Mobile apps is currently one of the newest, most lucrative, and fastest growing industries in the world. Today, there are more than one billion smartphones in the world; that’s more than there are toothbrushes!
When people ask me what I do and I tell them that I own several app companies, their response is usually: “Wow, I wish I could do that!” The truth is, it’s a lot easier than most people think. You don’t need to know or learn any programming language to create an app. It’s actually often a huge advantage if you don’t as it gives you more time to spend on figuring out the marketing and monetization strategies.
Here are seven ways to get you started today:
One of the most common ways on how to create an app is to come up with an idea first and then hire a freelance programmer to make it a reality. Create a visual mock up of what you would like your app to look like. It doesn’t have to be a work of art. In fact, you could even draw it on a piece of paper and scan/take a photo of it and upload it to your computer. I do mine in Powerpoint. I’ve attached images below of an app wireframes samples.
Once you have your wireframe ready, it’s time to find a programmer! But where to find them? Here are the sites I use to find an awesome one:
- freelancer.com – This is the site I usually use. Freelancer is a great place to find programmers as the company has spent a great deal acquiring other freelancer sites such as Vworker (formerly Rent A Coder) and Scriptlance.
- Elance.com – Elance consists mainly of agencies or teams of programmers. There are also a great deal of freelancers from the US, UK, Austrailia, and Canada, so quotes will typically be a little higher.
- upwork.com – Trying to find an awesome programmer on freelancer can definitely be “hit and miss” but it’s still important that you don’t settle for less. You may need to re-post your project over and over until you find an excellent programmer who has avant garde ideas and one who really knows how to make apps that are of high quality.
- Guru.com – Frankly, I haven’t used this site in any of my projects as much as the ones above, but I’ve thrown it in anyways for good measure. It’s definitely worth posting your job here as well to cast a wider net.
– You can create a completely unique app compared to anything else out there
– You can create the app exactly to your specifications, with virtually no limitations
– It’s 100% customizable, which allows you a massive amount of flexibility
– Coding an app from scratch can be expensive, especially if you would pay hourly. As much as possible, go for fixed rates only. For your first app, aim for a budget of $1000 or less (definitely possible) and keep re-posting the job until you find someone who agrees to your terms
– Finding a reliable programmer isn’t always easy, and you will rarely find the most suitable one on your first try. However, once you find the one the meets and exceeds your expectations, you can re-use them several times, so your hard work definitely pays off!
Learn to Code
You may decide that you’d like to code your app. If you already know how to do so, awesome! If not, there are a few ways you can go about learning how to develop iPhone apps, Android apps, or apps for other platforms.
– Coding the app yourself is cheaper as you save a ton of money by not having to hire a programmer
– One of the biggest benefits of coding the apps yourself is that you don’t need to rely on other people to get things done. Everything is down to you and nobody can get in your way
– Knowing how to create apps or code gives you an edge over non-coders as you can make small tweaks faster than hiring someone to do it. It also gives you a much broader perspective than those who outsource creation as you have a better insight into what is possible when coding the app yourself
– It can be extremely time-consuming to code the app on your own, especially if you still have to educate yourself along the way to create some (if not all) of the functions. This tends to slow down the process as compared to when you outsource the job.
– You are more likely to give up in the middle of the process especially if it’s your first time to code. The tasks of creating the app can be overwhelming for newbies. You will probably hit a ton of road blocks on the way, which can lead you to quit or procrastinate.
– The possibly long and daunting haul would take away your focus from other highly important tasks such as monetization and marketing, which essentially determine the success of your app.
Building Your Apps with App Builders
There are now a whole heap of app builders on the market that virtually let you drag and drop buttons, pictures, and information in to the builder, and it spits out a file ready to be uploaded to Apple or Android. These services can be extremely useful if you are creating a super basic app that is mainly content based, or what we call info apps. Such services include:
–Create Cool Apps
–The App Code
- No coding experience necessary
- No need to hire a programmer, so you can create apps very cost effectively
- You are in 100% control, so no need to rely on programmers or designers
- App builders can be quite restricting due to limited functionality, so you may not be able to create exactly what you had in mind
- You can only create basic apps, if you want your app to have more sophisticated functionality, then an app builder will be obsolete, you will need to hire a programmer
50/50 with a Programmer
If you are committed to making your app dream a reality but don’t have the funds to get started, don’t worry, you still have options. One of the best ways to go about this would be to partner with a programmer. In this partnership, the programmer takes on the task of interpreting and polishing your Android or iPhone app ideas while you take on the task of monetizing and marketing it. This gives you a huge opportunity since most programmers have little to no interest in the marketing side.
You can find an app developer in the following venues:
- Social circles – Contact programmers in your own social circles. Talk to them about your idea. Ask them if they would be interested in partnering with you.
- Forums – IphoneSDK.com teams with tons of certified app developers and mere iphone apps enthusiasts.
- Outsourcing sites – Contact programmers on outsourcing sites and discuss your ideas.
- Colleges and universities – Speaking to up-and-coming programmers that are still in the academe won’t have large outgoing costs, so these people may be more interested. For them, it’s less risky (don’t underestimate them. Remember, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook from his dorm room).
– Cheaper than hiring someone
– The programmer has a vested interest in making the app perfect
– If there are bugs that need fixing, or you’d like to add in functions after the app goes live, you don’t need to pay someone additional fees, as you have a programmer on-hand
– You have to give up 50% of potential profits
– 50% partnership also means that the programmer has a large say in how the app should work, so watch out for conflict of ideas
Licensing the Code
A massive time saver and shortcut worth considering is the licensing of an existing app’s code.
How this works:
A programmer may decide to license the code if he has created an app that didn’t do as well as he hoped due to bad marketing or if he’d like to create an extra stream of revenue given it did well in the app stores.
This way, the programmer can sell just the copy of the app’s source code. When you buy it, you can modify the code — change the graphics or add features — then republish it. There are many marketplaces that host a whole range of apps for you to license. Here are just a few:
Getting Funding for Your App
At the time of writing this, crowdfunding your app has become an extremely popular way to get your app paid for.
How this works:
There are a number of sites that will allow you to demonstrate the idea you would like created. You can show a prototype, demonstrate the benefits, or simply show how fun it would be!
The audience is given the option to “back your idea” by donating money. However, this doesn’t at all mean they get a share in your app. You can offer certain perks that they can receive depending on their donation size. For example, a “note of thanks” or “mention in the credits inside the app.”
It’s totally up to you! Some popular crowdfunding sites you can refer to are:
Sometimes you’ll see an iPhone app or game in the app store, which doesn’t get anywhere near the traction it deserves due to poor marketing or monetization strategies. The app owner may have not even broken even from the app because of it, and may be interested in getting the app off their hands.
It can definitely be worth contacting these app owners either via the support link in the app store or a link on their website and asking them if they would be interested in selling the app to you. This can often be a great way to pick up an app for a cheaper price than it would cost to have one created. After all, the app is not making any money, so you can name your price and this would still mean profit for the developer.
So that’s six surefire ways to get started in the app business. A lot of people there, I know are already figuring out how to make an app and get rich from it. I say, do not expect it to happen too soon because, if you have a clean slate, there’s a long way to go. Hopefully, this article is able to lessen your apprehensions. There is a method for every circumstance and budget, so there’s no more excuses.
Please leave comments below. I’d love to hear what you think