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Those making $1,000+/month on side projects – what did you make?
563 points by cezarfloroiu 811 days ago | hide | past | web | 525 comments | favorite
As it's a new year 2015, let's re-open this topic to see how things are going on this front :)

It can be a SaaS app, a mobile app, or any side project that is netting you recurring revenue

Well, there goes my afternoon.

The afternoon and some hours a day once you pick a nice idea for a side project... this thread is inspiring!

Thanks for sharing...!!

Thank you

commenting for reference later.

Thanks for gathering these

Good idea, me too.

Thanks !



This is awesome! Thanks

Great resource.

Thanks for tracking these down!

Thank you for this!


Thanks friend.

I spent all of 2014 building a SaaS for dog daycare/kennel owners. The MVP turned out beautiful. Went to a few trade shows towards the end of last year and people went crazy over the software.

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.

This pattern works all over the place. Get to know any kind of small business owner and you'll see they need good software that doesn't exist.

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.

I've seen it before in other markets and was dissuaded because of the lack of quantity in prospective customers.

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.

Thiel would agree. A niche that other people ignore or say "can't be done." Can always widen it later.

A close friend of mine earns a lot of coin by pointing out to medical marijuana dispensaries that they have terrible websites. They are happy to pay him for redesigns.

I've been thinking of doing something like that, but my aim would be to find websites that I regard as sucking particularly hard.

That's interesting. Every single one of my customers has a terrible website. Every. Single. One.

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.

Start with a dedicated dog-centric CMS.

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.

It would be quite helpful to me were you to enable me to purchase things from brick-and-mortar shops with paypal.

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.

Why did you downvote this?

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.

The cafe I goto, 'Mahtay Cafe' in St. Catharines accepts PayPal built into their pos and PayPal app Surely, all brick and mortar have this choice. It's just a matter of showing them the benefits or even building POS into their website as a complete front end and backend restaurant platform. This in my opinion should be the selling point of all payment systems and integrations with inventory tracking and customer management....why have a separate system for everything...the website should be central to everything.

There is a widespread problem I see - not particular to PayPal or Starbucks - that many companies feel they make enough money, so they don't need to do better.

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.

Hi Lee,

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.

Hi David,

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!

Hi, did you buy a template? Can you give us some more details about your architecture, as many of us are at the beginning to learn a programming language. Many thanks! BR

What are you using Redis for?

Report and audit log caching.

Awesome thanks!

Sounds like you had success at the trade shows, I'm about to embark on that route too. Can I ask how you went getting the word out at the shows, and any tips converting to a sale? Did they mind that it was still an MVP?

The trade shows were a great start. We signed up a few folks right away, and people are still calling us 2 months later.

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.

Thanks for sharing.

> I had practiced my spiel for that a hundred times by then.

Mind sharing what that was?

Can you share a link to your service? One of my new clients (I provide managed IT services) is in this exact market with 10 locations and more coming.


URL is: gingrapp.com Company Phone: +1-877-324-7759

I'm Lee, few free to call anytime!

Link please. My wife's a groomer and recently evaluated the available software there, not many options - would like to see the similarities.

URL: gingrapp.com Company Phone: +1 877-324-7759

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.

Could you introduce your service better? Your landing page says what the purpose, not what it is...

Thanks for your advice!

My co-founder is currently working on a true marketing site. I'll be sure to pass this along.

Hi Lee. I have questions if you don't mind. Did you get all customers from trade shows or did you also use other methods? Did you cold call?

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.

G'day! (From Australia!)

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?

Any specific reason for it being dog only - we put our cats in a cattery fairly often when we travel and I'd love to be able to use an online system to book things.

Awesome question! The software has completely customizable "reservation types" and "breeds", which allows for all kinds of animals. We actually don't say the word "dog" once in the app.

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.

Very cool site. There seems to be a ton of software out there for dog daycares, is there anything different yours does?


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 have plans to try to scale nationally? How many doggy daycares exist in the US?

Do you think this type of software would extend into similar markets well? Maybe vets, or actual child daycare?

We're currently in 14 states and Ontario. I have lofty international dreams, though :).

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.

Hi - how did you determine pricing for a niche?

In my niche, there are 2 legit SaaS providers.

-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.

That's awesome! Congrats on your success.

Very cool, Lee! Congratulations!

"Profitable side-project" might be an unstable equilibrium. If you're doing something without scale, it will die when you lose interest. If you're doing something with scale, perhaps it should grow into a bootstrapped startup.

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.

For a rational actor, it should be an unstable equilibrium.

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)

> If you're doing something without scale, it will die when you lose interest.

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.)

We need more stories like this! It's not all about crazy growth over a year or two after founding like in the most front page stories.

Great job in being persistent!

I wrote a book and video series on Sublime Text - https://SublimeTextBook.com

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.

Where there any legal implications you had to consider? I mean did you reach out to the creators of SublimeText before creating your product?

Yep - I have permission to use "Sublime Text" in the book title

How did you get into writing?

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...

It was really hard to write - took me 1.5 years, tons of research and re-writing. This isn't something I slapped together over a weekend. Far from passive income.

Creating content for me is always hard, but once it's done, I love to deliver it (via talks, teaching, videos or books...)

Thanks for sharing. Writing for a 1.5 years is a long time. How did you stay motivated to keep going?

Great job man. Skimmed your book a couple months ago.

Well, the passiveness of that income probably depends on how timeless your book is.

I too, am laconic.

That's pretty cool. How did you market it? What's your net looking like(assuming 80k is gross sales)?

There have been 5-6 things that have contributed to - the biggest one is that I'm somewhat of an expert in the community - I have lots of free blog posts and videos so I've gained trust there.

Hi Wes, I would very much be interested in the case study of what you did for marketing of the book. What did you do? How did you go about it after you wrote the book?

Thanks! Matt

You used to (still do?) spam this heavily on the programming subreddit. It annoys me to see that it's selling rather well, yet you apparently can't be bothered to buy an ad.

Please see: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/faq#wiki_what_constitutes_spam.3...

I just looked at my submission history and I've only submitted it to /r/programming once - so that isn't spam.

And yes - I've bought all the reddit ads I can get my hands on - they are in pretty limited quantity.

Nearly every submission you've ever made to reddit is either directly to your book, or to a post on your blog, most of which include a massive ad at the bottom for your book. That's spam. Even if there was no ad on your blog and you receive no compensation in any way, it's still spam.

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.

Get over yourself. This is part of why I hate the Reddit community-- it's a bunch of snarky, pretensious neckbeards.

Folks gotta eat and have kids to pay for as well.

People demanding something for nothing doesn't scale, so it we must settle for something in between: Mutual value.

An Android app I made in a few hours makes $500/m from ads, and has 1M+ downloads on Google Play. It claims to be a radar detector for your phone, but that's not even possible (it's actually just completely random).

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...

No wonder you make money: charlatans often do. Take homeopathy for example, magic shops, so-called "healers" who manipulate your aura to make your cancer go away. Not to mention all the churches which have a very long tradition of exploiting by promising impossible things, just as you do.

You really should add something like "WARNING: this is just a simulator, it doesn't work in real world at all".

One thing is is fundamentally different than your examples: the money is coming from advertisers, not the users.

Actually the fact the the users don't pay for it is not relevant. You're still making a transaction with the user, providing them with a service, in exchange for them putting up with your ads. But in reality the service you say you're providing is false.

> The description says that it is for novelty purposes

And common sense really.

The extent of the technological capabilities of a device like a smartphone are far from common knowledge for the typical user. An app can allow your phone to perform the functions of a gps, why can't it allow your phone to perform the functions of a radar detector? I mean even people who know enough about their devices to know that the idea of it acting as a radar detector is unreasonable may not know what their phone IS capable of. How more technologically proficient users do you suppose are there who are completely unaware of the fact that their phone might have a barometer?

Your app description is highly misleading - the first three lines strongly give the impression it works. Even your "disclaimer" says "do not rely on it" rather than "this is complete bullshit".

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.

I'd say the worst case is that it might encourage people to drive faster, if they assume that the app will warn them of speed traps.

It's actually totally possible with crowdsourcing, and a lot of applications actually work, like Waze.

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.

The description clearly says "Your phone is able to detect strong radio signals, just like the ones directed at your car by police when measuring your speed.", and the reviews show people expect it to work by radar detection, not crowdsourcing. Many comments are police officers that tested it with their radar guns (and they of course realize it is fake).

Except, the FTC will bankrupt you with false and misleading claims like these. If it is pitched as a toy, that's one thing but you haven't. You're just lying.

This app should be reported as having a misleading description or at least it should be in the "games" category not in the "transportation".

Had he not pointed it out to us, nobody would be the wiser.

"I seriously didn't think it would work at all but to my surprise it did so I put my phone along side my $500 Valentine detector and they both went off same time"


Funniest thing I've read all day.

You should just make it detect a radar when it notices any hard acceleration. :P

It already is more likely to go off the higher your speed is. :P

This app should be reported as having a misleading description or at least it should be in the "games" category not in the "transportation".

This app should be reported as having a misleading description or at least it should be in the "games" category not in the "transportation".

This app should be reported as having a misleading description or at least it should be in the "games" category not in the "transportation".

This app should be reported as having a misleading description or at least it should be in the "games" category not in the "transportation".

A year ago I developed an universal video downloader site http://savedeo.com.

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.).

You're pushing malware via popups.

To convert one video, I was subjected to each of these popups three times:

http://i.imgur.com/qqK77qp.png http://i.imgur.com/eCAtjOi.png

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.

That's weird, I'm not seeing these popups, and Google says the site is OK: https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=savedeo....

If indeed the claim is true (I have not verified it), it is possible that the malware creators don't offer up these popups to Google's bots.

The directrev.com malware installation popups I provided screenshots of were triggered by this script embedded in savedeo's post-conversion page:


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.

Alexa is highly inaccurate. My website (http://www.ranksignals.com) have Alexa rank 7,000 with 3,500 visits / day while my other websites with higher traffic have far lower Alexa rank.

