Since around 2013 I’ve been fortunate enough to have a business in the App space. Apple and Google app stores have grown exponentially over the years. It only made sense for me to be part of this growth. This article will share what it takes to get into the App business, things to look for and what you need to survive. There is a lot more to it than you think.
When my partner and I started creating apps we were definitely lost. Like any business, there were some struggles early on.
We started to develop an app related to Facebook. At the time Facebook was everything. We were able to charge $0.99 for each download. The app allowed users to update their Facebook statuses with a variety of premade lists. This helped people create clever and comedic status updates with a click of a button. We were very surprised at how many people paid for this app. We had a pretty good run but over time it lost steam.
On our next endeavor, we decided to make apps in the kid games niche. There are tons and tons of games out there for kids but we went after an educational feel. We decided to start with one particular app that had multiple mini games inside. These baby games were geared towards the ages of 0 to 5 years old. It turned out to be a great proposition and we ended up developing several more apps. Let’s now discuss the process of starting an app business.
How does one get started in the app world?
There is an app for that. You should make an app for that. Most likely we’ve all said those common words. Sometimes a good idea gets turned into an app. Other times the app has already been created and you didn’t even know about it. Any time you come up with a good idea check the two different app stores and see if it exists. You’d be surprised how many different applications are out there. We also recommend researching different aspects of applications. You can go after a game or something that may help someone. There are plenty of ways to get involved.
Putting a Development Team Together
Having a development team that works well for your needs is one of the hardest parts. Unless you have all the skills to do it yourself, you’ll most likely have to hire someone. We needed developers that can produce great apps at a reasonable cost. Creating these small little icons of applications is expensive. Size doesn’t matter. We ran into several problems with developers that were either charging too much or not getting the work done. If you decide to go down this route you will definitely need to find a good development team. This doesn’t just include source code writers but also includes graphic designers.
Monetizing the Apps
Getting people to download your app is one thing but monetizing it is a whole different animal. Although you don’t want to throw dozens of ads at people you really don’t have many other options. If you have a chance to provide a service for a monthly fee that would be a great option. We decided to run ads using the Google AdMob platform. We started to see results early on. Our daily gains increased over the course of time. To be honest, it was very exciting to refresh the stats.
As we added more apps to our portfolio our ad-revenue increased. We decided to add features such as in App Store purchases. This would allow users to remove ads from the applications.
We did try offering an application that had a premium content for a monthly fee. Although the app was decent it didn’t fair well. We chalked it up to a learning experience but it did cost us quite a bit of time and money.
Our other apps did have a $0.99 remove the ads feature. We did see some nice returns on this since people wanted their kids to enjoy without seeing ads. Having the dual monetization method allowed us to build on both the ad side and application side. We had a good revenue stream building.
One thing you need to be aware of are app reviews made by your users. You need to stay constantly up to date on what they are saying. You will most likely see more complaints than praise. Just like most reviews, this has a tendency to affect your ego but don’t let it. If people are complaining about a bug, fix it. A lot of times people complain about ads in the app. Try to explain to them how much it cost to create the apps and you will do your best to reduce ad count. Also, give them the option to remove ads by offering an in-app purchase. There are many ways to handle reviews but don’t let it get to you personally.
Selling Your Portfolio
We were fortunate enough to sell our portfolio of apps about a year ago. We decided to use a broker to help us find a buyer because the price we wanted was really high. We didn’t have access to some of the big names in the business. By using the broker this allowed us to connect with the buyer that was willing to pay around the price we were asking. Although we were asking for a little bit more we did settle for a great price.
Why did we sell our app portfolio? At the time we decided we were both super busy with our other work. The app business requires a lot of time and resources to keep building and expanding. If you don’t stay up to speed, apps will have the tendency to drop off. It actually became pretty frustrating although we were doing pretty well monetarily. We had to make a serious decision. A year later some of the apps exist and are still doing quite well. To this day we still are very comfortable with the decision we made.
Deciding to Get Back In
Soon after we sold our app portfolio we were still a little hungry for more. Several months later we decided to form another partnership and create applications on the opposite spectrum. We decide to go after seniors and their needs. We felt like in the elderly space games geared towards cards and casino was a good idea. We also considered brain functioning type games to increase memory. We continue at this time to keep adding to our portfolio and to expand. Our one casino game has done okay and is due for a big update. Once that update is completed we should hopefully move up in the ranks and receive a few more downloads. We do have some pretty big in-app purchases on the app and hopefully can start generating some decent revenue.
Wrapping It Up
If you consider getting in the app game be sure to check a few things. Make sure you can find some good developers to help you create your idea. Make sure you have enough investment/resources to produce this application. A lot of times costs continue to add up as you develop a new app and add new ideas. You always want to keep updating your app as well even if it isn’t generating money. Continue to build on top of your app or it will fall in the app ranks.
Although there are tons of app developers and applications on the marketplace there is still room for you. Whether it’s a new idea or taking an existing one and making it better you have to find a way to make it work. Competition is out there for sure but don’t let that stop you from developing your concept. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
My App FAQ
Usually, people will decide to do a review of your application on their own. You can also request the person to review the app by asking them by using push notifications within the app.
There are several routes you can take. I like to run ads within the app while providing in-app purchases. You can also drive traffic from your app to other marketplaces in the form of affiliate relationships.
There are a lot of resources online that will help you with that. Finding a good team within your budget will be the hardest part. You can use a site like Upwork.
Yes. Just because it is small doesn’t mean it won’t cost you a lot of money. Depending on your needs you can expect to spend $1,000’s potentially.
Yes. There are 1000’s of apps added every day. If you can come up with a good idea and put it to work then give it a try. Consider all of the risk factors.