Be patient – your first indie app might not be your big success. It might, but if not it’s not a big deal. They say you need to fail to succeed. Ship an app and see where it leads you. I shipped my first apps in 2014. They solved niche problems. They were intended for people who need to play music or sound effects on stage. They constantly had about a dozen free and about one paid download per day and they had enthusiastic users, but they only brought in small amounts of money. I’m very happy about how it went but it wasn’t a business that could support me.
Besides making me happy, making them taught me the ins and out of app building, shipping, and marketing. They taught me I needed to solve a more mainstream problem to bring in significant revenue. They taught me how to mix audio tracks on iOS.
You could argue that TextingStory is still a niche product but it’s probably a much larger one. I decided to spend time building it in 2016 because I felt I could reach a wider audience than with my previous apps. I was able to build it and ship it much more quickly because I’d done it before. I was able to reuse some code and design.
It’s OK if your first apps aren’t successful because the work you’re doing on them could be the foundation for a future hit.
However, even if you find your hit app it might not get traction right away. TextingStory had about a hundred organic downloads a day at first. It was a very good sign compared to my previous apps and it motivated me to keep improving it. Downloads slowly increased to maybe three hundred a day after a few months. It took more than a year for it to truly go viral and have thousands of downloads every day.
My apps were all side projects before 2017 and not working full-time on them might have held up my journey to creating a profitable app. However, some elements of success require time. Virality needs a critical mass of users to be triggered. Embrace the journey!