Comments: 1336 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

reboticon733 karma

Your most popular app says it has 50,000 downloads and it is free, how does that translate into 6 figures of income for you? Is it the people paying $10 a month for the 'pro' version or ads or ?

zshakked28 karma

I commented above about this but essentially, with a $10/month subscription, you only need 1190 paying users to be making six figures minus the 30% cut Apple takes.

zshakked24 karma

Currently, there are 1220 people paying $9.99/month for Analytics Pro which minus the 30% Apple takes is the equivalent of $8540 of estimated revenue for this month. That, multiplied by 12 months is six figures. Plus I have other apps that are contributing. So yes, I'm on track to make barely six figures this year.

StealthyBomber_200 karma

Were there times when you had self doubt, or that you wouldn't make it? If so how did you push through those feelings/re-focus yourself on your path to success? And congratulations on achieving your dream. You must be overjoyed!

zshakked237 karma

Absolutely. I remember very vividly about a year and half ago feeling absolutely restless. I had been pouring hours upon hours into my apps and was not making more than a couple hundred dollars a month. I had nothing to show for my hard work so people often thought I was being lazy by not getting a job or taking my schooling seriously.

StealthyBomber_62 karma

Thanks for the reply! If I can add something, what was your "breakthrough" when things really took off for you?

zshakked96 karma

Things never really took off. It was very incremental growth over the course of months and years. A fews month ago, BuzzFeed quickly mentioned the app in one of their videos which gave it a big boost, but other than that, it has been very gradual growth.

sevencoves66 karma

That's amazing! What are some methods you've found most successful for making money off those apps? Is it ads? In app purchases..? Do you get money from free apps? And do you market your apps at all?

Thank you!

zshakked86 karma

Ads, from my experience, are really hard to make money with because you need sooooo many people on your app. Plus, they ruin the experience in the app IMO.

The best way that I've found is with auto-renewable subscriptions. I think a lot of developers are leaving money on the table when they charge a flat fee for an app or feature. There are plenty of people out there who recognize value and are willing to pay month to month for it. From these users, you end up making a lot more money over time then you would have if you just sold the feature by itself.

The most crucial part of making money of an app though is to have a high-quality product that people enjoy or find useful. Nobody is going to pay for something crappy.

MacGyverMacGuffin416 karma

The best way that I've found is with auto-renewable subscriptions. I think a lot of developers are leaving money on the table when they charge a flat fee for an app or feature.

Auto-renewable billing takes advantage of the lazy and uneducated, many of whom aren't consciously renewing their subscriptions. When you say other developers "are leaving money on the table" by not doing this, aren't you normalizing predatory billing practices and rationalizing them as business acumen?

zshakked54 karma

You bring up a lot of valid points. Apple is very good about this. If you get billed and within a couple days reach out to them saying you didn't want to renew, they will refund you.

sevencoves2 karma

That makes sense, thank you!

So I'm a user experience designer working on some app ideas, but I don't develop.. yet. I'm curious about your process, what steps do you take to figure out your features and design them into a good experience? I ask because I downloaded your Command app and it looks and works great! Most developers, in my experience, are poor at design and UX.

zshakked1 karma

I download lots of apps all the time and make notes of ones that I think have good design. Then, when I'm building my app, I use them for inspiration.

In terms of deciding which features to build, I usually build whatever comes to mind and gauge interest through analytics. If I see people are enjoying it, I'll keep it!

mbair141 karma

What does your IG analytics app offer that isn't included in IG's provided analytics?

zshakked28 karma

It lets you track other Instagram accounts and see stats about them like their top posts, best time to post, top hashtags, top filters, and more.

My app also has lots of charts that you can customize to show a variety of different stats.

