AskPat 95 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 95 of AskPat.
We have a great question to answer today about app development. Speaking of app development; I just came out with a brand new iPhone application that will help you in terms of making it much easier to consume the AskPat podcast, my other podcasts, and my blog content. All in one spot in a very gorgeous, incredibly-built iPhone app that is 100 percent free so you can check it out at AskPat.com/app. You can even listen to this episode right now on that iPhone application. An Android version will be available very soon but again check it out right now. It's going to help you consume the content much better, faster and easier. AskPat.com/app. Thank you so much and lets get to today's question from Maaz about app development.
Maaz: Hi Pat. My name is Maaz and I'm twenty years old. I live in Canada. I have a question about app development. If I have an idea for an application, I would like to know how I can go about the application for all mobile operating systems. Also, how can I confirm if the application hasn't been developed? I'm pretty sure it's not developed but how can I confirm that? Lastly, if I have a developer, how can I confirm their credentials and confirm they know what they're doing? Thanks Pat and keep up the great work.
Pat Flynn: Hey Maaz, what's up? Thank you so much for your question. I haven't talked about app development as much as I would like to so I really appreciate your question. It's something that I was more into back in 2009 and 2010. A lot of you might not know this but I have my own iPhone application company. I co-founded this company called LOLer or Laugh Out Louder apps with a buddy of mine, a high school friend. We have about twenty plus apps that are live on iTunes right now. Some of them are making money, some of them aren't. It's been a really fun and interesting experience. I feel like the app store right now is a very difficult market to get into. There are still success stories being created everyday but we don't hear about a lot of people that are creating apps that aren't doing so well.
Of course, any app idea can do really well if a lot of things are aligned. I'm going to help you try to figure out how to get your app developed; marketing it is a whole other episode. I talked a little bit about iPhone development and marketing in Smart Passive Income Podcast, Session Number 14. If you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session14, you'll hear about forty-five minutes or an hour long discussion about iPhone app development and that whole process. I'm going to answer these questions for you really quickly for you Maaz, because these are great questions and I want to help you get your idea off the ground.
The first question was: How do you develop your application? Before we get to how do you find out if it's done already; well, how do you develop it, since that's what you first asked. To be honest I haven't developed any of my own. I've always outsourced that to other people who are experts at building iOS applications and Android applications. The way you find them: You go to places where they post their descriptions about what they do. A lot of people on sites like Elance or oDesk are there and they want to help you build your application. You might be asking, “Well I don't want to share my ideas with these guys. They might take these and run off on their own. My idea is so good I don't want to share.” The thing is, you have to make sure you find a reputable developer. [Note: Elance and oDesk have merged to create Upwork. New name, same services.]
Which goes along with your last question: How do you make sure the developer knows what their doing? I'm going to answer that first because that just makes sense in terms of hiring and the timeline here. What's nice about Elance and Odesk—and there are other sites out there but you can do a number of things like check on their portfolio. You can see a lot of their existing applications. You can see feedback from previous clients. You can actually reach out to other clients that they've worked with to see what that experience was like, working with that potential developer that you're going to be working with. You can message and have a conversation with those developers to just see what communication is like, which is of course a very important aspect of outsourcing and being able to talk to each other along the development process. One metric I like to use is, how many repeat clients do they have? That's probably the biggest thing for me: How many people have rehired them for another app? That means of course that experience they had the first time was good enough that they wanted to hire that person again. Check out sites like Elance or Odesk. If you go to Upwork.com (formerly Elance and oDesk), those are referral links for those companies which will help you find developers. Just make sure you don't jump the gun like I did when I first started out with my company. My buddy and I, we got really excited and we just wanted to hire the cheapest and the first developer that said they were interested in working with us. I did that. We ended up spending a lot more money and maybe three extra months working on an application that wasn't even built to our liking because we just hired somebody that we shouldn't have. Give people time. When you post your jobs on those sites, give developers time to share their experiences. Look through their portfolios. Communicate with them so you can make sure you hire the right person. That's how you know they know what their doing, by looking at their previous stuff. You might get some people that claim they're brand new to Elance or Odesk who might have the experience. You're taking a risk if you work with those people. You really want to make sure they know what their doing and there's no better way to know how than to see what they've done already and see how many previous clients they've worked with and see how their experience was.
In terms of getting your idea developed and along the same line of working with somebody else, you really want to make sure you have your idea is completely flushed out. This is another mistake I made when I first started. You want to wireframe the entire application that you want. What this does is a couple of things. One, it makes sure you actually know what you want. A lot of times we have this idea, “I want an app that does this,” and then you send that to a developer and they might be like “Ok.” Then they create it and it's not anything you had imagined. You want to take what's in your head and this idea that you have that's a seed and actually draw it out on paper. Draw rectangles that look like the screen of an iPhone or an Android phone. Discover, how does it work? What does it look like? You don't have to be an artist but . . . this button goes to this and this goes to this and if you click on this, these buttons appear or this happens. It's really important to do that. It's going to take a little bit of time but it's going to help you save a ton of time because there's going to be no confusion when you give that to your developer that you hire. Here's what it looks like, here's how it works: no confusion. That was a big mistake my buddy and I made. We were like, “We want an app that does this, it'll have these stages and these levels, do it.” When we got it back, it was nothing we had imagined. We didn't even know how everything worked because we didn't flesh out the idea. We just jumped the gun. Don't jump the gun; do your research in terms of hiring the right person but also what does that app idea really look like? How is it going to work exactly when someone opens that application? How are they going to run through it?
The last thing is, how do you make sure that app idea hasn't been created already? You want to look on iTunes to see if that app is done. You can type in keywords related to what it is that app does to see if there's anything like it out there. You can also use Google which is going to help you find those things as well. That's probably one of the only things you can do. There are of course people out there who might be able to do that research for you. It might be worth hiring a VA. Somebody from the Philippines perhaps, or somebody who you know who can spend a little bit of time to do research alongside you because they're going to be doing it in a different way. They might stumble upon something that is similar that you might not stumble upon yourself. It's worth doing that. I will say, just because someone else has done an app, if you find one that's similar, doesn't mean that you can't do it also. There are a lot of apps that do the same thing out there. As long as you bring your own style and bring something different, take it to the next level, that's actually the advantage you have coming in late to the app market. You can see what exists. If you choose an application or if you have an idea that already exists, and people have already addressed that or provided solutions for that problem you're trying to solve, you can do it better. You can see exactly what's being offered to that target audience, where the holes are, where the gaps are, and fill in those gaps with your app. Make sure those are things that you highlight, in the app description or when people run through it, that's completely obvious so that it does stand out and it does not look like a copy cat but something that is just an enhancement of what already exists.
Maaz, I hope that helps you out. An AskPat teeshirt it going to be headed your way over in Canada. I'd love to see a picture of it once you get a hold of it. For those of you out there, if you have question that you'd like featured here on the show; head on over to AskPat.com, you can ask right there on that page. Of course, as a reminder to help make your life easier for consuming AskPat content and all Smart Passive Income content, head on over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/app and download the new iPhone app. It's going to help make your life easier. Reviews for that are completely appreciated.
Thank you so much and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat.