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I've continued running my Elixir screencast business, and added on a 2nd product, which is a starter template for apps built with the Phoenix Framework. Neither is 100% passive.

The screen casting business means continuing to make a few new tutorials per month and making occasional improvements to its site. It sure pays a lot more per hour of my time than it did 18 months ago, though!

The starter kit is still in alpha, so there's a considerable amount of work to do. I'll be raising the price as it hits various milestones, though. Once it's "done", it will be mostly passive other than updating libraries.

Elixir is a rough market since it's very niche but still has a surprising number of authors, conferences and screen casters in its ecosystem who are also creating educational materials.

My MRR is fairly low, but it's just enough to cover my expenses living in Taiwan.

When I have the bandwidth, I'll launch another product which will be still more passive and it won't be limited to only Elixir devs. After that, the plan is to spend some money on outsourcing the editing of my videos and some routine social media tasks.



I like AlchemistCamp. Hey I should've thought of your PhoenixIgniter, I kind of developed and still working on project just for me that solves same issue, I call it Phundation.

I guess you are not selling it just yet anyway. Anyhow, since I have multiple projects, going through the setup is hassle and I created started project essentially.

Thanks! I appreciate the kind words.

About two dozen people have bought it so far and will get the updates as I build it out. I also gave access for free (at least up through the beta version) to all the people who bought annual Alchemist Camp memberships at the end of last year.

That said, if you've watched all my tutorials there will be nothing new in it except the front-end components that still aren't done.

where was the pricing, I did not see a link on the sites.
The screencast site is $21/month or $210/year (listed at the bottom of the /start page).

I don't put it front and center since my first goal is to get people to check out the free content, which is most of it. Eventually learners will usually try clicking on a premium episode, which is where the paywall shows up. The reason I do it this way is so that people will know exactly what they're getting when they sign up.

Also, even getting people learning from the 100+ free screencasts is a plus for me.

The other product is in alpha and the pricing is going up as I hit various milestones. It will probably max out around $250.

Opened a truly passive income Etsy shop that's printable cards[0] and another of Christmas ornaments that's largely passive (I just have to run the designs through my laser cutter and package them)[1]. I anticipate that one to ramp up in the coming month (if favorites/views are any indicator).

My biggest income maker has actually been the least passive: dollhouse furniture[2]. Even then it's only like a couple hours of work a week, and I cleared four figures my first month open (this past month). Plus, it's really fun to design and build tiny furniture.

[0] [1] [2]

Arent laser cutters like 5k? Have you recouped that?

Also, did you create the designs

Oh, totally. I have a Glowforge that was about $4k I think, and we're a member of a makerspace that has like a $40k laser cutter we use. But we've easily re-couped that through my stuff, my wife's business doing laser cut/engraved signs, and custom work for folks (e.g., signs for businesses, putting artists' works on ornaments, etc.).

And yep I do all the designs using a mixture of Illustrator and Procreate on my iPad. :)

Riding a nice bike is an exercise in something that costs $20-$40 always needing fixing every so often. So I do Uber Eats when I ride every so often to offset that. Almost time for new rims though. It's not passive exactly, but it's getting paid to do something that's 80% the same as what I was going to do anyways.

My onlyfans makes way less so far, but hope springs eternal.

I am curious what content on onlyfans you are posting? I thought it is good platform for offering additional access to expertise.
Naked pics/videos and functional programming tutorials.
You do both at the same time? That would bring learning FP to a completely different level. I don't think anyone would mind if you posted a link here.
I'm flattered! Wanna make sure everyone's aware I'm a cis-man. I've just gotten started honestly, so the only tutorial video on there is walking through a point-free JS solution on Codewars using Ramda. If I put up some more FP content then I will actually link it, promise!
I know about first, but second is what I think would be interesting.
I'm definitely not the best at it. I'm in the middle of job applications right now so I'm not going to push all my chips in on marketing myself in case a hiring manager finds it distasteful. And it's almost certainly not the best way to get FP content: there are definitely monetized youtube channels that have a lower barrier to entry for viewers. And of course there are pornographers producing more and better content. But I'm having fun. Kinda at a weird midlife crisis point so I might as well take my shot right?
Absolutely. I been thinking not so much about doing it, but how mechanic of OnlyFans is really useful for more then just porn. You can find my details in profile if you want to continue chatting about it. I feel like there is potential to do things in that space and it is fairly obvious to just go and pay for more information, as this pay would not be huge.
I created this online graphing tool in 2007 and haven't updated it in years:

