Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 Year in Review for My App Business

2014 was a crazy year for me. Note that I'm almost 3 weeks late writing my year in review, that's pretty much how my year went. 

In June we finally sold our townhouse. We have plans of building on some land that we purchased a few years ago. While we wait on that, we are renting. This occupied much of June. 

My Dad was diagnosed with cancer for the third time in 5 years in July. He had a large tumor on his spine that was causing him tremendous amounts of pain. In August, he had surgery to remove most of the tumor, which included removing parts of several ribs and fusing his spine. Following surgery, he went through chemotherapy for the next few months, and then in December he had a special extended chemo (6 straight days) to wipe out his immune system and then a stem cell transplant. He is now slightly past 30 days from the transplant and he is doing well so far.

I told you all that to tell you this. This has had quite an impact on my business, because I spent a lot of time taking care of my parents and driving them back and forth to hospitals over the last 6 months. The great thing about my business is that I can take the time to do that. The other side of that coin is that I haven't spent nearly as much time on the business as I would have liked to, and it suffered as a result. It happens.

That being said things weren't all bad, and I still made more than I did at my previous employer. This year was however below market rates by a decent amount. Given the amount of time I actually worked though, it's not too bad.

Paid Apps

iOS - $41,319.32
Android - $1,740.01
Mac - $1,256.92
Windows - $672.15
Amazon - $181.58

Paid Total - $45,169.98


Xplode - $1,043.67
Admob - $8,739.62
iAd - $893.23
Amazon - $40.76

Ads Total - $10,717.28

Apps total -    > 500,000 total downloads

Freelance - $12,400

Total Revenue in 2014 - $68,287.26

As for 2015, to add to the craziness of dad's health and building a house, my wife and I are expecting our first child. That being said hopefully my dad has turned the corner and this year can just be crazy and stressful for good things (house and child).

As for the business, I still have hope for the app stores. I did some interesting experiments this year, and while they weren't completely successful they weren't failures either. I tried out a subscription monetization model for an app, and it had pretty reasonable conversion rates. I'm hoping to drive more downloads in 2015, but I'm interested to see how many people will actually still be using the app after the 1 year mark (it has a monthly and yearly subscription options). I expect the revenue to be higher this coming year than it was last year based on how things have gone so far, and that will be something that hasn't been true for most of my apps.

In addition to my being off work quite a bit recently, one of the other things effecting my revenue is that most of the work time I have done since September is on an app that hasn't yet launched. This will be my first serious attempt at making a game, and it is almost done. I'm just putting some finishing touches on it, and I hope to submit it in the next week or two.

While I know the game market is exceedingly difficult, I have wanted to give it a shot for quite awhile now and I finally decided to do it. It started out as a nights and weekends project with a friend to learn Swift. I have really enjoyed making it, and (surprisingly to me) I actually think it's pretty good. I enjoy playing it, and it has become far more polished than I expected it to be.

All that being said, my expected ROI is approximately 0, but it is a nicely polished lottery ticket, and it does account for part of my lower revenue last year. Perhaps it pays off at least a little bit and affects this year's revenue numbers a bit.

Aside from launching my first game, I do plan on doing more freelancing again this year. With the baby and house on the way, it helps give a nice supplement to the app sales, and it is more guaranteed money. I may or may not make any money at all on the this game, but I will make money on the freelance project I'm getting ready to start.

Perhaps this will be the year I finally start a SaaS business. Don't get your hopes up though, I still don't have any ideas I'm excited about. Maybe someday.

If you have any interest in my new game, sign up to the newsletter and I'll shoot you a link when it gets approved. If you want to beta test it, send me an email and I'll get you on the list. The game is a number puzzle game with almost no similarities to Threes or 2048 :-) (There is a grid of numbers, but that's the extent of it).

P.S. If you are in the market for an app developer, shoot me an email at clarky07[AT]gmail[DOT]com. I'm not looking for anything full time, but if you have a smaller (1 - 6 weeks) project let me know and I'll get you a quote. I prefer iOS but have also done many Android apps.

If you've read this far and are interested in the mobile app market you may want to check out my book on how I make money on the mobile app stores called Building an App Business.


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