Photo 365 Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Photo 365 on the iPad

One thing I’ve wanted to do is give an update of how Photo 365 has done since it was featured as App of the Week.

Before, I didn’t know when was the best time to do it. Now I feel like I have a lot to share after almost five months of it being released.

The success of this app has brought so many benefits. It brought recognition. It brought opportunities for interviews here and here and guests posts like here. It brought a flood of revenue to allow me to start my own business. I had my app featured in an Italian iPhone magazine.

I had someone from a startup contact me during App of the Week about buying my app. I was very skeptical because it came from a generic email. Once I told him of my concern, he revealed the company he was representing. One of the main investors co-founded Google Adsense. That was a wild time, but after exchanging some emails, nothing happened. Still cool to experience!

I’ve enjoyed getting emails from people getting started with their app. I know I’m not an expert, but I know enough to help those get started. It feels great to be able to help others.

It hasn’t been all this easy though. This journey has been a roller coaster.

The first seven months of app development were easy compared to the last five months. I’ve had to face challenges I was NOT prepared for. Nothing warned me about what to expect.

I’ve never worked harder and never had to deal with so much. There have been moments when I’ve thought about shutting it down.

In the end, I still can’t believe my luck. I am very thankful, and still moving forward.

I refuse to let any challenges stop me from making this the best app I can.

I hope my experience will help those who want to know what it’s like to manage an app as a first time app developer.

For the rest, I hope there’s something you can take away from it.

How have sales been?

Might as well start off with the big question. That’s the number one question I get from friends. I wish I could have said “Great! I’m making $500 a day!” but that wasn’t happening.

I knew sales would go down from being App of the Week. Since then I’ve reached a low of $10.50 (explain more about why later).

You can see where the app peaked during App of the Week.

Photo 365 sales

Sales from Aug 8 - Dec 24

After that it started sliding down in the rankings. I quickly got use to seeing over $1,000+ a day in sales and seeing anything less than that was a difficult.

If the feeling of making over $1,000 a day was a drug, I was hooked.

Sales in the middle of Nov – Dec leveled out at about $50 a day. I’ll be honest that I wasn’t happy to see low sales. Thankfully, my wife reminded me to stay positive. Every time I’d tell her the sales, she said “That’s great!” You know what? She’s absolutely right. Friends also reminded me that’s something to be happy about.

Before my app was sold if someone told me I’d be making $50 a day, I would have been very happy. Many apps make far less than that.

So yes I’m happy when I make any money, even the day when I made $10.50, but that bad for other reasons.

E-mail overload 

I started to get a lot of e-mails from Photo 365 users.

I got emails from people who loved the app, some disappointed with it when they realized it didn’t do what they expected, and even got one from a guy who refused to display my app on in iPhone unless I changed my icon.

(Sure, let me get right on that.)

I got lots of emails for suggestions. Users wanted so many things. I guess that’s good because they like the app, but it was difficult to juggle. What should I add to keep people happy?

My idea for the app was to keep it simple. However, I realized there were nice features I didn’t think about.

One way to decide what to add was see how often I’d get asked for a feature. The more I got, the more I listened. Unfortunately, I couldn’t add every single feature users wanted.

A month after the app was released, I was ready to start work on new features with my developers.

Working on the first update

My app cost $1900 to develop. At the time, that was a lot of money to me. It was a risk I was willing to take. They gave me a flat fee instead of charging me by the hour. I believe their price was determined by the number of hours they projected it would take to complete. They told me it would take 1.5 month. Instead it took eight months, but that was okay with me.

With the updates, I’ve been paying my developers by the hour and it’s been more expensive that way. The first update took two months. It felt like six months because I was so eager to add these new features.

I originally worked with them on Elance.com, but then they moved to Odesk.com. I had never used it, but I liked it a little bit better because the system takes screenshots of their computer screen so I can follow their progress.

If they do 40 hours of work a week, which is the maximum I set, it can cost a little over $1000. That’s almost half of what it cost to make the app! They haven’t worked the full 40 hours every week though.

I’ve totalled up all the work from the day I started working on updates until December 31st.

Sept 5 – Dec 31 $9537.80

A huge increase from the original cost to develop it.

Ready, Set, Stop!!

My first update was finally ready on December 5th. I was excited to finally have new features. The main new feature was multiple photos in a day.

When I first had the idea for this app, I thought about just one photo a day. I had no idea that I would get so many emails about wanting to add more than one picture a day. I read the reviews in the App store as well and that was the main thing people wanted.

So I thought this was a feature that needed to be added. I even posted the first mockup of how it would look on the Photo 365 fanpage and got lots of positive responses. This is how the final product looks.

Multiple photos Photo 365

Clicking on a photo would enlarge the picture and look like the first version. I was happy with it.

I released the app and thought everything would be smooth after that. I was wrong.

I forgot exactly how many emails I got, but I got at least three emails that first day from people that day saying they downloaded the update and it erased all their photos!!!

#%!@%!!

When I got the first, I thought it might be isolated, but when I got the others, I knew that it was a problem that needed to be addressed. There may have been more, but they didn’t email me.

I felt really bad. I hated that anyone would lose their photos in the app! If that were me, I’d be so upset too.

The first thing I did was email my developers. I explained what was going on. Tuesday morning they suggested I pull the app from the app store. I didn’t know exactly how to do that. I knew I could completely delete the app, but I didn’t think that was the best move.

So what I did was pause my app. No one would be able to buy it and download the update. It would be invisibile.