It's still generating a small amount of ad revenue every month. It used to generate 5-10X what it does now before the days of mobile apps. Back then it was a very meaningful addition to my grad student salary. I had 250K MAU at one point, many of which seemed to be coming from middle and high schools in lower income places that had common computers but presumably not graphing calculators for every student.

It's SORELY out of date with current web tech. Problem is it's not generating enough ad revenue for me to want to go and rewrite it (over working on all my other side projects), and it's not generating little enough for me to want to shut it down -- it's still profitable even if it's just a little.

Why would you rewrite it? Unless its stack isn't supported anymore just make it work with the latest update so that it has no known security hole.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

A couple of potential reasons to rewrite it:

- The site is NOT mobile friendly (it wasn't a consideration in 2007), and the specific segment of the population that appeared to be the majority of users (people who had access to computers but didn't own graphing calculators) now have phones and look to their phones for graphing calculator functionality

- There are competitors with better UIs ( that sprung up later and seemed to have sweeped up a bunch of users from mine. Mine was, to my knowledge, the first web-based graphing calculator that you could click and drag the graph around with the mouse, and zoom with the scroll wheel.

- There are lots of new features in web browsers that could make it faster, snappier, and also support 3D graphing, which was a popular feature request

- I could base it off React and also release both mobile apps as well as a webapp, since people today seem to prefer native apps to webapps

- It looks outdated compared to modern graphing apps available for iOS and Android

That said, no motivation to do the above unless I had a guaranteed payout. Making graphing calculators isn't what I want to be spending my time on now considering the site is <1% of my income now. Back when I was a grad student, back when it had a lot more users, it was >30% of my total income. If someone gave me 30% of my income now to modernize its UI, I'd do it.

I am a serious practitioner of the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retire Early) philosophy. Over the years, I have accumulated assets in a very conservative portfolio. This portfolio has reached a point where it has consistently generated over 150% of my base salary for more than 5 years.
Just curious, what kind of conservative portfolios are you investing in? I was recently trying to get my wife and I invested in something similar, but didn't find many products. We are very risk adverse and recently (after maxing out 401ks) have been "hoarding" saved money in our bank, which doesn't help much.
The key thing for me was to constantly and continually invest. I'm sure you've heard the saying to "maximize time in market; don't time the market." I buy a mix of bonds and stocks that pay dividends. I'll skip reading the financial news from time to time and buy shares in low-cost funds when I'm busy or just feeling lazy.
I'm doing roughly the same thing, but just starting out. The focus is on real estate and business ownership. How long did it take you to get to the RE point?
I reached 100% income replacement for myself in my late 20s. Then I got married and had kids. My spouse and I reached 100% income replacement in our mid-30s.

Glad to see a fellow practitioner. Best wishes on your journey!

Tell us more please. :P
You give me too much credit -- it's a really boring approach.

My portfolio used to be about 50/50 in fixed income securities and real estate. I got lucky with the real estate, and I got out because I didn't think my luck would last forever. Now my portfolio is made up entirely of fixed income securities and blue-chip stocks that pay dividends. The dividends and interest payments are laddered such that I recieve at least 2 payments a month. I didn't choose securities based on payout dates, so the amount does fluctuate from month-to-month. However, the portfolio generates enough monthly income that the "leanest" month is greater than my paycheck's monthly gross income.

Being a software engineer myself, I don't qualify for the Roth accounts so most of my investments are done in a standard taxable account. I don't buy any particular funds -- just a variety of boring bonds and stocks.

I did try the RE (retire early) part a while back. It lasted about 6 months before I got too bored out of my mind. I still continue to work because of the mental stimulation and the social connections.

