SPI 014: iPhone App Development and Marketing Tips

The Smart Passive Income Podcast Logo

In this session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, I talk more about my iPhone app business. I’ve written a couple of posts about iPhone apps before (here and here) and have always been asked for more, so I thought what better way to talk about the business than on an podcast session!

During this episode, I cover:

  • Why I’m super stoked for February 10th, 2011.
  • How I got into the iPhone App business.
  • A detailed story of our first iPhone application and the 3 things that went terribly wrong with the whole process.
  • How much our business makes with iPhone apps, and details about 1 of our free applications that generates between $50 and $100 a day.
  • A few marketing tips I’ve learned during my 2 years in this business that will help you increase your chances of a successful app business.
  • How much it costs to develop an iPhone app.
  • How to protect your idea when searching for developers.
  • My thoughts on the app market and if there’s room for more success stories.

No guests – just me, so I hope you enjoy this session!


Right click here to download the MP3

Items Mentioned in this Session:


Right click here to download a PDF of this transcript

  • http://www.MailSig.com Jon Tucker

    Geez Pat,
    I swear you’re psychic. Just what I need, I was even going to email you over the weekend to suggest something like this.

    Thanks, I will listen intently tonight.


  • http://ryanstopshelf.com Ryan

    Damn iTunes is slow to update today. Gonna have to manually download this one. Thanks for hitting this subject today. I have a couple of ideas for apps and was wondering how to go about doing it. Mr. Flynn you are a top shelf person! I would love to get an interview with you. I’ll send you a request through email.3

    • http://increasingworkplaceproductivity.net Bojan

      Using Google listen on my Android to stay on track… So the moment it’s on the RSS, it’s in my phone :)

  • http://www.morethanyourjob.com Stefano

    Before I started following your blog I had been tempted to start studying iPhone programming (actually subscribed to Apple as developer and downloaded the SDK); as a computer geek it’s tempting to spend time on the technical parts … that led me nowhere! Now – thanks to you, Pat – I figured out the importance of focusing on the right things, and possibly outsource the programming. Also showed elance.com to some colleagues at my company: they were impressed by this outsourcing world of possibilities! Thanks!!

  • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

    This is really awesome, Pat,

    I just relocated and I’m now having more free time at my sleeves. I think the podcast business is something I will want to go into so I will be listening to this right away.

    Concerning hiring app developers what are your standards for choosing the right developer? Do you have someone you can recommend?

    • http://www.webhostcentury.com/ Peter Hutyr

      You can have a look at elance.com or maybe freelancer.com and see if you can get a developer.

    • http://www.successmotive.com/ Peter Hutyr

      You can find the developers in Elance.com, Freelancer.com or oDesk.

  • http://www.commonsensemarketing.net Sarah Russell

    Interesting post, Pat. Developing apps isn’t something I’m interested in doing right now, but it’s nice to learn more about what goes into the process. Thanks for the post, and good luck with your app biz.

  • http://wilsonusman.com Wilson

    Great podcast, I don’t think I’m ready to get into iphone apps yet, but it’s something that I will later on.

    It’s so inspiring to see you kill it. I think that’s what keeps me going and believing that anybody can do it if they really want to.

  • http://www.wealthyaffiliaterevolution.com Mark | Wealthy Affiliate Revolution

    I have not thrown my hat into the phone app arena yet but when I do I will be using your information as my primary resource. As usual, thanks for sharing. :)

    BTW, have you thought about porting your apps to Android? Seems like it might be an easy way for you to double-down on your ideas.

  • http://www.blogthebank.com Blog the bank

    Great podcast Pat maybe I need to rethink my strategy I’ve been trying to study objective C so I could do it myself cause I was having the trust issue but listening to your podcast I think I will head over to E-Lance.com and try them out.

  • http://paramedicsalaryonline.com Manspaugh

    I’ve been thinking about doing this lately. My biggest problem is trusting a developer enough to make exactly what I want. Can’t wait to listen to the podcast later. Thanks for this!

  • KimP

    I was reading an article yesterday that stated consumers will download 17.7 billion apps this year and with Verizon picking up the iPhone, there’s no better time to jump in the market.

    In the Apps Without Programming book, they suggested purchasing an iPhone for testing and in one of your iPhone Apps posts you suggested purchasing an iPad for testing, but I was wondering if an iPod touch would suffice for testing as well?

