It can be a SaaS app, a mobile app, or any side project that is netting you recurring revenue
Thanks for gathering these
0 outbound marketing yet, and already have 22 customers at $100/month. This year my goal is to scale up to 200 customers.
It's a really weird market niche where no one has built software for in 10 years. Pretty neat.
Partly that's because they can be cheap and hard to market to at scale, which discourages deeper-pocketed software companies from going after them. But if you're solo and just interested in a lifestyle business with recurring revenue, it's a very reliable path.
After looking into the non-veterinary pet services market I was really impressed by the consistent growth, number of businesses, and lack of offerings in the market. And I was only researching the US at the time. UK, Australia, and New Zealand also have booming pet services market.
I've been thinking of doing something like that, but my aim would be to find websites that I regard as sucking particularly hard.
We're looking to expand into a subscription service that provides a CMS w/ dog-centric themes to our customers.
Shoot me an email, we should talk. Email address on my profile.
Now make a dedicated cat-centric one.
Surely they will have some common elements between them. Find a way to make a pet-centric CMS.
Eventually you will have a flexibly configurable CMS that you could sell to many local businesses.
But you are better off writing a couple of hardwired, dedicated CMSs, then to try writing that flexible one from the very start.
My very first shot at Warp Life for iOS, a Conway's Game of life implementation, had a frame rate of about two per second. Now it's about 8,000 per second.
Now that I've gotten it up to 8,000 per second, I'm getting some real insight as to how to optimize it.
There are other reasons one would want a Life App than because it's fast. MY Life App is for those who care about the speed; not everyone does.
I can order domino's pizza with paypal but it is a PITA.
PayPal is completely convinced that I am laundering money in support of terrorism, however they are cool with my ordering pepperoni with olives.
It really is the case that I can't get cash out of PayPal, but PayPal does permit me to use it for online payments. A few days ago I bought a pizza with a eGift card that I bought from Newegg.
What I'd really like to do is to buy coffee and food at cafes. Starbucks once did a promotion where one could buy a prepaid card with PayPal, that they don't do that anymore. I've never heard of anyone else doing that.
If I could use my PayPal to buy coffee, or find some other ways to spend it at brick-and-mortars, there are all kinds of ways I could earn money online, then get paid via PayPal.
I use PayPal to pay for my phone. That and the pizza are all that I've been able to find that I either want or need, that I can use PayPal for.
Using it to buy coffee would enable me to work more productively. I do a lot better working at a cafe, out among the public, than at home by myself. It's not coffee that makes me productive; I buy the coffee to pay for my cable, power socket and wifi.
I expect PayPal could promote itself to brick-and-mortars, but PayPal's marketing people don't feel that they need to, because PayPal makes plenty of money.
Most brick-and-mortars make enough money for their staff to be happy, so they don't look into how they could increase their sales by accepting other payment methods.
This might seem OK but "making enough money" is one of the factors than enables the lean and hungry to come from out of nowhere with a disruptive technology.
Do you mind me asking what the development process was like behind this? You have a landing page and a great idea for a product in a good space. Specifically, did you develop the application yourself? If so, what language did you use and what were some challenges you came across? I am looking to start developing some SaaS product and have a few basic ideas, but don't exactly know where to start.
Thanks in advance.
Not at all! My girlfriend originally came up with the idea in January 2014...she works at a dog daycares/veterinary office.
I used LAMP, Bootstrap 3, React.js & Redis as my stack. I've been a PHP guy for a long time now, so I usually default to it for side projects.
I am the sole developer on the project. I have 2 non-technical co-founders who are heading up sales customer support, and business development. I just like to code :P.
The biggest challenge (read: the only real challenge) is to come up with a solution that works for a variety of businesses. This market is so fragmented; every business does everything their own way. My solution is to build abstract tools and data structures whenever possible. It's worked so far.
If you ever want to chat more about this, check out my profile and email me!
It was a really interesting story though...
My co-founder and I had the smallest possible booth in the very back corner of the room. Our biggest competitor had a triple sized booth manned with 4 people and 2 42-inch TVs in the center of the room.
We had 5 competitors within a 6 booth radius. Everyone else had a giveaway, huge screens, backdrops, lighting... the works. We had a 60" wide banner, a 24-inch monitor, 2 iPads, flyers and our phones.
These competitors had a decade of experience selling their product and had been to all these trade shows many times. This was our first trade show ever and only had 4 customers.
The first day was OK. Generated some buzz around the hall and had a few people really spend some time chatting.