How long did it take you to amass a portfolio like this? Seems like it would take decades unless you have a very high salary.
It's a function of percentage income saved, not amount earned. The formula is (income / investment rate / percent income saved). If my investment rate is 4%, I need to save 25 years worth of salary. Saving 50% of my salary looks like I would need 50 years on the surface. However, my portfolio generates income from day 1, so it's actually a lot faster than it seems.

Just for reference, I was living on less than $750/month until I got married. The companies I worked at had plenty of free food. I didn't need a gym membership because the handyman work I did on my investment properties was more than enough. Until we had kids, my spouse and I were still able to survive on less than $1,000/month. We are based in the south SF Bay Area. We had 100% income replacement by our mid-30s.

I really appreciate the details! Out of curiosity, how did you manage to only spend $750 a month to pay for housing, utilities, phone (you mentioned food was free) in south SF Bay Area?
Digging through my old bank statements: - $500/month for rent and utilities by splitting 1 bedroom apartment with roommate) - $30/month for my cell phone plan - $100-150/month for a car 15-year old beater at the time. Mostly gas and minor maintenance - $70/month in spending money
This just launched, but I imagine I'm soon to be rich in other people's screams.
Did you think what's going to happen when somebody screams something highly offensive and some users go to court over it?

Don't get me wrong I like the idea, however the world at large is full of people waiting to ruin the nice things.

For now, it's not updated automatically, so I can prevent this sort of thing from happening. Eventually, I hope it will be more automatic, but I'll still mark all screams that can be transcribed for human review before posting. (This also serves as a spam filter.)
This might be controversial for HN but here goes.

A couple months back, I got into reading and learning about Ethereum. I never liked it, still don't get the value in blockchains except for Bitcoin.

I have a couple of bots/alerts and some manual strategies to execute on opportunities in some of the DeFi apps, mostly arbitrages. All of my strategies only takes in smart contract risks.

It's surprising how inefficient the market still is. It has made me around a years worth of my work money.

Do you have any practical DeFI resources you can share around this? I imagine you need to be brave enough to have a fair amount of $$$ tied up in ETH to take advantage of these opportunities as well. Are there not substantial risks with that?
> Do you have any practical DeFI resources you can share around this?

I would suggest reading about the popular Defi apps directly from website, use Twitter. is popular among this crowd.

> I imagine you need to be brave enough to have a fair amount of $$$ tied up in ETH

I only maintain exposure to USDC stable coin most of the time except during executing opportunities which usually completes in a couple of transactions.

DeFi also allows for capital less trades, eg: you can borrow $100,000 worth of USDC with no collateral for $90 using flash loans. One strategy is described here -

Well, I recently received a payout of $11.99 for products sold via Amazon affiliate links. It nearly covers my domain registration fees.
I run three "optionally" passive projects that have combined to about $26k so far in 2020 ("optionally" passive meaning I can put them on autopilot anytime, though continue to work on them to grow them).

They are:

1. SaaS Pegasus: a SaaS boilerplate template for Django projects (

2. Place Card Me, a printable place card maker for weddings nad other events (

3. Chat Stats: Analytics for GroupMe groups (

My goal - started three years ago - is to replace my day-job income with passive side-project revenue. Hopefully will do so by 2022 or so!

I publish all my data on profit (as well as time spent and hourly rates) here:

I made a web app that turns Google sheets into beautiful web pages in 3 easy steps. it's still lacking in many ways, but I'm working on a V2 with paid features that'll be launched soon.
I built a webapp with hundreds of SQL and python questions to help aspiring data scientists practice for their interviews. It's not really passive because it was a massive undertaking to write the questions/solutions and create the app. Now I got to market it by creating video solutions and posting it on Youtube. But I created it to help with my other side job which is teaching data science in the evenings at a university.

I co-run . We make five figures of monthly revenue, and generally my partner and I work 8:30-10 AM before our "regular" jobs. We're growing at a moderate pace—for now this is passive(ish) income, but one day we may dive all in.
That's awesome! I saw on your original submission on showhn for vsual that you were trying to figure out the marketing. How have you done since then and what worked for you? Five figures is quite impressive
The short answer is no, we don't have it 100% figured out yet. But we have learned a few things:

- The cost per sale of paid marketing targeting CUSTOMERS is just a little too high to be sustainable right now. Part of that, I think, is because the searching/tagging/categorization of VSUAL isn't great. We can create an ad with interesting art that causes a clickthrough, but if that piece isn't quite compelling enough to sell, we don't do a good job showing similar pieces. We're working on improved tagging and categorization right now to make finding curated, related artworks easier.

