After sharing some incredibly inspiring stories from other successful entrepreneurs, I thought I’d share my own. I hope you can learn from my mistakes – and my successes. I also share the step by step process of how to build a successful app business.
A few months into my job at Microsoft, I found myself being demoted at the same time some of my colleagues were being promoted. I found myself frustrated with the corporate world to the point of tears, and knew that I needed a way out. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to make apps. I took $12,000 worth of courses (!), and then decided that I either to make it work for me or quit before I spent another dime on courses. After a while, my revenue reached $30,000 to $40,000 per month, eventually leading to a multiple six figure sale.
“What will I learn from today’s show?”
- The app business can provide a recurring revenue source for you as it has done for me. At its peak, my first business generated $30K-$40K, per month, leading to an eventual multi six figure exit. While I’m not really big on money & material things, I am huge on freedom, and it allowed me an immense amount.
- The number one mistake startups make is building something nobody wants. “People pull app ideas out of thin air because it’s something they’re interested in, and they don’t check demand. Make sure you’re building something people will download and spend time and money on.”
- Think about emulation. Look at what’s out there and what’s successful. Why are some apps successful? What do they have that others don’t? “This is done in business all the time. Apple did it with the iPod and the MP3 player.”
- Do market research. Do market research. Do market research. Ok, hopefully you’re getting it. If you were at or have watched the App Business Summit, a common theme was that all the successful people did a ton of research. “The research is pretty easy to do: if you’re looking at the app marketplace, they give you lists of top free apps, lists of top paid apps, top grossing apps, and more.”
- If you want to develop an expertise in the app game in general, be downloading apps all the time. Apple has a featured app section, so keep checking there and keep downloading them and keep asking questions. Why are these apps featured? What do they have that’s better and different than other apps? “Look at the quality, look at the screenshots, write down what’s good, write down what’s missing – get habitual about it.”
- How to use websites like Upwork to build your team. At the very minimum, you’ll need one developer and one designer. You might not get the people you really want on the first jobs you post, but that’s ok – keep posting. Don’t give up. “It’s difficult to be successful in the app business if you don’t have a great team.”
- You need to think about marketing. Really, you should be thinking about marketing from the very start, in the idea phase of your app. You need to have great icons and screenshots, you need to make a great first impression, and you need to very quickly catch people’s attention. Another thing is influencer marketing: “I’m investing in influencer marketing in a major way.”
- Monetization. There are a number of ways to monetize your app business. Advertising is obviously one way, then there’s in-app purchases, and now subscriptions are coming into vogue. “Subscriptions are going to be big. Apple and Google actually want to promote them.”
- Mindset. There’s so much content in this episode in terms of technique and strategies, but none if it is going to matter if you don’t have the right mindset. You want to learn a little bit more every day, you want to work through problems calmly, and you want to see challenges as fun rather than as deflating. “If you don’t have the right mindset, no matter what I teach you, it’s not going to work.”
- I do some Q&A at the end, covering stuff like how much it costs to develop an app, what the hardest part of the app business is, the main expenses of building an app, and more. You’ll have to tune into the video to hear this part.
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