    • Pat

      Hi Kim – whatever platform you’re building for, that’s what you should be testing it on. The iPhone has a number of different features that some of the other devices do not have, and although an iPod Touch would work in most cases, in some cases some apps would not work (like ones that use the front facing camera, or the GPS.

      • KimP

        Thanks, Pat!

        I’ve asked this question to so many people in varied places and no one could give me a concrete answer!

  • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

    I’m brainstorming an app right now and this is just what I needed as well. Will listen to this later today!

    I downloaded that ebook you recommended Pat. I’m sort of stuck on the design phase. I have my sketches and how I want the layout to look and what I want it to do. Now I need to get graphics made. What’s the best way? I’m not skilled enough on Photoshop to do it myself. If I’m looking at Elance for help what should I be looking for?

  • http://www.archtopia.com Dan Fargo

    Wow Pat, I can’t believe you’re sharing all this stuff for free… but again that’s you, and I’m totally grateful for your work.

    Listening to the podcast right now, and of course like many others I’ve been thinking about developing an app, but now it seems more accomplishable…

    Thanks again Pat. Keep on being awesome!

  • http://jeffsoukotta.com Jeff

    Awesome Pat, this is something I want to get into this year, so the timing couldn’t be better. Thanks!

  • http://www.consoleblogger.com Jason Young

    Congrats on the speaking gig Pat, I am sure you will do well!

    I think you gave some good advice not just on App development but for outsourcing in general. I can’t believe that after this podcast long as it is (not a bad thing though) there is more to this Iphone app business !! I got mad respect for you and your partner ! Lol


  • http://startupcrossing.com Todd @ Startup Crossing


    Thanks for the info in the podcast. I have been wanting to develop iphone apps for a long time. My mac is to old (powerpc) to run the iphone module of xcode, so I haven’t been able to dive in.

    All of the questions you addressed where on my mind. Cost / needing a mac / submission info.

    I’ll look forward to hearing more from you.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com Dan

    Even though I’ll listen to this later on my phone, I clicked through on my RSS feed just to hear the intro. Nice marketing hook ! 😀

  • Zarjaz

    What about Android? In many markets it’s growing faster than the iPhone. It’s supported by a company much larger than Apple. Their marketplace is much more open and yet most marketers only seem to be focusing on products from Apple.

    Seems like a prime, underserved market opportunity to me…

    • Pat

      I talk about this in the podcast. Thanks!

    • http://www.mgmblog.com Michael Maitlen

      Recent article on TechCrunch about Google improving the market to help app owners make more money http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/25/android-in-app-payments/

    • http://chocolatechipapps.com Brian

      just fyi, Apple is bigger than google

  • http://www.mgmblog.com Michael Maitlen

    Thanks for the info, I’m an Android developer and learned some good tips I should put into my own apps. The submitting process is much easier for Android but I think you have to do more marketing and don’t expect as big of a return. Some people think that iPhone users are simply more likely to buy apps. Dan Grigsby has a good podcast with other hints for marketing your app, it’s got lots of developer specific info, but also some good marketing ideas to build into the app http://mobileorchard.com/podcast-warm-clothed-and-fed-developer-run-iphone-businesses/. My latest application ideas are more centered around niches and combining them with monthly revenue, I don’t have anything solid yet, still under development, but I think it could be a successful biz model.

  • http://www.mgmblog.com Michael Maitlen

    One last commnet, even though I haven’t used it yet, there is the Android App inventor tool that makes it much simpler to dev apps for Android devices, http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/. Not at the least, it could be used to prototype ideas.

  • Zarjaz

    Haven’t tried it yet, and I don’t have any links to it in any way, but someone told me about a program called Illumination Software Creator that apparently lets you create apps by a node based system and then save them as natively compiled apps for both Android and iOs as well as the major desktop operating systems.

    If it actually works ok, it seems like it could be a prime way to increase the market for an app wile hardly spending anything more on development. Would be interested in hearing feedback from anyone who’s actually *used* it (as opposed to most people’s “I’ve never used this but I have a very strong opinion that it will/won’t work!” ;P)

  • CP


    Longtime reader here. I appreciate your articles and instruction. Your website has quickly turned into one of my few “must-read” sites each week. We need more people like you in the world. God bless.

