This app business project

Hello, and happy Labour Day weekend if you’re in US or Canada (or any country that celebrates Labour Day now)!

Since it’s a time to reflect about work, I thought I had a little word on where my business is going and mainly my app business project… It’s kind of a long post so grab a cup of green smoothie. Actually I was writing to a friend and I thought it would be a good post (excuse me if there is any typo).

I was on vacation for 2 weeks in August and honestly I did not do as much as I expected this summer. Actually I really focused on my yoga teacher training this past year and it was one of the best decision I ever made. I really did it for my own personal development. Seriously, if you are still wondering why all these self-help development books and blogs haven’t work, try a yoga teacher training (really!). I won’t teach though, but in a way I believe that if you are a better person you end up showing a good example to others which is a good teaching.

So, now that I’m not studying and writing yoga reports (I think I was too much of a perfectionist on these sometimes), I have more time to invest in my business. I opened SPARQ Studio a little more than a year ago. It was really more a way to do all kind of freelance work, mainly websites and consulting behind a business name ( I could have name it Manuel Loigeret Consulting Company but SPARQ sounded better…). Now I want to step up my game a little because website and consulting can be great but it’s definitely not my dream job.

This App Developer thingy

For a long time I said I was an app developer. It’s true and false. It’s true because I’m a computer engineer, I programmed quite a lot of desktop applications (mainly image analysis / artificial intelligence softwares). I also did a lot a php/mysql programming and also other network, linux and web stuff. And yeah, I also worked on a lot of stuff not at all related to computer science. And it was great but not in term of “apps”… So when I say I’m an app developer it’s not completely true because, people automatically think iphone apps (and this is what I wish I meant too). I worked on many “test” iphone apps but I didn’t publish any yet. And I feel bad about it. I always had a “good reason” to do something else – because website design and consulting pay the bills faster than trying to understand the App Store business. So in the past year I spent a lot of time on some short-term projects that didn’t bring me much instead on focusing on the app programming. Now my goal is to make this app thing work. That being said, I’ll still dedicate some time to work on some side web and consulting projects on the way because it’s not too difficult and it pays the bills.

What I’m working on now

Right now I’m working (almost) like a maniac on a meditation app I started a while ago. It’s a project I had for a year and along the way I came up with all sorts off ideas to make it really satisfying and yet simple. So what was supposed to be done in a couple of weeks took me a bit longer and I’m really happy with what it became…

I’ll write more about it and make a small promotional site when I’ll have a beta version, hopefully in September. The app should be on the store in October if everything’s ok. Since it’s the first app I will publish on the App Store, I have no idea how it will go with Apple review. I think I did everything right but perhaps they will come up with some coding norm that I wasn’t aware of. Surprise, surprise…

After that, I have a couple of other apps on paper. These should not take as long as a year to come. The more I code apps the more I feel comfortable to make them quickly. I also have some kick-ass designer friends who give me great insights. It helps… I can easily convince myself that what I do is awesome when in fact it’s total bullshit. Dear designer friends, you piss me off sometimes but I’m glad you do.

App marketing

I made some research and a lot of reading on app marketing. There’s a lot of ‘get rich quickly’ formulas around that sound more like big scams when you start to make research in this area. But I also found some stuff on how to make apps that make a difference and how to optimize your keywords, title, screenshots, etc…I’m really excited about that actually. The App Store is a close system so it seems a little more feasible to follow a couple of rules to get into the game. (oh yeah… when I say “App Store, I mean, the Apple App Store… I want to focus exclusively on iphone/ipad apps. The Android platform is kind of mess for developers from what I’ve seen and I don’t want to waste my time figuring it out)

Also, even if a revolutionary idea will make you rich, it’s really really (really!) hard to come up with one. And it’s funny actually because when you talk about app ideas with people, many of them think that it’s easy to have a really unique idea and get rich. But believe me, try to have an awesome app idea and then make some research and see how millions of developers already executed your idea. My plan is to make a good amount of apps during this coming year (what “good amount” means? We’ll see…) and test different kind of apps and marketing strategies to see what really works.

Getting better

Finally this App entrepreneur ambition might seem like a big dream, but I see a lot of guys who are not smarter than anybody and manage to make a decent income from the App Store. So I’m asking myself “Why not me?”. I believe it really is artificial limitation. I’m not really surrounded by truly awesome entrepreneurs who did it and it keeps my reference system pretty low (see this post by Niall Doherty who expressed it better that I can). Actually if I didn’t focus on this project it’s surely because the task seems kind of too difficult. But in the past I surpassed really difficult challenges and now that I think about them they were not that bad. I definitely need to put a little more energy into this.

So yeah… Will this App thing work? Will I be able to make some money from my apps? Will this project evolve into something else?

Keeping reading the blog if you want to know 🙂