My other websites have Alexa rank 23,000 with 15k to 20k visits/day and Alexa rank 250k and 5k visits/day.

I'm interested in how you are extrapolating daily visitors from Alexa rank. You mention having a 2000ish ranked site and knowing the page views from there. I imagine its not a linear relationship. Do you have other data points you are using? Any other information you could be provide would be super appreciated.

Strong words, but I don't disagree. I left a previous job in large part due to the shady advertising companies we were directly connected with, and which I had to integrate. It's really tricky, because the business people on the advertiser's side have all these justifications for why it's a valid model, and the business people on our side had a bigger check than any legitimate provider would give them (same argument the owner of this site is making).

I'm seeing them as well.

Understanding this problem--what would you say is the most "legit" way to advertise and earn money with a sight like this--? Adwords? Something else?

I don't see any popups, it's probably just you.

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.

The site operator himself said that there were pop-ups, it's not a false alarm: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8844978

I'm just getting betting sites tab-pops

It is possible that the site was hacked to serve malware.

That's pretty awesome. I just tried it out to see how you make money and noticed that you have both banner ads and also open popup-tabs. Are you comfortable sharing how much of the revenue is from the banners versus the popups? Are those the only two streams?

There are no banners only pop-up ads. There are two different providers, one generating around 1/3 the other the rest. I get probably one inquiry a week to test new ad system, which I mostly do. This way I went up from 6-7k a month to beyond 30k.

Awesome! Any recommendations on what pop-up / interstitial providers to use? I have a small site which has free, useful file downloads, and these could work well on that as an additional revenue stream. I have Adsense on there now but it is only pumping out $200-300/Month off of 10K+ visitors.

Any thoughts towards allowing people to promote their videos to that top list you've got there on the homepage? I'm er.. asking for a friend!

I actually spent a decent amount of time preventing people from promoting their videos on the homepage. The traffic dropped a bit afterwards but I like to have a real data there, just for the curiosity.

Fair enough, I was more thinking similar to how Google searches do it, a sort of yellow-backed "Promoted" link as an alternate/additional source of income than artificially bumping something to the top through fake downloads

Well, the top videos get barely over couple of 1k views so I don't know how valuable it is.

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.

It seems like there are hundreds (or thousands) of other sites that do the same thing. What do you feel separates yours from the others?

Speed and simplicity of the design. You can for instance download a whole playlist of videos at once and get a .m3u file that includes all the direct links to the top quality videos.

You are using worst kinds of ads on the internet. And the only thing which my chrome blocks is actually the link to video.

How does savedeo.com actually make money? It isn't obvious.

There are pop-up ads whenever you click somewhere. It's crazy intrusive, but unfortunately google like services are generating barely 1/3.

Mind sharing your provider's name (email is in my profile)? I have a hosted service, in a different space, with a similar demographic. Adsense banned my account (mistakenly may I add) over a year ago and now I'm out of monetisation ideas.

The smaller one is http://www.gunggo.com, the bigger one is invitation only.

Can you ask them to invite me? My site Twicsy has over 6 million unique visitors per month but I only make about 1/4 what you make.

When you click on things on the website, they pop open online betting and other affiliate links

I was wondering if you can point to me where and how you can get information of how to extract/download audio/video files.

Are there any legal implications associated with this site, as in is it legal to download videos from those sites?

Well, this is a kind of a gray zone. The data hosted on sites like Youtube don't belong to them but to the creators. The site itself doesn't download anything, in a way it simulates what your browsers does.

As a user, that's more complicated. In European Union it's legal. Everywhere else? Hard to say.

>The site itself doesn't download anything, in a way it simulates what your browsers does

Don't you arrange the download and provide a way for the user to "actually" download the video?

The site gives you a direct link to the file. Based on the site behavior and your browser settings, your browser will or start downloading or open the video directly.

Would you mind sharing your traffic numbers? Daily page impressions & unique visitors would be interesting...

How did you get those visitors in what i see as a crowded market? That's always been my problem....

Never did anything special. After a month got promoted by Lifehacker which crashed the site so the traffic went back to the original. Everything is WOM.

Is it possible to extract audio out of a video file you generate?

Sure. For that reason I wrote other service, http://auderio.com ;)

This must be less legal than Savedeo (which only creates a video link), because if the extracted audio is hosted on the servers it's very likely an illegal copy. I'm not sure DMCA would help in this case.

auderio.com api is through mashape ..which is around 100 request per day .. any way this limit can be increased for hacker accounts ?

ah i see. I was wondering if its possible to make a configurable autoupdating podcast channel based on these audio files.

You can use the API from http://auderio.com and do whatever you want

That's not to hard to do on your end, but it would be asking a lot of a free website: they'd have to actually download and pick apart the file.

How are you generating revenue? I don't see any ads.

Disable popup blocker and click one of the download links - it opens up the download link [I assume to convince you to disable popup blocker] and (for me on this attempt) a bet365 advert in popups

Clicking around pops-up ads in a new window.

Impressive work man.

How many visitors do you get on the website?

Do you bother with a day job now?

I actually do. My main thing is http://pexe.so

huge thanks for your story and the transparency of revenue.

is most of the income from the nfsw section?

Actually, the NSFW section is only 0.65% of the site traffic. I think the most income comes from some casinos or this type of ads.

What do you mean income from some casinos? Are casinos downloading videos, or what does that traffic source look like?

I mean the pop-up ads are sometimes ads to online casinos, sometimes very popular mobile games, etc.

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.

Cool! If you're willing to share, what is the most popular site people download videos for? I was thinking NSFW sites as well, but you said they only account for 0.65%.

Youtube (64.08%), Soundcloud (11.37%), Vimeo (9.94%), Mixcloud (3.84%) and then everything else is less than 1%

Hey , can you share which hosting you are using ? and what backend tech you are using ? only high-level. thanks.

I wrote an Android app based on a blog post of mine which got popular:



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 saw your write-up on this before; very cool work. Could you talk a little about the programming side of things and what you had to do to go from your initial mock-up (what did you use for that?) to the Android app, and how that process went? I saw that you'd written it was your first time with Android/Java.

Thanks! And sure, I wrote the initial simulation code in Matlab, which is very simple, just adding 2D arrays which Matlab is fairly quick at.

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.

I could have used this last month. I went through 4 crap routers before caving and buying a 250$ router to cover my home.

I wrote a book[1] a year and a half ago that just recently crossed $42k in total revenue. These days it consistently earns $1.5k/mo without much further input from me, other than tweaks to the landing page copy and updates once in awhile when Stripe or Rails changes significantly.

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

Edit: If you'd like to read a preview, you can do so here: https://www.masteringmodernpayments.com/read

I was thinking about doing something similar. Do you recommend using your own domain name (like nathan barry) or having a custom domain?

Why not both? Make a custom domain for the book, then treat your own site as if you were guest-blogging on it to pump link juice to the custom domain.

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.)

If you have a domain name already, use it. I launched with just a page on my blog and later moved it over to a separate domain. I don't think it matters in the long run, and in the short run you get a boost from your personal domain that people already know.

What proportion of that revenue are you receiving?

I use Stripe (and sometimes PayPal) so I get 97% of the gross revenue. Monthly recurring expenses are a cheap VPS to run the app and Facebook retargeting fees.

Hi, are you an expert or at least well established in the community? Because that usually helps a lot to sell. Thanks!

Do you mind sharing how you advertised your book or made it popular?

I wrote an article[1] all about it a few months after I originally launched. There was some HN discussion about it too[2].

[1]: https://www.petekeen.net/adventures-in-self-publishing

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6320333

I created a card game that I sell on Amazon. I have it manufactured in China and sell it though Fulfillment by Amazon.

Quite a change from my day job working in software but I enjoy the diversity.


Mind talking some about how you do it?


I've been trying to understand the full remote supply chain, going directly from the offshore supply chain directly to FBA.

Its difficult to completely automate the supply chain as incoming FBA shipments expire 30 days after they are created. If you're shipping heavy freight from China this is cost prohibitive. I currently "touch" my inventory one time in-between the source and FBA. I'm working on streamlining that part though.

Be sure that your mfgr isn't running off extra for AliBaba, free markets or other channels. Contract mfgrs are notorious about ripping off IP and product.

How is it possible to be sure of that, though? If they're a contract mfg then by definition they've already signed a contract that says they can't do that, so if they do it, they've broken the contract.

Check these guys at www.forestshipping.com - they can ship direct to FBA from your factory and do labeling services if needed.

I'm happy to answer some questions... can you be a bit more specific?

Well, what kind of companies do you work with—a printer, and a distributor? Any others? How did you find the ones you work with—and how did you know that they were the right ones? What have you done for marketing—gone to trade shows, paid for advertising, giving samples to the right people, or what? How well is it doing? Have you sales been steady, increasing, or was there a big burst at the start, and a trickle since? Um... that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

I work only with a printer... Amazon is my distributor. I found them on Alibaba.

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.

Thanks for the info :-)

Roughly how much did you have to invest in the first couple of sets? Most manufacturers have a minimum order, and I imagine that would be the case for you considering you were getting something custom made.


I don't know exactly but it was no more than 3k and a decent amount of my time.

Good job! Which card manufacturer are you using?

Would you mind sharing the name of the manufacturer in China? Cheers!

I've created five years ago http://www.totalwireframe.com, based on a hunch that it would interest people. It's a site where I sell libraries for an obscure/niche market.

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 :-)

Great story! I'm also extremely curious as to how it started to gain traction.

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?

It took off after 9 months. I have NO IDEA why. I know, it's not sexy to say this, but it's the truth.

Would you be interested in trying something new for delivering downloads, while allowing to collect revenue and build your community? Let me know, I'm working on something very similar. My contact info is in my profile.

Nice story! And you created all libraries you sell only by yourself?

Yes, everything by myself. It's not that hard, really, but it's really time-consuming.

I'm making about $500/month (was $800/month when bitcoin price was better) by code reviewing altcoins for exploits, undisclosed premines, and other scams that can hide in code. I have an arrangement with an exchange for a monthly fee, and sometimes am paid by others as well.