That’s the day I only earned $10.50.

They said they found the error and sent me a new version in a couple days.

After less than 24 hours, I decided to un-pause my app. The reasoning was I read I might lose all important rankings. Also, I knew the problem wouldn’t exist for new downloads.

Awhile ago, I remember I owned an app that had an update, but gave a warning message to not download that version.

That’s what I decided to do. I resumed the the app, but with a warning message to those who hadn’t downloaded the update. They could, but should backup all photos first.

I checked my stats to see how many people downloaded the update before I paused it. Remember, I got a few emails about losing photos. I was shocked to see 10,000 users had downloaded the update in the first day!

A few problems out of that many wasn’t the end of the world, but I still wasn’t happy that anyone was losing their photos. I didn’t want more problems as more and more downloaded the update. At the time I had ~ 60,000 users.

I had to wait less than a week for the next version to be ready and approved. When it was ready to be downloaded, I held my breath. Thankfully, it seemed like the bleeding had stopped.

That wasn’t the end of my problems though.

Did I Mess Up a Good Thing?

I started to get feedback about multiple photos and some didn’t love it. In fact they downright hated it. They loved the old way how the photos were displayed. They didn’t like seeing it in thumbnails.

I got enough feedback to wonder if I screwed everything up.

For the first version, people emailed me about wanting to save multiple photos a day.

For the second version, people emailed me about wanting to go back to just one photo a day.

Had I messed up a good thing? Was I not being true to my original vision of the app?

There are those out there who love the new version. They just don’t say as much. I hear mainly from the ones that don’t.

I have to find a way to keep both sides happy. Have to talk with my developers whether or not they can implement my ideas.

Reply to All E-mails. Good or Bad.

Every day I have to answer customer emails, whether they’re happy or angry about it not working right. I also have a customer service forum where people can ask question. I answer questions there as well.

I love the ones that say they love the app, but I get many more with suggestions and problems. It’s definitely my least favorite part of the process, but it’s not something I want to outsource. I feel it’s important that they get an email from me.

Sometimes I turn an unhappy customer into a fan. These are two response I just got after telling me about problems they were having. I get these replies often.

WoW..  I’m completely shocked that you responded in such a timely manner, or at all!  You commitment to providing a quality app is evident!  This will be my favorite app either way.  Thank you(:

I love this app. Sorry for the dee da dee moment. The response time was unbeatable you guys rock I’d buy more apps by your company in a heartbeat if I needed them.

So I do what I can to keep them happy.

Lack of Control

One thing that has bothered me has been a lack of control. Since all the work is outsourced, there’s nothing I can do to fix a problem. All I can do is tell them my developers to fix it. Then I have to make sure it’s fixed right or have them do it again.

This process takes time. I wish problems could be fixed right away and sent to all users.

I have no choice but to outsource the work, but when problems arise, I wish I could do more about them.

There’s great news!

Enough of the challenging parts. Let me share some great news!

I had heard from many developers that Christmas time gets a huge boost. According to USA Today, on Christmas Day this year, 250 million apps were downloaded in the Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market versus 85 million last year.

It makes sense. Lots of new iPhones, iPads and iTunes gift cards.

For myself, I had my increase from ~$50 to ~$80 per day from Dec. 25-28. Not the increase I had imagined. Still happy with the boost.

Then I had a great surprise.

December 29th brought in $431! I was stunned. What happened? I checked and didn’t see my app featured anywhere in the App store.

I checked my Google analytics and saw a spike to my homepage from Photojojo.com, a huge photo project blog and store, with over 405,000 email subscribers. You can see the post Sweet Photo Projects for the New Year.

It’s awesome my app got recognized by them because now I see a handful of apps that are in my same niche now.

I had a feeling sales would increase after January 1st. The reason is the app is perfect to start at the beginning of the year. People get excited by a new year, resolve to take more photos, and want to try a 365 project.

Thanks Photojojo.com!

Overall revenue

You might be curious to know how much I’ve earned overall.

As of January 4th, I’ve earned $48,320.73. I’m close to reaching $50,000 which is a huge milestone!

Thanks to any who had downloaded the app or shared it with someone. It wouldn’t be possible without you.

Here is a breakdown of the top ten countries where sales have come from.

Top Ten in Sales

What’s in store for 2012?

I have lots of ideas for the app in my head. I’m still trying to get it to that level where there’s not much that needs to be done to it. I feel like a plane still on take off, and waiting for the cruising altitude so I can take off my seat belt to relax.

If I had a $1 for every time someone asked about the Android version, I still couldn’t retire, but I’d have enough for a nice meal at a fancy restaurant.

I’d love to have an Android version before the end of 2012. I have to figure out how to get it done. Ideally, I’d like the Apple version to be at a stage where I’m happy with it before going to Android.

I have other ideas that I know could bring in a bunch of revenue. It’s going to take time , money, and hard work to find out how to make it a reality.

The goal is to make Photo 365, the BEST app in its niche before the end of 2012.

Thanks for making it this far

Any advice for the challenging parts? Any question? I’d be happy to answer them.

To learn more about my app, go to Photo 365.

I’ve been know to giveaway free copies of my app on my Facebook fan page. Make sure you join if you want to have a chance for a free promo code.

 

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  • http://affiliatemanifesto.info/ Justice Wordlaw IV

    Congrats on your success with your App Benny. Things sometimes don’t work out to how we would want them to but at least your learning from your mistakes and getting things in order as well. With the update to the app things happen and at least you faced the problem instead of hiding away from it as most people would of probably done. Keep up the great work that your doing and congrats on the revenue that your bringing in as well. !

