I am a college student who has a couple hundred dollars invested in the stock market. From my experience, your income depends on three primary things.
1. The stocks you invest. Basically, not all stocks have dividends. And those that DO provide the income to investors ( dividends), are highly stable companies. In other words, investing in stable companies will be reliant, but you won't see huge peaks in profit . Therefore, it is very unlikely to make a lot of money from these dividend stocks. Regular, yes. But decent? well, that depends on your skill as an investor, and many other factors too complex to discuss now. But onward to the next point.
2. The nature of industry you choose. Stocks in technology are most reliable. While the gas industry is wishy-washy and the medical industry tends to be difficult to read and unpredictable. Of course, choose the industry with which you are the most familiar. But avoid unpredictable ones, and gravitate to industries that sell computers, devices, consumer electronics, or even retail those ( like Amazon etc. ) These tech companies offer decent dividends. In the long run, they pay up.
3. Thirdly, is the knowledge that you have as an investor. I am a college student; therefore, the gains I make on my stock are small since I don't have the breadth of knowledge and experience that others do. The longer you do this, the better you will become. Stocks are situational. That's why reading books about stocks is useless--- the author might advocate a stock that is now worth zero or doesn't even exist.
What you need to do, is look for the principles and techniques that great investors use. You could obviously get lucky and invest a ton of money on the next Apple or Microsoft. But your chances are slim.
If your goal is to gain a decent income, please remember these 3 points. The third one especially. It takes time, a lot of knowledge, and practice. Look at your sector, try to read the situation, and buy or sell based on solid information.
Don't try to predict the market, as it is very unlikely you will . Instead , play it slow with the old tech companies and start buying when you think the company's products or services are showing greater than normal praise or critic reviews.This is investor hype. The media goes crazy about Company A's product Delta. Consumers love product Delta. You buy more shares of Company A, anticipating growth. Company's A stock soars.