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

Do you do code reviews outside of altcoins? After reading your page I immediately wondered if you're a freelance code reviewer & what languages you specialize in. If so, you should add more details about that in a Services / Work section of your site, and link to those details at the end of your blog posts about code reviews.

Kudos on your About page too, instantly builds connection through good taste in music & drinks!

I've never really considered it. Reviewing altcoins is easy because all you do is figure out a known-safe coin it's forked from (since everything eventually boils down to bitcoin) and check the differences.

I really don't pay enough attention to my blog these days, but glad you like it :)

10MinuteMail - http://10minutemail.com

Temporary email. Got lucky with traffic, and run two Google Adsense ads.

I use this almost daily ( for testing my web app ), thanks for creating this site !

I'm a big fan of 10MinuteMail, it's saved from a lot of spam. Thanks!

How much traffic do you get to make $1k+ a month with Adsense ads?

I get 3.7-4 million page views per month from 850k-1 million unique users.

OK, that is a lot!

What sort of hardware do you need for that kind of load?

As zrail mentioned below, it's not that much traffic from a load perspective. It's a Java app, so it uses some RAM, but honestly the hardest load to tune for was the inbound spam.

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:)

You probably need a better mail server that can more easily handle that load. Check Haraka out (shameless plug, but it's designed for high loads and this kind of app).

FYI: searching for Haraka on duckduckgo links to the page with a description text of "This is the meta description of your form. You can use it for SEO purposes.". Whoever runs the website should probably clean up the meta-tags.

I'm writing some plugins for Haraka _right now_. Definitely recommended!

That's approximately 2 hits per second. If you're serving static content (or heavily cached) you could handle that with a Raspberry PI. Heck you could probably do it with an arduino.

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.

Depends on your users I think. If 50% of that traffic is during a 10 hour window of time each day, that could be around 70 views per second. And pulling email for an account could be more costly than a static page view. Then if he's getting that many views, he could be processing tens or hundreds of emails a day per account more or less.... Could get expensive.

> If 50% of that traffic is during a 10 hour window of time each day, that could be around 70 views per second.

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.

Might as well serve it from Amazon S3 with Cloudflare in front of it.

Of all the things that would be suited to Amazon S3 with Cloudflare, a simple mail client/server that saves email securely for 10 minutes is not one.

At all.

I use your service religiously. Hi!

PS: I will disable uBlock on your domain. I like people who advertise properly.

How did you get approved for AdSense? I'm trying to get approval for a small app with little textual content, but it seems Google want reams of text so it gets rejected.

I didn't have to do anything special (that I remember - this was many years ago).

Awesome. I used to run a similar service, but almost got banned from AdSense by users who received emails with adult content. What do you do to account for content in emails that users receive that may be objectionable to your advertisers?

May seem like a basic question, but I'm curious what different use cases your users us your service for. The obvious to me would be to sign up for a service that requires an email and use the fake one. What else is it used for?


Thanks for making that! Out of interest, are you willing to share a rough idea of how many emails have been created or how many are made a day?

40k-50k addresses are created, with about 80-85% of them receiving an email. I also get about 300k-500k email a day to expired addresses

> I also get about 300k-500k email a day to expired addresses

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.

Big fan of 10minutemail - great job! How are you able to keep track of the emails going to expired addresses? Aren't those addresses destroyed? Do you ever repurpose expired addresses?

> I also get about 300k-500k email a day to expired addresses

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.

> I also get about 300k-500k email a day to expired addresses

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.

HTTPS link for those who care about security: https://10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/index.html (Which should be everyone; I find it disappointing you would have posted the HTTP link at all, to be honest.)

Curious, how did you market it?

Nice idea. Thanks for sharing!

big fan also - how are you dynamically creating those address on the backend ?

how did you create the website and everything?

Lead generation service for mobile developers: iOS Leads - http://iosleads.com & Android Leads - http://androidleads.net

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.

Out of interest regarding the podcast advertising - how much does that sort of thing cost? Obviously there's going to be differences based on the podcast, listeners, etc but as an vague number were you looking at $hundreds, $thousands?

Per episode with the size audience mentioned, you're looking in the hundreds. Start out with one advertisement to test the waters. I ran one advertisement that had good results (5-10x return). Like an idiot, I assumed I milked the cow dry and should look for other podcasts or advertising mediums in general. That was dumb. I booked a couple of episodes again with Release Notes that produced the same ROI.

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.

Awesome stuff thank you - I'm currently creating a podcast hosting service, advertising on podcasts themselves seems an obvious choice to look into. I aim to have something that allows podcasters and advertisers to easily interact - that bit about ROI for advertisers has given me a bit of inspiration! :)

It would be fascinating to see a complement to this thread, "Side projects that never got any traction". The tech press has a huge bias toward reporting on "what works" based on projects or companies that succeeded, without ever looking at the many projects and companies that do exactly the same things as the successful ones without ever getting anywhere.

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.

I guess there are 100 failed projects for every financially successful ones. So it could get a bit TL;DR.

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.

We need a thread about most revenue from least investment ($, time). :)

Reddit thread on this subject from yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/webdev/comments/2rb487/people_who_h...

I made http://bankofamericaroutingnumber.com It took less than a day and makes about $150/month. Not quite the 1k but not bad for minimal work.

Did you also make http://www.chaseroutingnumber.com/ ? Looks exactly the same.

There's a link to it and a Wells Fargo version at the bottom, so I would say yes.

Yes, it's at the bottom of the page and Wells Fargo too.

Hm, how do you get visitors? You don't show up on the first page of Google results for 'bank of america routing number' for me. (I guess you show up second if I add certain state names.)

He's 2nd on Bing

Can someone explain what this is, is it like a UK sort-code [which identifies a particular bank branch, like a zip-code only for banks]? Why do people need to look it up [online].


more or less

>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.


That's ingenious - good work, and I'm glad it's working out well.

Wow. So simple, yet so brilliant. Kudos!

How does it make money? Just curious.

Looks like ads.

I always forget that my ad block extension is active. Makes sense. Thanks.

you are using "bank of america" in the url - no trademark problems?

I created a soccer app that provides information on betting. It trickled along nicely and then in November it jumped to £3k (~$4.5k) then December it jumped to £7.7k (~$11k) and looks to be on that line still as it is on £2k after 5 days of January!

I have also just started to allow 3rd parties access to my data!

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.

Do you mind to disclose your data source(s)? Every now and then I've ideas in this space, but ultimately I'd need a (free or very cheap) API with history soccer results and match data - which I did not find so far.

I use a number of sources and several systems that I have built myself for collecting live score data on a daily basis.

A good place to start out would be here: http://www.football-data.co.uk/data.php

Could you share more, what information on betting? I was looking into this area.

I have developed an algorithm that has a strong strike rate for picking outcomes of matches.

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 should point out that I had never made an app before giving this a try! Beginners luck!

Oh, so your revenue comes from affiliates? I thought that you have a monthly subscription fee :)

No monthly fee. I don't really like services that charge for this data.

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.

Any specific reason for doing this instead of just charging people for using the tips? Are your users generally skeptical of accuracy of tips and as such not likely to pay?

Just feel it is better to provide the service for free.

Maybe at some point in the future I will consider a premium tier but it is not on the roadmap at the mo.

link please ? I'd really like to try it.

Hey, the site is: http://betalyst.com/

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.

Nice job! You're probably aware of this site https://betegy.com/ maybe you can get some ideas from them (not affiliated). You should discuss your site at /r/soccerbetting my email is in my profile if you want to discuss further.

Yeah, I am away of the Betegy site. They offer a paid service.

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.

All tips are in a database.

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.

Cool! Shoot me an email if you'd like to chat further, myself and a friend had a betting tips site and facebook group going at one point, I like talking about this topic.

Do you track your results? That would be a good thing to have on the site for marketing purposes. Also, ever consider writing a betfair bot to automatically bet on your tips through their API? How do you decide on bankroll in your tips? (this is an area that interests me)

Thanks for the heads up on reddit.

May ask for some feedback in there!

Ya good idea. I'm a moderator there so if you need tips about promoting it correctly without being spammy let me know. Also, posting your picks to oddsportal picks (e.g. http://www.oddsportal.com/profile/DPT/), certain facebook groups, reddit, relevant forums and so on would be good to raise your profile.

Some great tips there. Thank you very much!

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

No worries, I like the idea, happy to help. Might pick your brains about it a bit if that's ok. Some traffic stats for that subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/SoccerBetting/about/traffic/

Email away!

That links does not seem to work.

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?

Pretty sure that link was public before... the mods must have made it private.

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....

I wrote a SaaS app for SEO professionals that helps them find link opportunities for their client's websites - https://www.LinksSpy.com .

It currently makes about $1,200/mo. I do somewhat detailed income reports over at http://www.it-engelhardt.de/income-reports

This is fudging the question, but after many months of nights-and-weekends toiling, I launched https://www.land-of-nosh.com out of beta testing today and hope to be making $1,000+/month at some point!

My wife has always hated the meal planning/recipe organization and sharing process and available tools (she'd used a few different products). After asking lots of friends for recommendations and hearing enough times, "I use X, but I don't like it, so if you find something better, let me know." it seemed like a promising lead for a side project!

Worst case: I make no money, and my wife finally has the meal planning tool she's always wanted.

My wife and I are terrible about planning meals and often end up going out to dinner which wrecks havoc on our checkbook. The problem with meal planning is I'm a terribly picky eater and there are few things she doesn't like. I've looked at meal planners/recipe catalogs in the past and I don't know that I've seen any that offer any sort of learning tool to find recipes you'll like based on your ingredient preferences. Of course, I suppose part of the fun in something like this is choosing new things to try instead of always relying on your old favorites. I'm not sure if your software does this or if there would be any interest from customers outside of myself, but I thought I'd mention it. Anyway, just the musings of a potential customer. I may check this out regardless, it looks really good. Kudos for launching.

