Ever since I saw a hot article on my Alexa toolbar about how Trey Smith is making $800 per day with his new Maze+ app, I’ve been hot on the trail with a friend to get our own apps in the Apple app store — and eventually on Droids.
Turns out at least 6,000 daily searches or more (according to SEO Book) come into Google and other search engines about the app creation these days, whether it be direct queries like “how to create iphone apps” or specific ones about the “android app development” process or localized searches like “app development florida,” etc.
It’s such a hot and cutting edge, still not over-saturated market that I just about How do you create an app? to garner all the searches coming into Google each day for that specific phrase, and track our journey from total app creating newbies to app millionaires.
People who create iPhone apps with no developer experience…
In addition to watching and reading a lot of Trey Smith’s excellent stuff — some of it so exclusive that I signed an NDA to not talk or write about it — I’ve learned MUCH about the app creation process.
In fact, I spent the morning in Barnes & Noble leafing through a lot of the books you see peppered throughout this article, and soaking up some of the reviews written about them.
Another set of guys seemingly prospering in the app creation market are Quoc Bul & Michael Moon, best friends since 7th grade who’ve had 22 apps created with millions of downloads.
Pat Flynn recommends their book, called How to Make iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience.
Admittedly, I haven’t read their book yet (and that is my ClickBank affiliate link leading readers to the $97 ebook) but a friend of mine already bought it last year and is going to send it to me so I can get a feel for what it’s about.
He says he knows he didn’t pay $97 for his copy from last year, but thinks the book has been updated since then.
An $800k per year iPhone app business with no programming experience…
One of the How to Make iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience co-authors can be seen in this video I watched last night titled “How Entrepreneurs with No Programming Experience can Outsource the creation of their Mobile Apps” on YouTube.
It was great inspiration to learn more about how they got their 22 apps done over the past 2 years:
Some tips I learned from the video include:
How to draw out screens, like your home screen
These are called Wire frames, showing this screen will lead to this screen…
Draw it out, take a picture of it with phone
Upload it and give to developer and graphic designers
#1 How to Find Your Graphic Designer for Your iPhone and Droid Apps
In the video, Bul spoke about how he used 99 Designs to find his graphic designers.
They take care of UI, icons, splash screen, everything graphical.
The wire frame helps a lot, and designers create designs like a contest to win your bid.
You get multiple designs that you can rate.
He liked that process because he said the artists can end up giving you ideas by what they create, and you don’t have to pay for it all first, but that they give you potential designs and then you pay for the ones you want.
My business partner/friend says that Tim Ferris of the Four-Hour Work Week recommends 99 Designs as well.
Of course, part of me also talks about encouraging my friend to do some of his own graphic artist work for the iPhone apps, because as you can see, he’s an excellent artist in his own right.
And I think about using my daughter’s artwork for some of the apps as well, because she loves to draw. We’ve already scanned in one of her creations just so she could see her work on the computer and that process.
I like to encourage that.
#2 How to Find Your Developer/Programmer for Your iPhone and Droid Apps
When did programmers start being called developers?
Anyway, that’s the guy or gal who builds the engine, drives the app, they say in the video.
Even though Trey Smith showed in one video how he used ODesk to hire an off-shore guy, Bul says they use Elance.com to find their iPhone app developers, and he gives tips on how to find good programmers.
Bul says to get a couple of bids, look at their past experiences, people who have done similar type of projects — and look at their feedback on Elance.
Elance has repeat customers, it’ll show how many a developer has, which is very important, he says.
Bul talked about not just jumping at the first bids you see — but that it’s interesting to see the low bids compared to the highest bids, and perhaps take the mid-range folks, if they are good based on your research.
Trey Smith showed the process of actually hiring a guy from the Ukraine to develop one of his iPhone apps after he went back and forth IM-ing the guy to make sure he had a great grasp of the English language and the app-creation process and the specific app Trey wanted that time.
Quoc Bul & Michael Moon, best friends since 7th grade, do really simple apps — Bu says that’s what people want, and makes it easy to develop.
They mostly everything thru email; Quoc has only skyped once or twice.
They email a build of the application and they run it and let them know what to fix and so on.
They pay them by milestones, like after the developer delivers a certain goal in the code.
Agile is something used to break up the project little by little, but I don’t know if those guys actually use it.
They don’t send out preview applications to get reviews, etc.
They let the market tell you if it sucks or doesn’t suck by the response.
Bul and Moon like to bring out a lot of apps, they continually update their old apps but are always working on new apps
Testing the apps?
They try and go thru all the functionality they can, don’t really do a whole lot of quality assurance cause it’s simple.
They get the build code, upload to Apple with description, screen shots, etc.
Apple takes about 1 or 2 weeks to approve.
There are some developers that submit the application for you — and you don’t have to worry about the stealing process.
You set up Apple account with technical users that can upload application, they can’t access your money or anything but they sign on under your user name just to upload your application to save you from having to make your own build.
It still shows your company name.
Apple has a list of rules……to help you get approved and not rejected from the app store
If there’s a button that you click that doesn’t work, Apple will deny that 99% of the time, Bul says.
No adult content
No app crashes, etc.
They will tell you the reasons “We couldn’t approve this application because the button doesn’t work” etc.
You fix and resubmit to Apple.
In one of the books I read today, it said that Steve Jobs said that app rejections mostly happen when the app doesn’t function as advertised, or it uses private apis that aren’t available in iOS sdk, or if the app crashes frequently.
More app-creation resources to help you make iPhone, Droid apps without programming know-how
One other place to try and find an app developer besides oDesk and Elance is VWorker — which can all have low-cost offshort options, but you’ve got to find a good person.
Other notes from the video above:
Mono-touch allows you to build iPhone apps in C-sharp, .NET
* iPhone has Objective C
* Windows 7 phones have their own language
* Android Market
* Palm might be working on one
Everybody wants a piece of the app pie.
They primarily focus on iPhone cause they’re so popular.
Google devices will overtake the mobile market?
Promotion of apps
They are a lot of places to advertise your app once it’s in the app store, including Facebook ads, Google Adwords ads, and other ad places that I need to Google like 1upads, Ad Mob and others I’ve heard of.
Twitter, Facebook, app review sites, etc.
“A lot of it is directly from the app store searches,” says Bul, which reminds me to do more research into what search terms pop up that people are looking for in the app store.
“And hopefully you’ll get a lot of downloads in the new release [limelight],” he says, speaking of the time when your app is more prominently featured.
If you can make it into the top 100 in your category, that’s good, he says.
Making over $100,000 from a $1,800 app
Look at the negative reviews…and fix what people don’t like about the app to keep improving
Make it happen, create your first app!
Learn how to outsource, submit your application — and go!
There’s an interview with Bul and his business partner from around September 2010, back when they had only 10 apps, where they talk about making around $80k per month.
It’s interesting to see that those guys paid about $1,800 or 2 grand to get their first app made and have made around $100k from it, they think.
Trey Smith is more of an analytics freak and he knows more about where his money comes from, but it’s cool to see that Bul and Moon use AdWhirl to get ads on their apps, and I don’t think they use in-app purchases at all.
I’ve gotta download their free apps and see how they function.
And see how their ads look and why they draw in so much revenue.
They switched from Ad Mob to AdWhirl and that’s when their ad revenue went up from about $20 per day to $70 per day.
“And then we got into the Google AdSense beta,” Moon said. “So at the time their mobile was in beta and they contacted us. When we switched over to beta we were making… It was a lot. It jumped a lot. It jumped from like $60 a day to a couple hundred because their CPM’s are just really high.”