In the afternoon, I branched out (co-founder stayed at the booth). I went around and introduced myself to about 1/2 of the other vendors. Then, I started walking up to folks randomly around the conference hall. I introduced myself, smiled and told them I was with Gingr. I then asked if they had a minute to chat about their problems with software. About 80% said yes.
I learned that just going out on a limb, smiling, being polite and asking people about their problems really worked. It makes sense IMHO ... everyone wants someone to listen to their problems.
Some were concerned that we were so new and small. I had practiced my spiel for that a hundred times by then. I managed to persuade most. A few had their "IT" person call me the next week. For the most part though, if you understand someone's problem and do have a solution, being new and small small wouldn't be a "deal breaker".
As far as closing a sale goes...don't treat it like a sale! I approached every conversation as just that.
> I had practiced my spiel for that a hundred times by then.
Mind sharing what that was?
URL is: gingrapp.com
Company Phone: +1-877-324-7759
I'm Lee, few free to call anytime!
We're currently building out our "Additional Services" tool, which are services that get applied on top of a reservation. I'm currently working with a couple of groomers to build in some tools that could help fit their needs. Could use all the feedback possible.
My co-founder is currently working on a true marketing site. I'll be sure to pass this along.
With the trade show did you just go and talk to people, or did you have a stall set up?
To date I've done 0 outbound sales/marketing. Just face-to-face interactions with folks at trade shows and our referral program. About 30% of our customers are referrals.
It's possible my co-founder are just so likable that our customers rave about us on private Facebook groups with their peers (our target demographic).
In this little niche, just being new and "not those guys" goes a long way. Add in a smile and an ear that really listens and you've got a pretty good initial sales strategy.
That is very cool, thanks for the information and being so open about your business. With so many good stories on HN I am considering writing a short book of interviews of people who have set up businesses of the bootstrap/lifestyle genre. Would you be interesting in being a case study?
Not only can you manage your reservations online, we also feature photo/video report cards over SMS :). That's my personal favorite feature...love getting a video of my 2 dogs wrestling at daycare.
We have a pretty generous referral program, get in touch if you have a business you'd like to refer.
We offer the fastest, most intuitive SaaS platform for Dog Daycares with world class support.
Currently there are 2 direct competitors, one has a slow product with poor support and the other has a decade old product that's inexplicably convoluted. I wouldn't consider anyone else on the market a true competitor (and our customers agree).
A couple of our favorite features are photo/video report cards over SMS, 1-click check-in/out with payments, and the customer app where they can request reservations.
If you're interested in a personal demo, shoot me an email and let's set something up! Email address on my profile.
Do you think this type of software would extend into similar markets well? Maybe vets, or actual child daycare?
According to IBIS, there are ~11,000 dog kennels and daycares in the US alone. Self-performed research indicates ~12,000 similar facilities in Canada/UK/Australia.
I've looked into the veterinary world and beta tested our product at one practice. Turns out, there's tons of stuff vets need to keep track of that kennels don't. The basic premise is similar, though. We might fork the codebase one day.
Child daycares is a tough market. There are actually good products out there with medium-level investors. To be honest, I haven't spent much time looking into the market.
-One charges $85/month, has decent support but a disliked and old product.
-The other charges $60/month, has poor support and a very slow product (~30 sec. page load time)
I knew that I had a superior product (months of real-world testing) and that our business wanted to make support a priority.
In the end, we priced at $100/mo or $1000/yr. It's higher than everyone else which implies a better product (kinda). I haven't run into sticker shock yet for anyone with an existing business.
We're planning on raising the price >20% for new customers within 6 months.
inquicker.com started as a hobby / learning opportunity (2005) and grew into a side project with about $20k/yr in recurring revenue from corporate customers (2008).
Eventually, it turned into a full-time job (early 2009) and I found a co-founder (late 2009). We hired our first four employees in 2010. In 2011 we signed our 100th customer and hit $1m in recurring revenue. In 2013 we hit $5m in recurring revenue.
If you can make more profit per hour spent in your spare time that in your job, then it won't be long until you quit and spend all of you time. If not then you will give it up, unless it is just a hobby. (Hobbies might be exception to the rule)
I read most of patio11's advice as being about exactly this: how to build a not-necessarily-scalable business that you can lose interest in without it dying. (Namely, by contracting out content-generation and community management and treating the commissions/wages of those people as part of your user acquisition costs.)
It's done about 80k in sales in 3 months - I'm in the process of writing a blog post about how I did it, what worked and what didn't. It's not inexpensive, but it pays for itself quickly so people are fine with spending the $45 on the book + videos.
