Now that I'm in my late 40's, I should probably already be doing what I'm passionate about. However, easier said than done! Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a commercial/graphic artist. I've done fine art, but I'm also practical—fine art is like singing or drama—you're not always guaranteed a job. But graphic design is a practical application, and I LOVE to come up with the idea and then really make it work. Perhaps that's the analytical/puzzle-solving side of me?
When I've done fine art, finding a topic to paint or draw was always harder. I like to draw by seeing, rather than make it up in my head, by my imagination. Give me a photograph and I can duplicate it in watercolor or pastel. My high school art teacher once said I wasn't creative, but I was good at art? I had an eye. My college art teacher challenged me to find varying subject matter. When I painted our women's fraternity house (a portrait of it—not the actual walls!), instead of the usual landscapes, she was excited because I had branched out. I had another guest professor at MTU for graphic design. She loved my work and even kept my newsletter piece to show others when she left. She also said I had an eye. When I do graphic design, my gut just knows how to do it, how to place it, how to balance the white negative space with the positive. It's all about feeling, gut. Eye.
Being a mobile developer is not all it's cracked up to be, but it's manageable, and possible to be successful. Despite all the thoughts of millions of downloads, not everyone gets those. Probably relatively few. But we do survive, but only if we spread out our risk. It's somewhat like how people invest. If you spread out your investments over various types of items, if one area tanks, another will thrive. In the end, you have an even amount of return on your investment and a good balance. In this post, I'll explore some of the Catch22's of running a successful mobile software development company. I hope you will find some thoughts that will help with yours, or give you a better understanding of what you are getting into if you are just starting, or to help you better insight of our company, Creative Algorithms.
I have been very bad at writing on my blog; it's been a very long time. I think over the past year a shift has happened in my life, where I've focused less on starting our business and more on maintaining it and focusing on life balance. I've been through the iterations of what works, and what doesn't, in marketing and applied these where I could. We have evolved into a very steady flow of app income and also contract work income. We've found a good balance of work and family/personal time as well. I've become immersed in the martial arts and focusing on the feeling of well-being. Our whole family (all five of us) are doing karate and we feel good, having a family-focused activity, having developed important friendships, having become healthier, plus the endorphins are bar none. The schedule also helps us keep us in a routine. This blog post is rather disjointed, but I wanted to share with you how reviews have increased our sales, and how we've achieved a new, comfortable phase of our business.
We are pleased to announce that two of our apps made the finals in The Best App Ever awards. Voting is open through January 31st. Our app, Recipe Cards with Serving Sizer for iPad (formerly named Serving Sizer Recipe Cards) has made the finals for Best Cooking App and Best Parenting App. Trip Boss Expense and Budget made the finals for Best Financial App. Now we need your votes to place! Don't wait too long, as voting closes tomorrow. I've put links below to make it easy to vote for our apps who make the finals. Thanks for your support! Click on links provided below.
The Best App Ever nominations are open until December 31st. Our app, Recipe Cards with Serving Sizer for iPad (formerly named Serving Sizer Recipe Cards) has made the finals for the past two years, thanks to your support. We hope we can count on it again, so we're asking for your nominations! If we make finalist, we'll again ask for your vote. You can vote for multiple apps in multiple categories, so please feel free to click as many combinations as you feel are warranted. Don't wait too long, as nominations close tomorrow. I've put links below to make it easy to nominate our apps in various categories. Thanks for your support! Click on links provided below.
I just got back from a four day scout camping adventure with my son. It was nice to get away from technology for a while, but while I was gone, Apple changed their AppStore search algorithm! Our sales dropped by at least $30/day, which may not seem like a lot, but it adds up to $900/month, which is a major drop in income for a family trying to make a living off of the AppStore.
Recently my husband and I did a presentation at our daughter's 5th grade class on entrepreneurship, running a business, and making iOS apps. Our oldest daughter is writing an iPhone game with her dad, so was thrilled to be validated in front of her peers. It was very rewarding to us because we could introduce a seed of thought to the kids in the class—options! My mom's advice to me when I was a new mom was to expose my kids to as many things as I could—to show them they have choices in the world. We are thrilled to be able to have that chance to introduce the ambiguous world of entrepreneurship and encourage STEM. I had wished that entrepreneurship had been demystified for me when I was young. My parents intro'd me to a world of information and experiences, but I ended up quite risk-adverse; I even took an entrepreneurship class in my business master's program! So, here I am, an entrepreneur, running my own indie mobile development business with my husband. How did I get past all that fear of risk? Surprisingly, goals are what have driven me down this path, and those goals have as much to do with my children and family as my personal drive for achievement. In this post, I will share my story, from mechanical engineer to program manager to mom and president of my own company.
Customer service can make or break your apps. Most people contact customer service for help, to complain, or to vent frustrations. If you're lucky, you'll get a rare email that raves about your app. Polite, prompt, and helpful responses can prevent frustrated customers from venting on the reviews, which can affect your overall rating, or even sales, if the reviewer brings up a perceived flaw of your app (merited or not!). Managing your customers satisfaction doesn't have to be hard. This post will cover some tips on a common sense approach to customer contact and how to provide exceptional customer service.
Launch an app, tell everyone about it, hope for an Apple feature, and spread the word. The three key promotional aspects of marketing your app are Launch Blitz, Apple Features, and Word of Mouth. A developer has the most control with the first, very little control with the second, and indirect control of the third. All three feed each other, and using the 4 P's of Marketing: Product, Place (Distribution), Price, and Promotion will help in working these three aspects, which I've covered extensively in my seven part series, Applying the 4 P's of Marketing to Apps. This final post of the series will touch upon the loose ends of promotion and conclude with a spreadsheet you can download and use to make your own marketing plans.
App complete, check. App tested, check. App submitted to Apple, check. Pre-launch promotion prep work done, check. Now what? It's all about the timing. Based on our experience in the AppStore, there are three things that contribute most to sales numbers: 1) Getting noticed by Apple (and being featured) 2) Word of mouth and 3) Launch Blitz. I discussed the strategy for getting noticed by Apple in previous 4 P's posts: make a great product, include new iOS tech, follow the HIG, have a polished icon and screens. Word of mouth is just the snowball effect—the more people own (and use) your app, the more they tell their friends, the more you sell. Ensure this by making a great product, providing excellent customer service, providing convenient ways to share your app with others and cross-selling, up-selling within your app. This post will focus on the third item, the blitz of promotion at launch, where you bring out all your promotional tactics at the same time, to get your app noticed in bulk.