Thanks for the feedback! I'm really curious: how do you envision your ideal system for discovering your preferences and recommending new recipes based on them? (Obviously, there's lots of ways to approach that, but I'm interested to know your take!)

It'd be really fun to have enough data on user's recipe preferences to see if sensible groupings ever emerged as a basis for useful recommendations. (I guess not unlike Netflix's projected ratings.)

It looks REALLY nice, congratulations.

It's something I could see myself using, but it seems too US-centric at the moment :) . Still, I'll give it a try :)

Do you have an e-mail or something for feedback?

Thanks! :) Fair critique for being too US-centric. I see you're from Uruguay! My wife grew up in Ecuador, is fluent in Spanish and still has family there, so there could be some I18N on the horizon!

Feel free to e-mail me directly (in my profile) or there's a feedback form on the site (in the profile navigation dropdown). I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Don't optimize prematurely, there's probably a lot of people in the U.S. that can use your site first ! :)

Best of luck :)

Edit: also, U$ 8 / month is a huge barrier for international adoption.

Good point on the pricing. I know not many people are going to see this comment at this point, but I'd be curious to know if anyone has experience or recommendations on how to do price discovery for one's non-native country!

I wrote an ebook ("Practice Makes Python", http://lerner.co.il/practice-makes-python ) for people who have learned Python basics, but want to gain fluency. I'm working on videos for a higher-tier offering, and then will start to market it more seriously.

I only launched the book about 1.5 months ago, and I'm at about $1500 in revenue. I'm definitely hoping to see greater income with the higher tiers (including video) and greater marketing. I'm also speaking with some companies about them buying site licenses of the book, which would increase the revenue even more.

FWIW I just finished a beginners python course on Coursera - Programming for Everyone (PR4E, https://class.coursera.org/pythonlearn-003/). There's no natural follow on as the course uses a book for which only the first part has been translated in to a course. There were a lot of people on the course asking what to do as follow-up; might be a lead for you.

I just signed up for your samples as 'pbhj' if you want to get in touch.

Incidentally, when one adds themselves to your email list for samples it takes you to https://lerner.leadpages.net/new-practice-makes-python/thank... but there's no route back other than using the back button. IME this tends to mean people will just close the tab, providing a route back or on to a related page might help conversions or give you chance to get affiliate conversions or what-have-you.

fwiw I was in the same situation and found taking a stab at the challenges in http://www.reddit.com/r/dailyprogrammer helpful.

Are you still writing for Linux Journal etc? I remember your articles from back in 98, 99, 00.

Yup! Every month since early 1996...

How have you marketed this so far?

To my mailing list, via a bunch of blog posts (on my blog), at free Webinars I've given, during a talk a gave at the hack.summit(), and on Twitter.

I tried some ads (Facebook, Google, and Reddit) for a short time, but they didn't work -- mostly, I'd guess, because the landing page is still immature, and because I didn't give away any free chapters or other elements.

The landing page is now better than it was, and people now have a choice between buying the book right away and getting a chapter's worth of exercises and solutions over a 10-day period via a drip campaign. These improvements have definitely raised the conversion levels.

I wrote a bunch of ebooks and created a bunch of videos. I sold them from my blog and via Twitter; in fact, although I started in 2010 and have made at least 10 products, to this day, I only have web sites for one ebook and one video series. (Count each video in that series as a separate product and I've probably made at least 20 products.)

TBH, the worst part about this is that it's so easy, I got pretty lazy about it. This is why I haven't answered the "what did you make?" question - I got so lazy about it in 2014 that the side projects brought in about half what they made in 2015. Kinda painful in retrospect.

Likewise, if I had web sites for this stuff, if I built email marketing systems, I'm sure they'd make more money. I even have a Kindle version of one of my books, and I still haven't gotten around to sharing it with my customers. Kind of embarassing, actually.

But even then, I'm well over the $1K/month mark. No worries there. All you really need to do is create stuff that people find worthwhile.

Thanks for sharing this candidly. It motivates me (an incredibly lazy person) to put something together at least.

I wrote a GPL licensed layout manager (https://golden-layout.com/) that also comes with commercial licenses. It's been out for three months now and seems to appeal to financial institutions. Revenue is ok, especially since most sales are the more expensive (399 GBP) multi domain license, but a lot of the bigger customers don't want to just purchase it through the website, but rather enter into a more bespoke contract which comes with some overhead.

How did you go about marketing this? Did you have contacts at financial institutions or they just happened to stumble upon it?

Actually, all I did was post it on hackernews. This generated a lot of initial momentum, but page views are now slowly declining, so I guess I need to find new channels to promote it.

That looks pretty cool actually. Is it really just a side project though? Could you provide us with some numbers?

cheers, it's a side project, but I'm also going to try my luck at starting a start-up this year and this is one of the components it needs - so its killing two birds with one stone. Revenue was between 1600 and 1000 GBP a month so far - although after just two and a half months this isn't exactly a representative sample.

http://rebrickable.com - using your existing LEGO collection, find other stuff you can build. Thousands of custom designs with building instructions and parts lists.

awesome awesome idea. any willingness to disclose a few numbers?

Small niches are cool, but you probably can't live from ads. Choose a lame subject with lots of users and make a clean and easy to use website.

I have a small directory website. It's pretty boring stuff, but it is a good source of almost passive income. Never published it. I just created the website and sent the sitemap to Google Webmasters. It's 8 months old and I have 400k pageviews/month.

I have lots of projects in idea stage, I want to execute at least two in 2015. My plan is to reinvest all money from this first side project to create others.

With 400k page views what does your Adsense look like?

I don't send all my traffic through AdSense, some go to other services, which give me less profits with less rules. I have a CPM around $2. depending on the ads platform. AdSense is definitely the best one for me.

I started with AdSense 3 months ago and I'm still afraid of being banned and lose all my revenue. I don't explicitly violate any terms, but it is not original content and can easily be framed as doorway pages.

What is the url?

Sorry, never published the URL of this service and really don't want to do it now. To be honest, this is the first time I wrote about it.

One of my goals to 2015 is a better project to publish here.

I built and run http://bots4.net. It's made a little over $40k since opening in 2011.

bots4 is a freemium text/browser-based robot fighting game. It was making $3,000/month at one point, but revenue has dropped significantly since then (and it fluctuates a lot based on the activity of whales). Operating cost is $25/month for Linode VPS hosting. Here's the revenue history as of August 2013:


It makes money purely through in-game purchases. Players can buy what are known as "stars" for $10 USD each. Stars let you order items for your bot so that you don't have to camp for them. The alternative if you don't have stars is to wait for your item to appear, so stars ultimately don't enable you to do anything you couldn't do without them, but they are a big convenience, especially in late game where certain items appear very infrequently (still only O(hours) though).

If you want more info, you can read through my posts here (linked to archived version because it's not loading on the original domain):


Create a Job Board, use the latest social routes to drive traffic and build a list.

The amount you make from the Job Board post is heavily dependent on the amount social followers (drives traffic and makes purchasing more appealing).

https://www.angularjobs.com started making ~$1000/month in revenue with a highly targeted social reach of ~10k followers.

Technical co-founder type? Take what you know about programming and offer recruiting services to the early users of your site. Both companies and developers visit job boards, providing both the clients and talent needed to collect recruitment fees(over 10K in major US cities).

My main gig is http://www.LinkPlugApp.com where I play a technical role.

LinkPlug is how I drive traffic to the JobBoard from social media accounts like the ones below(click a tweeted link to see an ad for the JobBoard):




edit: added Twitter account examples.

If you don't mind me asking, do you populate the initial listings on the job board by your self (by finding job listings and posting them), or leave it empty upon launch and just offer a period of free listing to get started?

I was populating the board with jobs for companies I scored recruiting contracts with.

These contracts made building the JobPosts and driving traffic worth my time(contract = collect a sizable a fee when someone you refer to a position gets hired).

JobPosts drive the organic traffic to JobBoards, so make sure you take SEO into consideration when posting.

I also started with a much lower rate to post on the JobBoard, never free, but as low as $29 at one point. As the traffic grew, so did the price. Now a JobPost costs $349.

Where did you find these recruiting contracts? Are they easy to obtain?

Call/email people in charge of hiring in your niche.

Most companies are very familiar with this type of contract.

I'd love to talk to you more about this if you have the time. You can connect to me on twitter https://twitter.com/patrickjbradley I have a website for finding tutorials about the Swift language. I've been considering adding a job board as a revenue source. Would love to hear your thoughts and advice. Even what you posted here is a big help already.


The JobBoard is a great way to get some passive income, but, there is a lot more money to be made if you want to devote your time to recruiting.

Having a non-recruiting domain in the space you want to recruit in is a huge advantage when getting both JobBoard and recruiting leads.

Definitely focus your recruiting efforts in one locale at first. DC, SF and NYC are the top markets if you are based in the US.

The JobBoard should be worldwide (easier to facilitate than restricting it anyway).

Feel free to send me sensitive questions via email: brian at linkplugapp.com

I wrote a puzzle app for iOS - https://itunes.apple.com/app/id906543727

It's free to download and try it out, but then I charge for additional puzzles.

I was keen to give a complete version of the app for free (without ads) so that people understand clearly what I'm offering. This strategy seems to be working with good and returning custom. Not $1k yet but some reason for optimism ;)

What's the current situation with In-App Purchases and patent issues? I'd like to do fund a smaller project of my own but I'm put off by the problems other developers have had in the past.

A good question.

I didn't take this into a great deal of consideration - I haven't seen any press or heard anything about it since 2013, and I felt that publishing something good would have value beyond this concern.

This is the latest I can find regarding Lodsys/in-app purchase patent: http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/01/03/ding-dong-patent-tro...

This wasn't a major concern of mine, but this is the latest I could find:


Anyway "The last Lodsys patent technically expired in 2012 - the LLC had been suing based on past infringement"

A good question.

I didn't take this into a great deal of consideration - I haven't seen any press or heard anything about it since 2013, and I felt that publishing something good would have value beyond this concern.