Feel free to ask questions here so I have content for the post.
I tried to write blogs and had to write papers for university, but I always struggle.
I have the feeling that some people can produce much text from nothing, where I put my ideas into a few sentences...
Creating content for me is always hard, but once it's done, I love to deliver it (via talks, teaching, videos or books...)
Please see: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/faq#wiki_what_constitutes_spam.3...
And yes - I've bought all the reddit ads I can get my hands on - they are in pretty limited quantity.
Here's another good informational link that delves into this aspect: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/selfpromotion
I'm glad you've bought ads (though I don't remember ever seeing one), but that doesn't exempt you from the rules about self promotion.
People demanding something for nothing doesn't scale, so it we must settle for something in between: Mutual value.
The description says that it is for novelty purposes, but the reviews show people believe it works and it has a placebo effect. Most reviews say things like "I drove past a police station and it went off! 5/5".
It's funny to see it up in the top 20 of the Transportation category on Play, alongside companies that are heavily VC funded. https://play.google.com/store/apps/category/TRANSPORTATION/c...
You really should add something like "WARNING: this is just a simulator, it doesn't work in real world at all".
And common sense really.
Worst case this probably encourages people to slow down when driving and doesn't actually help them avoid tickets, but you're still being quite dishonest.
So people believing it works are not stupid, they can legitimately believe you're pulling that from a common database with an app that lets user signal radar or police cars.
I didn't pay much attention to it at first, but people liked the site and kept coming back. Year later the site generates around $30k a month and the operation costs are around $90 (close to nothing).
The site is very lightweight as it doesn't really downloads anything. It just extracts direct links to the files.
There are a great challenges that I have to deal with (like YouTube blocking IPs, sites changing designs all the time, etc.).
To convert one video, I was subjected to each of these popups three times:
You're probably paid per install, unless the distribution model for malware has significantly changed in the past six years.
Assuming $2 per install, that would mean you're infecting 15,000 machines per month.
At bare minimum, this malware you distribute probably maliciously replaces all ads loaded on the infected machine with ads controlled by the hackers who created the malware, and it does this for the remainder of the lifetime of that machine.
The legitimate site operators currently obliviously and naively praising you in the comments here are the very same victims who are robbed by the criminals you are colluding with via this ad-replacing malware you distribute. Their CPM and CPC numbers are suffering because of crooks like you.
All that aside, none of this takes into account the people who are duped into calling the 1-844 number in those popups who then have their bank accounts cleaned out by the scam artist on the other end who succeeds in socially engineering the victim into sharing their credit card details.
What you're doing isn't praiseworthy; it isn't impressive. It's despicable.
Checking that script, we see a lot of "gunggo" references, which is the ad network doh admits to using. Gunggo apparently owns directrev.com, and both are considered pretty shady from what I can gather:
Savedeo.com is ranked 49,679 on alexa. I'm guessing it gets around 9,000 visitors per day. With such little traffic, and no legitimate product or paid services being offered, there is absolutely no remaining way to earn 30k per month other than to spray hapless visitors with the most aggressive/malicious advertisements known to man.
Here are the stats from his ad network which he showed off earlier: http://i.imgur.com/LfgWL7D.png
I'm assuming those numbers are ad impression counts. There is no possible way savedeo.com is receiving anything close to that many page views per day. If it were, his alexa rank would be closer to 1,800; certainly not 49,679. I run a site approaching the alexa 2000 range, and it only gets half as much traffic as his ad network statistics screenshot boasts. Since the numbers in this ad network screenshot cannot possibly represent savedeo.com's traffic, we are left to guess what they actually do represent.
Here's my guess: It's the number of ads served to infected machines per day via the malware he helped install through popups like these. Assuming he's infected 25,000 machines, each infected device would only need to maliciously replace 20 legitimate advertisements on victim sites per day for him to reach this absurdly high impression count. If that is indeed what is happening, he's earning roughly $1.50 per thousand ad impressions which is fairly standard.
My other websites have Alexa rank 23,000 with 15k to 20k visits/day and Alexa rank 250k and 5k visits/day.
Though I like how you based ALL of your reasoning around a probably false alarm, and you just kept going on and on with conclusions.
I am extremely strict with what I count as a hit (I have a whole GEOip & browser combination) so if two people come from the same country with the same browser, it's only one hit, ever.
As a user, that's more complicated. In European Union it's legal. Everywhere else? Hard to say.
Don't you arrange the download and provide a way for the user to "actually" download the video?
To be honest, I am very frustrated with the ads, but I have to make money somehow and I never found a better way how to do it.
