Now here’s some really neat news…!
Apple reached out to me directly and asked me if I would be interested in participating a rare global marketing initiative and campaign called “Get Productive” for the Mac App Store which would feature my app among many other great apps.
I shared publicly that one of my previous blog posts “went viral,” as they say, when it hit the Front Page of Hacker News.
Consequently, this small indie developer blog saw the biggest traffic day of all time and broke every traffic record to boot. Needless to say, it’s going to be really difficult to beat.
Take a look at how the traffic makes all of the other days seem pretty insignificant, at least from a visual perspective:
I was asked how I manage to keep the “business” side of things running more than a handful of times since yesterday’s “2014 Year in Review” post and I just wanted to share with you the honest truth: I use pen and paper.
My very simple model for budgeting requires a very simple model of management. Sure, I could use a ton of off-the-shelf web services but most of them are gross overkills for what I currently need. And my notebook is always handy and present and I can keep things moving forward every so simply.
So very pleased to have one of our community members, Laura Lindeman, leading the very first community-lead online workshop: 5 Days to More Engaging Content!
Sign up here!
[TL;DR: Business profit was ~$35,000 for the FY2014 (63 days of sales and expenses).]
After gaining a lot of encouragement from a number of other indie developers who shared their figures publicly, I’ve decided to go ahead and give some context for what the first year was like as an indie developer exclusively in the Mac App Store, especially since most of the retrospectives that I’ve read recently have highlighted the iOS App Store, which I believe is fundamentally different.
It’s worth noting that I’ve had the pleasure (and the pain) of experiencing how hard it is to create a sustainable product on the iOS App Store, despite the fact that it experienced a “Featured” spot itself (read more about that experience here).
Ultimately, after raising nearly $300,000 for that app, it was an abysmal financial failure. The product itself was great (not a failure!) but I couldn’t make it work as a business or at the very least a sustainable project.
I learned a lot from that experience but the most important one is that giving up is really the last thing one should do.
There have been a handful of developers in the last few weeks that have shared their experience and their “Year in Review” posts with the world, specifically highlighting their ability to sustain themselves as indie developers.
This is really encouraging to read and has helped me gain at least some perspective of what is possible when one finds a great problem to solve in the Apple App Stores.
5 7 of them that have provided said encouragement (I will continue to update this post when I find others):
I just want to give a little shoutout to Chris Wilson, one of our community members, who helped me come up with some PR copy and strategy when I first launched the app last year.
Now, I’m not a PR person at all and I do not have any formal training in that arena or discipline. I can create a “Press Release” like anyone else who can use Google to find good examples and “How Tos” but I wanted some legitimate help.
So, I pinged my community and Chris answered the call.
When building a product you can often find yourself in long stretches of relative quiet, where you’re just heads-down building and there isn’t much more to tell or to share.
I see this happen all the time in the online space as there’s this big “splash” of an announcement of sorts and everyone gets really excited for a brief moment and then all that energy just dissipates into nothing as the people building the project or product have to actually get to work.
And it’s in this season of relative silence that can be disheartening and even down-right discouraging, even (and especially) for an indie developer.
John Gruber’s blog, Daring Fireball, is one of the more popular blogs out there that cover things specifically around Apple products, both hardware and software. I’ve been a reader for a long time and he’s been blogging since 2002.
The only thing that I have on John is that I’ve been blogging just a bit longer than him but he’s been infinitely more successful with his blog proper, especially as far as monetizing his content in a way that creates more than a full-time income for him (started in 2006).
If you’d like a really great overview and history of his blog then there’s really no better way to do that than to listen and view this video:
The answer to most everything is, as Russell Westbrook says, execution.
Want the “secret” to a successful side project? Execution. Want to know how to make traction work? Execution. Want to build a new and growing online community? Execution.