Dajork37 karma

Ok, since nobody has asked, would you be able to list the books you used to teach yourself? I am interested.

zshakked31 karma

At the time, I used the Obj-C Big Nerd Ranch Book and then the iOS Programming in Obj-C book. Nowadays, I'd recommend the BNR Swift Book and then the BNR iOS Development Book. These are excellent books and there is a nice community of people on their website who talk about solutions to the exercises and challenges.

modafman32 karma

Congrats! What are some of your suggestions for someone wanting to start learning iOS development and be successful? I feel like we hear a lot about how the market is supersaturated. Thanks!

zshakked203 karma

To learn iOS, I highly recommend buying a book (Check out Big Nerd Ranch) rather than doing random online tutorials. The structure that a book can provide is crucial for building your foundation as an iOS Developer.

In terms of building an app that's successful, look through the Top Grossing or Most Downloaded categories and find apps that suck. Believe me, there are a lot of them that haven't been updated in years, have ugly design, and sometimes don't even work. Then, create a competitor app that does everything better than the crappy app.

The truth is, if an app had made it to the Top Grossing or Most Downloaded, it has already proved validation (there is a demand for that idea). So you know that if you build a competitor app, people will already be searching for similar apps.

Shiznanners17 karma

You develop for IOS, but have you ever considered for android as well? If there is a market in one, there is a market in another.

zshakked23 karma

I have been considering Android for a while. At this point, I think my time is better spent building my iOS business until I can afford to hire an Android Engineer. It took me a long time to become intimately familiar with the iOS frameworks, I imagine it would take a lot of time for Android as well.

PasswordDenied15 karma

Can you please, for everyone who has to work at McDonalds, just go back to your summer job and rub it in your managers face??

zshakked47 karma

Hahaha, this has never occurred to me. When my boss called me lazy, she was right. I was making fries at a slow pace because I didn't have an incentive to make them quickly. Either way, I got $7.25 for an hour of work, except making them quickly would make me all sweaty.

I think if anything I'd go back to the restaurant and thank them for my time there. I met a lot of great people and definitely had some fun.

SomeDogNamedWinfield11 karma

Did you have programming experience before starting? If so, how long?

This is something I've always wanted to do, I just know web design better and it's held be back from trying.

zshakked12 karma

I had almost none. I bought a book designed for beginners, read every page and did every exercise. Eventually, I started going to programming meetups which helped me improve my programming skills as well!

DreamBrother13 karma

Having so many apps, do you plan on expanding? I just imagine working on updates and bug fixes for 13+ apps takes a lot of time

zshakked10 karma

I prioritize the apps that have the most users on them. However, sometimes I'll randomly think of an idea for one of them that is quick or fun and I'll just do it.

A lot of the apps are similar though and reuse certain pieces of code. Because of this, I've learned good coding practices to reduce redundancy and expedite the entire process. Manager and Command for example are very similar. Then, in Hashtag Genius (my new one), I reuse the entire Authentication sequence from Manager and Command. At the end of the day, it only took my about 8 or so hours to build Hashtag Genius because so much of the code was reused from the other apps.

micronas2 karma

You said you made like 5-6 unsuccessful apps before one finally took off. How much time had you spent at that point and how much longer would you have given yourself to keep trying to make it on the app store on your own?

zshakked1 karma

I had spent a year and half building apps that went nowhere. I was a Sophomore in college and my goal was to be able to work on my apps full time when I graduated. My mom and I always agreed that if I wasn't at that point after I graduated, I'd get a regular job.

JeffBoner1 karma

Did you advertise your main app at all ?

Or was it just listed people starting buying / using, and reviewing, and it took off from there organically?

zshakked8 karma

I did absolutely zero paid advertising for Command. The only advertising I did was posting on r/marketing and on my personal facebook page. This was enough to jumpstart the app and overtime, it slowly rose in search rankings! I worked hard to listen to users and add as many useful features as possible.

UnsureAndWondering1 karma

Any tips on staying hopeful and keeping your chin up in life?

zshakked1 karma

Meditate, workout, read a lot, and journal daily.

DGMishka1 karma

Hello, I am learning Android development, I just wanted to know what was your main motivation (other than being poor, no offense) to continue studying when things got boring/tough?

zshakked2 karma

It comes from within. I really, really want to be successful.