The mobile application sector CAN be a very profitable industry to be in but it comes with some caveats, if you aren’t careful you can be out of business before you are really “in business”. I want to give my fellow developers out there a few tips to help you out a little. I know some of you are probably thinking, “why would he give help to his competition?” – Simple answer, competition is good, it’s healthy, it’s good for the industry and it’s good for us too, besides, I am confident in the team we have assembled and in our vision going forward.
One of the BIGGEST mistakes fledgling, would be app developers make is trying to be the “winning horse” right out of the gate. Humans aren’t without ego and THIS is ALL ego. The need or desire to create the “next big app” will end your dreams of being a mobile app developer before they even begin. Some of the mobile app developers making solid consistent revenue are doing it with mobile apps that you most likely have never even heard of. That’s right, you DON’T have to be the next “Angry Birds” or Temple Run” t o do well in the mobile app industry.
There are numerous ways to make money from mobile applications besides charging for downloads which we will touch on later in this article. Start small, if you don’t know how to program then post on sites such as eLance, Rent a Coder, and Freelanced to find developers who can build your first inexpensive apps. You really need to watch your budget here and my suggestion is to begin spending as little as possible until you have some success. Try to stay well under $500 for your first apps until you can get them to market and find out if you are going to make any revenue from them or not. With that said, I feel like success in the mobile app sector is a numbers game so the more apps you can get out there, the more opportunity for them to be popular and profitable.
Have you ever heard this quote? “You have to walk before you can run”
This is so true for the mobile app market as well. You will find it far easier to create the dream app you would like IF you have a solid income backing you up before you go after it. The way to build a solid mobile app business is the same as any other, first you have to build a foundation. Now, let me dispel any myths of what a foundation means. It isn’t a huge building, it isn’t money, it isn’t even a grand idea for the next big thing – The foundation for your business is the people you surround yourself with, your team. A big building will just be an empty shell without a team and money will come and go without the right people in place to begin with. The ability to let go of your ego and hire people even smarter than yourself to do the things that you do not know how to do, or don’t have time to do is the key to success in ANY market.
The next big issue in my opinion, is accountability. Regardless of whether you are developing apps yourself, have an in house team, or you are outsourcing you must set clear goals and projections as well as set deadlines that MUST be kept. One part of the team that doesn’t do their job affects the entire company, this is why it is crucial to hire people that can share your vision instead of people with a “worker bee” mentality. If you hire talented creative people and pay them a solid base with profit sharing then they have a vested interest in the success of the company, they aren’t just an employee anymore. Accountability applies to you too, I don’t ask anyone in our company to do anything I am not willing to do and you should set the example. I ask myself at the end of everyday, “Would the company be successful if everyone worked like I did today?” – IF, you can’t answer yes, then you need to have a heart to heart talk with yourself…
Okay, now let’s assume you make it to the point where you have an app or a few apps with a decent amount of downloads and active users. Here’s the next quagmire for mobile app developers: