Make your first app in 30 days with an extremely limited budget and without learning to code
Listen, I know what you’re going through.
You’ve thought about making an app for awhile but you’ve been unsure how to find the ‘perfect’ idea or have been bogged down by too many ideas.
If you’re like me you had a long list of ideas that you never acted on. You don’t have the time to learn to code and you’re scared to risk money by hiring a developer. You are worried that you’ll spend all of this time and energy creating an app - and who knows if anyone will actually use it?
Less than a year ago, I was in your shoes.
Ever since the App Store was created, I dreamt about making an app.
But I always thought that it took thousands and thousands of dollars and years of acquired, technical knowledge.
So for YEARS I would brainstorm random app ideas, fantasize about how huge they were going to be and how much money I would make. Then I’d remember that I actually didn’t have 100s of hours in spare time to learn how to program so I’d quickly drop the idea.. only to repeat this process over and over.
I know you’ve probably been experiencing the same thing.
But then I realized that it wasn’t true.
That you could actually produce your own app with only a few hundred dollars and NOT have to learn to write a single line of code.
In this class you’ll learn how I created my first iPhone app by hiring a developer for less than $250 total (and how I’ve since earned double my money back.. and then some).
I’ll go through how I did it step by step so that you can duplicate my process and my results.
A few months ago, I had:
BUT - just 1 month after I started, I launched my first app to the app store… and so can you :)
Today it has generated almost 70,000 downloads and has made hundreds in revenue. (It will be worth tens of thousands of dollars to me over the next few years however, keep reading to find out why)
In this course you will learn:
- The exact steps I took to go from nothing to having my own app 1 month later for only $250. And then how I grew it to 65,000+ downloads and profitability.
- How to set up accountability so that you actually complete your app instead of continuing to brainstorm
- How to analyze and research existing applications to identify gaps and opportunities for new apps that people want
- How to validate that your app idea is worth pursuing before spending a cent on a developer
- Why competition is GOOD
- A proven framework to handle ‘idea overload’ so that you don’t waste weeks debating back and forth between which idea to pursue
- The best way to deal with the fear of other people stealing your ideas
- How to easily communicate your app idea and design to a developer so that there is no miscommunication and costly mistakes
- How to hire a developer without worry or stress (I’ll even give you a referral to my personal developer to save you the trouble of finding a solid programmer - This alone is worth the cost of the class)
- The ridiculously simple hiring strategy I used to weed out 75%% of developers, save myself hours of looking through portfolios and automatically identify the best candidates
- The best approaches to app marketing and how to get 80%% of the results with 20%% of the effort. I’ll tell you which popular app marketing methods are complete time-wasters.
- How to get tens of thousands of downloads without paying a dime on advertising
This course is perfect for people who:
- Want to start their own business
- Want to earn a small amount of passive income
- Want to break into or boost their careers in technology or digital advertising by having an app in their portfolio and on their resume
This course is NOT for
- Someone who thinks they’re going to make $1,000,000 on their first app
- People who aren’t willing to put in the work
THE HANG UP
First off - if you are looking to make thousands extra a month, quit your job and live on the beach, this is not for you. I haven't done that so I can't teach you how. This is not a get rich quick scheme.
But - if you want to build your skills, get more comfortable working with developers so you can move on to bigger projects, build a strong resume/portfolio piece and bring in an extra $100 or so passively a month, that I can help you with. :)
Maybe you’re thinking “Oh big deal, $3 a day.” And I felt that way at first as well. But then I realized, if today you’re making $3 per day in passive income - just imagine where you’ll be in 5 years.
Maybe you’re wondering why you should take a class from a guy who hasn’t earned $100,000+ dollars or gotten 5 million downloads for his app.
Lebron James shouldn't teach you basketball fundamentals
If you’re just starting out to play basketball - is taking lessons from Lebron James going to be beneficial and worth the cost? While that would be awesome to brag about to your friends, the answer is No - taking lessons from him would be beneficial once you had already achieved some level of mastery and were looking to develop your skills even further - not when you’re at square one.
You need someone who is only a few steps ahead of you to guide you and get you started, not someone who is lightyears ahead of you, has a huge budget at their disposal and can’t relate to what you are about to go through.
