Podcast Preview – June Update

So June was a bit short in terms of work because as I mentioned before I was traveling in Indonesia, but this did not stop me to have the best month in terms of revenue since I started my indie life!

Besides that, my Podcast Preview app had a great month in revenue too even though I only released a small update fixing bugs in June and shared two times in Facebook groups. That’s it. That’s all I worked on it in June but for July I am going to implement episode caching and better animations to make the app more appealing for everyone advertising his podcast.

According to the numbers, the downloads are 30% down this month with 102 units and the sales are 178% up thanks to the first professional yearly subscription making me $76.3 after Apple’s cut!

This was the reason I knew it’s gonna be a great month when I wrote the May update. Now the app made me $139 since it’s released which I believe is a nice indication that the idea is good enough. There were three apps released with the same purpose since I started sharing this in my blog, which I’m not gonna share here because I don’t want to drive traffic to their site! ūüėČ

I am going to have a bigger more detailed update at the end of July about my plans with this side project app and how I’m going to try to increase the number of downloads and revenue in the future, if you are interested, check this blog at the beginning of August!

Meanwhile, if you want to see more updates what am I working on, you can follow me on twitter @kovacsamate, where I am quite active nowadays!

That’s it for this month, thank you for reading it!

Podcast Preview – May Update

It’s a bit late because it’s the middle of June already, but I haven’t updated what happened with Podcast Preview in the second month of being out in the app store. There are two reasons why I did not write the update earlier. The first is that I am currently traveling in Bali for June so I’m not working that much and writing a blog post is not the most productive way to spend my time. This post will be a bit short and rambling because I just sat down to write it without a concept, so sorry about that!

The second reason is more interesting. It wasn’t a great month for Podcast Preview. The sales are down and the downloads are down too. It’s partly because I did not spend as much time on it as I planned and partly because a lot of competition appeared from nowhere, which I’m happy about it actually. I’m happy because it shows that there is a real market here and a lot of people are looking for solutions to this problem! But on the other hand, it makes my app harder to find so I have to work on this in the future.

So to the numbers:

I got¬†$27.46 after Apple’s cut which is 21% lower than in the previous month and 153 downloads which are¬†8.9% lower than in April.

These do not look so promising but knowing that I had almost zero effort in this month on the app it’s not that bad! Especially knowing what happened in June already, which I’m gonna tell in the next update hopefully in two weeks! I’m uploading a new build to AppStore Connect today which will add a few new features and bug fixes which hopefully will help to convince the users to keep using my app after the first download.

So that’s it for April if you’re interested what happened in June, please check back in two weeks!

How to Create Preview Videos from Podcast Episodes? The Story of My New App – Podcast Preview

I had an idea after sawing Tim Ferris’s Instagram Story. It was a short video from a part of his podcast, one smart quote from the guest. It was really interesting and I decided to listen the whole episode. I really liked this small promotional video he created and I asked one of my friend who has a podcast show that he would use videos like this to promote his podcast. He said absolutely but there are no good tools to make this at the moment. There is a web service called headliner which promises¬†to do this, but it only works on desktop, and you have to upload the whole mp3 file to their server and what you get it basically a really simple video editor. Not exactly the short video made in seconds which was in my mind, so I decided to make an app like this.

At this point, I still wasn’t sure about the idea, so I decided to ask Courtland from Indie Hackers about the idea. He has one of the best podcast I always listen so he has experience with products and with podcasting too. He replied and gave me so many suggestions I am really thankful to him!

The MVP

Based on Infinite Stories I had a huge advantage, I already built a video editor app and I was able to reuse the video editing engine I built for myself. This made the development so much faster. When this happened I already had a deadline. I had my flight ticket to the 6th of April to fly to Spain and walk the el camino there. I had only two weeks to release something and I felt I can not wait until I come back to try out this idea. So I worked all the evenings and weekends to ship the first MVP on time, which I was able to do it, the 1.0 was out on the 5th of April.

It was able to do a simple user story: add your RSS feed, select an episode, select the timeframe and aspect-ratio, customize the final video and save it to your camera roll.

Product Hunt launch

I decided to quickly get more feedback about the application by launching it on Product Hunt. I got a few emails suggesting me features which I started to implement in the newer versions of the application. This was great because this was based on podcasters who are actually using the application.

Being Open

I decided to build this app with complete transparency. April was the first month for this application and I want to share the¬†progress how I will try to make this app popular. Even if I fail it’s a fun experience and I’m happy to be open about the result of this small application.

In the first month the app got 166 downloads:

This doesn’t seem to much but you have to keep in mind that this is a super niche app so, in my opinion, it’s not a bad start! You can clearly see the results of the Product Hunt launch

According to the monetization, the app has a subscription model. It offers two kind of subscriptions, $5/ month or $40/year for the starter version and $10/month or $80/year for the professional version each has a 7 day free trial in the beginning. This might seem like a lot of money for this but my idea was that this app helps you to increase the number of downloads of your podcast which can make you money, so it’s a much easier value proposition.

In terms of revenue, I got 3 free trials after the product hunt release and two of them converted to paying customers, which made earn $35 after Apple’s cut.

Right now there is another trial for a starter monthly plan but that will elapse in May so I’ll include the revenue there if he converts to a paid user

Plans for May

In May I’m planning to focus more on promoting the application and try to increase the revenue to at least $100. In the meantime, I would like to make the user experience better. I already added two more ways to visualize audio:

 

Summary

This is obviously not the normal success story which people likes to share, but it’s a good starting point and gives me a reason to write about in the next month too.

You can find the app in the App Store or just clicking here!

If you are interested in the future, you can subscribe to my email list and I’ll let you know when the next update will come out!

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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!

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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?”