  • http://www.ehow.com/myaccount/overview.html Alicia

    This is great. I know last year I was thinking about looking into the development of iphone apps but did not know where to start. Thank you for this valuable information Pat. I have been following your blog for a year now and I always look forward to your podcast.

  • Scott

    Great post as usual Pat.

    When going through the deveopment process, do you do any research to see if a similar/same app is already available in the app store?

  • http://unlockthedoor.net Stuart

    Your podcasts seem to get better and better Pat! I think I need to buy an I-Phone pretty quickly and jab away at it until my finger bleeds 😉

  • http://www.megabizflakes.com samuel

    Nice one Pat,
    I will check it out now. I’m being thinking of moving into the iphone app business. :) I know it aint easy to make it through but I just have to risk it :) Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://www.erictimmer.com Eric Timmer


    As a relatively new iPhone App developer I have to say you are correct that submitting apps is a ROYAL PAIN IN THE A _ _!! I have battled that stupid process for hours and hours and hours.

    Instead of outsourcing I taught myself. Of course, I wish I had the cash to outsource all of this work, but since I have lots of free time I taught myself. The biggest challenge doing it this way is that every new app requires that I learn how to program it. This is a slow process, that’s for sure.

  • Avtar Sidhu

    Hello Pat,
    Thats just pure genious! I am sure there are so many other places to find out information about Iphone app development, but yours totally rock.
    I have been looking for a reliable app developer for a while now. As you said in your post, can you email me the name of the company you hired for your apps.

  • http://www.internetentrepreneurconnection.com Hector Avellaneda

    Hey Pat

    Awesome podcast, man! I’ve been listening to you podcast (went back to listen) and I am just amazed at how much awesome content you deliver here. I’ve become an instant fan and I truly love your story, man. It’s one of persistence and it’s truly inspiring.

    I’ve actually never thought about developing an iphone app. I always thought it wold be super expensive and thought I would have to be a developer. I am really glad that I listened you hit this topic today though. It sounds like developing an app wold be full of learned lessons and it actually sounds really fun!

    I honestly think I’m going to brainstorm and do some research to see what’s out there. If I get an idea I’m definitely going to contact you so I can get the name of your developer over at eLance.

    Thanks for all of the resources you provided. I downloaded some of your apps!

  • http://www.myecodesk.com myecodesk

    Great podcast! Always thought of developing my website into an app once i get a decent following on it online.

  • Jon

    I loved your info on the production of apps…but I have to say that the eBook that you are promoting is actually quite overpriced for what it is offering. I was thoroughly disappointed and it gave me much less than I expected from it (your podcast essentially covered many points made in the ebook) – it is more of an overview and “for dummies” style book that does not delve into details. They have made a killing for themselves and their affiliates but it leaves a number of questions unanswered – and ofr that price, they should have done a more exhaustive piece. if one is truly serious about developing their own app, they are best served by listening to this podcast and then doing research on your pay structure. Sorry Pat, I know you may not like this post but I put more value in your podcast (especially since it was offered for free and delves into specifics)

  • http://www.ipods-r-us.info Bradley Poole

    Awesome information Pat. Thanks so much

  • http://www.stevensonsoftware.com Dave

    Great podcast. As a fellow app developer of 28 apps, I must say that I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    Now, for your readers, I think many people think iPhone apps are easy money. Let me just give you one stat: The average cost of an iPhone app is $10k, and the average app makes just $800.

    But, like Pat has shown, you can make money. It’s just not a guaranteed success.

  • http://hothitmedia.com ralph

    Hi Pat,

    Could you forward me your guy for the iPhone apps?
    Want to get a quote from him.

    Cheers ralph

    ralph (at) hothitmedia.com

  • Mike

    What is the typical life cycle of an app? Basically sales vs time. It seems like sale would be greater earlier and then tail off. Can you track how many users perform an update?


  • http://symptomsofptsd.org Colin Harrison

    Thanks for the post Pat. I’m really interested in developing apps, so this has given me some great ideas to consider. It’s such a competitive market, I guess the key is having something stand-out that provides some value-adding differentiation, otherwise you’ll never get a return on your investment – as other posters have pointed out.

    cheers again!

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  • Dennis


    I have a niche site that I’m planning on building an app for…

    I actually did a quick niche market research basically asking a community within my niche…”What app would you like for disc golfing?”