I personally don't believe anyone who isn't technical or hasn't worked with developers before should start out with a complex project on their first go-around.Too much can go wrong and too much money can be wasted if you attempt to bite off more than you can chew.
That's why I strongly advise that you start off with a simple application first, go through the motions and steps to get more familiar - and then if you want - go after the big app idea.
The sad truth is that most people would rather dream about making a super popular, amazing, money-pumping application then actually take the initial steps to make something useful but simple and then continue on from there.
They laddered up and slowly snowballed their experience and expertise into bigger and bigger things.
IT'S ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM
If your ultimate goal is to make $3,000 a month on the side - and right now you are at $0, it’s going to be REALLY hard to go right from 0 to $3,000. BUT if you go through the process and experience and even just get to $60/month, it’ll be much easier to bump that number up once you have that initial momentum.
The difference between $0 and $3/day is actually WAY bigger than the difference between $3/day and $100/day. It’s all about momentum.
It’s often said that the difference between winners and losers is simply - movement.
Losers stay still and spin their wheels and second guess themselves.
Winners take action, make mistakes, fail and continue to correct course until they’ve found what works.
TAKE ACTION, TAKE ACTION, TAKE ACTION
The deciding factor on whether you're successful here is if you take action. Taking action can mean you fail also - not just that you build something awesome. My goal for you is that you stop the cycle of idea, idea, idea or dream, dream, dream - without acting on it.
Hey - I've been there, I know it's addicting.
But it's truly amazing how much you can accomplish in so little time when you commit to taking specific action towards a specific goal.
Finishing your first app will also give you the confidence to move forward with more complex projects with more potential earnings. This is why my first app will be worth thousands of dollars to me later on - because it will have saved me from costly mistakes on a larger scale project and give me the insight and experience to make it more successful.
This is why 99%% of people who tell you their cool app idea never go anywhere- they don’t have the confidence that they can create it. But if you’ve already got a simple app under your belt, you have the confidence to ladder up and take on the next one.
NO more excuses!
It’s time to stop waiting for:
If you don’t do it now will you ever?
A year from now will you still be daydreaming about your app idea - or will you already have one under your belt, be making a little passive revenue and already be working on your next, bigger app?
In this course, we will go through 6 modules:
1. Forming a success mindset and setting yourself for accountability: Tactics and strategies don’t matter if you don’t do the work. I’ll show you how to ensure that you follow through.
2. How to find and choose an idea: You’ll learn how to validate that an idea is in fact a “good idea” before spending any money or time on it. We’ll also dive into ‘idea overload’ and how to handle the fear of someone stealing our idea.
3. Creating your app wireframe or “blueprint”: Mess this part up and you will end up spending WAY more on a developer than you intended. You’ll learn how to easily create a basic design that a developer will be able to understand. We’ll cover the free tools available to you to do so. Don’t worry no design skills needed here. If you can make a basic PowerPoint presentation you can do this.
4. Hiring and managing a developer: How to find the best and most cost effective developer, how to weed out candidates, and how to manage them once you hire one. You’ll also get the contact info for my developer to save you the time and hassle of finding one.
5. Choosing your monetization strategy: The goal of this project is to make an app but not spend a lot of money, but it would still be nice to earn back our small investment right? That’s what we’ll cover here.
6. Marketing: Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. You’ll learn which marketing activities are complete time wasters and which are gold. I’ll personally review my marketing system that brought in almost 70,000 downloads on auto-pilot without spending one cent on advertising.
After completing this course:
- You will have a solid foundation of how to choose app ideas, how to create basic wireframes, how to hire a developer and how to do app marketing
- If you take action you should have your first app live on the App Store.. I can’t wait to see what you create!!
When I showed the class to one of my buddies, his first comment was that I should double my price. I’m not comfortable doing that right now - but I might be in the future.
The price for the course is really low considering access to my personal developer is worth the cost alone. But you also get all of the systems, strategies and tactics to launch your first app in 30 days. Sure - you could maybe find all of this information on Google.. if you have 100+ hours to waste surfing the internet.
