Indie Year in Review – 2017

The end of the year 2017 is near and I would like to reflect what I accomplished this year and what I did not. In this post, I would like to share some numbers and the key things I learned. If you read my previous posts you know, but if you don’t then it’s worth noting that I started my indie career this year with an idea to make a living by selling apps in the App Store and didn’t do freelancing. Well, it worked! Mostly. I say mostly because I did some freelancing besides the indie apps which take some time from my main goal. I started this experiment and my main goal was to reach 2k USD revenue in a month because that’s like a good salary in Hungary as an iOS Developer. I’m happy to tell that in September I made 2.2k after Apple’s cut, which is fantastic in my opinion. There was a drop after that peak but I’m not concerned about reaching it constantly next year. I’ll continue building apps and growing my existing ones next year as well, but I’m sure I would do this even if I didn’t reach this goal because generally, the sales are still growing.

As a financial goal for next year is to reach $5k/ month in 2018, which sounds incredibly high right now, but 2k sounded crazy to me in the beginning too! So how I’m planning to reach this? I have some ideas already. First of all, I started collecting email addresses in my apps to sell them my future apps too. There are different lists but in total, I collected about 4000 email addresses this year. I would like to finish next year with 20k subscribers total and an example when I monetized the list but this is still pretty far right now. My other plan is still growing my existing apps I believe my audiobook player app  – SmartBook can be really successful next year. I still need to add a lot of new features but that will happen soon.

In terms of numbers, I had 183k downloads total during the year, I released 11 apps and don’t really know how much updates but a lot. This seems like a lot and it is but next year I would like to release fewer apps and double the number of downloads. To do this I’m not going to release apps without any supporting channel to drive traffic.

I learned a lot about marketing and sales this year and I would like to continue educating myself next year too. I’m going to experiment more with Quora and with email marketing firstly, but I have a list of books that I would like to read too.

An average I spent 35 hours in a week working, which I tracked with my own time tracker app, Locate. This is something I’m really happy with. I don’t like working 50-60 hours and I’m happy that I was able to convince myself to work a reasonable amount without the need sounds an achievement to me. I would like to keep this productivity for the next year too.

With this blog, I didn’t write as much as I planned, but the traffic grew a lot thanks to some good rankings in Google. This is the weekly sessions this year:

Sessions in 2017

It’s not a lot but indie iOS development is not really a mainstream topic and I do this mainly to have a diary from my journey and from my thoughts. Next year I’m planning to write at least 24 posts, which is two in every month. I hope I’ll be able to allocate some time to do this.

In terms of travel, this year started slowly but when I summarised I realized that I visited a couple of places here in Europe and I didn’t leave the continent. I traveled to Catalonia, Austria, Slovenia, Sicily, and Portugal. In 2018 if everything goes according to my plan, I’ll leave the old continent for a while and will live abroad somewhere.

As you can see I had a really interesting year in 2017 and I hope I’ll have an even better next year! The interesting part of 2018 is that now I have these expectations written down here so I know, what to achieve exactly to feel good. Bill Gates said that:

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

Which is probably right for this planning too but it doesn’t stop me from trying. Thank you for reading it and happy new year to you!

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The App Store of the AR apps

Apple just introduced ARKit in the WWDC this year. In my opinion, this is the most important thing they released this time. Of course, the new iMac Pro is awesome, but it doesn’t change the world in 5 years. This is what’s gonna happen with AR for sure.

Why do I think that? Let me explain it. Apps using ARKit could look really futuristic with AR integrations, but to be honest, it won’t be the best interface for them unless they are some multiplayer games or some corner cases. But! There were some rumors about that Apple is working on a new smart glass. After releasing this new feature, I’m pretty sure, what Apple is doing right now is building a new interface, and convince developers to create apps for a platform that does not exist right now. If you are still not impressed with ARKit just look at this:

This is right now a nice to have feature. The main interface of our mobile devices is the screen. It’s gonna change in the next few years and when Apple announce the glasses, they gonna have already a handful of apps which is optimized for a more futuristic interface, using AR. Could you imagine sitting down and sorting the Tinder cards just like real cards? Or having a Group Skype call with real 3D faces around you, just like in the Star Wars?

AR In Star Wars

This interface does not have the same constraints as the mobile screen such as size and 2 dimensions. We are talking about much more creative ways to do the same stuff we are doing right now. We can show 3D objects floating around in the room, or add posters to the walls of our room the options are endless. In the long term that means we don’t need any of the devices, we are using right now. Who needs a Kindle when I can project that to where I want and I don’t need to hold it at all. (I think this is only a danger for ebook readers, not real books) Also, we don’t need a computer with big screens because we can project that everywhere in the room without any problem. These changes are not in 2 years but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen.

Personally, I’m super excited about this and as soon as I ship the current project I’m working on and some planned updates for my existing apps, I’ll dive into this and start experimenting how I could use it.

What I suspect is that it’s gonna be another gold rush just like it was with the App Store, because there’s gonna be only a couple of apps ready when this will happen. If you build an AR app, that’s not just going to be cool to say and get some upvotes on Producthunt. It’s gonna be an investment for a platform in the future.

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