases for the Android/iOS native clients.

That's pretty neat. Although it took me a while to think of a good song to use. If you have insights on "popular tracks" or "recently used tracks", how about a quickstart link on the wubmachine? That would be handy.

I might be able to do that for popular tracks fetched from SoundCloud, but I take special care not to keep any of the data people upload to the site due to copyright worries.

Recurring Income

I run a small firm supplying air freshener services - dispenser along with monthly refilling.

Manufacturing and selling water based air fresheners, car air fresheners, scented wood balls for cupboard.

Recurring is growing fast. First is a service - I make around 3k USD in recurring revenue. Profit margins are good. Another counter sales is also periodic not monthly though unevenly amongst clients however it has been launched two months ago and had 2k in first and 3.5K in second in revenue. Here too i manage good margins because i havent yet made into big retail. Its increasing rapidly and consuming resources and money.

Non recurring but periodic

Also sell air freshener products suitable for larger areas like custom diffusers etc revenue ranges anywhere from 0.5-2.5K USD each month.

We launched Watsi's Universal Fund [1] (our monthly donation product) a few weeks ago. However, we had people beta testing our previous version of monthly donations for around a year before that.

We've had 671 people join in total. 1 signup today. 8 signups this week. $21,300 in recurring monthly donations. $1,900 in recurring monthly tips (to our operations). The median monthly donation is $20.

Since we launched the Universal Fund we've seen a conversion rate of 2.42% (signups/sessions). I'd be curious to know what conversion rates other recurring revenue products see.

[1] https://watsi.org/universal-fund

I currently generate a couple hundred a year from http://www.randomamazonproduct.com/

I made it in a couple of hours one weekend as a way to show a friend how to build a website.

Stocks 300 / month with a custom data analysis (very simple, it's based on event. It analyse stok data and highlit regular period of high on the stocks on the same date each year, and after by hand i try to find why it goes high, and i can put past event also and it told me if theses event have an influence on stocks in the past). http://www.skruge.in/ https://github.com/skruge/skruge.github.io

I'am limited by the amount of cash. I'am in the process of launching a fund.

I am fairly clueless about stocks. Would you mind sharing how would one start? How much upfront cost does it require?

I would recommend to head over to investopedia.com and play with fake money first.

Do this for about a year or two before thinking on investing real money. It sounds long and boring but that's because it takes a lot just to understand what's happening, let alone make any money.

Read everything you can on commonly used definitions and get used to reading financial news. This will help you measure how much do you actually understand and get more proficient at it.

Then you can start investing with small amounts and see how it feels. The hardest thing I have experienced while trading is the emotional rush of either losing money or winning money. So getting used to it is pretty useful if you want to follow an strategy, etc.

Quantopian is a good reasource if you have already understood at least some basic stuff. Another good resource is http://www.babypips.com/school

Although it refers to Forex market and not stock market, a lot of the stuff there applies as well.

Play only money that you don't need, my program aims to 3% per month.

Choose a sector that you like (biotech , videogames etc ...).

Take care of trading costs.

And if you are a programmer try to find pattern in stocks.


If you play even with an algorithm or without, write your rules (i play this amount, i go aout at this date or if i loose this percent).

Have a clean head when you play.

By analysing data you can earn a little.

For the upfront it depends of what you aim.

And in the end if someone talk you about technical analisys , run it's bullshit like horoscope for trading -_-

As a neophyte trader, I can't tell the difference between technical analysis, and what Skrudge does. Can you elaborate ?

Technical analysis, take too much non rationnal things in account and try to find pattern with it or rationnalise it after. It tries to find pattern and rationnalise it with its method (that use too much random , too much non relationnal things (i even heard one use golden number)).

Here i'am just trying to find pattern in stocks and find if an event can explain it.

I correlate event and stocks fluctuation. The goal is to find event that are regular (like black friday or a keynote for apple or announcement etc ...)

I will not say it will goes up because of my method, i say it will goes up because there is the black friday / christmas / exdividend Date.

English is not my main langage. Don't donate to us if you want but run away when someone talk about technical analysis.

Sometimes stock market is so random that you can "explain" it with bullshit theory.

Great topic. I have about $1000/month in revenue from selling floppy disk emulators for classic Macintosh computers. This was originally something I designed myself, just for fun. There's more labor required for order fulfillment and shipping than I'd like, though.

I also earn a tiny $150/year from Amazon affiliate sales on a running/sports web site I built 10 years ago, and has good Google rankings. I used to have Google adSense ads too, but it always showed very generic ads that got very few clicks. Now I hand-select Amazon products I think visitors might be interested in, and include links to those.

I generate about $500-750 USD per month on a few apps I have published on the app store https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/letsbasket/id409205141 and google play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bytesteam.... Income comes form advertising (admob/adsense), in app purchases and paid versions.

About 10K per annum from www.rssweather.com. Been a reasonably consistent source of money for ten years.

Just with the ads? What are your revenue channels?

Yes just with ads.

Real Estate - Thanks to the financial crisis, I've been able to pick up some cheap real estate that generates cash flow. Currently, I'm making about $50k/year.

I've always wondered, when you try to vulture on cheap property during a crisis, are you able to secure financing at all or do you have to buy all-cash?

I'm not an American, so financing is a little more difficult but if you are willing to put down 25%, it's doable. With 50% down, almost anyone will give you financing. This is institutional financing...there's always private money with higher interest rates...they are much more flexible with the terms.

Cash is king. You can get better deals if you have all-cash and can close quickly.

As cheesy and sketchy as it sounds I make about $600 a year by logging into my "surveys" account once a month (need to login to keep it active). All the money comes from referrals, I no longer take surveys. Every now and then I login to check my balance and to cash in. I used to run a blog where I got all the referrals from, about 2400 people. The blog has been down for a couple of years, but the referral's money continues to come in.

i make about $2k per year with my location aware time tracker app. iOs only. I spent about 100 hours to write it, spend about 40 hours per year on updates and support emails.


how many total downloads do you have if I may ask?

I offered it for free for a while and it got picked up on app advice... so when that happened I got 10k downloads in one day.

but paid downloads... about 100 per month.

Roughly $200-400 / month from Admob on a single app that I put out 2 months ago.

App is ranked Top 5-10 on Google Play for a fairly common English keyword. Same app available on iTunes, but little to no traction.

I get 400-800 downloads a day on Google Play. 10-50 a day on iTunes.

Requires $5/ month VM instance for a database and 1 hour a week for updates.

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