    I got a bunch of suggestion and was wondering, should I build an all-in-one app with all of their suggestions or create each suggestion as a seperate app?

    You advice will be greatly appreciated…

    Thanks in advance!

  • David


    Hi Pat

    Just saw this and thought of sharing it with you and your followers:

    Haven’t studied it in detail so I don’t know how useful it can be. I suppose that’s nothing for sophisticated iPhone Apps but still could ebe worth sharing.

    Regards from Greece,

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  • Bill

    If you are interested in developing for both iOS and Android, take a look at Titanium (or have your developers look at it!) http://www.appcelerator.com/ I’m NOT a coder, but my understanding is it allows you to write in javascript and then Titanium converts it to native code for iOS, Android, etc…

  • http://www.projectjourneyman.com Project Journeyman

    Hey Pat!
    This episode in particular was great food for thought, as I am a fairly new Android developer (one set of apps out!).

    Do you have a system for getting your icons designed, or do you roll it up into the graphic asset development and farm all of that work out to a graphic artist? I found it difficult to find inexpensive icon design, but maybe it would have been easier to find a graphic artist for a bundle of work.

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  • http://www.enetflixreviews.com Kenneth Ashley

    Hello Pat!

    I have been wanting to get into the mobile app word to expand my internet presence. I’d like to make a quick comment. Apple has numerous amounts of apps, i think it would be easier to make a presence on the Android OS.

    Just my 2 cents

    Kenneth Ashley

  • http://www.joelandjay.com Jay Rubie

    Hi Pat,

    Short time reader, first time commenter! Just wanted to thankyou for this podcast! I had listened to a few other episodes and read alot of your blog (which i found by typing ‘passive income’ into google) and since I have started a blog, started a company and am awaiting the final version of our game to be issued by our developer so we can submit it to itunes!

    This has all happened in the space of three weeks and it was this podcast that kicked me into gear. Thanks again.


  • http://financiallyeliteblog.com Dwight Anthony

    Thanks Pat for this awesome podcast.

    For someone like me that wants to break into the App business, can you give me any tips to get started on a game with around 6-10 levels selling for .99? I have the concept in mind.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

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  • http://www.dotcominfoway.com/blog/how-to-identify-the-proficient-iphone-apps-marketing-company Jhon Williams

    First of all thanks for the nice share Pat. This performs me the good case study of iPhone development and marketing. These discussions also works for various marketing strategies.

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran

    Awesome Pat, I’m stepping in the app market, to testing out few if the ideas I have. Having an Iphone app of your own is super awesome. I reckon we should make use of our youth one way or another;). This is soo cool, super helpful. I will keep you and the SPI updated on my progress. Thanks again for being so awesome

  • http://www.shutthecellupapp.com Dianne

    Hi Pat:
    I’ve learned so much from this blog! Created my first HR ebook a few weeks ago based on your eBooks the Smart Way and now I’ve just produced my first iPhone app that just went live in iTunes called Shut The Cell Up! (Not HR related; just an app that I really wanted to create)!

    I purchased the recommended ebook “How To Make IPhone Apps Without Programming Experience”. It was very helpful; (my developer filled in blanks). I wouldn’t have known where to begin without the recommended book. Thanks so much for all of the great tips and content!

  • http://www.shutthecellupapp.com Dianne


    Can you share with us some of the apps that you have been developed using snappii? This sounds like an interesting alternative when starting out and you don’t have a big budget. I made my first app, Shut The Cell Up using a developer at what seemed like a reasonable price, ($1500), but I had to scrape the money together as I’m just starting out with this. I’d love to test a second app using snappii. Do others have experience using this software?


  • Ronald McNamarra

    Positive customer reviews and star ratings in the App Store help more than online advertising. The best way to market your app is to build a positive in-store image in itunes with customer reviews.
    Use this service if you want to build your app’s image: http://isales-boost.com/

  • http://www.moxie.ch Christelle

    Great podcast Pat, and interesting to hear that having a website to promote the apps didn’t help you much. Have you tried doing a review of the apps on Youtube? I accidentally stumbled into this video last night http://bit.ly/yREB1P and ended up buying the app for my 2 year old son (by the way yours might love it if he’s into trains!).

  • Jack

    Iphone app development is a great way to make money. I am not a developer, and prefer using one of the app making services. I chose one of this services to develop my apps . This online service has all the visual tools for building and iPhone and Android apps without necessity for coding skills.

