This article really tries to rip apart the app store. With some right, it is difficult to make your app noticed on the app store. Look at the correlation though, most the developers interviewed admitted that their apps don’t turn a profit.
Though the survey’s methodology is a bit on the light side, numerous developers that we spoke to agree that the results—59 percent of apps don’t break even, and 80 percent of developers can’t sustain a business on their apps alone—are close to accurate.
At the same time most the developers interviewed don’t set aside a marketing budget.
App Promo’s reasoning behind the survey is to show the benefit of marketing to app success—51 percent of developers didn’t set aside any budget for marketing.
So App Promo have a vested interest in trying to convince you to pay them money. Really it shouldn’t be an argument that needs making. You simply have to play the marketing game these days.
At the very end of the article, Jonathan Rentzsch points out that the best way to make money on the iOS platform is to build apps for someone else. Profitable, yes, but not really fun is it. There are only so many site specific RSS readers that a man can make.
Yet another $20 eBook promising you a full life and mega-bucks while you sit on the beach!!!! Only I’ve never read one that isn’t horribly spammy or just plain lies. Once again internet, there is no free lunch.
From Tim Ferris to pyramid schemes the internet is ful of jokers trying to convince you that you can build recurring revenue streams, and soon, very soon you will be sitting on a beach sipping rum counting your endless wealth. Reality check, you’ll be working all hours for very little money and a long payback period.
Let’s get the obvious pyramid and money making schemes out of the way. I once went to see a potential client who had wasted £400 on one of these courses. 90 hours of videos showing you how to make a fool proof sales site. Write a long form sales letter, get people to sign up, people to buy… The very same video course he had just purchased. A blatant pyramid scheme, my parting advice was to take the video sessions, re-dub them and sell them as training videos on how to make a website for beginners. Some of those videos were quite good, FTP screen casts and such like. You will never make any money with these schemes because someone else, the person you have just bought it from, has had their website up longer with better SEO and they probably have less scruples than you. More importantly, would you be happy being a scam artist?
Tim Ferris and the famous 4 hour work week. The positive take-away from that book is demonstrating how to ruthlessly optimize and automate your workflow. The second good thing about the book is the demonstration of how to trial product ideas with Google Ads. To the not so good, Tim Ferris is an achiever plain and simple. He would have a made a good barrister or doctor. So Tim Ferris claims to work only 4 hours day on his supplement business, but what else does he do? Everything else, write a book, promote a book, write another book, promote another book, world champion dancer, the list goes on. These are not part time things he has chosen to do and they do generate income.
What’s my point? To make something that you can charge people money for and be proud of takes time. Lots of time. Promoting that then takes more time. The more time it takes the more money you stand to gain, but the closer it is to a full time business. Take WiFi Mac Address, a small iPhone app I wrote to test the app store submission process. In total with updates, I’ve probably spent 1-2 days on it including updates like adding iAds. This year it might, just might make £59. Enough to cover my iOS subscription with Apple. Yes it’s very niche and I’ve not promoted it at all, but it is only just breaking even let alone covering the cost of development.
The next advice is to build multiple revenue streams, it adds stability and resilience to your income. Plus it’s easier to build 10 £200 a month widgets then one £2000. Here is the catch, maintaining those multiple streams is a full time job. Kreci publishes a monthly income report and it’s fascinating reading. Split over AdSense, affiliate links, Android Ads, an eBook and iStock he is now earning about $3500 (£2200). In his eBook the one killer tip is to update Android apps every month, otherwise sales drop off. This maintenance takes time and effort, stuff that is difficult to do on a Bahaman beach in a rum punch haze.
Each of your revenue streams has a finite lifespan eventually they will dry up. You may or may not know how long you have, either way you need to be constantly building new streams maintain those levels of income.
John Gruber and Merlin Mann gave a brilliant talk at SxSW 2009 titled HOWTO: 149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog With Credibility! Listen to it if you haven’t yet.
No promise of riches, no promise of fame. Just pick something you love and do it every day. One day if you’re lucky you might be able to earn some money from it. It sounds less attractive and much harder.