This is the latest I can find regarding Lodsys/in-app purchase patent: http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/01/03/ding-dong-patent-tro...

A good question.

I didn't take this into a great deal of consideration - I haven't seen any press or heard anything about it since 2013, and I felt that publishing something good would have value beyond this concern.

This is the latest I can find: http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/01/03/ding-dong-patent-tro...

Combination Machine Learning, NLP, Neural Networks, stock analyzer. Does automated day trading. Not HFT style stuff. More what a bank pays an analyst to do, type of trading, but smaller scale since it's only my personal funds.

This is really interesting, I would love to hear more about how you are going about doing this.

There's a whole world of people doing this. Some even package it up into solutions to sell you as though it's this black box solution you can plop down and just make money out of it. The combination layers of machine learning and quirkiness of the market, often require some small hand holding, and if you venture into certain areas of the market HFT's and other traders smarter than you will take advantage of your algorithmic trading by placing orders ahead of you.

Point is, it's not without some heavy risks, and regular attention.

I am working on something similar for forex. Did you use an existing neural network library for this or make your own?

Also care to share any pitfalls you fell into at the start? Right now I am working on building modules with the purpose of collecting data for training.

I started with the open NLP packages, but I rewrote pretty much everything, including my own ML algos. Typically based on the open source one. I kept running into scaling and use case performance issues. On some occasions things I did turned out to be solutions I'd find buried in the language of some google paper, which is mildly frustrating.

Forex is a tricky space, volatility and fees can really funk you up. I do a little there because the returns tend to justify it. Be wary of smaller and or unknown names. Manually check out anything you allow your algos to trade... at least till you come up with a comprehensive set of rules you can trust.

I tend to stick to US equities. Just because my risk tolerance is low for what amounts to a side project using my personal funds. Which I'm often not looking at until all the trading is done for the day.

Have you considered using your bot in the cryptocurrency market? There are no high-frequency traders to worry about because the technology has not reached that level yet. Volatility is high so your algos won't be sitting on the sidelines as much.

Would you mind putting an email in your profile? I'd like to contact you privately.

I am curious where do you get your data feed for trading. Do you pay for the data or are you using a free api? The main i reason i choose forex was due to ease of API use for data and trading.

Also follow up question, what sort of inputs are you using for training. Are you using mainly sentiment and price history or mostly technical indicators?

Level I and Level II data from my broker's API (Interactive Brokers). It's a free service as long as you have enough trading fee's every month. TDAmeritrade has an OK API as well. Both services have some limitations on data feeds (number of symbols you can actively review). There's some lag in data (sub what a human could notice) but again these are essentially free, and unless you're trying to be an HFT or scraping stocks this shouldn't matter. Neither of those activities are recommended, the people you'd be going up against have a lot more money and much better resources. News data is aggregated from a variety of sources and paid rss news feeds.

Yes to sentiment, yes to history (though I keep my own history for the sake of granularity and not paying twice for data), and sort of for technical indicators... technical indicators are helpful for humans, but if your ML algo is using a data set that spans a multi-day window already a technical indicator of the direction of movement in the last few days is just telling your algo something it already knows.

I am surprised to hear that your placing less importance on technical indicators. I have been going under the assumption that those should be my main focus for input as they can be easily calculated and translated into simple number inputs.

My thought process is that the more indicators i can feed in with some history the higher the possibility that unique patterns are discovered. I originally thought that sentiment and news would be to complex to break down into a simple input for the network. I want to include them but i was going to place allot less emphasis on them.

Are you simply breaking down sentiment as good vs bad by analyzing text or are you doing something more complex?

I am sorry to be asking so many questions, but i have literally just started working on this for less then a week and I find your success very interesting. At this stage i am treating this as a long experiment.

I got stock data from Yahoo to generate these reports. It is extremely fast and reliable

How much profit does this generate, if I may ask? And how much do you have invested as capital for it to trade on?

I make about what a Hedge fund makes 15-28% a quarter depending on how well the market is doing. I just don't pay hedge fund fee's. It's not wildly innovative I'm just circumventing paying a hedge fund, which often use the exact same methods I used.

Can you elaborate? Any resources on getting started with this kind of thing?

Like most tasks start by teaching yourself to trade on news/price info. Then automate yourself step by step. For instance News articles pop up, what are you trying to glean from them, its usually sentiment and and critical alerts. You can automate that with an NLP. Kind of just goes from there back into higher level decision making processes.

Is there a reason this isn't scaled out as a service?

SEC rules. To do that you need become a trading advisor (similar to a hedge fund), which requires that you have made over $200k/yr for the last 3 years or that you have $2.5Mil in your own assets.

While I've done consistently well so far, I've only been at it full force a few years, and I started with my own cash which isn't nearly that much.

The followup is usually turning this into a business and getting investors... if you looked at my resume not much would make you think I have the skill set for this (though I've spent 3 years building this on my spare time). I'm also not sure I'm really up for the whole start-up thing, I enjoy my somewhat relaxed work schedule/hours. I value my personal life more than this stuff.

I'm open to suggestion on that last one but it's not something I've done before.

Can you contact me (check my profile for email). This is fascinating and I would love to discuss it further but communication via hackernews is pretty limited.

Yeah, it seems like he could make much, much more.

I have three side projects that together became my "full-time" job. I'm able to spend a lot of time with my kids since I can work fewer hours. I'm tired all the time due to a 4 month old baby, so I'm not doing a lot of things I should.

My method is simple and has only four steps. 1. Write something cool and put it online for free. 2. Wait 4 to 5 years. 3. Gather all the emails asking if they can license it or pay you to adapt it. 4. Then slap on a price/marketing page emphasizing what everybody asked for.

http://websequencediagrams.com is my SAAS business. When I was working on 3GPP at RIM we had to spend hours in Visio moving boxes around, and pasting the results into word documents. It was a challenging layout problem. By 2007 I made a python script that did sequence diagrams automatically and put it online. I began to get emails from companies saying they wanted to license it, so I obliged. After I left RIM, I converted it into a freemium product. I have about 400 users paying $9 to $15/month.

http://zwibbler.com gets about 70 visits a day. It's a javascript drawing library with full-service from me. Again, it started as a free HTML demo, and I began to get emails requesting me to adapt it for pay. Instead, I created the front page that offers a complete solution for $1500. By answering emails and talking on the phone, I can get 3 or 4 clients a month without even trying. I figure out what they want and reposition the buttons to do it.

My favourite is http://rhymebrain.com because I don't have to do anything. Google just transfers $1-2K into my account every month for Adsense.

Rhymebrain looks cool

Just a small note: I tried http://rhymebrain.com/en/What_rhymes_with_peace.html

And it gives things like: recognise, harmonise

I know it's tough, so don't worry too much, but if it can be fixed the better :)

Thanks for sharing. Just wondering where the adsense ads are for rhymebrain.com, I was not able to see it when I visited it. btw, great idea!

Strangely, this is a 404: http://rhymebrain.com/en/

how does rhymebrain generate income? i dont have adblock and i am not seeing any ads when i view the site, not even after a number of searches.

Right now they only appear for people that arrive from a search engine directly to a word page. http://rhymebrain.com/en/What_rhymes_with_purple.html

My theory was that those people are looking to buy something. Also I hated ads. But I'm going to enable them universally soon, if only to stop the constant emails from ad companies.

I've built VoilaNorbert (https://www.voilanorbert.com) with a friend more than a year ago just for our purpose, and got LifeHacker(ed) in September (2014) with more than 20k visitors in one day. We decided to re-write it to include a paid service and we now get around 450 € per month that we split together.

Among that, I started selling Prestashop modules on May 14, and now I get around 800/1000 € per month from this.

Getting money on your side project is (imho) the best feeling in the world. You get notifications (email for Prestashop, SMS that I configured for VoilaNorbert) at every sales, and when you receive them, oh that feels great! :)

This lead me to learn something very important : you have to finish what you start. It's my big default, I always stop in the middle. Norbert and the modules for Prestashop was an exception, and now they make money!

Very nice. For the life of my I couldn't understand this Viola Norbert. What does it do?

Thank you :)

VoilaNorbert helps you find the email of a specific person in a company.

Say for example you have the full name of a person (the CEO) and his company's website. You can use Norbert to try and find his email. Using his personal email, you will have more chances to reach him than just using contact@... .

Norbert simply try and check the existence of general combinations of emails (firstname.lastname, f.lastname, etc) until one is found.

I made a fully autonomous bot for a 15 year old MMORPG. The bot can completely play the game with very little intervention, and I have about 2,000 people paying $5.75 monthly for it.

Interesting. Everquest? Asheron's Call? Bots were pretty big in AC, but I recall them being rather simple and using them could get you banned.

I found a great article by Walter Chen yesterday about how to he brought his business to $1000 recurring revenue yesterday.


Im working on a similar service using SMS.

I run https://www.daysoftheyear.com, a calendar website which lists all of the weird, funny, odd etc national days, holidays events. Alternative celebrations, like 'Ferris Wheel Day' on Feb 14th (vs Valentines Day). They're all real celebrations researched, described, etc. It was built (and rebuilt several times, and constantly iterated) by me, from scratch, on WordPress, in my spare time over a period of years.

The site generates >$1.5k per month at the moment from AdSense alone, without any marketing other than SEO and broadcasting to the social followers we've accumulated. This revenue is secondary to the real and long-term value being generated in the form of large numbers of membership/email subscriptions and social followers.

This is a cool project - must have been fun to do the research on and build. Are you using any optimization techniques for AdSense? Would love to hear them if you don't mind sharing.

It's great fun, and the research is never-ending. Up to ~1,300 unique 'Days' at the moment, and tons more to research. Loads of months, weeks and years to do too, which have taken a back-burner.

No AdSense optimisation at all; barely touched the account. The most sophisticated it gets is that it's using the async code (which we got access to quite early on), and there's a bit of conditional logic which fires to determine which size to serve based on the viewport width. Love to hear any ideas you have - though AdSense is really a temporary cost covering measure while we grow the email database, develop the app, etc. We'll bin it when we're large enough to move reliably to other methods.