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Justice! It’s been a learning experience for sure. Just hope that months from now I can enjoy the fruits of my labor even more because of the challenges I faced. Thanks for our comment. Always look forward to it!

  • http://lifestoked.com Deacon Bradley

    Thanks for the update Benny – I’ve been curious! As a software developer at startups I feel your pain of trying to please users and getting releases out the door! My last startup had the honor of launching at TechCrunch-50 in 2008… the servers crashed from the traffic! Not a great feeling, hah.

    You also seem to have uncovered an important and sad fact in software development: The first version is always the easy one (even though it doesn’t seem like it). After that you’ve made some big choices that make seemingly simple changes difficult. I’m starting to sense some personal-dev/life choices themes in here, hah.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I learned for sure the first version is definitely the easiest. I’m glad to know that it’s not just my experience too. It’s been a challenge, but I want to come out of it even better. I can tell it’s going to test me in every way possible, but I’ll try.

      Servers crashing sounds horrible! I bet that’s a huge mess, even if it’s down for a bit.

      Thanks for your comment Deacon!

  • http://www.mindthebook.com Andrzej

    First of all big congratulations on the success and thanks for sharing all the details. That’s quite unique and only for that I am buying the app right now ;)

    It’s my first time on the blog, so apologies if you already covered these topics in previous posts, but do you have any specific key lessons for someone who, like you did, is about to outsource an iPhone app development? Any tips for making a noise about your app?

    Thanks and wish you more success in the future.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you left a comment and I’ll be happy to answer your question. I would make sure your communication is good with your developer. Make sure they understand what you want. Remember, they work for you. You’re paying them. Also make sure they’re the developers. I talked with one person who had their app outsourced, and they thought they were working directly with the developer. Nope. It was just a middle man who then sent the work overseas. He said it was bad.

      As for making noise, I’d say make the best app you can for your market. Keyword search is important too. The App store is like Google. People type in what app they’re looking for and a list of apps will appear. So it’s important you get good keywords in there. Don’t do paid review sites. I’ve read they’re a waste of money. Free ones are good. If you’ve got an app, contact your local newspaper about mentioning it or doing a story.

      Just some things to get you started. Good luck on your app! I’d love to hear about how it goes. Send me an email anytime if you have questions!

  • http://carefulcents.com Carrie – Careful Cents

    Wow, you’ve been on quite an amazing journey. It’s really interesting to see the whole process of making an app, getting it sold on iTunes and following up with emails and customer service. It’s kind of like any other business venture and takes a lot of time and energy.

    I always thought making an app was a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. If I ever want to make an app in the future, I will use your story as a reminder/guide. Thanks for sharing all the dirty details.

    Also, I would have freaked out like you did when the app caused people to lose their photos. That sounds terrible. You dealt with it nicely and fixed it. That’s all people really want!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      This is my first real business venture, so that’s why I’m facing so many new challenges. I thought making an app was that easy too. I’d make it, add a few new features, and it was that easy! I really did after my app came out. I thought I’d be smooth sailing after that.

      Glad my dirty details shed some light on app development. It’s rewarding, but I’m still working to get to that point when I can relax a bit more. :)

  • http://www.freelancewritingblog.com Ruth – The Freelance Writing Blog

    What a story. I would go crazy with the lack of control – I commend you for your patience and persistence outsourcing all of the development. That would be challenging for me.

    Do you have any plans to create other apps? I bought your app, though I must say I’m not much of a photographer, so I haven’t used it much. How did you promote it? Did you connect with any photography bloggers? Were you featured on any niche blogs?

    Congratulations Benny! It’s a great story and a true inspiration. (And thanks for your continued support trying to help me win a car!)

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I do plan on creating more apps. I’ve been told that’s what I need to do to build on the success of this one. It’s coming up with another idea for one. I don’t want to make a crappy app and throw it out there. I want to make something people will enjoy using.

      I didn’t promote it! I had some app review sites contact me for a free copy to do a review. That led to it being featured in an Italian iPhone magazine. I got featured on Gizmodo, which was exciting. Then Apple just picked up on it and featured the app. That changed everything.

      I haven’t connected with any photo bloggers yet. That’s something I need to do. I did get a mention in a huge photo blog in that link I gave in the post. That was exciting as well!

      Hope my votes helped with your contest! Keep us posted on what happens!

  • http://www.truespiritualawakening.com Steve Rice

    So excited for you. I know this project’s been a ton of work, but it’s inspiring to hear about your experience with it.

    I look forward to one day getting the Android version. I know you have to take it one step at a time, but I can’t wait to download it on my phone since I now take my pictures pretty much exclusively through my phone.

    Keep us posted when you do get it set for Android.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hey Steve! Happy new year to you! I wish I could snap my fingers and an Android version just appear, but I know that’s not going to happen. Haha. I need to find a completely different developer and learn about the Android side. It will be on my mind all year and something I really want to do!

      Saw you’re a part of Steve Roy’s project. Congrats! Sounds like a great thing. I’m looking forward to following along.