Q. Is this course teaching me how to code?
A. No - this course teaches you how to hire and manage a developer very inexpensively so that you don’t waste months and months learning to code.
Q. How much money do I need to create my first app?
A. That will vary based on what you want to build, but my development costs were only $150. There is also a $99 fee that you have to pay Apple to publish your app on the App Store. If you keep your development costs low it shouldn’t take long for your app to earn that back.
Q. Does this course teach how to make an Android app?
A. While the concepts apply to both Android and iOS (Apple), the content and examples of the course focus on iOS.
Q. How do you make money with apps?
A. I talk about that in the course :)
CHOOSE A LAUNCH DATE AND ANNOUNCE IT
Technical tactics mean nothing if you aren't able to find a way to hold yourself accountable to ensure that you follow through.
That's why I recommend letting your significant other, parents or best friend no that you are working on creating an app and the date you plan to have it launched.
You can even go one step further to really build commitment and let your Facebook friends know..
Go on Facebook and add a status update like this one:
"Hey everybody, I'm taking this class that is helping me to create my first app. It should be out around [date]. Let me know if you'd like an early version when it is ready to provide feedback and test for bugs. Here's a link to the course if you want to make an app also : [link]
Or if you're more of a Twitter person:
"I'm launching an app! It's time to stop talking and start doing. Join me? [link to course]"
DECIDE ON YOUR GOALS FOR THE APP
It's important to know what your goals are for the app before going into it. That way you are able to gauge success for yourself based on what is most imporant to you.
For example, your goals could be:
- To maximize revenue
- or to get as many downloads as possible
- or maybe just getting an app launched will make you happy
When I started my app, my goal was just to get an app launched so that I could show it to my supervisor and use it as a portfolio piece for the future.
Deciding on what your goals for this project are will shape what you do moving forward so its important to think on this now before moving forward.
IT'S TIME TO STOP WAITING
NO more excuses - no more putting this off.
It is so easy to come home from work and be "too tired" or "too busy" or some other excuse and tell yourself you'll get started tomorrow. Until you do the same thing again the next day.. and the next. I've done this repeatedly.
ANALYZE OTHER APPS
The easiest way to find ideas for an app is to carefully study apps you currently use or apps you know that have a fair amount of popularity and simply improve them, or make them more simple, or tweak them to be specific for a particular audience.
Realize that competition is GOOD
The fact that there are competitors pretty much validates your idea right there. All you have to do is be a little bit better. Dig into the reviews and see what people like or don't like about it - this research will let you know what to add or remove from your version.
In my case, there were already several apps that would show you all of the metadata in your pictures but they showed too much information and didn't present it in the way I wanted.
Don't ditch an idea just becuase you find something similar already exists - in fact that should make you more eager to pursue it. I know its counter intuitive - but if something similar exists then it means there is most likely a market for your app.
Google recently remove this filter which really stinks - but there is a workaround. If you add "&tbm=dsc" to the end of the URL after you do a search it will filter to only show the forum results.
How to choose an idea if you have too many
If you are stuck with choosing amongst a few different ideas for your first app, here's a framework to help you narrow it down.
1. Which one will take the LEAST amount of development hours to complete?
That's it. Choose that one.
If they're about equal, then close your eyes and pick one. It doesn't matter. You can always come back to the others.
It is VERY easy to get stuck when you have many choices, recognize it and move past it.
If you have an idea for an app, chances are you're scared to tell your friends about it because you're afraid they might "steal it."
The chances are very slim that someone is going to drop their lives, spend countless hours and decent money on a project just because they heard you briefly mention it.
Ideas are infinitely abundant. Going through your life scared that someone is going to steal your precious idea is not going to get you far.
What is a mockup?
A mockup is like a blueprint for a house. It tells the builder what goes where and how it all fits together.
Do not try to hire a developer with a simple text explanation of how the app should look and function. The problem with that is that paragraphs and paragraphs explaining an app can get confusing and be misinterpreted.
It's better to do the upfront work to visually lay out exactly how it should look and function.
Download Skitch or Keynotopia
I think Keynotopia is very easy to use and recommend using that but if you prefer the easiest option use Skitch to create your mockup.