I wrote a book called Build a Ruby Gem ( http://brandonhilkert.com/books/build-a-ruby-gem/). After release, it's required very little work and has totaled about $20k in 9 months since launch.

How did you market this book? Do you think having 1k twitter followers helped with sales?

Mostly in places I knew Rubyists hang out online. Message boards, link aggregators, etc. Twitter helped very little towards sales. Although I use Twitter here and there, focusing on capturing emails was more valuable.

I launched a side project in 24 hours last month (which I documented here: justinmcgill.net/24-hour-product-challenge-twist/).

It is called LeadFuze (www.leadfuze.com) and it's an email prospecting and outreach service that generates leads via email. Good for B2B businesses and startups, or even companies looking to validate ideas.

I've managed to hit $1k/mo ($1,100) in recurring revenue within 30 days. Going to be a much bigger focus of mine now that it is gaining traction.

Very interesting app. How did you launch and gain users?

I started a little niche webshop in 2011. In 2014, the monthly revenue were around $2500/month.

It's not passive income, but I only use ~ 1 hour a day on it (packaging etc.)

Is there any potential for improvement? Like, devote more time to it and make more? 1 hour a day = 31 hours a month = $80/h, roughly put.

Sure! And I have big plans for 2015. Both being bigger in my home country, and expand to other countries with the same concept. In Q3 of 2015, I hope to have tripled the monthly revenue!

Time to team up with someone abroad... What's the niche about? :)

What is a "little niche webshop" if I may ask? What exactly do you do?

What is a "little niche webshop" if I may ask? What exactly do you do?

What is a "little niche webshop" if I may ask? What exactly do you do?

I'm working on multiple ideas. haven't cracked the 1000/month yet, but have put together a common repo I use as a starting point for all my projects. It recently got featured on the Google Developers Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_7zdqz01sk&list=PL2fzhe-bAE...

http://fetching.io makes well over $1,000 / month but we're just getting started ;)

How it is different from google.com\history besides tagging and notes?

Just curious. Not trying to put you down.

Looks good, might become a customer soon!

How We Earned $10,120 in 30 Days by Sending Horse Poop to People: Amazing Kickstart of a Marketing Experiment


How are you guys marketing these?

I'm not making anything close to that but I've worked on a side project of mine for months with no gain. At this point I'm debating if I should just move on. It's not revolutionary but but any advice would be beneficial.


My visit to your site started with a spinner that lasted about 7 seconds before I saw any content. Might want to fix that. You can have a beautiful landing page without heavy tech or heavy content (whichever is causing this problem). Then, once the content loads, I can't read anything because the custom accelerated scrolling is sending me all over the page.

I'm guessing you could see a nice improvement in your conversion funnel if you fix these two issues.

Make the copy more benefit focused. Take inspiration from https://agilebits.com/onepassword

My first real side-project-turned-business is/was Bugrocket (https://bugrocket.com, launched March 2011, bug tracking for small dev teams). Subscription-based and grows very slowly, it mostly hovers around $500/month in revenue. The market is just feels really small these days between Trello and GitHub Issues being decent now (in 2011 it was very lacking).

Next, my wife and I started CourseCraft (https://coursecraft.net, launched December 2012, e-course creator tools + we handle transactions for 5%-9% of sales). Since it's transaction-based it's a lot less consistent monthly, but growing faster. A typical month is $300-$400 in revenue, but it's been a lot higher (and a lot lower) here and there.

I create videos, mainly focused on agile techniques, that I distribute online. Currently all of my videos are on Pluralsight but I've signed deals to start branching out to other distributors with new content in 2015. http://www.pluralsight.com/author/jeremy-jarrell

Currently the videos generate about $3,500/month in revenue. There's little out of pocket expense for the initial production of each video (stock imagery, reference books, etc) and no ongoing expenses after production is complete.

I started out just focusing on topics that I was interested in but didn't have a lot of success. Once I started approaching things as a business my return improved dramatically.

Something to think about: Based on the answers here and in the related Reddit thread it seems that information products (e-books, targeted blog posts, link collections) still generate better revenue (either sales or ad revenue) than pure software products as side projects.

A lot more people who write books talk about their experience than those who run a niche profitable SaaS app for obvious reasons (competitive advantage).

In my experience, it's much easier to have a stable recurring revenue from a SaaS app than a book. Books go out of date much faster.

On the other hand, a book can't go bankrupt/get shut down/go out of service after you've bought it and invested time into. In that sense, it's a safer purchase.

Send to Dropbox. Allows you to email attachments to your Dropbox. Makes roughly $2,500 a month currently. More info in this other thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8699687

This was another one of those ideas that popped in my head that I went to check google on. Already done. Nice job.

wow. kudos! pretty incredible it makes so much money today, when you can do it with ifttt

how do you make money if it is free ?

I launched Feedback Army on HN in 2008. It's consistently paid my part of my Washington, DC rent for years. I gave some details about how I marketed it on its blog and in the side projects book someone put together awhile ago. Sadly, I can't find a link to the side projects book or I'd post it here.


I owe a lot to Feedback Army. It was the first thing I made where I made money without putting an hourly value on a unit of my time. I learned to think of my business as a system for fulfilling what I promised and collecting money from customers. This side project was a great way to cut my teeth on some business and service fundamentals.

I made a a community built around sharing creative writing, story telling, digital art and artistic expression. It also has a few browser games and a "digital collectibles" aspect to it. I started it about a year and a half ago with a digital-artist friend.

It's got a standard F2P model for the collectibles aspect: you can get everything for free by playing the games / posting in the forums, or you can pay for it. It probably doesn't make as much as it could as I refuse to employ "dirty F2P Tricks", but that's a personal choice.

Check it out if you care to :)


Mine was not over $1,000/mo but I'm working to get it there.

http://undupe.com was something I spun up one day, it gained a little interest and now it runs around $400+ a month(with under 10 users). Not very much, but a nice start.

I'm working on moving this one up a notch past $1,000/mo while adding other small products to my portfolio.

$1k/mo is still a milestone I've been working on reaching. Up until now, I've been an active contract developer.

Still have lots of product tests running and seeing what will be next. Eventually, this will turn into a nice portfolio of digital assets and income.

I have two apps in the iOS app store. One launched in 2009 (Filer) and the other in 2010 (FLAC Player). I've been really lucky that both have done so well, especially 5 years on. I maintain them for major iOS releases and hardware changes, but the little time I have I try to work on new stuff and supporting them. My wife helps with support emails now, which has been a huge help.

Neither app has any server-side components, so they don't cost me anything but squarespace fees for my website and my iOS dev program membership.

Edit: Oh yeah, they're both paid apps and I don't fiddle with the pricing

reddit.com/r/SideProject is a great place to look for such projects.

it's private

You went to /r/sideprojects, not /r/sideproject

Doesn't seem to be, I just checked

Around two years ago now I created a League of Legends champion information/countering website: https://www.championcounter.com/

Growth was slow but steady, and the site now receives ~1.4M pageviews per month. The money to keep things up and running comes through banner ads - it's not a huge amount (have only started hitting just about $1000/mo in recent months, and don't know how long that'll last for), but it's still a nice revenue stream to have.

I made https://QuickMail.io for lead generation (making +$5,000/month)

This is the quick (1 min video) version of how I did it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0y28HmcqUo&feature=youtu.be

This is the longer version: http://blog.quickmail.io/category/journey-to-1k-paying-custo...

congratulations, how do you get new customers ?

Although we haven't hit the $1K/mo just yet, we're getting close. Perhaps overly ambitiously, we started https://ceanow.org - we saw a need with the bad advice that was given to startups and wanted to educate the "advice-givers." Our audience is primarily accountants and lawyers. It's a SaaS model in education and there's been a lot of interest. The big problem is the time bandwidth.

Artwork Archive - https://www.artworkarchive.com

It's an inventory/career management platform for working Artists. Slow but steady growth, mostly word of mouth and recommendations by influencers in the space. Me and one other business partner. We had our first $1k month in our 4th month of operation. We are well over that now and with current growth it should match the income of my full time job in the next year or so.

~$1k+ per month from few side projects.

+ pc builder site http://assembleyourpc.net (I created ~1.7 years ago, generates revenue from Adsense and few affiliate programs, 2-6 hours of work (per month))

+ other niche tools : http://portchecker.co and http://signature-maker.net (weekend side projects, 0-2 hours of work(per month))

I created a videotutorial course to teach people how to design and code trading robots - udemy.com/build-your-trading-robot.

It's doing about 1.5k/mth. Launched it 2 months ago. Took me 6 months to create it. Still adding content to it though, will probably take about 1 year more before I complete it.

The site that hosted the course did most of the marketing for me so I just focused on the product. Startup cost was about $150. Spent it on microphone and digital writing pad.

I created a website for folks learning English as a foreign language: http://www.phrasemix.com

I've been running it for the last 5 years. The first 2 years, it was just a blog that I maintained for free. 3 years ago, I started selling access to audio recordings of the lessons as a subscription.

The site generates about $2K per month off of around 300K monthly visitors. It continues to grow but very slowly.


I wrote a site creator for non-profits that allows them to create customized fundraising sites.

That doesn't look like a side project but great work nonetheless!

Do you use any open source cms?

This is bad ass. Good work!

I have a few small joke websites that run on a vps. I set most of them up as a kid. www.downloadmoreram.com is around $500 m/o on it's own.

I created http://builds.io and http://udid.io/ The first one is the store destributing iOS apps removed from AppStore. And the second one is the service to get UDID of iPhone in one tap. Together they generates revenue around $1000 month on subscriptions and AdSense.

Interesting that Joel's post only had 1 comment back then - nobody really cared about it. I wonder which of the posts from this thread will end up following Buffer's trajectory.

I created an iOS app http://ideon.co/theconverted/ as a side project. I've had hopes to be able to survive entirely on revenue from my own projects instead of relying on client work. I'm very far from that goal at this point, but the extra income is nice.

