My last post really didn't give too many details about how I was going to accomplish my evil plan. The general idea was to build a bunch of iPhone apps and use them to create an independent stream of income. That's pretty vague, so I thought I would post some details.
It is very important to understand that I do not have a lot of resources to throw at these apps, but I need them to be high enough quality to provide value to the users and to not look like complete garbage. I am a huge fan of Tim Ferris and the 4-hour philosophy, and one of the ideas discussed in the 4-Hour Work Week is the idea of a project taking up as much time as it is allotted. I have also found in several other books on creativity and performance that applying resource constraints forces innovation. With that in mind, here are the constraints I am applying to my evil plan:
- I have a total of $20 to spend on graphic resources and marketing for each app. This is enough to get an icon and possibly a splash screen created for the app on fiverr.com. This keeps the apps simple and elegant.
- I have a total of two weeks to produce an application. That includes discovery, development, and testing. Whatever is finished at the end of the two weeks is what gets pushed to Apple. Updates are fair game after that, but the initial version needs to be ready within the available time. This will force me to keep making apps.
- I can only work on the apps during the hour or so I have in the morning between breakfast and when the girls wake up and I begin my day job. This isn't a lot of time, so I will be forced to make it count. This means honing my development habits and re-using as much code as I can to keep the production rate high.
How do I know that my evil plan is working? What is my goal for the income stream? The overall goal is to create an average monthly income that is equivalent to a minimum wage full time job. In the state of California, that is currently $64 per day, which is equivalent to approximately $1,500 per month. I will know that the plan is working by using AppAnnie to generate a report for me on a daily basis. At present, my app network is producing an average of about $2 per day, so I have a long way to go before I hit my mark.
There is a flaw in my evil plan: it isn't sustainable. I can produce a bunch of apps, but keeping them all up to date with the latest iOS technology isn't practical for me while I am working alone. With that in mind, I need to have a secondary goal in place that will take over when the primary goal is achieved. Once I get to the $1,500 per month average income for the app network I will start outsourcing the development of the applications. The average app outsourcing project costs between $500 and $5,000, so I need to get to my first income stream goal before I even attempt an outsourced project.
The Ultimate Goal
I touched on this briefly in my previous post, and simply put: the ultimate goal of my evil plan is not to get rich or to quit my job. It is simply to add a new income stream that is independent of any job that might not be there tomorrow. I hate being dependent on any one point of failure that would mean catastrophe if it ever actually did fail. In other words - I'm building a bunch of baskets and distributing my eggs accordingly.
I'll keep posting as new apps are released and the income stream grows. Right now, my latest app - DailyWiki - is still waiting for review. I've got some updates that are ready to upload when it is approved, so it won't stop me from moving forward on the next app.