  • http://www.annieandre.com Annie Andre

    WOW BENNY! these are my absolute favorite kind of posts. it’s so inspiring to see the hell you went through. Now i’m glad the developer i talked to kept flaking on me. I barely have enough time as it is with what i’m doing and the kids. It sounds like your a one man show but need 3 more people to help.
    Congrats on your success. It really couldn’t have happened to a nice person and you are truly generous by sharing all this with everyone.
    Ok enough sappy stuff now get to work!!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Annie! I like these kinds of post too. I like to peek behind the scenes and learn from it. Hope readers will learn something from mine. I wish I had my own programmer who sat right next to me and could fix problems ASAP. Would make life a dream. I liked your app idea. Sounded like such a cool thing!

      I will get to work and I’ll need you to yell at me to make sure I am this year! I know you can yell pretty loud, so I’ll be able to hear you across the ocean!

  • http://adriennesmith.net Adrienne

    If everything also went smoothly then everyone would take more risks. But I still think this is fabulous with how you have turned one little app into such a huge success. Wow Benny, almost $50K from a $0.99 app. Who would have thought this coming into this.

    I applaud you my friend for going that extra mile. You can guarantee that all your faithful blogging friends will continue purchasing new apps from you. I have no doubt you’ll continue on from here.

    Great update and again, congratulations on it’s success Benny!

    ~Adrienne

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Adrienne. I know it’s hard to believe a 99 cent app can generate so much, but the iPhone market just keeps getting bigger! There’s lots of money being spent on apps.

      You’re right that if it was easy, people would take more risks. I just faced new challenges that I didn’t know were coming! It’ll make me stronger though and be better in the long run.

      Thanks again my friend!

  • http://stronginsideout.com amy

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Benny! Especially the not-so-joyful parts of it. ;)

    I have an idea for an app in my head right now that I am going back and forth about. It would be pretty complex and would probably take a great deal of investing to develop. Would love to chat with you about it sometime!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Glad to give a peek at behind the scenes. I know I enjoy these types of posts when people talk about their product or launches. Sure I’d be happy to listen! E-mail? Skype? Whatever you want. You know where to find me. :)

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran@ start young finish first

    Wow, Benny congrats, making 50 k through just 1 app is sweet, having the opportunity to ride the roller coaster of awesome- app -making is even sweeter. I’m watching out for an even more successful year for you and your business. ;)
    I’m excited for my own app as well and you are the one who inspired to get going and start something of my own. Thank you. You rock

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Tram! Yes it’s been a roller coaster ride. I’m definitely earning every dollar of it. :) I look forward to when you finish your app. Please don’t forget to let me know!

  • http://www.MatthewHooper.com Matt Hooper

    What a story Benny! It looks like you’ve been on a bit of a wild ride. It is so interesting to see how you’ve taken a different approach to apps. You’re approach is more of a boutique when compared to a big box store. A lot of the people making apps online are going for a volume of apps whereas you appear to be going for a quality product.

    All the best!

    – Matt

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Yes it has been. It definitely makes the second app a lot easier, I would hope! Yes I’ve been trying to make this the best app as possible, but at the same time, I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. It’s time to diversify and use the success of this app to create more. Thanks Matt!

  • http://www.yourlife-yourchoices.com Lenia

    Hi Benny,
    Thank you for sharing your great experience with us. I learn many useful things in your blog through your successful business experience.

    “For the first version, people emailed me about wanting to save multiple photos a day.
    For the second version, people emailed me about wanting to go back to just one photo a day.”

    I just wanted to tell you that it is normal that some people liked the first version and when you upgraded there were people that did not love. Don’t worry about that because that is the way people react. People usually do not are fun of the changes. They are used to a specific app and if you make a change they go to point 0 and they have to get used to something new. This is not a funny process for a user.
    That is something developed in the book Rework, written by the founders of 37signals, a small and profitable business. I don’t know if you have read that book but maybe, you could find a lot of useful advice about how to manage your customers.

    Thank you for sharing with us your great experience
    Lenia

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Lenia. Thanks for the reminder. I read ReWork once, but I think I need to read it again. It’s tough because I’ve never sold a product so I wish everyone would be happy with it. I know that’s not realistic. Just as I think one movie is the best ever, someone will say it’s the worst movie they have ever seen.

      You’re right that people get used to an app, and don’t like the changes. Of course any new person, won’t know of the changes and enjoy the app as it is.

      Thanks for giving me some advice. I really appreciate it!

      • http://www.yourlife-yourchoices.com Lenia

        Hi benny,
        You are welcome!
        Yes Rework is a list of rules. I read twice to understand better and remember some of the advice provided.
        Read and Re read (like work and Re work!) is a good method for books with such a great and useful content!

        take care…

  • http://cjstott.com Chris Stott

    Benny,

    Fantastic update on the app, great reading!

    The lessons you have learnt along this journey are invaluable.

    I’d like to send you a book I’ve just finished reading that I think would be useful for you. I love sending books to people around the world. If you’re interested just email me your address.

    Rock on for 2012.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks for reading Chris! I’d love a book you recommend. I’ll send you my address via email. Thanks!

  • http://www.everydaybright.com Jen Gresham

    Congrats on the success, Benny. You’re really made it, and I love that your wife is helping you see that. My husband does the same thing for me.

    I also like that you admit there are times you’ve thought about shutting it all down. I think EVERY entrepreneur thinks about that during the first couple of years, but not all of us are willing to admit it.

    I still think you should outsource the customer service. If you read the email examples you posted, you’ll see that it’s important that they get a response, but it’s NOT important they get a response from YOU. You have better and more effective ways to spend your time now. Remember, this is a business you’re running. I’d outsource it, either for barter or using the same Elance/Craigslist system you used before.

