Why Selling Apps Is the Perfect Side Hustle
We’re pretty sure that every single person reading this has, at one time or another, thought about trying to build an app. And we bet that time probably coincided with reading something about the astronomical revenue generated by games like Flappy Bird or Pokemon Go.
For the vast majority of us building an app from scratch is something that is, and will remain, beyond our reach. After all, even simple apps like Flappy Bird require a decent amount of technical knowledge (and plenty of patience) to put together.
That’s precisely why app builder software – like AppInstitute – is a game-changer. It enables people to create apps without any coding knowledge required. In other words, you no longer need to be a technical whizz kid to make money using apps.
The “before” and “after” of selling apps
Before the development of app builder software, building an app was a costly (both in terms of money and time) exercise. It required the hiring of developers and/or designers, DevOps knowledge, lengthy UI planning sessions, wireframing and so on. And that’s before you even start building.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the average cost of an app, because this figure can vary hugely depending on the number of platforms you’re building for, the purpose of the app, languages/databases being used etc.
But Codementor suggests that it would cost somewhere between $125,000 and $200,000 to build an app with the same sort of functionality as Instagram. It would be extremely difficult to make a profit on that if you’re outsourcing that work and then selling the end product to a customer.
White label solutions have changed all that, with time and effort now proving much more important than money when it comes to building “straightforward” apps. There’s still a disconnect, however, between the perceived cost of an app (usually tens of thousands of dollars) and how much time it actually takes someone using an app builder.
That said, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to charge $100k for an app you’ve made using an app builder…!
Making the move to selling apps
A solid reason why selling apps represents such a good side hustle is that you can, to a certain extent, take on as much or as little work as you please. Despite the staggering number of apps already out there, there are always more businesses looking for an app.
Some of these may already have an app that they no longer feel fits the bill, while others may be looking to build one for the first time. If you have lots of time available then you can pursue such businesses any time of day or night. Or, if you don’t have that much spare time, you could just set up a website and let potential customers trickle in as and when they find you.
One of the biggest hurdles for app sellers using a white label solution to get over is that they may feel guilty for charging what they perceive to be a vast amount of money to build a simple app…especially if you’re only paying in the region of $100 – the cost of an annualised AppInstitute reseller account – per month.
There are two ways to get past this psychological block:
- Your customers aren’t just paying for an app; they’re paying for your time and skill. If you spend a total of, say, four days discussing, planning and building their app then it’s not unreasonable for you to charge $1000 if you value a day of your time at $250.
- Apps are all about ROI. Statistics indicate that 52% of time spent on “digital media” is on mobile apps, and is predicted to account for $77 billion of revenue in 2017. Any app you build only needs to capture a tiny slice of that market for your fee to be worth your customers’ while.
The process of marketing yourself and setting your pricing would take us at least another blog post to get into, but you can find some pointers here in the meantime.
Why selling apps might not be for you
We’ve already seen above that a lack of technical knowledge is no longer a reason not to get into the app selling game, but there are a few reasons why this still might not be a suitable side hustle for you:
Poor attention to detail
Even when you’re using software that’s often as simple as “dragging and dropping”, it’s still essential that you pay close attention to all of the little things. Watching out for typos, making sure images fit properly and picking complementary colours all spring to mind.
Lack of drive or determination
Until you’ve built up a name for yourself, or got yourself an impressive website and portfolio, selling apps can be hard going. You won’t get far sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, and will need to approach businesses via their websites, using AdWords or at networking events.
Not a “people person”
Following on from the last point, an important part of becoming a successful app seller is getting your face out there. True, it’s now easier than ever to do that online without actually opening your mouth, but you still need to be personable and friendly when speaking to potential customers!
The odds are that if you’re on this website, and actively looking for business ideas, then the above probably don’t apply to you.
Way too many people get stuck on the (totally understandable) misapprehension that they’ll never be able to make money with apps because they lack the technical knowledge to code one from the ground up themselves.
We’ve seen above that there are now far more cost effective methods to outsourcing app development and selling the final product on, and more time effective solutions than taking months out of your life to learn one or more coding languages.
If you’re an outgoing person who can put together a simple website and have the desire to hustle, then you’re already most of the way there!