Infinite Stories 2.0 – create the best Instagram Stories

A few weeks ago I finally finished and launched the 2.0 version of Infinite Stories, which was a huge update. My idea was with the update to have a bigger piece of the making of Instagram Stories. With the 1.x versions the workflow looked like this:

Shot videos and photos -> Edit them in an app or on the computer -> Use Infinite Stories to slice them -> Share on Instagram

After 2.0 I wanted to offer simple editing options, so the users will do this workflow instead of the previous one:

Shot videos and photos -> Edit them in Infinite Stories and then save the slices -> Share on Instagram

This was not an easy task, but I spent so much time working with AVFoundation and now I have a basic understanding of video editing on iOS. At that time one of my main selling points, to share landscape videos without cropping became part of Instagram Stories so the sales were dropped too. What I decided is to try increasing the number of downloads while offering a lot of stuff for free, so the lower conversion will be compensated by the number of users and the overall revenue will be higher. When I finished the 2.0 I was a bit worried about releasing it because I already had a lot of active users who I didn’t want to piss off, so I made a test flight version of the app and spent one week testing everything and trying to fix all the issues.

This turned out to be a good idea because there were many problems. I fixed most of the crashes and then I decided to share it on Product Hunt which in terms of upvotes worked well:

I got some really nice feedback about how to improve in the future but in terms of downloads, I only got a small bump. I think the reason of this is that Product Hunt users are mainly not my target audience. However, there are good sides of launching on Product Hunt too, the app was featured on iDownloadBlog too! (Link to the article) This boosted my number of downloads.

So what is the state of the app now? The number of downloads is about 2 times higher than before and the revenue is a bit higher too, but not as much as I expected. The app is out and you can find it here.

It was a nice experience to work on the app and nowadays I’m thinking about how I could improve the sales and the number of downloads. I also learned a lot during the development which gave me some new ideas how I could reuse the knowledge about video editing in other iOS apps, which I started already.

I released a new app called Podcast Preview 2 weeks ago, which is based on Infinite Stories but I’ll tell you about it in the next post!

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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!

I write about my experiences every week, if you would like to get notified when I publish a new article, please subscribe here:

Engineered marketing

So in this week, I’m super busy learning Android development and Kotlin to ship my app I wrote before, Infinite Stories on the Google Play Store as soon as possible. Luckily the dev tools and the platform looks promising so I will keep working on it during the week.

Meanwhile, I have an idea that I really want to try out, which I read about a few months before. It’s called engineered marketing. The main point of it is, to create apps that solve problems for the same audience to reach more people in the same niche and then lead them to your main product. I really liked the article when I read it but I didn’t do anything with it, so let’s change this! My Instagram story generator app is already doing pretty well but still, I’m not even close to being the biggest player in this field, even though I believe my app is the best in the App Store right now. So I decided to release in the near future a few simple apps in this niche and see how things would work together.

These apps will be:

  • An app that helps you to repost images or videos with showing the original creator on the image
  • A simple analytics tool for your account
  • A tool to manage your hashtags
  • Post and story scheduling app

These are the main pain points for an Instagram Influencer at the moment. So what I think is that if I cross promote my apps for this audience, I can get much more downloads and more revenue in the long term. This is right now just an idea and I don’t have much time to experiment with it, but I’ll share the lessons learned from this in the next month, once I’ll have at least one app out from this list! Probably I’ll start with the easiest one to see how things are working

If you have any recommendations for other apps, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

I write about my experiences every week, if you would like to get notified when I publish a new article, please subscribe here:

Why am I going indie?

This is the first post on this blog and I would like to explain the reason I am leaving freelancing a going into the indie world. This whole story is for me about the freedom and control what you could have over your life. When I started working as an employee it felt great to have a salary and it was the first moment in my life when I had that option to spend my own money. Before that my parents supported me so everytime I spent on something I needed to rationalize to myself that why I’m buying this and that. This was the first step of going into the direction that could lead me to an absolute freedom and control over how I spend my time. I did work for a startup and then to a more like a normal company. (having revenue and all the boring stuff) I worked there for a while and I learned a ton about how to do proper app development. In that time, I started thinking about this new movement called digital nomadism, which now is probably super bad sounding, thanks to all the drop shipping courses and life coaches who are trying to sell a dream to other people, but this is a different story.

Continue reading “Why am I going indie?”