    Best of luck and thanks for the update. I’ve had my eyes peeled waiting to hear how things have been going. :)

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hey Jen! So happy to see your comment. Thank you for reminding me that many entrepreneurs thinks about quitting. I think that’s just natural, but the ones who are truly committed will continue.

      I will certain keep your advice in mind. You may be right that finding someone to reply to email and just forwarding important ones, will save me a bunch of time and stress.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my update!

  • http://actioninprogress.com jonknep

    What a great update Benny! I’m so happy for your progress and stay positive. This is only the beginning. I’m excited to see how you crush the app market this year!

    Jonathon

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks buddy! Been happy to have you along this crazy ride! I’m hoping it’s the only beginning and w/ your brain powers hopefully help take this app to a whole new level!

  • http://www.tweetesphere.com Ken Lee

    Hi Benny,

    Very interesting case study, wonder how this would have gone if you did not get the exposure from the App Store after Photo 365.

    Would be a very tough gig trying to raise awareness of the App otherwise, would be very interesting to read up on adverstising Phone Apps and how the big boys do it.

    On the subject of Android, it is growing bigger and bigger, imagine the exposure with both that and the IPhone? The mind boggles!

    Anyway, love reading your articles – Keep on writing and working..

    Ken.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Ken,

      I do wonder how my app would do w/o the exposure. My guess is that it would be at the $50 a day mark that I saw in Nov-Dec. That’s where it leveled off. I believe most of it comes from people doing searches. I have no idea of checking, but it’s just a guess.

      Yes I know the Android market is growing! I need to get on there. I’ve read of developers having some success with their apps there. Not surpassing the App store, but still making some nice money from it.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.greatnessinsideout.com Gerry Ayers

    Awesome news Benny! Hard work and persistence always pays off!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Gerry! It sure does. Plus I knew I need to stay persistence if I want to make this app better. Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.inmarketingtips.com Kent @ Make Extra Money Online

    $50K revenue from an app is amazing! You will hit this milestone this month. I read your story and I know it took a lot of time and effort to develop this.

    Would you share how much you have spent in the development? In order to scale up, you may outsource your support – save you the TIME replying emails etc.

    Another suggestion, outsource the app TESTING before an app update is available. You may have caught that “the photos were deleted defect” in early testing stage.. or even used the update yourself on your iDevices.

    I am on Android, but love to get it on my Wife’s phone so we could take pics of our kids with it. It’s so cool to see our kids growth in pics these years. :)

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Kent,

      I spent a total of $1900 in development. I spent $99 for the annual fee to sell my app in the App store. I spent $10 on my theme and $10 on my domain. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money. Yes I might have to reconsider and outsource my support or at least hire an assistant.

      I did test the app with a group of testers, but the problem was they were testing the app without a previous version. I didn’t know how to test out the app when overwriting over an old one. That’s something I’ll have to figure out when testing the next version.

      I’ve gotta make Android a top priority this year! :)

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  • http://www.sproutconfidence.com Ryan

    Benny,
    You continue to inspire me with your entrepreneurial endeavours! It’s really great to see how far your idea has gone. Can’t wait to see what’s in store next and thanks for kindly sharing your story + those great numbers!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hey Ryan, great to hear from you! Thanks for reading and I’m planning this to be just the beginning of my entrepreneurial goals! Did you see that the Standard Theme is coming out with an update? I saw screenshots and it’s going to be cool!

      • http://sproutconfidence.com Ryan

        Hey Benny,
        No I haven’t seen the new update yet! Do you need a support license to get it? Is it the 2.7?
        ~Ryan

        • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

          Yes you’ll need the support license to get it. I believe you can upgrade from the basic version. It’s going to be 3.0 I believe.

  • http://eclerstudios.net Pawe? Bia?ecki

    Hello Benny,
    haven’t you think about learn to coding? I know this isn’t easy, but with programming skills you can do work with your app a LOT better and faster than anyone else, because that only YOU know how your app should looking and working. Best things in 2012 to you!

    P.S. Nice WordPress theme/framework ;)

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I did think about coding before, but thought it would take too long to code to a level I wanted to. I’d love to know and fix the problems myself. Who knows maybe I’ll start learning a little bit and try.

      Glad you like the WP Theme! It’s the Standard Theme and I love it. Best of luck to you and your Android apps in 2012!

  • Marcin

    Hi Benny,

    I’ve waited for this post since I came across your blog (BTW: thanks to SmartPassiveIncome.com). I just want to thank you for this information. I’m really into app business and I plan to develop my first app very soon, so this data is very valuable for me. When reading about your obstacles I realized, that it’s harder than I thought. No pain no gain :)
    I think the best idea at the begining is to use the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid)!
    Good conclusion from your post: one can’t satisfy all of his/her customers. I have an idea how you can solve your problem with multiple photos feature: maybe you should offer ‘connecting multiple photos with one day’ feature as in-app purchase? And leave the basic version as it was? This way you could let your users choose what they want and additionaly monetize your app better. These are just my thoughts!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi again Marcin. Glad to hear the post was valuable to you. That’s what I wanted to do. Yes I’m all for KISS. That’s a great idea for giving users an option and making more money, but I don’t think I can go backwards. Meaning I have multiple photos now. I can’t go back to the original with one photo because lots of users will have saved more than one photo a day. They would lose their photos and I don’t think they’ll be happy.

      If I did it over again, that would have been a great idea.

