I left my cubicle exactly 1 year ago today. And just this month, for the first time ever, we have generated over $10,000 in revenue for the month. On top of that, for the first time ever, we’ve generated $10,000 in app revenue for the month (money to be received in approximately 45 days).

 

We say this with modesty and are incredibly thankful that we were able to reach this level, and we only share this information with you to answer the question… Can you make money making apps?

If we could do it, so can you.

I’m lucky that I was in a position to take the risk a year ago to leave my full-time job–I figured that if we didn’t succeed, I would be okay and could bounce back after a year of taking little or no income. So how do you make money from apps? We’ve learned a ton of lessons and want to share them with you.

Here’s our story over the last year…

The first few months were tough. We had only one app, Pixtant, and our vision was big: the next social network and “the Instagram of voting.” Our goal was to reach a big investment round and/or sell it for a hefty profit. But even after 250,000+ downloads, we realized we wouldn’t be able to generate enough interest… why? While the download numbers were impressive, Pixtant was never quite “viral,” and the app wasn’t making money. In fact, it was losing money, since it requires a large server to store pictures and user data. Either we’d need to implement a bunch of ways to make money from the app, or we’d probably need 20x the amount of downloads (or more) to really get attention from the big guys. Either case requires a great deal of investment in both time and money.

That’s when we learned our first main lesson: don’t build an app without monetization strategies already in place. Better yet, model after apps that are already successful.

So that’s what we did. We shifted gears and adapted. We put our pride of the Pixtant app aside and started from square one with some very basic apps that only have a goal of making its money back plus some–no dreams of ever selling for $1 billion–but a more realistic dream of making a decent return after a few months. After all, if we didn’t do this, I’d need to start looking for a job.

To our surprise, it worked. Sure, we didn’t make thousands of dollars overnight, but we were able to turn a profit on our small app projects.We dove into this model head-first and bought up 5-10 iOS source codes and started at it. But some source codes just don’t do well…

That’s when we learned our second main lesson: if an app generates a positive return, stick with it; focus and reskin it… fast.

We shifted a little again and focused on only 1-2 apps that made good money. icon-tripledare“Good money” would be making a 100% return or more within 30 days. So if we spent $750 on the code and to reskin it, we’d hope for $1500 in revenue within 30 days after it was approved by the App Store.
This strategy works, and continues to, but unfortunately others catch on, source codes themselves go viral among developers, and they fizzle out. It becomes hard to get downloads when there are thousands of reskins out for a single source code.

And that’s when we learned our third lesson: pick up the pace. See our previous post for more information about this. The key here is to jump on a source code if you really believe it’s going to work, and reskin it as fast as humanly possible.

With a bunch of source codes in our arsenal and having released over 50 apps, we’re really beginning to understand what works in a source code and why. If you’re just starting out and want to know if you can make money from apps, let us be an example for you.

You can do it. And you don’t need to quit your full-time job to do it.
I decided to learn programming, to teach others how to reskin, to blog about the process, and more–things that take a lot of time and that you don’t need to worry about, and that you can put aside for your own personal dedications, whether that be a job, family, friends, or hobbies.

This is a legitimate business that can provide you a steady and solid income. You might be curious where our $10,000 in revenue for the month came from, since we are involved in so many different projects. Well, in sticking with our goal of transparency, here it is:

MARCH 2014
Apps – $7,676
App Services & Marketing – $1,401
Course Sales/Teaching – $953
Book Sales – $45
Total: $10,075

Note: This is not our net revenue — we have lots of expenses for servers that we still maintain, development projects, etc.

Whether you go full-time or not, there are great resources for advice, help, and to find developers and graphic designers to hire. You’re welcome to contact us for a quote on re-skinning a specific source code, like:

  • Flappy Bird
  • Slot Machine
  • Random Text (Jokes, Facts, etc.) Generator
  • Video Poker

Often, we can crank out a reskin for others in less than 3 business days, and for a fraction of the price an outsourced developer and graphic designer will charge. Why would/could we offer this?

  1. We are grateful and like helping others get their foot in the door.
  2. We already have many of these reskins on our own account and Apple wouldn’t be happy if we added more.
  3. We can do it efficiently and at a low price because we’re not employing big teams and don’t have big overhead costs to pass on to you.
  4. By helping you, we learn more and absorb more.
  5. We meet new people and make new connections.We have lots of reasons.

So here’s to all of you… and to my family and friends that have supported us, and of course my business partner Lee–to our next goal of a $20,000 month.

But before I go, I’ll briefly mention that we have an exciting project that you could be a part ofI can’t guarantee that yet, but if you’re looking for a brand new source code and you want to be in fast, make sure you’re signed up for our mailing list on the right side of the page. You’ll be the first to know about it, and you can jump on it faster than anyone else to reap the biggest rewards.

‘Til next time,
Justin