  • http://highlyframeable.com Nick White


    I’m a liitle late to the podcast/your blog, but I really appreciate the info. I especially enjoyed the e-book that you recommended. Just got through it and boy was it helpful. Keep up the great work, I sure am thankful.


  • http://Www.evolleyballrules.com Kevin

    Hey Pat-

    Thanks for all the great info. I stopped by the lolerapps.com blog and noticed there are no updates. Is there another site we can visit to track your progress?

    Thanks again.

  • http://www.passiveincomeportfolio.com/ Mark Dunn

    Hi Pat,

    This Podcast was an inspiration when I listened to it over a year ago when it was first published. All the hard work that my friend Mike and I have done over the last few months is now complete and we have now released our first iPhone App. The app is called Jonny Foreigner : Photo Tourist Booth. We produced it as a fun way for us to learn the iPhone and iPad development, release and marketing process.

    So rather than spend a fortune travelling, we hope people will stay at home and use the ‘Jonny Foreigner : Tourist Photo Booth’ App. It’s a great way to create photos of yourself wearing national costumes at famous landmarks across the world. The apps is now available for free download on the app store at


  • http://www.ContractorRegistry.com Steve (Construction Contractor)


    You should consider asking your followers to submit their app ideas, wireframe sketches, etc and if you see one you like, you will develop it and in return, you will share 50% of the revenue with the person who had the original idea.

    Too many people have great ideas but no money. This will help everyone involved and create more interest as I’m sure other sites/bloggers will share the idea with their followers.

  • http://www.simpalm.com/services/iphone-apps-development/ Jack Nickolson

    Of course, no matter how & what analysts say, http://www.simpalm.com/services/iphone-apps-development/ iPhone apps developers USA are going to get some more work when iPhone 5 is on its way…I mean people & reports say there would be great hardware change…& I personally feel, those handset which go for android apps development, http://www.simpalm.com/services/android-apps-development/android apps developers NYC USA would be surely going to revive the job security when http://www.simpalm.com/“USA mobile app developers love to outsource the development process…

  • http://www.prerequisitesfornursingschool.com/ Frank

    Its nice that outsourcing has helped us non techies level the playing field

  • Narain

    Hi Pat!
    I listened to your interview with Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner podcast and it was really interesting so I decided to download your Smart app in Android in order to follow up your podcasts, blogs and youtube videos and honestly they are really great! You do have hilarious tips and information, and wanted to thank you for sharing all this!
    About this podcast #14 I have some questions for you, so whenever you get the time I would love to have some feedback:

    – How do you secure the source code of your iOS app in order to avoid piracy? Or do we have to consider this issue more on the Android development been these open sourced code?
    – If there are ways of protecting your code in iOS, what these would be? Will code ofuscation work for iPhone apps? One way to do this is to host the core of the app in a secure server and make the complete functional mobile app available through WiFi or 3G connection, in this way when you download the app you only download the container, graphics and other wrappers that do not actually contain the intelligence of the app. Would you agree with this, or do people actually prefer local working apps that do not work exclusively on line?

    Thank you very much and congratulations for such a great work!

  • Albert einstien

    Now this
    is in actual fact cooperative. It’s very openhanded of you to share this with

  • http://www.optisolbusiness.com/index.php/ror-development Optisol Solutions

    nice and useful tips for iphone app development. thanks.

  • Nguyễn Thanh Hùng
  • http://schoolofapps.info Schoolofapps.info

    Interesting thoughts. One thing I think you may want to consider is building an app based business around business owners. This course shows you how to do that: http://schoolofapps.info

  • http://www.usa-it-company.com usa-it-company.com

    Its nice that outsourcing has helped

  • Matt Burgos

    This was a great podcast! My understanding is Apple is more strick on who submits apps to the applestore vs the droid market. How has your research into the droid market come along? is this an easier market to submit apps to? Are the processing cost lower here?
    thank you

  • huyennhi

    How much our business makes with iPhone apps, and details about 1 of our
    free applications that generates between $50 and $100 a day

    ẩm thực,giảm cân,giải mã giấc mơ,Tin trong ngày,chuyện lạ

  • Amelie Fernandez

    Best Article for iPhone app marketing and also very useful for all mobile app marketing agencies. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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