- Many of our best selling artists do quite well attracting their own traffic to their store. They already have IG/FB followings significantly greater than our own. So, we're investing in tools to help those artists with marketing (such as markup generators) and to help tools specifically for artists with distribution. For example, those artists who already have distribution want to link people to their shop, not to an entire platform. We're working on building whitelabeled shop pages without the platform nav bar for those partners in particular.

- Finally, I believe that with the amount of UGC on the site, we're currently not taking full advantage of the power of SEO. Creating landing pages specific to art styles and techniques is high on my to-do list after our upcoming tagging improvements are launched. I'm hopeful that moderate SEO improvements can drive our traffic up significantly.

If I had a side project that was bringing in five figure monthly revenue it would become my regular job pretty quickly. Are you hesitating because you don't think the revenue is going to last?
No, the revenue seems like it will last. But revenue is not profit, and I have a family to take care of and I'm the breadwinner. Plus, my regular job is good. Leaving my regular job for VSUAL right now would mean a 20x reduction in income, and I can't support myself on that. In time, hopefully that divisor gets smaller.
Did many side projects over the years, never having monetized any of them, so monetizing was indeed my goal in 2020. I monetized 2 of my projects.

First one was Newsy ( - which allows people to turn their un-used domains into something useful - a tool I built for myself first and slowly let others in. It's been a little slow since I'm not doing much marketing, but getting the first ~10 customers was an awesome experience.

Second was my long-term project - SideProjectors ( - a market place for selling & buying side projects - monetized with some standard elements - ads, pro membership, sponsors - all of them turned out to be great way of getting some side income.

I really like the idea of a Marketplace for side projects. I have had a couple of side projects myself and sometimes they died because of the lack time or resources even if they had some traction.
Not completely passive and not really a side project, but my wife's business is teaching Latin (the language; I mean not the programming language, the language people actually speak; well, some people speak) on the Internet. She has an evergreen funnel which actually converts a few sells per month. I do the programming, hosting and server maintenance for that thing. She creates the actual content.

Of course this is not completely passive: she periodically publishes free material to keep attracting people to the funnel. But it's quite rewarding every now and then to have an email saying that some random guy bought the videocourse.

The name is Satura Lanx:

I run myself while doing consulting.

It's a Chrome extension that checks multiple pages at a time for common SEO, speed and security issues. I started working on it initially to automate checks I was often doing manually while developing websites for others. Developers I worked with found it useful so I spun it out into its own product. I wrote the online guide on the website too that explains all the web best practices Checkbot tests which I'm trying to turn into an ebook as well.

I'd be curious if people here also mentioned HOW their app/SaaS/online tool stays passive.

I've been analyzing successful founder interviews for over 2 years now [1] and noticed for 'passive income' projects, usually they either:

a) Stay on top of Google for a few keywords

b) For mobile apps, they get a good ranking on AppStores

c) Are mentioned in some high-authority website as a resource, and that high-authority page ranks for some main keywords on Google

Word of mouth is rarely mentioned and that confirms various research studies [2] that the WOM effect is negligible if you're small.


[2] makes a little bit of money.

and send videos and amazon affiliate links to facebook.

I have always used both sites as a sandbox to test out new ideas and practice new programming techniques.

Oh and my biggest passive income comes from Class Action Lawsuits.

What I have learned in the last year or so, is really just focus on what your good at. I wasted so much time silly side projects / unfinished. Figure out what your good and stick with it, in my case it's stocks and algos not connecting to Facebook API to send out silly cat videos. :)

Stocks/funds like 401k, IRA, etc. Doesn't earn much but should compound over time.

All my software is free. I am trying to publish a children's book. I am also trying to sell a mother's day card idea.

So overall, I'm very unsuccessful. Maybe your execution of these ideas might be better.