It reached the reddit front page for a day, and earned £3,000 during that day. Since then, it's averaged ~£150 per month, with only small input from me (minor updates)
I then saw the traction the blog post was getting, so wanted to capitalise on that quickly. I had an Android phone, so for simplicity (and ease of monetisation) decided to write an app for that. From zero knowledge of Java it took probably 30 hours over a weekend to get the app out, then perhaps another 10 hours over the next week on a few updates and bug fixes.
Getting the app up and running was relatively simple, most of the time was spent looking up API functions in Google's SDK documentation (and SO!). The only complication was making sure the CPU-intensive parts ran in a separate thread to avoid locking up the UI, and dealing with different device display sizes and resolutions. Everything else (dealing with input, generating images etc.) wasn't particularly difficult, but did take time to implement.
Edit: If you'd like to read a preview, you can do so here: https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com/read
That way, your venture ends up with the combined page-rank of your personal brand and the exact-domain bonus. (Whereas if you just redirect from one to the other, you lose one or the other.)
Quite a change from my day job working in software but I enjoy the diversity.
I've been trying to understand the full remote supply chain, going directly from the offshore supply chain directly to FBA.
I'm starting to ramp up my marketing but to date I've done some adwords and advertising on Amazon.
Sales are steady, I don't reach $1000 every month but the holiday season more than makes up for it when you average it out.
The first year, I sold for $0 of librairies. In 2014, I've made ~$45,000 and it's 100% passive income. I'm not proud to say that I've worked a total of 30 hours on the site last year (it sounds as if I'm lazy, and I'm not). Moreover, I've never spent a single dollar on marketing, no matter its form.
It works so well that I've taken the decision to leave my daily job to work on the site full time. I (perhaps naively) think that if I make that much money while doing practically nothing, I can surely make a ton more by actually working on it every day for a year. On Feb 1st, I'm making the jump.
It has been tough to get there though. The first year has been a disaster. I nearly abandoned the site. Then, one day, I started to gain traction. To this day, I have no idea why. Then, months after months, the sales went up. It took me weeks and weeks of work to create the libraries I'm selling today. I also did a lot of variations, based on the feedback I received from my customers. My customers are the best, I think. They like what I do, they give me a lot of feedback. In the course of my business, I also did stupid things I regret immensely, like copy a competitor (but honestly it was not intentional), and I'm really, really not proud of this.
Sales have reached a peak of $7500 for the month of May 2014.
The site is based on http://jekyllrb.com/ and is hosted on https://www.webfaction.com/, on a 9$ per month plan. As the site is static, I just need Nginx. That's it. GetDPD allows me to collect payments with both Paypal and Stripe.
To let people pay and downlaod, I use http://getdpd.com/. They are fantastic. I've tried a lot of other options and even though GetDPD looks terrible, it's a great product, well worth the tiny monthly cost.
I hope my story will let people know that it's totally feasible to do a great business as a side project. I honestly wonder EVERY.SINGLE.DAY how come it worked for me, but well,... it worked :-)
I'm wondering if it has to do with where the site appeared in search results. For example if Google changed their algorithm or if perhaps your web host somehow changed something?
Do you remember when it started to gain traction?
I've successfully stopped 1 full blown exploit (admanteumcoin) where there was code that allowed a block to mine any amount of coins desired, (and had RPC calls modified to hide this).
I started out doing it to try to help the altcoin ecosystem, because it's pretty interesting, and because it's a great way to learn more about cryptocurrencies and all their implementations. My code review directory (that isn't actually up to date) is on github: https://github.com/Earlz/coinreviews
Kudos on your About page too, instantly builds connection through good taste in music & drinks!
I really don't pay enough attention to my blog these days, but glad you like it :)
Temporary email. Got lucky with traffic, and run two Google Adsense ads.
What sort of hardware do you need for that kind of load?
I have a massively overspecced server that I use for this, and many other sites/projects - 24 GB RAM, dual X5670 CPUs, etc... Typically runs at a load average of only 0.5-0.6. Like I said, overspecced:)
Edit: this depends heavily on your traffic pattern, of course. Super bursty traffic from Reddit, TechCrunch, etc is going to swamp your IO, but CPU will never dominate the equation.
How do you get that? Assuming 4M/month, that works out to 130K/day. Even if all that traffic comes in a 10-hour window, that works out to 130,000/36000 =~ 4/sec, not 70/sec.
PS: I will disable uBlock on your domain. I like people who advertise properly.
Ever had any ideas for monetizing the junk mail you receive? I'd imagine most of the mail filters do something similar to learn on, but it seems like there has to be some value from that volume.