Looks awesome, do you mind expanding a bit on how the GUI/animations were built?

Thanks! GUI and animations are all custom. I wanted very specific multitouch capabilities that would not be practical by using standard gesture recognizers. So a lot of work went into imitating the rubber banding and momentum scrolling of the all-familiar scroll view. It was definitely worth it in my view. Said gestures manipulate two base values; origin, and scale (1D scroll and zoom.) Values on each side are defined as a multiple and an offset of the base (linear function.) All numbers on screen are basically entities of a particle system and are spawned, positioned, and destroyed according to their relation to origin and scale.

Not $1k, but might be a inspiration anyway: 2 years ago i made some simple LAMP+HTML/CSS Videotutorials and put them on YouTube. Production quality isn't great but better than 90% that was on YT at the time. Along with that, created a little site with the Videos and some code examples. Videos + site are making me $100/month.

I developed a wifi hotspot locator using NYC Open Data. It is deployed on Google App Engine: http://elemental-shine-793.appspot.com/

Source Code: https://github.com/rainmaker7/locator

I was about to make something similar but then found http://www.wifimap.io/ was a thing

Is it monetizing 1k+/month?

http://bestattendance.com. Built it over a summer back when I was a high school teacher and had summers off. Not sure I would have been able to do it without a nice 3 month block of time. Doing side projects on weekends and evenings only is pretty tough.

I made http://park.io last June

I got into this stuff because I am very interested in domains - especially .io domains

At first domains were just a fun hobby - to collect for future projects. But then I sold a few and bought a few more and scaled it out.

I created park.io to automate things.

Note: blocked third-party scripts seem to break your site unnecessarily. The site loads fine, but the full-screen loading thing keeps covering it. Yeah, I know, my fault for running ublock, but maybe that is easily fixable.

Also, do you plan to extend to more TLDs?

I developed a chrome extension in the early days of Google+ (2011) as a side project to help me remove inactive people from my google+ circles and unfollow unfollowers. Circloscope is now a full-fledged Google+ circle management tool which can help you build and grow your audience in Google+.

I sell 6 and 12 month leadership development programs to companies. I make 50% of the sale. At $50/mo per employee on the program, I make an extra $1000/mo at 40 employees. http://LIFELeadershipCorporate.com

Do you intend for the text to blink on your site? Because it blinks for me. Latest Safari.

I recorded what it looked like. You can see it here:


Interesting. It is not supposed to do that. I will look into it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

Whilst you're on it can you fix the LLR logo roundel not to have floating pixel cruft in the transparent areas (and poor cropping) and maybe provide a properly scaled WP logo - that anti-aliasing gives me the jitters ... just saying ...

Thanks! I have that stuff on my list already. I appreciate the feedback!

Is this your self-made content, or are you essentially an affiliate for someone else's course? Mind sharing a bit more how this works? Very interesting!

Affiliate, but I know all of the creators personally. We have a smattering of other leadership/personal development products as well.

Nice! Is this full time and you're making more than stated above - or are you part time and you are making ~1K / month as a side biz? Just curious about order of magnitude?

I am a mechanical engineer full time. I make ~3k/mo on the side with both the products listed on my site above and other leadership products.

I'd be happy to chat further. Hit me up on my website or on Twitter: @clintfix

Hi Clint,

This is an awesome project and it looks like the content you are providing is high quality and impactful! I would love to hear more about how you started gaining the initial content and how/why you structured the Courses (1&2) in the ways that you did.


Judging from what I've been exposed to from HR departments, this is a seriously underdeveloped area...

(I mean the content, not the selling of it.)

My specific content or the content that is normally available by other companies?

Sorry, I meant whatever I've been exposed to. Likely not that same as your content.

Oh ok. What were some of the best ones that you encountered? What do you think were some of the biggest shortcomings in the ones that you saw?

My site with totally free photos. I made it because no stock photo agency/site want my photos.


Today it has 1mio pageviews/month, PREMIUM Membership, Photoshop Plugin, AdSense and some "30-days" ads.

And photos are still FREE :)

Viktor, do you take all the photos? Does the site pay for your travel? Great idea, it is all free but get someone to pay for convenience.

Yes, I think 98% of photos are mine. Some others are my friends who kindly submit their own photos to picjumbo. Yep, there is some income for traveling and other stuff :)

I wrote a book on Google Authority 2 years back and after steadily growing in sales it gives about 800USD/month now:


Although I haven't spent a single penny on promotion and selling it for less than I should I guess.

Can I make a suggestion - try a month at $29 and see what happens? If it doesn't work out change it back.

Always experiment with pricing. It's easy to misprice ewares optimally by a magnitude of 2.

in which direction ?

I generated $1000/month selling pens to writers, moms, artists and creative . The project is called Humble Pen. It is a side project. By partnering up with artists from around the world would hep me promote the brand. It also changed lives. Win-win situation!


Interesting site, but it took a little effort to view. When visiting the site via Firefox and Adblock Plus, the site renders as just an empty page.

http://tailoredwp.com/ Recurring revenue is from hosting services plus some affiliate commissions. It started as a side project, and I think this year will become my main source of income.

Congrats! When did you start?

Thank you. Sorry, I only saw your comment today. I created the website in 2011, but for two years I was just doing some testing and SEO on the side. The last six months I have been more serious about it and the business have been increasing every month.

I left my full-time job back in February 2013 (coming up on 2 years). I currently split my time between consulting and growing my products (a downloadable and a SaaS). Revenue from my oldest app is still > $1000/month. Been a fun ride so far.

What's the downloadable, if it's not confidential?

Several folks do a few hundred / month with a few ad-supported utility mobile apps. That's enough for gas and food. To get to ramen profitability, either a good mobile or biz SaaS app. B2C should rarely be depended on for bootstrapping.

I started thumbnailing porn torrents at http://www.magnetpeep.com, then the Pirate Bay went down (who I used to index the torrents). I need to get back on that project.

That's an interesting technical challenge, at least to me. Could you talk a bit about it?

edit: Could you also talk about SEO and how you market your site?

Sure. What would you like to know?

I'm just curious how you go about doing it and how you actually index the links. Let's say you scrape tbp (or any other site) every X minutes. You see a link-- how do you know if you already saved that link? From there, I'm assuming you just have a simple model for each link which you save and render on the frontend.

I'm used to building pretty simple webapps, so doing something like this is really interesting to me from a learning perspective.

In addition to the technical tasks, how did you go about marketing your site?


Well, I used Ruby on Rails (I'm a Rails dev). Initially I expected to have to scrape TPB, but checked out google and found there was a PB API. I started looking into that, and was going to write a Ruby wrapper for it, but then realized if I was gong to do it that someone else probably already did it. Looked for a few minutes and found a couple of Ruby gems ready to go.

So what I would do was check TPB every hour, and get the links through the API. If I didn't have them in my DB, I added them. If I had them I updated the seeder / tracker info.

Once I have that info, I scan the DB for magnet links that haven't yet been thumbnailed. I use the transmission-daemon to manage the torrent downloads, and keep a handful of them going at all times. Getting that working properly was kind of a pain in the neck.

Once a torrent is downloaded, I use ffmpeg to scan it and make 10 thumbnails of every movie file in it. The torrents are deleted after they're thumbnailed.

Not much marketing, I just post about it here and there in places where people would be interested in hearing about it.

I'm hoping TPB comes back up soon so I can refresh my data. It's way out of date.

I've been toying around with this for a couple hours. Getting the links is relatively straightforward (I'm using kickass torrents). How do you go about adding the magnet links to transmission-daemon? You can setup a watch directory so that torrents will automatically start downloading when you fetch a torrent file, but that's not what's being done here. I'm assuming you're remotely monitoring the downloads true, correct?

As for ffmpeg, is that automated or do you have to do some manual work every time a torrent is finished?

You could use aria2, which is a command line program so no need to deal with a daemon. Also, you could make it download just parts of a torrent (the start of the torrent for example) instead of the whole thing and take the screenshots from there.

Wow, cool stuff. Thanks for the info.


I'm sure there are plenty of technical challenges, but i'm more curious about the bureaucratic ones.

Where do you host your site and how do you get paid? Systems like Google AdSense and payment gateways run from anything related to porn like it's the devil.

Can you explain how does this site make money?

Nice idea but what about legal issues?

We make about $300 in donations a month over at http://moodpanda.com , we don't do it for the money, its a good way of opening doors and getting invited to events etc.

I have an online SEO course that hit six-figures in 2014. I wrote a post on it: http://www.clickminded.com/six-figure-side-project/

I run http://unfriend.io - I used to make over 1000e a month with an un-named advertiser who decided to revoke my account without appeal. Now my money comes from donations.

Please Tell me do you really find ihr who Unfrieded whom on fb? Or is it Fake? Do you use people's data maybe sell it or something?

He explained it in its FAQ: http://www.sadlyunfriended.com/faq.php

TickChek.com is a side-project I launched in collaboration with my university's wildlife laboratory to offer tick testing for Lyme and other diseases. We've grossed over $4k in out best months this last year.

I built http://www.ranksignals.com SEO tools.

It's a SaaS app and a Chrome Extension. It has tens of thousands of monthly active users and makes $x,xxx per month.

How do you get those backlinks? They are pretty accurate

How do you get those backlinks? They are pretty accurate

How do you get those backlinks? They are pretty accurate

How do you get those backlinks? They are pretty accurate

Inspired by this thread i just created this site (took me couple of hours today), monetizing by Amazon associate program. :


Will complete it by next weekend.

Are you pulling the watch pictures from Amazon manually? Or have you automated it to some extent?

No pulling from Amazon manually. I'm doing lot of research manually and trying to find very best watches. Not sure if this can be automated but great point!!

There is an Amazon API for that, but since you're trying to curate for only the best watches, manual work best.

Looks good! Now the tricky part-- driving traffic and SEO.

