Much like the American Dream, ever since people from around the world have experienced the App Store, it is as if a door was open for us that wasn’t before. The spark of hope and excitement at the opportunities that putting an app out could mean for us individually. Maybe it’s the thought of being apart of a lucrative business model that drives us. At times I feel like this is the digital version of the gold rush of our day. Everyone has a great app idea; the question is, what are you going to do about it?

 

Expectations – The Shiny Object Syndrome

 

It all happens to us, and the shiny object syndrome pulls us in, mostly when you read about independent app developers who become millionaires. Once in a while, there is another successful app developer in the news. All the success with rainbows and sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m all for reading about these successes and congratulate every one of them. I even had to congratulate one of my competitors who sold his company for $5 million. That was good as it validated I was on to something and a disappointment as I didn’t aim higher in my app features. The expectations of starting as an app developer are that everything is good, there are no troubles or obstacles, and it will be an easy path to go down on. Right?

 

Reality Check

 

Reading someone’s “overnight success” can be misleading. The good part is it outlines the successes the person or company was able to achieve. However, it doesn’t reveal how many years, the struggles, obstacles, and long hard work that was put in to achieve such an accomplishment. 

 

Being an independent app developer requires a particular type of person. It will challenge you to think differently. You will build patience as you handle obstacles in your code errors, Apple’s rejections, Microsoft headaches, Android entitled non-existent sales, and app reviews from people yelling at you for a $0.99 app. The developer puts in the sweat equity of long hours in front of a computer. Ensuring the software art project is a thing of beauty only to find it wasn’t good enough. Back to the drawing board to fix things and work harder next time. This vicious cycle has the benefit of becoming more polished in our craft. It helps us become more robust despite it not being easy. The more obstacles we can handle, the more effective we can become. 

 

There are some apps I’ve spent weeks developing only to have it rejected from the App Store. It is as if these various App Stores are the gatekeeper of who are allowed to publish apps and who isn’t. On one side of the coin, they are great as they handle all the traffic, logistics, and financials. However, on the other hand, they limit the app developer’s creativity side as we can only go so far, and if you think differently from them, they shut you down with a click of a button. 

 

The reality of being an indie app developer is that there are so many variables we must meet each month, quarter, and yearly. We have to comply with ever-changing laws and regulations and the more than yearly changes on every App Store we are on. If they release the latest gadget, you bet we have to own it to ensure our apps can run on them. It was easy at first, but it can be too much to buy new gear over time. 

 

Software changes continuously. Your app may work flawlessly now but might need adjusting after there’s an update to a new operating system of the year. Apple releases a new version every year, and Microsoft has its list of changes. Your app requires maintenance monthly or quarterly to run and stay in the game.

 

Not all app ideas are successful, nor is it a guarantee you will get one sale. The app must provide some value that the user wants and demands.

 

App ideas do not always pan out as you visioned them to be. Certain features can be rejected from the App Store. Governments can demand to shut you down. There are so many reasons that can go wrong and most likely will. On a positive note, if it were easy, then everyone would be successful, right? I think this is what drives us, our courage to want to make our stand against the odds and prove others wrong. Test our abilities to overcome challenges to see what happens.

 

Even if your app gets published, there are more hurdles to pass through next.

 

Top Reasons Why the End-User Won’t Try Your App:

 

  1. The app icon isn’t polished enough.
  2. The app isn’t free.
  3. The app costs more than its competitors.
  4. The app cost more than $0.99.
  5. UX / UI.
  6. The app is a slow website. Not native.
  7. You must create an account to use the app (I’m not too fond of these).
  8. App reviews.
  9. Bad screenshots.
  10. Slow to load.
  11. Requires user to type in the information. They want it done for them.
  12. Etc

 

Will Your App Be A Successful Hit?

 

There are so many variables at play when releasing a new app to the world. It is not up to me or you what becomes successful or not. It is up to the market. The end-user will decide who makes it and who fails. Our job is to listen and adapt to the best of our abilities hoping the market accepts our app. 

 

One thing to remember is, what was successful back then, will not be successful now.

 

Conclusion

 

Can indie app developers still make it today? To be successful, you must put in the work to provide results. There are no shortcuts, unfortunately.

 

We can view things from a different perspective here. In a 9 to 5 job, you trade your time for work. As an appreneur, as they say, you trade results for possibilities. No matter how many hours, weeks, months, years it takes, your results (app products) are the only metric that matters. There is no guaranteed salary here, but self-employment can be very fruitful if you work harder than traditional full-time employees and are consistent with what you do. My message is to reveal the ups and downs of this path. Is it worth all the effort? Yes. Is it easy? No. Will you become a millionaire doing this? It is possible, but there are no guarantees you will make a buck. I find being an independent app developer to be fulfilling as it has brought me experiences that are both enjoyable and horrible times. Looking back to how this all started, the only regret I have is not working harder and faster. It is the experience that makes this whole journey aspiring. 

 

The name of the game here is taking action. No matter how many obstacles we face, the ones closer to success are those who push forward despite the risk and challenges ahead. Don’t focus on complaining and setting up a non-profit organization like some fellow app developers are doing. Focus on improving your product instead. Doing the work generates results while complaining doesn’t solve anything.

 

The real question is, what actions will you take with this knowledge I’m passing onto you?

 

 

Speed up your productivity with Chopping Block, our automated app icon resizer tool.

Mac App Store

Money

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

As I write this, we are in December of 2020, the end of what will be remembered as a bad year for everyone. A lot of people lost their jobs. Market Watch is saying about 22 million are out of work. Small to midsize businesses are losing sales as well. Retail Dive is reporting about 29 major companies are filing for bankruptcy. Retail store businesses will never be the same. I pray that everyone who needs help gets it during this time. Rumor has it hospitals are filled to capacity, but it seems empty where I am. However, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. 

 

To help stay afloat financially, are you interested in learning about five side hustles that earn extra cash? If our future is working from home, we might as well get started, right? 

 

1. Create mobile apps.

 

There are two ways to create apps. One of them is by learning and coding them yourself. The other method is to hire an app developer like me to do it for you. If you have an app idea or need an app for your business, I can help you out. Contact me for more information.

 

Apple says the App Store created $519 billion last year. If that number doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will. Just the thought of having your app accessible to everyone around the world is a fantastic feeling. If the market likes what you have to offer, then your future is bright. The opportunity is here. You have to take action. 

 

Equipment needed to get started:

 

Creating apps for Android can be coded on a PC or Mac computer. Apple products must be coded on a Mac computer. Whatever mobile device you want to create software for, be sure you own the device to test on. The emulator is not accurate. Please try your apps on devices to confirm they work. 

 

Purchasing the latest tech equipment is an investment, and from my personal experience, my investments in Apple products have resulted in significant profits. That has not been the story for Android, unfortunately. 

 

How often do you get paid?

 

Royalties are paid out once a month from each App Store. 

 

Are there setup fees?

 

Besides needing the latest tech, each app store has a setup fee. Apple requires an annual membership fee of about $107. Google Play Store only requires a one-time fee of $25. Microsoft needed a one-time fee of $19 when I signed up for them. 

 

Which app store earns the most?

 

Apple App Store.

 

Which app store earns the least?

 

Amazon App Store.

 

How do I get started?

 

Hire an app developer just like mentioned above or start coding yourself. After you finish creating an app, open your developer account to get it published.

 

2. Start some Fiverr gigs.

 

Welcome to the gig economy. Fiverr is a service where individuals can sign up and offer to perform something of value to people worldwide, starting at $5. 

 

Click here to sign up as a seller. It’s free to set up and start selling your services.

 

How often do you get paid?

 

There is a two week wait period, and payouts can be through Paypal, check, or direct deposit.

 

3. Sell unused items on eBay.

 

Have any unused items lying around your house? Try putting them on an eBay auction and see how much you could get from them. Decluttering feels good. Not only will you earn some money but also get some positive feng shui flowing in your home. 

 

Some sellers purchase pallets full of wholesale electronics and resell them on eBay for profit. 

 

4. Open an Etsy Shop.

 

Etsy is for the crafting individuals and companies who offer artful products. Often handcrafted products are made by people who love what they do. Etsy is a great solution to open your shop. Express yourself creatively. What can be better than that?

 

5. Start a blog.

 

Starting a blog can be very lucrative if you put in the work. The way to monetize a blog can be through displaying advertisements, affiliate links, promoting your products or services, and maybe even a sponsorship. Blogging takes time to gain momentum and quality articles. I’d recommend buying your domain (.com) and a reputable web hosting company to get started. Pick a service that feels right for you, and start blogging. Just make sure whatever niche you blog about, do it with passion and post often.

 

Final thoughts

 

Having side hustles is a great way to earn some extra income. Some side hustles are more lucrative than others, but I find it is best to try them out and see which ones are right for you. I know we could all use some extra cash these days. I wish you all well during these crazy times and know we can get through this if we put in the work. 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.
Mac is a trademark of
Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of
Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
office

December is here, the month that my annual fee for Apple’s App Developer Membership is due. To keep my apps active in the App Store for iOS and Mac devices, developers better not forget to pay. Failure to do so will result in being unpublished. This leads me to a question, why not have the annual fee automatically be deducted from app sale proceeds?

 

Can developers use Apple Pay for the annual membership fee? During the checkout process on the website, I came across this message:

 

Apple Pay Disabled

 

My Apple Card number was automatically selected to pay for the membership. The Apple Pay logo was grayed out further down which made me pause for a few moments. I kept saying to myself that I thought we get 3% back on all Apple services and products. It wasn’t until after I paid for the membership that the Apple Pay inside the Wallet app confirmed the fee was 3% cashback despite the website not disclosing this information. 