I make about $0.05-$1.25 a day from my YouTube channel. All my old lectures from various CS courses are hosted there. I'm not sure if the algorithm's changed or if some of the videos have gotten traction for Berkeley's CS50, but I'm now one of the top results for "cs50 credit" and "luhn algorithm".
I am running na online art gallery specializing in AI art. Recently, instead of just printing the art on canvas I started using even real robots to paint it down [1]. Still it is only a small passive income but looking forward to make it really big as I believe this thing is a historic moment in time where art and tech started to converge into one.


This is pretty cool, How much sales do you usually get? You have any marketing channels?
Well, the space ai art space is getting pretty competitive. I have seen many people starting and then quitting these kind of projects because they approached it purely from the money side. I make only few sales every couple of months and so far it is mostly coming from social media (@ai_art_supreme on Instagram) or word of mouth channels. I am targeting high end of the market so that is fine by me and also ready to play this for the long term as I wholeheartedly believe this is an monumental moment in art history. These kind of artworks are going to be worth a ton of money in 20-30 years when we get super AI.
I'm in the same space as the founder of NightCafe Creator [1]. It's been running at a (substantial) loss for the last year until September which was my first break even month. I'm hoping to turn it around and have made great strides so far. The biggest expense (95%) is GPU compute time. It runs on Algorithmia which was super convenient to get up and running with, but is now very expensive. Switching compute providers is a big opportunity. Unfortunately I suck at devops.


very cool. Can I suggest you add a mail list feature to collect emails? I very much want to stay connected with you guys and get your latest news.
Thanks for the support! I haven’t thought about mailing lists so far. However, I am posting artworks regularly on social media (@ai_art_supreme on Instagram). Do you think mailing lists would make sense as I am mostly sharing the artworks and not so much the news content?
Following you on IG now. I just wanted a medium where your site and it's art work would bubble up on occasion since I'm not always buying artwork. I think IG is perfect considering you just share art work. Perhaps promoting the IG channel more on the website would help?

A mailing list is nice because you're actually collecting emails and can use them somehow in the future. You could collect emails and then send users a welcome email that also promotes your IG channel. It just wasn't obvious you have an IG channel. Hopefully this is helpful.

I profit from arbitrage by buying things for people on Amazon via I buy discounted gift cards, and order for others they pay me in bitcoin. Net margin is around avg. 10%. I have fulfilled around $8k, netting me $800 easily. However, there are some risks such as amazon taking away your gift card or locking the account. It isn't for everyone, but can be a good side income occasionally
I have a side project [1] that I haven't monetized, but some folks like it enough that they Paypal me for additional credits


You need to require HTTPS for all requests on your website, and redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS in order to protect users’ personal information and passwords.
Passive income means you do no work, other than put money somewhere. Bank interest would count. Real estate does not. SaaS does not count either. If you have to do anything that requires your time then it’s not passive.
Isn't that a bit overly pedantic? I agree that some of these examples are far-from passive, but this wouldn't be much of a thread if everyone just listed some form of passive investing. I think the heart of this thread is near-passive income sources, like 1-2 hours per week.
Back in 2013 I created It's a general purpose signup sheet app. Common use cases:

- college professor office hours

- open enrollment consultations

- comedy open mics

- auditions & interviews

- startup accelerator mentor meetings

- any kind of one-on-one meetings

- potluck parties

- volunteer signups

- pizza orders

I started monetizing in 2015 and now earn 5-figures averaging < 5 hours or effort per month. Now and then I do a batch of work to add a new feature.

Just my modest investment portfolio, and credit card rewards (not technically income, per se, but it's money the card companies give me just for being cool and using their cards, so I'm counting it).

I'm looking around for some slightly less passive ways of making a modest income that don't turn the slider all the way to "start and run a business."

I do about 5€/month on an astrology app on the Play Store [1], and I did 50€ once on my SaaS astrology web app [2]. The rest of my web apps [3][4][5] give me 0 (zero) per month..

I'm now planning on starting a python development blog, and I hope I can sell some courses if I'm able to drive an audience. I teach CS (next year part-time) on a local college and I have some tutorials and lab exercises for my students (some of which I shared at the full-speed python ebook [6])..

