My youngest son who is 8 and has been going to karate lessons for few years now. He’s at the blue belt level which is a great progress from the white belt he started with. Will he persevere long enough to one day get a black belt? My wife and I don’t know but we hope he does.
This week, while I dropped him for his class, I noticed a new sign on the dojo’s wall:
“Black Belt is a White Belt that Never Gave up”
This is a great quote about persistence and the tenacity you need to master something you that is hard to master. This quote made me think about my son’s experience with karate but also the work that I do. It can be easily adapted to the trade of app publishing.
“A Successful App Publisher is a Beginner App Publisher that Never Gave up”
Ups and Down
I started my app business a bit more than a year ago now (late 2014). In my journey to build an app portfolio, I had successes but also many reasons to give up. Things are competitive out there. I have apps that bring a steady (even growing) revenue each month but I also created some apps which I though would succeed and performed poorly. I even had an app on which I worked for 3 months that I had to remove from the app store 1 month after it was released because, to my surprise, it was infringing a recently published patent.
Each failure along the way was hard to digest and brought many doubts. Should I continue? Is the app store already too saturated? If more than 50% of app publishers are making less than $500 per month (like this post states) am I wasting my time (and money at the same time)? Many times in this first year, the thoughts of going back to a regular job or booking 100% of my time to do consulting came to mind. Those are natural thoughts to have when things are hard or don’t go as fast as you plan.
As this year started, she asked me to look back at this first year in business and review what happened. This was an interesting exercise as I usually don’t take the time to do this. Being driven by my personal goals, I have a tendency to only focus on the future and see how fast I can reach them. Doing this, it’s easy to feel that you haven’t achieved enough and have to run faster on the treadmill.
Instead, looking back, allowed me to realize that I accomplished more than I thought and learned a lot along the way. The more I publish applications, the more I see what works for what doesn’t. I learn from it and try to share as much as possible in this blog.
Doing More of What Works
Following the 80/20 rule, I’ve decided to do more of what works. One of my decisions for example is to focus on creating educational applications for kids. I’ve created different kind of applications this year but the educational space has been the one that generated the most downloads, revenue and positive reviews. It’s also gratifying to know that kids around the world are learning from apps we create at home.
Accelerating the pace at which I publish new applications is also something I am addressing. While I’ve enjoyed coding original applications and want to publish more apps more often. So I’ve recently started outsourcing some of the coding to other developers, re-skinning some of my own apps and buying code from other apps that I then customize.
Doing consulting in the app space is something I started doing too. Applying what I know and worked fo my apps to optimizing apps for other app publishers (here is my app services page) helps with the cashflow and let me learn new things as well.
In Conclusions …
Will I ever give up? Maybe but not without working more at it. Things are not easy and I’m far from being a black belt in app publishing. That being said, I’m no longer a white belt either and I’m determined to continue learning and working at it to make this app business sustainable.
Let me know what you think and share your own experience in the comments below.