AskPat 64 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey! What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 64 of AskPat. As always, I'm just so happy to be here to help you by answering your online business, blogging, podcasting, entrepreneurship questions, all those sort of things, five days a week for you.
Today I want to thank FreshBooks for sponsoring this episode. If you don't know what FreshBooks is, you're missing out. With FreshBooks, you can, on the cloud, on any device, track and manage all of your expenses. You can create professional-looking invoices, track your time, get real time business reports with just a couple of clicks. Seriously, if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, you can try … the AskPat listeners can try FreshBooks for free for 30 days. So check it out, GetFreshBooks.com, enter “AskPat.”
Now, today's question comes from Steve, and it's about iPhone apps, or applications on mobile devices. So, let's hear from Steve.
Steve: Hey, Pat! It's Steve P. Young from the Mobile App Chat Podcast, and I see that you're generating a four-digit income just on mobile apps. I wanted to know how you come up with the different app ideas and how you go about marketing the apps. Love the podcasts! Keep doing what you're doing.
Pat Flynn: Steve—hey, what's up? Thank you so much for the question. You know, I love talking about mobile apps because it's a really interesting part of my business. It makes up a real interesting sort of segment of my passive income portfolio. Since 2009 my business partner and I, the business partner I have just specifically for the iPhone app company that we have, we've been making up to five figures a month back in the early days with the iPhone app company. As you mentioned now, I'm generating anywhere from $1,500 and $4,000 depending on the season and depending on apps that come out and things like that. Like I said, it's a really interesting part of the business, and right now it's a lot harder to get into the app business than it was before when we got in in 2009.
Well, how do we come up with our ideas? Our ideas were influenced by a lot of the success stories we heard at the time. Specifically, there was a guy named Joel Comm. A lot of you might know him; he's big in the online in the authorship space. He also has an app that many of you may have heard of called iFart. This was an app that made headlines back in the late-2008, early-2009 era, when he was one of the people to talk publicly about how the app was going and how many sales it was making—and it was making incredible sales. He was making $20,000 to $30,000 a day on this 99-cent farting application. My buddy and I, when we heard this, we were like, “Wow, why can't we do something like this. Not like a fart app, but why can't we create an app? Just come up with silly ideas and see how they go!” Of course, my buddy and I, we weren't programmers. My friend was a computer engineer, but we didn't know C++ or whatever the, I don't even know what the program language is for iPhone apps. We actually outsourced our ideas. We got on Elance and we found a developer there who built iPhone apps for us.
Now, I will say that our first experience was terrible. We were so excited to get started that we ended up hiring the lowest bidder just because we didn't have very much money at the time and we wanted to get started right away. That app that we had created, which ended up … we were told it was going to take maybe six weeks to complete. Well it took six months to complete, and a lot more money. That was a huge learning lesson for myself and my business partner at that point. We found some developers later that we trusted and we messaged, we talked to before we actually hired them, and those went really well. As far as all of our ideas and where they come from, I will say that for the app business that we have specifically, I mean when you think about it, it's LOLer Apps; Laugh out Louder Apps. Like I said, we were very inspired by Joel and his app, so all of our apps were sort of silly apps. Some of our best-performing apps just, you know, one of them you take a picture of a person and then a picture of a second person and it sort of splices those two people together to make a really silly, ugly-looking baby. That one's called Baby Maker. Then we have another one that actually did really well, and this one was a free app, actually, that did really well. It was making $70 to $100 a day, and it cost $500 to build, and it was a really silly idea. It was basically a traffic light changer. The idea was that you could point your phone to a traffic light when it was red, and push a button and there'd be a little animation and things that happen, and all of a sudden the light would turn green. You know what? Fifty percent of the time it works, because it just happens randomly, or you could just sort of time it and fool your friends. The best part of that app was actually the comments, because there were so many comments in iTunes that were like, “This doesn't work. Oh my gosh. How could an iPhone actually do this? This is crazy! And other people saying, “Wow, this totally works. Like, oh my gosh. This is incredible. This is the best technology I've ever seen.” But anyway, again, it was just a silly app. It even said in the description, “For Entertainment Purposes Only.” Our ideas just come from our own just … whatever inspires us at that time for the specific niche, for the entertainment niche. That's where they come from, just whatever seems to be silly and interesting at the time that we just have somebody build it and luckily these apps don't cost too much to build.
