RichardBy Richard
| 26 min read

Who’s making passive income from online software, SaaS and Apps?  What can we learn?

Software and App Examples“Can I make more money these days making info products or software and apps?  Tell meeeeeeeeeeee!”

This is perhaps one of the most fiercely debated questions in the passive income world at the minute, because we’ve had authorities weigh in for both the former and the latter.  Which side makes the best argument?

Well, if you ask me it’s an easy question.  If you have are a good communicator do info products, you’ll earn more.  But if you’re a tech head or a passionate problem solver, do software and apps.  Haha, that’s an annoying answer.  But it’s true.

You see, it’s possible to make as much money with either route.  But it depends on who you are, what you know and what you’re good at.  As you’ll see below some of my clearest advice revolves around your technical know how.  If you barely know your WordPress from your typewriter, stick to info products.  If not, then it’s all on the table.

Either way, no one can deny the huge earning potential there is from creating software and apps in today’s software-obsessed world!

PS check this outif you want to see the 2 software/app ideas I love the most.

1. Pop Up Domination

Making passive income from a software product sounds pretty good right?!

You create it once and then sell it 1000s of times, with no extra work.  Well, that’s the idea anyways.

What is Pop Up Domination? Continue Reading >

2. Music Teachers Helper

F**king brilliant example of facing a personal problem, coming up with a solution and then selling it to everyone else who suffers from the same annoyance! In the next 30 minutes, list out every single problem you have in your life…this will be your passive income ideas juice!! 

Everything from your problem using OmniFocus to eating a healthy breakfast to running stamina to booking your flights to China (yes that was my day haha), should be on the list. 

I once sat down with a couple sheets of real paper and a real pen and just scribbled away for 2 hours.  Really nit pick.  Really get pessimistic as a mofo.  You’ll be amazed how many things annoy you if you really try to think about it.  When you finish, group them into categories and focus on the things that really drive you up the wall. Continue Reading >

3. Best PSD Freebies

I loved reading about this site, because it’s not to do with MMO niche (hahah) and it is a very small side project done by a team of web designers, so it’s replicable by even the most time starved amongst us.

I’m guessing the name tell you all you need to know; these guys give away free Photoshop designs on this website.  Through a mix of good SEO’d content, guest posts and social media work, they’ve built up to 30,000 monthly uniques – a very high number!

I guess it helps they’re web experts themselves.  So how do they make their money?  Well, the tried and true formula is at work here; give away free content and earn money by upselling people premium resources (eg a $12 HTML template they made) and by making affiliate sales of other related products that their target audience loves (eg WordPress themes, graphics, premium plugins etc). Continue Reading >

4. Keynotopia

I loooooooove this business!  So it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m declaring it as one of the best examples of how to make passive income from software.  First, let me rant.

Keynotopia allows people to prototype apps for desktop, ipad and mobile using tools they already know like PowerPoint and Keynote – and it does this by supplying a library of things like wireframes, buttons, etc for use in these programs. Just drag and drop stuff to create a real looking app in minutes!  As their killer slogan goes “$49 will save you 49 hours!”. 

For me, someone who doesn’t know how to code apps, but wants to get them developed according to my designs, this tool is freaking insanely great!  No diving into Photoshop and frustrating myself into a quivering heap.  Instead I can pump out designs and ideas in the next 2 hours that would otherwise take 2 days. Continue Reading >

5. Lead Player

Oh this is another delicious case study!  Lead Player is a WordPress plugin – so software – which allows users to embed their Youtube clips on their website and then put opt in boxes or calls to actions during the videos.  Brilliant!  So freaking simple too from a conceptual level too.  And well, the idea is killing it.

Clay, one of it’s co-creators, used to be big into info products and during his interview with Corbett Barr over at Think Traffic he shared some big ideas on earning passive income from software versus info products, and much more.

Before I share those point, let’s just ideate on Lead Player a bit more.  It’s a fairly simple plugin, but it sells for $107, and if you want it unbranded and on multiple blogs (probably 80% of people), you pay an extra $40 for this. Continue Reading >

6. iThemes

If you have a WordPress website then you’ve probably heard of the good folk over at iThemes.  They make kickass WordPress themes and plugins, plus they do a bunch of training stuff too.  So they are a great example for us of earning passive income through multiple streams; ie software and info products.

Let me just focus on Backup Buddy for a second, their plugin that allows you to backup your WordPress site.  Here is a software product that blows my mind.  It’s easy to use, gets the job done super quick, and best of all, when you buy a developer’s license, you can use the plugin on multiple sites.  No ongoing fees.  I think this is a great case study in smart product picking AND bad pricing strategy!

The product cures a big ass pain (protecting your WP site without needing to be a tech guru) and the competition, like Vault Press, charge a monthly fee of something like $15 per site.  So for me this product says if you offer something that provides users with utility month after month (as opposed to one off), then you should make it a small monthly fee, as opposed to one-off lump sum. People don’t even notice say $25 a month. Continue Reading >

7. OneVoice & Commit

An app success story…is it possible?!  Well, kind of.  Nathan Barry who admiteddly has some nice design and basic programming skills when it comes to iOS may just provide you with enough inspiration to try your own app out and start floating around in the App Store passive income pools.

So here’s the deal.  He first created an app to help people with their speech problems, OneVoice.  Great technology behind the app and something that solved a big pain, as patients previously had to spend $7-10k on a dedicated machine.  With this in mind Nathan priced the app at a whopping – for the app store – $200 price.  Boom!

IN the space of about 2 years he’s made something like $30,000 profit.  So $15,000 a year from a complicated app.  Is this a good ROI?  Well it only took him about 5 months from start to launch and during this time he was probably also working on his other service oriented design business.  So I’d say hells yeah.  And after upfront work spreading the word amongst speech professionals, the marketing was fairly low key. Continue Reading >

8. MacX DVD Ripper Pro

This is a great little program for converting your DVDs into MP4s or whatever video format you like on your Mac.  And it’s a great example of a passive income business, because it’s a software product that needs pretty much no user support, since it is so simple to buy, download and use.

Big respect to the guys and gals who made this for systematizing their business so well.  From Googling “convert DVD to computer on Mac” and finding them automatically, to learning about the product through extensive video and article coverage, to using it with their simple help page, I gotta say well done!!  Better yet, the product is priced nicely, around $40 mark, and suits people who can’t be bothered messing around trying to find a free version that works and doesn’t infect their computer with spyware or whatever.

The tech behind this software is not very complicated, and as with many software ideas you shouldn’t put this beyond your own reach.  Often an idea can be easily executed by mish mashing a bunch of existing template-style code together, and then customizing around the edges.  Ie just like with building a website, you don’t need to create everything from scratch with software. Continue Reading >

9. Premium Pixels

Orman Clark is kind of a big deal in the website design world!  He makes millions every year from selling WordPress themes.  Yep, millions!  Just go checkout his work on Themeforest and you can see that is 20-something themes on average have sold 1000-5000 copies each, at about $35-$50 a pop.  Amazing right?!

Now Orman is no average WordPress theme designer, so don’t go thinking a few themes later you’ll be Pina Colading all over SE Asia.  No sirry bob!

What can we learn from Orman?  Well, for starters he transformed his life by quitting the web design game and switching over to selling tools to help others design their websites (themes and plugins and graphics – some paid, some free). Continue Reading >

10. Perspective Icons

You’re going to love this!  So the icon business is generally thought of as a pretty tough business, since everyone online wants everything for free.

But what about if you target a niche you know has got a high pain and high willingness to pay?  For graphics?  Who be I talking about?  Mac users of course!  More specifically, Mac users that employ the most complicated GTD app on earth…Omnifocus.

And so it is with that angle, that Icons & Coffee created Perspective Icons for Omnifocus.  A simple 50 or so set of icons.  Nothing crazy.  Something that probably took less than one week of work to create.  Best of all, the minute you are in the Apple niche, there are literally hundreds and thousands of blogs out there – both on Macs, design and productivity – willing to write a post on it and link to your page (with an affiliate link of course). Continue Reading >

11. Dot on Paper

These guys make plugins for WordPress sites.  One example – and one plugin I have used previously – is a thumbnail gallery plugin.  It’s brilliant.

You can upload all your images with one click and place the gallery (with your exact specifications) anywhere on your site.  Solves so many headaches it’s not funny!  And for all this, the price is just $15.

Now you might think, “Hey I’m not going to piss around designing plugins to sell for a couple bucks”.  But to say that is to not understand the plugin – or small software – market.  It’s a market where passive income can easily reach $70,000+ a year off the back of 4-5 popular $15 plugins! Continue Reading >

12. Habit RPG

As Tyler Renelle (dude behind this app) says, Things, OmniFocus, Wunderlist and every other GTD app out there are great for everything, except motivation.  And that’s where is software comes in.  Whether you use the online or iOS version, you can finally be productive and get the rewards you need to stay motivated and stay on track.

The motivation comes because Tyler turns GTD into a role playing sort of game.  You earn rewards for getting things done.  Smart idea.  And the people would agree, since it raised $30,000 on Kickstarter recently.

Once he finished the iOS apps, he will be looking at a great money making app that he can give limited support for over time, and otherwise reap profits from going forward. Continue Reading >

13. Joy Proof

Joy Proof is a software program that allows you to video record your virtual assistant – or any other outsourced worker’s – computer whilst they are on the clock.

The idea is simple; remote monitoring will ensure that when your VA clocks on for 8 hours of work, they actually do 8 hours of work.  As you can imagine this solves a big pain for online entrepreneurs who have privately contracted with an outsourced worker.

Note: when you contract through platforms like Odesk this technology comes with the platform for free.  Anyways, perhaps the most inspiring part of this story is that the company was started by a busy father with no experience in the software world at all.  And the way he found the idea was through suffering the pain of not knowing whether he was getting ripped off when he was outsourcing himself.  That brings us to a huge point: what pains, frustrations, problems do you suffer day to day with your work and your life? Write them all out and then ideate on the ones that cause you the most suffering.  How could you fix them?  That’s how killer software ideas are born.  Continue Reading > 


Want passive income ideas that actually work?

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If you’re struggling to think of an idea or you’ve tried out a few ideas, but can’t seem to eek out more than a couple hundred dollars a month, STOP.

I’ve already spent 1000s of hours researching and testing all kinds of ideas. I know what works and importantly, what doesn’t. Here’s 3 of my favorite ideas that actually work...