Apple Pay Receipt

 

So, even though Apple Pay is grayed out and says it is ineligible for one of the accepted payment types, it is indeed supported for the 3% cashback using the Apple Pay credit card number. Normally we only receive 1% for using the card. I thought I’d share in case this isn’t fixed by the time someone else pays for their annual fee. What an excellent way to receive $3.22, where I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Homeless Man Image

Want to be known as the next indie app developer millionaire? Want to get out of the rat race and be your own boss? Do you want to call the shots and be in control of your financial destiny? Great! But before I continue let me be completely honest with you… While this is possible, it won’t happen overnight. If you want success badly you will get it, just know it wont happen overnight. I want you to think about that for a second. I know I like things straight to the point, concise, and everything done right now but unfortunately that’s not how the world works.

Point #1: It takes time (months, even years) to reach success so have patience.

I remember my first year making apps I only made $9.51 for my first app for Android™ back in 2012. After experiencing and getting my feet wet in the app industry I knew I could make some extra income selling apps I did some more research and started making more apps. Today I now have over 32 apps published on over 5 different app stores. My income has grown tremendously since then with each year projected to bring in more than previous years.

Point #2: Experience by trying new opportunities, tactics, marketing, and see what sticks.

I’ve recently published apps to Windows even though all the hype is against developers to do it. Well it seems to be paying off well for me. I make more on Windows than I do from the Android™ market. I see tons of opportunities.

The message I hope to send out to you is that anyone can be successful in the app industry. The more apps you publish, the more you will earn. If you really think about it, its just a mathematical equation. Publish more paid apps of some value and the market will pay you for what its worth. I’ve earned around $1,000 a month, my next goal is to reach $5,000 so to gain that goal of mine I need to publish more valuable apps. Also beware that earnings each month are not always consistent. One month you may see a spike and next everything falls to hell. This business is a never ending roller coaster ride, buckle up bitches it’s going to be bumpy.

Point #3: Being in the app business and especially an indie developer in this industry is not for the faint of heart.

As an indie developer myself and all the things I personally went through I believe it was well worth the troubles. I view it as a learning curve and more of how I’m able to overcome challenges than anything else. I mean.. let’s put this in perspective, everything is all in your mindset. If you want success focus on that, if you want 100 apps, focus on publishing that many. It doesn’t matter what obstacles are in your way as long as you have a solid goal to chase, nothing can stop you. Don’t focus on what can get in your way, focus on how you can overcome those obstacles to get ahead. Take baby steps, one at a time.

Point #4: Set goals to strive for. Write them down every single day. Law of attraction or God or some kind of force will make it happen in your favor.

There’s going to be struggles, such as learning how to code, how to deal with different app store requirements, what to do if app is rejected, negative user reviews, keeping up with new features,testing your apps on new devices like latest iPhones, bugs in app, etc… This is all just part of the app business. If you don’t have patience then don’t bother trying because failures will happen. Everything in the tech industry is fast paced, your app could bring in top dollar one day but get taken out the next day.

Point #5: Patience can be learned. I learned it through my marriage ?

All jokes aside I’m going to be honest with you. All successful people work hard every single day. Hard work with patience and persistence for years is what it takes. I work all 7 days of the week but I love what I do so it doesn’t seem like work. There’s no other way around hard work. You are either a lion or a sheep. Become a lion and attack!

Point #6: Don’t pay someone to tell you how to run your business, try it for yourself. You will fail but it’s through failure that we can learn and grow.

Being a father myself I try to tell my son not to jump off from our furniture in the house but he doesn’t listen. I try to warn him so he doesn’t hurt himself. For me I understand this and no matter what I do to try to stop him he won’t stop trying until he learns his lesson. Surely enough he did get hurt from jumping off the furniture. From that day he hasn’t jumped from our furniture anymore. This same principle can be applied to how adults create businesses as well. Some wiser gentlemen have experience and know what not to do and for some reason we all ignore the warnings and fall into the trap ourselves. I think by facing failures that I personally come back stronger, whereas if someone warns me what not to do I just do it anyways. So I could pay someone to follow their system that works for them, thats great, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for me.

So do you have what it takes to be an indie app developer? There will be struggles, sleepless nights, obstacles, and years before you could be successful. Some of your apps wont make money while others will. Is it worth it? I truly believe so otherwise I wouldn’t have invested my time and energy in the apps I create, and this new blog. The work is hard but you get back what you put in this business. Question is: what are you going to do now? The opportunity to make a great living is live and well today more than ever. You just need the drive and hustle to make it happen. When there is a will, there is definitely a way. Go make something happen today!

Cheers!

 

 

Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.