      Thank you though for the suggestion!

      • Marcin

        Yeah,I didn’t think of that, it can be an issue, you are right. I’m not that technical so I don’t know what’s really possible if it goes about software changes :)

        I have a question regarding your blog: do you enjoy WPSubscribers Plugin? Is it worth its price? I’m looking for the best plugin to create custom opt-in boxes that look nice, and I must say that yours are really cool. Is it possible to design boxes like these on Pat’s or David Risley’s blogs? You know, image coming out of a box, fb or tweeter button, etc. These must have the best conversion rates and I know almost nothing about HTML..:)

        PS. Your blog’s structure & design looks very cool, I think you did really good choices with your tools :) If you were to buy again, would you choose Standard theme or sth else?
        Thanks for your answers Benny!

        • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

          I do enjoy WPsubscribers. You can definitely customize it pretty well. I just looked at David and Pat’s blog. David’s I don’t know if that’s from WPSubscribers. If you’re talking about the opt in box at the top of the page. That looks it might be custom made so it appears there. But I just looked at WP Subscribers menu and it says you can add a opt-in form in the header. That might be what you’re looking for. Pat’s blog you can get an opt in box like that through Aweber or WP Subscribers.

          WPSubscribers makes it easy to put opt in boxes. You can also create a pop up opt in form. Some people don’t like it, but the conversion rates are really good. I definitely think it’s worth the price. I need to revisit the features cause I’m just using a fraction of them. For example there is a way when users “Like” your Facebook fan page, to be added to your mailing list. Of course it’ll ask their permission, but with this plugin it allows you to do that. Also when users leave a comment, there’s a box for them to check if they want to be added to your list. Makes it easier for them so more sign ups.

          What I would suggest is try it out because you have 30 or 60 days for a refund. It’s sold through Clickbank so it’s really easy to get a refund. A few clicks and no questions asked. Play around with it. There are nice tutorials on their website to help set it up. http://getbusylivingblog.com/wpsubscribers. I planned on just trying it out, but ended up keeping it.

          I would definitely choose the Standard Theme again. I have no regrets with it. Check out http://michaelhyatt.com/. He uses Standard Theme as well but has it customized real nice. It’s a theme you can use out of the box and it’ll be nice or customize it. The support forum was real helpful when I wanted to customize mine. I’m really pleased with it! Let me know if you have any further questions and if you choose Standard, I have an affiliate link http://getbusylivingblog.com/standardtheme.

          Hope that helps you Marcin!

          • Marcin

            Thanks for your detailed reply! Yeah, I’ve found that David’s opt-in box is custom made (messing with html). I need to check AWeber opt-in boxes, but when I used Mailchimp…it didn’t look pretty.
            If I buy Standard theme I promise I’ll use your affiliate link;) Recently I bought some Woothemes and they are so well coded…it’s so easy to customize them. Standard theme seems to be like that too. For my main blog I hesitate between Standard vs Thesis vs Genesis.
            I have so many ideas but so little time to put them in life. When are you quiting your job B? :)

          • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

            You’re welcome Marcin! Aweber has a lot of free template opt-in boxes. They’re pretty nice, but I wanted to customize mine. It’s not hard to do with some Photoshop. Woothemes are nice for sure. I use it for a niche site I have. Standards vs Thesis vs Genesis is a tough battle. All three are great. All three are used by some really big blogs, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. It’s just a preference of what you like.

            I understand about having too many ideas and little time. Just focus on a few. Focus on the ones that are more important to you. The ones that if you have accomplished on year from now, you’d be so happy. If you focus on trying to do too many things, you’ll get none of them done.

            I’ll be quitting my job this year! ;)

  • http://sproutconfidence.com Ryan

    Hey Benny,
    Who were the people you hired for this project on Elance?

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Ryan,

      Their company is Sparkid. They’re not on Elance anymore though. You can find them over at Odesk.com.

  • http://iwings.net Cal

    50 G’s is a nice chunk of change! Nice work!

    Not being in control of your App and having to outsource for updates is why I’m learning Objective-C.

    Development for iPhone Apps is insane.

    I downloaded your App awhile back and really like it. I’m happy with both versions and don’t really mind either or.

    But, when I upgraded to iOS 5 awhile back, I lost all my photos too. This was before the update. I was pretty bummed because I had about 2 months worth.

    I’ve since stopped for the remainder of the year and have started up again with the New Year.

    Anyway, it’s a great App and I really enjoy it.

    Cheers.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Cal,

      I’ve tried a few times to learn to code. Every time it just seems like a foreign language to me. I know if I did a little every day, I would learn so much. I just have to think do I want to spend the time learning when I could be working on other projects. But I might pick up a book and learn little by little just for fun.

      Are you looking to create a small iPhone app? That’d be pretty awesome.

      Sorry your photos got lost! That’s the frustrating part because I know how much people invest in adding photos to the app.

      Thanks though for your comment!

      • http://iwings.net Cal

        Hey Benny,

        How much different do you think your earnings would have been if you didn’t win the App Store Lottery? Even if it’s a guesstimate?

        Learning to code, as I’ve found out. Is not something you sit down for a week or two and just get.

        It’s a continual on going learning process. To be honest, I don’t like it that much, but you gotta do, what you gotta do.

        I’ve released 7 pretty lame Apps, but they have made me some money. Not 50 Grand tough.

        I’m now focusing more on game development now.

        • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

          That’s great to even have your own app out there. As for how my app would do w/o being featured? I would guess averaging $50 a day. That’s the level it was at for the month of Nov-Dec. That seemed to level off after declining little by little every day.

  • http://.www.dollysdaughter.wordpress.com Colleen Kelly

    Holy Cow Benny it has been a roller coaster ride for you! I am going to keep an eye on your progress with the app. I think it’s so exciting that you created something that is used worldwide! Just think ..Wow!.. Thanks for the details on it!. I’m glad your wife didn’t let you give up!. Positive voices are everything. I have been meeting such great ones lately. Twitter, Facebook…You are definately one of them!. Thanks for your post! .

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hello Gymgirl! It has been a roller coaster for sure. I’m still here though! It’s been really exciting. I’m thankful my wife supports what I do. It helps so much! Positive people are definitely fun to be around and talk with. :) Thanks Colleen!

      • http://.www.dollysdaughter.wordpress.com Colleen Kelly

        Hey anytime! I’ll be watching for more news ! :) Have fun in China!

  • http://www.netchunks.com Shiva @ Blogging Tips

    Wow, yours is really an inspirational story to read, earning so much from an app and an idea is really something quite inspiring. I am pretty much sure that this is just the starting for you and you will be coming up with a lot of great things in the future. By the way I am lucky that I landed up at your blog, got to read something inspirational and motivational. Anyways keep doing what you do and best of luck for the apps and its updates, will be looking forward to reading your blog more regularly and will also be looking forward to seeing you get more success with your App.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Shiva for landing on my blog. The app definitely motivates me to keep going and do more. I look forward to seeing you around here in the future!

  • Ellie

    Hi Benny. Thanks for the update on how things are going for you and congratulations on your success to date. I find your accomplishment very inspiring and hope to duplicate your success, at least at some level, in 2012. Thanks again.

    Ellie

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Ellie for reading. You can definitely have your success this year. Don’t underestimate what you can do this year. Looking back at my year, I realized I could have accomplished so much more. However, it’s something I’ll remember for this year. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.meanttobehappy.com KenWert@MeanttobeHappy

    I love the success you’ve had with your app. I love the storyline, the ups and downs and stick-to-it-iveness that kept you going. But what I love most was the fact that you had an idea and didn;t know anything about creating an app. Learned and then jumped in with both feet! Very inspiring, Benny!

    Thanks for that!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I jumped in with both feet for sure. I didn’t know how to create an app, but had been wanting to for so long. Finally just took action! Thanks Ken!

  • http://www.usedtiresblog.com Jean

    Hi Benny. Congrats on the success you have seen so far with your app. Like you said, it is important to stay positive all the time and look on the bright side of things while going through the peaks and valleys. It’s good that you took a chance on the developers and continue to stick with them with the updates. Good luck with your future plans with the app. Hope you can make the Android version happen down the road like you want.

    -Jean

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I definitely have to remain positive through all this. Worrying too much takes the enjoyment out of it. Success isn’t all easy. It will definitely test you. It’s up to you how you respond to difficult situations. I hope I can get an Android version out soon as well! Thanks so much Jean!

  • http://nochnoch.com Noch Noch

    awesome – i didn’t know you had a pp. i’ll check it out. i think my photographer friends may like it
    also encouraging that we can all start a business and make it happen!!! :)
    Noch Noch

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      You learn something about me little by little. :) I do hope my story will inspire others. I have no special skills or am that smart. I’m a guy who just a year ago didn’t have this blog or an app. Now I have both and plan to have more in 2012.

  • http://www.janetgoodrichmethod.com/ Farrell

    Congrats for making your plugin a successful one. After months of development and headaches, i guess everything wasn’t put to waste. For my part, i can’t really afford to finance such development. I wish i could but for the moment, i am trying to make an app myself.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      That’s great you’re working on an app yourself. I definitely respect those who can code. Keep at it!

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  • http://www.aboutmyway.com/ Chukwuka Okwukwe Chukwuka

    Whoa! Benny.

    I love hearing this kind of news.

    I mean, hard work comes with that. Customers will complain and compliment no matter how good the service is because of difference in human nature.

    Is there a Blackberry version coming soon too?

    Happy New Year!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hey Chukwuka! Great to see you. Happy new year to you as well.

      You’re right about difference in human nature. It’s the same with movies right. You might have a favorite movie, but another person will think it’s horrible. Same movie, but just different viewpoint.

      Blackberry version? I hadn’t thought about it but you’re the second person to ask. I’ll keep it in mind after the Android version!

  • Alex Mack

    Stories like this is how I stay inspired. The title couldn’t have been named any better. You didnt have to share all of that information, but you did. Thank you for your honesty and I look forward to reading you next post.

    Stay tuned for the launch of my app soon!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Alex! I just wanted people to know how things have been really been going. It hasn’t been just checking app sales everyday. I wish it was just that, but it’s not. Good luck w/ your app coming out!

    • Brenda

      I’d definitely be interested in the Blackberry version too.

  • Bethany

    Thanks for sharing all the details Benny, I’ve an idea for an app so it’s interesting to read your story. I can just imagine how bad you must have felt when the update wiped peoples photos, I’m glad it all worked out ok. Best of luck in achieving your goals for Photo 365 in 2012

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Bethany. Your first comment here. Thanks! Remember, an idea is nothing without great execution. However, you just might have a great idea for an app. Hope you’ll find a way to get it made one day! Thanks for reading. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but I’m going to do my best to come out even better.