Now, I will say, we haven't launched an app in a while, because the entertainment app area is getting way saturated. It's hard to come up with these silly ideas and actually have them stick, because so many people are doing that now. I will say that the best apps that you can create now come from providing a specific solution for a specific market. A good example of this is actually showcased on the Smart Passive Income Podcast in Episode 39. So, if you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session39, you'll hear a story about a guy named Mike Doonan. Him and his wife created apps to help kids with speech therapy; his wife is a speech therapist, and their app Milo is the mouse that is the character with these sort of lines of application. Speech with Milo is, I think, the name of those apps. They are making like five figures a month. A very narrow niche. Smaller amount of people who would be interested, as opposed to something entertainment-wise that could appeal potentially to everybody. But, because it's so more narrow focused and it does provide a more narrow solution to people in desperate need for help, it's done really well. That's where I would recommend. I would actually get inspiration and ideas for apps from your target audience, or do research in a particular market and see exactly how you can create an app for them.
Another episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast that may be interesting to listen to is Episode #46 with Dane Maxwell. He talks about specific strategies to do research and find out a particular market that may have a very, very awful pain that you can provide a solution for. Many of those solutions come with apps and mobile apps and iPad apps. For instance, he tells a story about how a guy, one of his students, went through the process of discovering that building inspectors just had a huge pain with having to write everything down and take pictures and put them into an Excel file and do all this stuff in order to do their job. He was able to provide a solution with an iPad app after talking to several of them and actually having them help build the app that was perfect for them. He had paying clients of this app before it was even made. He was able to create an iPad app that just did everything for these building inspectors. So a building inspector could take their iPod and write all the notes and take all the pictures they need in one spot and have it print out the perfect report that they needed with saving a ton of time and a lot of money. Of course these people are going to pay for it, and they would pay potentially a monthly fee, up to $100 a month to do something like that, as opposed to a 99-cent application.
Anyway, those are just some inspiration for you to think of different ways to get ideas for your applications. The best thing to do is provide a solution for a niche that has a problem. That's what I would do. So that podcast episode is SmartPassiveIncome.com/session46 with Dane Maxwell. I highly recommend that. So, Steve, I hope that answers your question on sort of where my business partner and I got the ideas for some of our applications. But if I could start over again, I would be more in the niched area and really try to discover a pain or problem in a particular market talking to those people, taking a very lean approach, almost like a focus group-type of effort to create something perfect for that market and then have it spread from there. Even though you're targeting less amount of people overall, you're going to be more authoritative, you're going to have a solution that's just right just for them, and they're probably willing to pay more as a result of that as well.
So, Steve, thank you so much for your question. An AskPat t-shirt will be headed your way. You'll get an email from either myself or one of my assistants to help you with that. Thank you so much. If those of you listening have a question, head on over to AskPat; you can ask right there on the web page. Thank you so much for listening.
FreshBooks is the sponsor for this particular episode. FreshBooks, I can't thank you enough for being an amazing sponsor, and also providing an amazing solution for a huge pain. FreshBooks did it. FreshBooks created a huge solution for a huge pain that we all have, which is managing our finances and being able to really, just so easily, very conveniently, one click to see an overall snapshot of our business, to see all the transactions, to create expense reports and all the stuff, invoices, everything we need in our business right there on FreshBooks. Get started as soon as you can, so you can start focusing on your business and not on trying to figure out all the finances or catch up. Head on over to GetFreshBooks.com, put in “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, try FreshBooks free for 30 days.
Thank you so much, and my quote of the day here comes from Mary Kay Ash. She said, “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.” She's absolutely right. How is an idea helping somebody? They're not. You have to put stuff into action and take action to make those ideas become a reality to actually help people. The more you help people, the more reward and success will come your way. Cheers, take care, and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat.
AskPat listeners get a 30-day free trial to their software when they enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.