In recent years, we’ve witnessed huge successes in the realm of mobile app development. Pokemon GO, Angry Birds, and even the ridiculously successful Instagram app have earned millions of dollars for their owners and developers. But did you know, statistics show that only about 25% of app developers earn more than $5,000 per month from their apps?
As in other businesses, there are big fish and there are small fish. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the app market is saturated. You can still start a strong revenue stream with mobile app development.
In this article, we’ll teach you how you can start making a living by building a profitable app business.
Let’s take a look.
1- Have an Idea
Just like any other business venture you undertake, app development starts with an idea. Many app developers say that having the right idea is only 5% of your success. While there may be some truth to that, you can’t get started building partnerships and building your app without an initial idea or even an estimate of how much time and effort you need to put into that idea.
You may have one overwhelmingly solid idea and work on just that one, or you may have several ideas for apps that you work to develop from the beginning. Either way, your desire to get into the app business is what will drive you through the many challenges and potential pitfalls you’ll face.
With the right ideas, energy, and will, you’ll give yourself a great opportunity to break into the app business, so make sure to assess the feasibility of your business idea before actually working on it.
2- Perform Market Research
If you can’t come up with an idea that you think will be profitable, it’s time to start exploring the market.
Start by gaining a thorough understanding of the market you intend on working in. To begin, get acquainted with success stories and failures within the app business. Download the apps that have succeeded and failed, then use them for what they were intended to do.
Not only will doing this give you ideas for your own app, but it’ll help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
While doing your market research, you’ll notice that there are five main features that comprise a successful app. They are:
- Appealing design
- Overall scalability
- Solid marketing efforts
- Give added value
- Know how to work with partners
When building a profitable app business, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Building off ideas that have already succeeded while learning why others have failed will send you in the right direction.
3- Choose Your Platform
In today’s app business, there are really only two major players: Android and iOS. There are several key differences between them.
Based on the statistics, Android’s Google Play is the leader in overall downloads, with over 75 billion in 2018. Third-party Android stores had over 44 billion, while the iOS App Store had around 40 billion.
However, the statistics change when we take a look at annual revenue. Here, iOS leads the way with over $40 billion. Google Play comes in at over $20 billion, while third-party Android stores had about $15 billion.
Apple’s App Store tends to have higher prices for app purchases than its Android counterpart. Consider this factor when choosing your monetization strategy. If you intend on selling your apps, iOS is the better option. However, if you’re looking to earn revenue through advertising while offering your apps for free, Android is a better way to go.
The best-case scenario, when possible, is to offer your apps on both platforms for maximum reach.
4- App Design and Development
Starting this process is all about building a team. You’ll want to most reliable and proven partners to work with during custom mobile app development. This will help drastically decrease your cost of app development, while also turning out the best possible product.
For this project, you’re going to require various coders, copywriters, designers, and even photographers. The key to success is finding the right people for long-term relationships.
You have several options for finding the right people. You can:
- Hire experienced offshore freelancers
- Hire full-time talent
- Search out partners and established dev teams
Remember that your app will require additional work even after it’s launched. There will be continued development, redesigns and bug fixes. Make sure you have reliable business partners that will stick with you even after the product is live.
5- Creating a Business Plan
Once you’ve done your research on the market and sought out viable partners, it’s time to build out your business plan. This will help you avoid unneeded expenses and save you money down the road.
Start your business plan by understanding the high level of what you’re trying to build while focusing on short-term goals that will get you where you want to go.
Keep your eye on what your overall strategy is while remembering that this is a very dynamic and competitive business. Your long-term plan will help you maintain the course when bumps pop up.
Make sure you’re able to compress your business plan into a few short sentences that you can explain to a layperson with ease. The best business plans state an obvious problem and how you intend to solve it without using a lot of words or complicated terminology.
6- Finding Investments
After your idea is developed and you’re ready to get started, you’ll quickly realize that you’re going to need some money to make it happen. Some detailed app development projects can cost $100,000 or more.
If you don’t have the money to invest in your app on your own, consider:
- Applying for small business loans
- Starting a crowdfunding drive
- Finding a partner that believes in your ideas
These are methods that many successful app developers have used to cover the cost of app development. Of course, if your project is expensive, you can always combine approached to raise the needed funds.
7- Marketing the App
Once your app is built and available on your chosen app markets, it’s time to start marketing. As mentioned earlier, the app market is a competitive world. To break into it, you’ll need to do a lot of PR and advertising.
Your first step is social media. Get app-official pages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and every other relevant social media platform. Then use them to promote your app. Be entertaining. Create videos and other content that people want to see.
You also need to create a website that showcases your app. Blog every day on things that relate to your chosen industry. Use SEO best practices to drive your web content to the top of Google search results.
If you don’t have the time or knowledge to do this on your own, hire someone that can do it for you.
8- Continued Improvement
Just because your app is live and you’re getting downloads doesn’t mean the job is done. Users will demand continued updates and improvements in order to keep using your app and suggesting it to others.
As you grow and add features, prepare to buy your own servers. This will give you more control over the long-term direction of your app business.
Custom Mobile App Development as a Business
App design and development is a highly profitable business for thousands of people who understand how to do it right. With the information contained in this article, you can be well on your way to finding your own success in the app business.