7 Questions about building a Fast App Empire

One of the things I love about this business is the variety of it all, but I know it can be frustrating too – Where do I start?  How much should I spend?  Where should I be looking?  What app should I make?

There are so many routes you can take when building apps (custom coding, developing for businesses, app flipping, publishing deals), and there is not one “best” way to guarantee success as each path has proven to make some appreneurs money, and others not.

For those looking to move as fast as humanly possible with apps (essentially cranking them out), I want to help shed some light on two controversial subjects – App Templates and Skinning.

I want to be very clear, Appreneurs are not built by buying code and saturating the market.

The App Template strategy can equal big rewards, but 9 out of 10 times you will fail.  The reason being, you are not creating a unique experience for the user.  Most templates are a mess from a coding standpoint and barely support todays devices and operating systems.  You can’t put a Model T engine in a Ferrari and expect to win Daytona…

The fastest way to reach your financial freedom, is to build your own unique code from scratch.  This is what Apple wants, and this is what users demand.

App development requires A LOT of hustle and you will make mistakes, but you must be prepared to do the work.

1. What is the fastest way to create your own App Empire?

The fastest way to build your app empire is to fill a demand in the market.  What can you create that hasn’t been done before?  What problem can you solve?  What new trend can you hit on?

The fastest way to create your own App Empire is by mastering Market Research.  Once you know what the user wants and needs, it’s all down hill – publish to the store, create a network, and monetize.

You can take the shortcut and purchase app templates from source banks (a few of my favs: Flippa, Chupamobile, Code Canyon, SellMyApp, and Game Gorillaz).  There’s nothing wrong with purchasing app templates.  At least at the beginning to learn the ropes.  But I want to make sure you know how to build an app business.  And the only way to do that is to go rogue and get innovative.

2. Should I purchase app templates?

App templates are a great resource, but only for people starting out in this business.  If you’re new to app development, I highly recommend purchasing a app templates to learn the ropes of getting an app in the store.  It’s faster and cheaper than developing from scratch.  But you’re probably not going to see much of a return.

Buying code is like shopping at a thrift shop.  You’re essentially buying used goods.

Apple has caught onto app templates.  They’re tired of people flooding the market and they’ve started to take action.  Play it safe and develop your own masterpiece.  My biggest successes have come from creating a unique code, optimizing it for success, and maximizing its potential.

How do you maximize an app’s potential?  By skinning your proven app and introducing it to new markets.  You will need to pay for new graphics, but the code barely changes, which is why developers can quote 3 apps for $2K total or less.

Additions might cost you extra such as installing ad networks or features like social media sharing (and other features code won’t come with), but overall it can be bundled into a fairly cheap package.  Be clear on everything you want to be included prior to your developer working on your apps so there are no surprises later.

3. All I have to do is skin code?

Skinning code in small markets that users haven’t seen before saves times and money, but it won’t make up for poorly researched ideas, or lazy marketing. You can not blindly throw your apps onto the store and expect them to do well.

The rules are still the same, you’re just looking to make an app, or multiple apps from the same code, in a week or less.  Don’t compromise the fundamentals for speed.

4. Where are the best dev teams located?

You need to outsource your projects to a team somewhere with cheap development rates such as Eastern Europe, Philippines, China, India, and the Middle East.

The best way to reach these demographics is upwork.com

You need your graphic designer and programmers to be ready to CRANK out apps.  Having these guys be on your team full-time is the most efficient way to get this done.

This also means that you have to be on your game!  Failure to communicate properly will significantly slow down your production.  You need to have your business plan and your systems in place prior to beginning, so everyone is on the same page and ready to go.

TIP: To learn more about hiring a developer and outsourcing projects, read my How To Get A Quote For An App post.

5. What is my end goal?

In a couple months, you should have a large network of 20+ apps all pointing to each other to create a cohesive network (i.e. relevant – promoting a child’s coloring app to a battle game doesn’t make sense – still be strategic!) with affiliate partners, ad revenue, and IAPs all setup.

6. What are the drawbacks?

1. If you choose an idea that has been skinned a million times already, it’s a lot harder because it’s likely to be the same code.  Too much competition will hurt your business, which is why you need to research!

2.  Innovation will always win over saturation.  All code isn’t equal.  You need create a unique experience which cannot be accomplished from buying code.

3. Outsourcing your team.  Cheap development rates can also mean cheap quality, or even unreliable teams.  It can be risky to use an overseas team, which is why you still have to test them out diligently.

7. Now get your hands dirty!

Start browsing the top charts and looking at each company to see what their app portfolio looks like.  You’ll see that some companies only have a handful of apps that they focus on, while others create a unique product and use the skinning strategy discussed in this article (Glu Games Inc are masters at this).  Familiarize yourself with these portfolios to get an idea of how they are operating.

To your success,

Chad Mureta