Edit: forgot that the fine guys at send my a monthly payment of about ~100€ for the full-speed python course at their platform [7]. I guess I'm much better at coming up with programming tutorials than with business ideas..

Some day my luck will improve! :)








$625/mo minus utilities (minus some pandemic/nice landlord skips) - Parking pad/yard with utilities to a tiny house

~3k/mo split between the following:

OLD content site in a specific niche - affiliate earnings* Domain earnings via ads (this is a loss for sure though because I spend more than this in domain renewals) 2 sites in various drug niches (affiliate) Adsense from a network of ??? sites Fiverr gig (article on a blog) * A variety of affiliate sites (amazon mainly)*

*split with a partner

Probably cover my domain expenses by selling a domain every once in a while too.

Some of these used to be full time projects that I stopped caring about. Very nice to have spitting out money still. I have been cranking crap out for 20 years and rarely shut any of it down completely unless it is does not cover the $10/year for the domain/hosting and even then I usually keep them going if I like the domain.

Although it's not really passive I started a YouTube channel [1] where I give some feedback to people who are starting their businesses online. Whether it's an e-commerce, SaaS or even if you are a live-streamer there are things that might not be obvious to YOU about why people don't converted. I created a bunch of checklists and I give those out for free. I also am working on an e-book that has a framework that you can follow to achieve the same outcome as one of my analysis.


Niche e-commerce site for a health product I import. I am only one of two people who sells the product in my entire country. I make about 75% margin on each order, $50-200 per month. It's just a handful of trips to the post office every month. I think its fun.
30 dollars a month from crypto mining (real on my own pc not some scam or online BS) 1.5 dollars a month watching ads 2 dollars a month surveys 0.5 dollars a month for saving account due to walking Total = 34 dollars
I cover the costs of domain / hosting with sponsored jobs @ If I get an actual sale for a featured job it covers a few months worth of hosting.

I haven't spent much time on it lately and there are a few things I need to fix but I have been too busy.

While I am not in the black with the project (even if I consider my time as free) it still helps be think about other streams of income that maybe aren't passive but can be tied into my hobbies so will feel much less like work.

I built which aggregates twitter opinions about web hosting companies. It runs it through spam filtering and sentiment analysis to constantly give an updated view into what people think about these companies. It makes money with affiliates, most hosting companies have them, some don't (eg. amazon). I don't let affiliate program existence or pay influence the rankings, it's just pure data. It updates itself and has for almost a decade now.
I co-run a blog[0] that gets a few hundred hits a day. We sell a handful of products per week at $40 a piece.


I built an Alexa app a few years ago for an Amazon-sponsored hackathon. Apparently it has a bit of a user base still, and for some reason Amazon sends me about $50/quarter. I don't know how the app is being monetized, it certainly wasn't something I did.

Also, because my app uses API Gateway and Lambda as a backend, Amazon gives me a $100 credit on my AWS account every month to cover the costs. My costs for the app are about $10/month, so the other $90 are used for various other activities.

I make use of a company trading on behalf of us. This translates to daily compounding income. They are helping around 200 000 people currently.

Truly thankful for this automated income as I am able to support my parents with this. My dad is unable to find work due to so much uncertainty in the economy.

Not sure I understand what you’re talking about. Do you mean a stock broker?
Pardon me, what I mean is the company trades on the Crypto market on behalf of us. If they make a profit, we make a profit, if not, we also don't. They execute more than 1000 small trades per day, some of which, of course, are losses. However, they aim to end the day on a positive. Since Apr 2019, we've had one small negative day :) This is how we make our money work for us.
I have a rental house that does not cover the mortgage on it. Real estate investing is where I am focusing, but I also have two software projects that I am working on in addition to my regular job. Not a lot gets done on either one these days.
took a leap into the Fix & Flip housing market and closing on my 3rd house in 30-days. Used 1st home buyer for first house and only put $4000 down, My brother is a General Contractor and fronts all Labor and Material and agreement is some type of % split at sale of house. Remodel and we split profit 50-50. after paying taxes ended up with $26500, 2nd house paid taxes and net was $3600. I get the tax benefit and he gets side income as well. Not my full-time gig but trying to save up for down-payment on my own house and make a little on the side.