Skitch can be downloaded at Skitch.com
The free keynotopia templates can be found here: http://keynotopia.com/keynote-mockups-templates/
Using one of these tools - create the rough diagram of your app.
Be sure to include a mockup for each 'page' of your app - don't leave anything up to the interpretation of your developer.
The exact mockup I designed and used to give to my developer is attached for your reference.
Post your project
I think this part scares people the most because they have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
They are scared of hiring the wrong person, that they’re going to take their money, that their thing isn’t going to work properly, that the developer is going to take 4 days to respond, that they will try to cheat them out of money etc. etc.
Using a site like oDesk.com, freelancer.com or elance.com to find people mitigates your risk however because you can see their ratings and reviews from past clients - just like Yelp or Amazon
Post your project
I went on freelancer.com and posted a project. I titled it ‘very basic iPhone application’
When posting a project you have to think what a developer is going to think as they’re scrolling through the site and you have to title your project so that they will care and want to bid.
I named my project the way I did so that they would know it would be quick and easy money.
Weeding out candidates
If you post a project on a site like freelancer, elance or odesk you are probably going to receive at least 20+ bids. I got 23. Who has time to review that many and how do you go about narrowing it down?
Here’s a quick little trick you can use to eliminate 80% of all bids to narrow down the pool.
What I did is in the description of my project I said, “in your bid include the answer to 2+2 so that I know you actually read this.”
And it worked, dozens of people didn’t do this so I ruthlessly deleted their bids.
Once you’ve hired the right developer - you need to learn an even more important process, how to manage your developer.
Managing a developer includes making sure they understand the overall vision of the app to the nitty gritty day to day, making sure that specific features work as designed.
Before officially selecting a developer it is important to agree on certain conditions.
For example with my developer, we agreed that he would have a first version of the app done in 3 days and that I would get 1 round of feedback.
A round of feedback is where they send you the first version of the app, and then you take a look and give your comments and changes back to them. Then they implement those changes.
I normally like to have at least 2 rounds of feedback which gives you more time and opportunities to catch little things or ask for tweaks. For a really low-budget app though I thought 1 round of feedback was fair. The more rounds of feedback there are, the more time it takes on the developers end so the more they should be compensated.
You must negotiate at least one round of feedback though. If you don’t then you have no opportunity to change something that could be incorrect or that the developer had just misinterpreted.
For example with my app, on the first version there were a few things that I asked to be changed.
- The scroll bar didn’t change dates as you scrolled though, only once you stopped scrolling. I wanted it to change as you scrolled.
- When you were viewing a photo full screen, you couldn’t swipe left or right to go to the next photo like in the standard Photos app. I wanted it to function like the native photo app.
Once you and your developer have agreed on the terms and they’ve started working, I recommend checking in with them on a daily basis. A simple email asking what they did that day and if they encountered any challenges or need anything from you will do. Some people like hopping on a video call daily but I think that takes up too much of both of your time unless it is a complicated project.
Check ins allow you to keep tabs on your developer and for them to feel like they have access to you to ask questions.
reviewing the first version
After your developer programs your app, you are going to want to test it to make sure it functions correctly.
To test it on your actual phone
Highly recommended -
Show your app to your friends and watch them using it. Don’t tell them how to use it, just watch them. This will give you ideas on how to improve its usability. I did this for my app and saw someone try to swipe left/right in between photos but they couldn’t. I assumed my developer would have built that in so I didn’t think to test it at first. So I immediately had this functionality added.
This section walks you through setting up a developer account, which costs $99, but is mandatory to publish an app on the app store.
Hey guys! I'm Ben and I work as an Interactive Producer at an ad agency in Los Angeles. Mobile has been a big passion of mine since long before the iPhone. In high school I had one of those giant Windows touchscreen phones that barely fit in my pocket.. remember those? I've worked as a project manager on web and app projects for various clients and always wanted to make my own app. I am non-technical though so my lack of coding skills always held me back from taking action. However last year, as a side project I produced my first iPhone app without learning to code and with only spending $250 in total. It has since gone on to reach 70,000 downloads and profitability. Check it out here