[Today is a guest post by Chad Ettebrick. He created an iPhone app after reading about my story. I wanted him to share his experience.]
Let’s face it. We all have an idea that we think will take us from the ranks of blog readers and wantrepreneurs to the ranks of business owners, entrepreneurs, MILLIONAIRES!
If you have read Benny’s awesome posts about his luck from creating apps, then you may be interested in chasing the dream of mega-app in the app store. I recently released my first app, and wanted to share a little about the process to hopefully inspire you to chase your dreams.
First, a little about me. I’ve done a little of everything. I spent time doing the corporate grind. I’ve worked in Mom & Pop businesses. But for me, the real goal has always been to create something. For a couple of years, I have carried a Moleskine notebook around and recorded ideas. The first major idea that I thought would work was an online music instrument store. It taught me a couple things.
First, I was horribly depressed. I used the store as a way to distract myself. Coming off quitting a job that I hated, the store became a scapegoat for my mood and troubles. It took 6 months to realize that I was a zombie, walking around in a horrible funk.
The second thing I learned was that when I put my mind to something, I can do it. I created a functioning business idea out of depression. Vendors and manufacturers were excited about the concept. They were also scared of the concept, and scared of committing their product to an online-only start-up (they need a wake-up call, but that is for later).
Once I was able to move from my funk of depression, I started really focusing on just ideas. Creative or not. My notebook started to grow very fast. It only took about 2 weeks to realize that most of what I was creating were started ideas for what could be great apps.
That is how I decided on making apps. It also lead me to really start learning about the app creation world. The other question it raised to me was “why make apps?”
To backtrack again, my closest friend is a large player in the tech start-up world. He has founded and sold 2 companies. My interest in that world has been, as a result, very strong.
The idea that I could create something that was in the same marketplace and realm as what these awesome start-up companies were doing was exciting. So I decided that instead of just planning and planning and never acting I would make a decision and just start.
As I reread my ideas I realized that one idea was being repeated through my notes, sometimes in different ways, but usually in a very similar manner. It was also a very simple idea that I could easily flesh out and work through. I was sold.
It was at this time that I first read Benny’s post about Photo 365. I was stunned. His story was very inspiring and sort of solidified in my mind that I could do what I was thinking I could do. It actually helped cement the idea that I could do with for less money with less work than I had planned. It was at this point that I first reached out to Benny. I had started researching companies to work with and looking for developers. I was able to add a couple more developers to the list through Benny and I’s conversation.
It only took one conversation with the team that I settled on to know that they were right for me. Thus started the process of creating my app.
From start to launch, the process took just over 2 months. We started with fleshing out ideas and making sure that we were understanding each other. It took about a week to learn to understand each other through the language barrier and difference in English.
I managed the project and approved all ideas, which stemmed from my original notebook ideas. I provided the company with drawings and concepts, which were then transitioned into UX and UI (user experience and user interface) elements. The majority of the time was spent on making sure graphics and usage were perfect. The majority of my cost came from the development of 10 unique graphics and 10 icon graphics.
Once I had approved the graphics and icons (on about the 3rd draft) we were able to move on to programming, which only took a few days. I received my first working copy of the app and was able to start testing. As we finalized more details I received new working copies. The testing process lasted about a month. After 3 to 4 test copies, we approved the final copy and started the process of submitting to Apple. It took about 5 days to be approved and launched late on a Thursday night. I had finally gone from having an idea in a notebook to having created a product that was available for sale.
The process was very exciting. It was incredibly fun and powerful to work and manage a team of developers on an idea that I had developed. There were some struggles. The team didn’t understand my vision at first, due to cultural differences. It was challenging to explain why I wanted things the way I wanted them when to me they were very obvious to the way we live in the US. We also had issues with one feature that didn’t think was needed. Again, this was something that I really had to push back on. However the product ended up exactly how I wanted.
I had a budget of around $4000 for my app development, and didn’t spend my entire budget.
Here is what I want you to take away from my experience, and I’m sure Benny will echo many of these items.
1. If you want to make an app, start by recording every idea you think of for a set period of time. It can be a week, a month, any amount of time, just start by ideating. I included the idea, drawings of what it could look like, and action plans for creation.
2. Pick an idea that is very simple for your first project. If you are using a company like oDesk to facilitate your project, make sure you give each company their due research.
3. Take the time to express your idea fully.
4. Make sure you are serious about pursuing your app creation. It can get very expensive very fast.
5. Don’t think you are going to make $30,000 in a month, or $5000 in a week. Be ready to fail. It is only when you are ready to fail that you can put your full attention into making the best possible product. Do what you can to ensure the product can succeed, but don’t be surprised when it doesn’t.
My biggest challenge was taking the first step.
What is stopping you from taking YOUR first step? What tools or methods would help you get out of your comfort zone and go for it?
Take it to the comments and let us know what is stopping you.
The process was overall very thrilling. If you are interested in creating apps, or ideating, please contact me at chad [at] chadettelbrick [dot] com.
Chad Ettelbrick is the Founder of Current Weather, an app that focuses on the weather right now, and lets you share your weather with your Twitter followers. He also runs the blog We Work From Phones, which focuses on mobile working and small businesses. He also is in the process of creating an app and media company, Ettelbrick Media.