Thanks! yea driving traffic is the hard part. If it was more of a blog writing reviews you could get good SEO but since my goal is to keep the site simple for users I don't want to add text. Let's see I will have to do some research on SEO - I'm just a beginner. But if you have any pointers on those, I will highly appreciate.

I built a niche website about Cockapoo dogs monetised with an ebook http://www.cockapoo.me


200,000 searches per month on goggle UK + moz keyword difficulty of 31% = opportunity

and how is it going?

I launched my first "real" SaaS this year, https://embedkit.com - and got just 1 enterprise customer to net 1k revenue a month.

I publish Hackerpreneur Magazine. It's a free app in the Apple newsstand and revenue is from subscriptions (in app purchases).


Have a website that allows folks to create custom logos and backgrounds for their google search engine. People can type anything they want, choose a logo and choose a background.


I have some shitty Udemy courses that net me just over that much:


I made ShotBuf iOS app (http://shotbuf.com) and earned $100 on sales in 2014 :) It's kind of fail story))

I developed a service that does SSL installation for you on Heroku: https://www.expeditedssl.com

Sounds like a great product! Some questions.

1. Your video mentions you 'buy the SSL certificate' for users. How does that work? Are you a CA or do you resell another CA?

2. Your video mentions latest security practices - are you selling EV certificates? Or just 'encryption to someone who owns this domain' certificates?

3. If you resell another CA, how can the identity verification process be 20 minutes?

Pardon all the questions, but I'm currently waiting on godaddy, who take 15 days, so I'm interested in this stuff.

Ah I just watched your video and I see you resell rapidssl. But the video also showed the certificate being generated on your server, rather than making a CSR on the desktop. Wouldn't you then know the private key?

Again, sorry for all the questions and thanks for answering!

Cool service, been looking for something like this!! Mind sharing more details, i.e. time to launch, rev numbers, cost, etc?

Has heroku providing free shared SSL impacted your numbers at all?

haha. this is great. simple product.

I haven't seen too much profit yet, but http://www.linkwallet.ca pulls in a little bit.

how is this different from pocket?

I sell drugs.

It's a lot harder than you might think.

My clients give pretty reliable recurring revenue, so much so that it's gone from a side project to a full time gig for me.

How do you scale customer acquisition? That seems very risky the moment you move outside of friend-of-a-friend networks.

I've been having problems with getting people to come back. How do you do this?

> It's a lot harder than you might think.

Sounds like those spam emails for Viagra

https://www.linktexting.com text to download forms for mobile apps!

Interesting. What you did for marketing this?

http://tweet-a-lot.com - #tweet-a-lot is a great way to start your own contest to encourage twitter users to post with your hashtag. The service uses gamification to reward behaviour that helps you promote your brand to the most followers.

I started a personal project last year that's currently pulling $350,000-$400,000 profit a month.

Currently I'm working on scaling very hard.

It was a good year, and it feels good that 15 years of insanely hard learning have paid off... It feels surreal, like I'm dreaming and I'm going to wake up.

Care to elaborate? Sounds like you've struck gold.

Do you have any additional details?

I'd rather not really share. I guess that goes against the spirit of the thread - Sorry!

Not even a link to the product? There could be potential customers here.

You should delete your post. It has no relevance here.

what type of business is it ?

Amazing thread - 2015 sure looks like a hit already.

Some of these posted ideas are actually pretty good.

A local community website, earning from local ads.

Would you mind sharing the population you reach?

Do you work with retailers directly for local ads or an adsense-type site? You do $1k/mo for this?

Would you mind sharing the URL? Thanks!

what is it ?

I'm bringing home about $2,500 a month on my side project. This year I plan on doubling it. The issue is that this is really starting to becoming another full-time job.

That was a little vague. Care to share more details?

You're right. I'm Sorry.

I run a membership site called travelblogsuccess.com. My full-time job is at WooThemes for WooCommerce. I'm a firm believer of "eating your own dog food" thus we use WooCoommerce and several other plugins on my own side project. This has given me a better understanding of the products we sell at WooThemes as an actual customer on a live site. I learned more about our own products using it for my side project than learning and testing our plugins on a local development server.

As for the site itself it does require maintenance so not quite passive. It's important that we communicate with our community and update our lessons and courses often. We just introduced a public Slack community yesterday for example. We're now a team of four and could easily need more help. 2014 saw huge growth.

Initially I was concerned that my side project was going to take up too much of my time resulting in having two full-time positions. It did take some lifestyle changes in the beginning to free more time like spending less time messing around Facebook or Twitter and optimizing my time spent on my side project. In the end everything has worked very well. I spend on average an hour or two each day on my side project. Sometimes more if I'm simply watching TV while working on a few tasks during my downtime.

Sorry for the initial vague comment. Please do feel free to ask me any questions.

commenting for reference later

It's been a few years, but at one time I averaged $3,500.00 per month, with two months at $5,000.00, from two AdSense units on just one single, quite lengthy but well-researched and well-written essay on legal music downloading.

I am, today, skeptical that it's worth anyone's while to try to make money from ads published alongside one's articles. At one time that was widely accepted as the very best way to make money online, but no more.

I'm getting ready to do a KickStarter project so I can devote myself full time to this:


So far I have some remote employers and clients, and some employers in a few large US cities. After I have lots more remote employers, as well as some in a few other countries, I'll do the kickstarter.

Someone managed to make fifty-six grand from a KickStarter in which he said "I'm making potato salad". Not that he was going to sell it commercially, or had come up with a killer potato salad recipe. I mean like he was fixing his lunch for the day.

Just a couple days ago, I read that three times as much money is raised from crowdfunding than from VC.

Consider that with crowdfunding, you don't lose any equity. You also don't have the problem with a bad VC giving you bad advice, or even demanding you do stupid things.

There are some VCs who are very, very good. Despite having to fork over lots of equity, the good VCs are very worthwhile, but IMHO a bad VC is far worse than not getting funding at all.

Side projects usually enjoy a brief moment in the sun, and then start losing traffic (or in modern parlance - money). Any further effort to promote them is fruitless, because the chances are; the same people you are targeting have already seen your project. It's like when movie franchises (Dumb and Dumber for example) try and milk the format.

A golden rule I try to live by is try many different things. Try every single avenue you can. When one avenue burns out, go down another one.

I still write lots of articles and essays, but I don't focus on any one topic.

I'm not running ads anymore. Some of my articles still have affiliate ads for books, but I placed those ads years ago. My new material doesn't have any ads.

I figure that if my writing is well-received, something good is bound to happen to me. Other than my plan for the KickStarter - which I am not dead certain I will actually pursue - I don't have any specific plans for monetizing my site.

> Just a couple days ago, I read that three times as much money is raised from crowdfunding than from VC.

Citation required. That doesn't sound possible.

I found the cite in an article by a VC, linked from HN.

I'll post it for you but not just now as it will take me a while to dig up my bookmark, also I need to get some sleep.

I'm skeptical too, but that's what the VC did claim.

According to Kickstarter's own metrics (and I'm sure we agree that they're the clear winner in this space), there's been a total of about $1.5B in funds raised TOTAL, over the lifetime of the site: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats

Conversely, there was nearly $30B in VC money committed in 2013 alone: http://www.pwc.com/us/en/press-releases/2014/annual-venture-...

So it's not even close to being close. Maybe there's 3x more crowdsourced projects funded than companies backed, but most KS projects are funded for a few thousand dollars.

I always assumed you had to know how to make a compelling video to succeed at kickstarter. And as a correlate be charismatic and photogenic.

I ran a successful Kickstarter with what I believe to be a cruddy video. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1985705009/pimame

I think there are two spectrums to successful Kickstarter videos: Over the top really well done quality videos, and super low budget (read: $0) iMovie videos that show sincerity.

Anywhere in between that and you come off looking like a scam.

That is a good point. I helped with a kickstarter for a fusion project. Our budget was low but we hired some marketing people who spent about $6000 putting together a video for us. It wasn't great but it was the best we could manage. We got a ton of comments about how scammy we looked, including from many of the project's long-time supporters.

(Luckily it didn't hurt us too badly, we raised $180K.)

Realizing that personal anecdote is in no way data, but I've backed 49 Kickstarter projects and have never one watched a video.

Edit: Apparently I've backed 59 projects, 10 didn't reach their funding goal.

I'm in the same boat: I almost never watch the videos. However, I've also run a Kickstarter of my own and, while researching it, found that videos make a huge difference.

We're both HN posters, which puts us in a pretty small demographic. :)

I have two close friends who are professional filmmakers, Sari Gennis and Ted Arabian. Sari was the animation director for Ferngully, her sister was my boss' girlfriend back in the day.

I met Ted in high school, when he and I both played Roman Soldiers in Jesus Christ Superstar.

However I plan to make most of the video myself, but then to have Ted edit it. Real Soon Now I'm going to make a storyboard from digital still shots, then an improvised voice track, then I'll transcribe the voice track into text and edit it down to where I think Ted could get it to fit into three minutes.

My plan is to produce a quality video but with some very humbling imagery. Consider that a homeless fellow here in Portland, not long ago said to me "Some of they people I find sleeping on the street, they tell me they used to make six figures".

I find lots of software engineers eating at soup kitchens and sleeping in homeless shelters.

It's not exactly like my computer employer index is going to find them jobs, but that if I can make it easier for most people to find jobs, then everyone will benefit.

    Consider that a homeless fellow here in Portland, not long ago said to me
    "Some of they people I find sleeping on the street, they tell me they used
    to make six figures".
    I find lots of software engineers eating at soup kitchens and sleeping in
    homeless shelters.
wait a minute, what?

Not surprised. I remember having a conversation with a homeless panhandling ex-software engineer in front of the NYC Tower Records store (original one on 4th & B'way) almost 30 years ago. He claimed to make over $500/day panhandling and, from his style, I believed it.

Yes. He really either used to be a programmer or was faking it extremely well!

Not sure if this counts, but in 2013 I made ~17k off of freelancing & consulting in my free-time.

I also operate some "for fun sites", which are all small projects for example a video-game discount aggregator (just scapes sites for discounts) all together ~$200/mo.

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