Make Money from Mobile Apps

App DeveloperThe NY Times has an interesting article about the iEconomy and how most app developers aren’t making any money selling iPhone apps.

This is true today. The competition for apps on Apple’s app store is intense.

There used to be a time when all you had to do to make money in apps was to create a good app and post it in the app store. People would find you there, and you could make money from day one with little to no marketing.

Those days are gone.

Now, in addition to creating a good app, you need to get it noticed, so it stands out. This includes doing the following:

  1. Creating an icon for it that helps it stands out from the crowd.
  2. Testing different pricing models including freemium.
  3. Submitting the app to review sites.
  4. Creating a strategy to make it easier for it go viral.

So is it still worth it to build mobile apps on the app store?

Well the good news is that, even though it requires more work now to create a hit app than it did before on either Apple’s app store or Google’s Play market place, the user base of potential customers keeps increasing as Apple and Google sell more smart phones.

Smartphone sales 2012

So yes, the risk is much higher, but the potential reward payout has also increased in the process.

The other benefit from all this is that most app developers won’t go through the trouble of doing all those steps, which makes it easier for the few that do to stand out.

If you still think it’s too much work, then you can consider creating an app for other mobile platforms like Blackberry 10 or Windows Phone 8. Although they have less users, you would also have a lot less competition from other app developers.


Minimize Your Risk and Maximize Your Reward

Risk! © by junkmonkey

Starting a business of any sort is risky.  An online business should be less risky as the associated startup costs are typically lower than a conventional business.  However there is still risk involved.  So what kinds of things can you do to manage your risk?

  1. Take intelligent risks.  If you’re going to take a risk, be smart about it.  If you have a product that you’re able to sell boat loads of, then it’s smart to increase your inventory in it.  It would be less smart to increase your inventory in a new product whose success you’re not sure of yet.  Treat the process like driving a car – you can speed up on highways where it’s safe to do so.  But slow down at intersections and school zones where it’s less safe.
  2. Measure upside.  Look for risks that have limited downside versus unlimited upside.  Stay away from the opposite scenario.  Drunk driving is an example of a risk with limited upside (there are several other ways to get you home safely) versus unlimited downside (injury, loss of life, jail time, loss of reputation etc. etc. etc.).
  3. Learn from your experience.  Mistakes are going to happen.  Some will be more costly than others.  That’s a part of doing business, but make sure you learn from them so you’re not making the same mistakes repeatedly.  If you’re not getting the results you want, is there something different that you could be doing?
  4. Get creative.  Are there other ways to handle the situation that could be less risky? Can you hire interns or use volunteers, instead of hiring employees?  Can you take a red paperclip and turn it into a house?
  5. Work your way up.  Start with smaller risks.  Use the pay offs to invest back into bigger risks.  I started with a small website, learned the process and then turned it into something much bigger.  My first mobile app was also quite simple.  My latest apps are much more complex.  It wouldn’t have turned out so well if I hadn’t gone through due process.