Have an assistant that helps curate freelance/contract positions from around the internet and through opportunities I hear about offline. I'm a mobile developer, so it's an effective side business to be working on.
Many people have scored new clients and worked on interesting projects through the service. Some people find it's not for them. Definitely offer a money-back guarantee if you're working on something digital/saas. No reason to be taking people's money if they're not getting value out of your product.
Another valuable lesson: we did really well with podcast advertising thanks to Release Notes (http://releasenotes.tv/). If you can find a podcast with 10,000 - 20,000 listeners that serves a niche, you should be able to produce a nice return. IMO our landing page is terrible, but it converts quite well.
If you're having success with an advertisement, don't be afraid to double down and spend thousands. Ideally, you should get a bulk discount from the show.
I don't have conversion rates based on % listener or cost per listener. Would love to see podcast advertising evolve to this point in the future, but it certainly hasn't yet.
The folks at Baremetrics (https://baremetrics.io/) run an awesome service for monthly recurring Saas companies that use Stripe. If you know what your lifetime customer value is, you really have more faith in your advertising dollars.
I've been very successful in the technology world, including running my own scientific and software consulting company for many years, but as a novelist and poet I've been a complete failure, despite approaching the two in very similar ways. Maybe the markets are simply very different, or maybe it's just luck, or something else. So I think it would be interesting to see some side-by-side of projects that took off and projects that didn't.
There are lots of really interesting things people are posting here, but I bet for every success story there is a story of failure that involves a great many of the same elements, yet somehow never grew beyond the "that was an interesting way to spend my spare time for a while" stage.
Here is one that makes $5-$10 a month from admob. A lot less than I hoped: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.martincapo....
Most of the installs are from non-english speaking countries. I spent about $20 on Fiverr to get the descriptions translated into Russian, Portuguese etc, which helped me get a few more downloads. I now have 1000 downloads, 250 current installs, and about 10 new installs (and 10 uninstalls!!) per day.
>What is an ABA routing number?
The ABA routing number is a 9-digit identification number assigned to financial institutions by The American Bankers Association (ABA). This number identifies the financial institution upon which a payment is drawn. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as "check routing numbers", "ABA numbers", or "routing transit numbers" (RTN). Routing numbers may differ depending on where your account was opened and the type of transaction made.
I plan on expanding this functionality over the coming months as well, as there are a number of websites that keep requesting feeds and API access to the algorithm predictions.
A good place to start out would be here: http://www.football-data.co.uk/data.php
My app/website simply provides this information to users for free.
One of the good things about affiliate relationships in the betting niche is that they offer lifetime earnings if you go down that route. They also offer fairly strong CPAs if you negotiate with the brands you drive a lot of traffic to.
I am now branching out into more sports such as Tennis over the next 6 months!
(Chances are this will be less of a side project and more of a full time gig in a few months time if it keeps growing)
I prefer to make it available for free and then make the money by signing people up for bookies that they might not normally use.
Maybe at some point in the future I will consider a premium tier but it is not on the roadmap at the mo.
It is just on a stock wordpress theme at the moment as I am currently developing a better site for it.
The algorithm selections can be seen here: http://betalyst.com/tips-zone/
Still a lot more work to do on it! - Feel free to share are potential improvements, I am not afraid of constructive criticism! It is very much something I threw together to get the algorithm into the wild, an MVP if you like.
The app is currently not available on the app store as I have to re-launch it with some changes as Google were not happy with the amount of 'gambling' content in it, they paused it when it got to 200k downloads!
It is due to be re-launched before the end of the month once I have time to make the changes they requested.
That is not something I am looking to do, I would prefer to hand out all my tips for free.
I have on two occasions run my predictions vs theirs and have beaten them on both occasions which is good.
I may set up a tracker between both algorithms over a longer timescale to see which is more accurate.
In my new template there is a section that will have a graph of stats on performance and ability to check how the algorithm has performed across segments (leagues, etc).
I am planning on using a Betfair bot in the future. Once I am happy that I have everything in place I will create this.
May ask for some feedback in there!
Am deffo going to keep a close eye on the Reddit group so might shoot you an email about that in a couple of days
There is a Useful Resources section on the sidebar of the reddit page. How would I go about requesting a link to my site in there?
Your site would not be accepted into the Useful Resources section (lots of spam in the gambling industry, affiliate stuff etc). You have to be careful about how you get links, otherwise your domain will be quickly banned from the sub. A better suggestion would be the daily picks thread, perhaps auto posting the picks....