  • http://njmart.in Martin

    Great to know that your app brought in such a great benefits. I know that with a bit of hard work, the app will be a huge success than it had been. To be able to come up with the good and the bad side of the app experience means you did your homework very well.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks so much Martin! It’s been going well, but definitely testing me with new surprises. :)

  • http://buckinspire.com Buck Inspire

    What a roller coaster Benny! Would never have dreamed of the issues you faced. Kudos for taking it all in stride. Continued success in 2012!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Buck! It’s been a rollercoaster for sure and I’m not a fan of the really scary ones. I’m working hard in 2012 so that I’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of it more. :)

  • http://thefoolishtruth.com/ N. Congo

    I got exhausted just reading about everything you went through. But it appears that it was all worth it. Success is a b*tch sometimes.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hahaha..trust me it’s more exhausting at times handling all those things. It’s getting a bit better but still lots to do to improve the app. Yes success can be that sometimes, but if I didn’t enjoy the ups and the downs, I would have stopped spending time and money on the app.

  • ellen

    I was trying to decide which 365 project app I will get, but because of this post, I’m going to go with yours. Excited to see what updates you will bring in the coming months!

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Hi Ellen, thanks for reading and downloading the app! Working on some nice updates for it. Hope you’ll enjoy them!

  • http://thedaniellim.com Daniel Lim

    Dear Benny,

    Just reading how you overcame your obstacles for Photo365 makes me feel so happy for you. Coming up with a product is one thing, but reinventing it and updating it to keep it relevant in the market it’s in is a whole different ball game.

    I’m sure your hard work has paid off, as last I checked (earlier today), your app was featured in the App Store’s Staff Picks section. :)

    Once again, your sincerity and enthusiasm is what keeps everyone coming back for more. Kudos and cheers to you! :D

    //Daniel

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks so much Daniel! The beginning was SO easy compared to now. I’m going to keep doing all I can to make it better. Oh that’s great you saw that it’s featured there! That’s always exciting.

  • http://www.fearntech.co.uk/ Paul

    Quite a roller-coaster ride! Really interesting to read through an App development cycle and see the highs and lows. Good luck for the future development of Photo365.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks so much Paul! It has been quite a ride. Hope it showed you a little bit behind-the-scenes of app development.

  • http://www.garyhuynh.com Gary

    Hi Benny,

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. I’ve had success outsourcing software and also ran into many issues also. Unfortunately for me, I chose to sell the software to get rid of the headaches (along with the profits). Hopefully, you won’t run into any more major hurdles.

    Have you thought about or do you offer a free version of your app to get the word out more. I heard that free apps get 10X as many downloads as paid apps. I still see a lot of room for increased revenue by marketing your app. You should try contacting more websites to see if they would do a review of your app or an interview with you. You already have a good track record with the publicity so leverage that to get more publicity.

    Take care,
    Gary

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      I hope not it doesn’t get harder from here. That’s great you had an exit strategy for your software. Sometimes it can be too much to handle.

      I have thought about a free version. Will likely add one to gain more downloads and hopefully convert them into paid users. I do need to contact more websites to see if they want to do a review or interview for sure. Thanks so much for the advice!

  • http://diarycard.net Sammy

    Would you work with SparkID again? You can email me if that’s better for you. I’m interested in hiring them for a project and I’m curious about your experience with them. Thanks for the good read and the advice.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Sammy I sent you an email. Hope you got it. If not, I’ll resend it again.

  • http://kickstarterrockstars.com Brian Kwong

    Hey Benny, I just bought your app =)

    I am thinking about developing an app too which is why I was happy to find this post since I had been curious for awhile now, about how much money you earned since I first heard you from Pat.

    Thank you for sharing the lessons and obstacles with us. I also have the same question as Sammy, would you recommend working with SparkID?

    Thanks again man =)

    Brian

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Brian! I would recommend working again with SparkID. However, they might be pricey. When I worked with them it was $1900 for my app. Now it’s triple the amount for my next app. Depends of course on the features in your app and how long it’d take. I’d talk to them for sure and I’d also go to places like Elance.com and Odesk.com to find developers. Lots of them there. That’s where I originally found SparkID. If you talk to them, let them know Benny from Photo 365 referred you.

      Hope that helps!

    • http://kickstarterrockstars.com Brian Kwong

      3 times??? geez man. I will get a quote from them and also post the job on elance and odesk and feel it out then. Thanks Benny! When do you think your next app will be ready or is it in development yet?

      Brian

      • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

        It’s in development now. Maybe another month till it’s ready to go live! I’ll keep everyone posted here.

  • Shannon

    I love this app! I recently had to do a iCloud restore. It restored by app, but not ye past 6 months of my calendar photos. Can you help? It’s part of my back up.

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Thanks Shannon! Not sure why your old photos didn’t restore. If you did a restore of iCloud, it should have restored your phone to exactly when you saved it. Had you been backing up often? I don’t know of a way to get your photos back from iCloud. Only how to restore on a computer.

  • http://hellobubbleapp.com June

    Hi, Benny. Thanks for posting this! I learned a lot and definitely can relate a lot because I’m an iOS developer myself! :) I just finished making my new app, and I have absolutely NO idea if people will like it or not. I thought about not publishing it at all, but I reminded myself of your stories, so I did publish it, and it’s on the iTunes store right now on http://appstore.com/hellobubble. Thanks for your posts again! :)))

    • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

      Congrats again June on releasing your app! Look forward to more apps from you. :)