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EXECUTION Path to creating a digital product

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by • nikita •, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Posting this in the main forum this time to get more feedback!

    I realized I've been trying to start businesses with incredibly low entry barriers and when I did, I did nothing to add more value. I spent a few days brainstorming and came up with three solutions to problems, all of them working best as an app.

    1. In the mental health niche, easiest to monetize, most difficult to make. Highest entry barriers but with the potential to help a lot of people.
    2. Food/nutrition niche. Initially started as a different idea but morphed when I looked at the keyword tool and discovered a ton of searches for something with low competition.
    3. Social network. Very reluctant with this one as social network apps usually die a tragic death, but it's something I wish existed and I've seen people post about this need too. No idea how to monetize. How do you even market a new SM app? Unfortunately, it's the one I most want to make

    Made landing pages, ran FB ads. The mental health one got the most email opt-ins (something like per 50 ad views, 10 clicks, 5 opt-ins). Next was the social network, averaging at 3%, and the nutrition with 0 (lol).

    Realized Google Ads were better for this as people are actively looking for solutions. Getting conflicting data though :/

    [​IMG]

    While it's pretty much the same result as FB in terms of conversion, some of the keyword conversion %s of the nutrition app were insane. Like 60 - 100%. Two even got 200% which I don't know how lol. The SM one got 1000s more impressions which is why it costs more...

    So looks like I'll either be making the SM or the mental health one.
     
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  2. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Running another set of more targeted FB ads, there is not enough interest for the nutrition app. The mental health one is getting a lot of views and I'm getting email opt ins. The user demographics are the most interesting -- these tend to be people you wouldn't typically think of having mental problems. An app would fill that niche.

    The SM one is getting a lot of interest from the younger users (13 - 18 mostly). Looks like I'll be making the the mental health one, but damn it I really wanted to make the this one. Maybe I'll chip away at it from time to time.

    Next step is planning the app out, since it's quite extensive. Doesn't have a lot of features but is definitely advanced-level programming.
     
  3. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Spent the last week going through a large Udemy course on Swift, and now I'm going to start developing my app. The doubt is hitting me hard, I worry no one will be interested in it or want to subscribe.
     
  4. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Finished the mock ups for the app. Feature creep is definitely a thing. I battled with myself to keep it a bare bones product so I can build it up from there as I receive feedback.

    Figured out two ways to monetize - a subscription and rewards service. That way even if my users don’t subscribe they’ll be getting great value, and if they do subscribe their spend will be cancelled out by the rewards!

    I also completed the launch screen for the app in Xcode. Ha, very small task I know, but seeing it load up on my phone made me so happy. The thought of how difficult this will be to program terrifies me, but even if it takes a year it’ll be better and help more people than the saturated vomit I was trying to market.

    I guess it’s also worth mentioning that I dropped the social network idea for now. No clear way of monetizing + no hungry group to consume the app means it’s a very bad idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  5. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Spent an eternity trying to change the status bar color and align buttons to look right on different screen sizes. Added an app icon though and I'm getting another kick out of looking at it on my phone.

    Now I'm wondering whether it's a good idea to read through some more tutorials before building this. I know I can pull something together but whether it will be well structured or pure spaghetti code is the problem. I don't want to delay making this even more, but I don't want to have a badly built app either.
     
  6. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille CAUTION! I hurt people's feelings... Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    A couple thoughts came to mind while reading your progress. So check it out, great work getting started! Looks like you did a bit of market testing up front. I'm not sure if it was enough since you mentioned doubting if people would buy. What has you doubting this? Is the value not there? If not, then probably focus on that area first. Getting the app online and monetizing it doesn't make sense if you don't have an offer that's valuable for people. I'm not sure how valuable your rewards system is yet, but to me it makes sense to address the area of doubt. Make your end product valuable and awesome enough and your spaghetti code will be nothing more than an afterthought at best for your customer. You'll be modding and changing the app as it grows over time anyway.
     
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  7. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I know there is a demand for something like this from what people on forums have been posting for example, and I also ran some surveys. People gave me some great ideas on what to implement, and looking at similar apps I'm confident I can provide value.

    I guess I'm just a doubtful person, I'm worried that even if I provide value no one will buy it. One of my worries is that people will use the free version of the app and never subscribe, or delete it once they find they have to pay to access more features.

    The spaghetti code issue worries me because if I write it too badly, refactoring is going to be a bitch and it may slow down the app a lot. Adding/editing features of a poorly written app is much more difficult and inefficient than in a well-written and structured one.
     
  8. Departed
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    Can you get into more details on how you did your research? Where did you publish surveys?

    Regarding your point about users only using the free version:
    You are worrying about step 145 after having done just step 5 or so. If you get a significant amount of people to use your service at all then you already have a winner. After that you can start to think about monetizing.

    You mentioned somewhere that you would be OK if the development of the app would take a year...I would suggest to try to build something in 2-3 month. I did this mistake and worked on an app for about 6-7 months only to find out that it is really heard to get enough users for that app. I have now found a way to build my ideas as fully functioning MVPs (web app). Most of the time this is enough to validate the idea. And if my app/service is a huge success then having to rewrite the app is one of my smallest problems.

    Send me a PM if you have questions or want to discuss further!
     
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  9. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I created landing pages and drove traffic to them using FB ads and Google ads. This app got the most opt ins and had the best conversion rate. Also asked around forums for people to fill in a survey on this app/what features they'd like on an app for mental health.

    You're right about me overthinking stuff and jumping ahead too soon. Getting the MVP out is most important. I plan to put together a basic working version and roll it out to beta testers, get their feedback and continue from there.

    I hope I can get it out in 2-3 months, but I'm a beginner in iOS programming so it might take longer. Though one great thing: even if it takes a long time and the idea flops, I can use those new skills to put together a new product in 10x the speed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  10. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Just finished setting up basic login/register functionality using Firebase. That was the easy part! Thankfully I'm off for a week from work so I can work on this all day and make a lot of progress.
     
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Having a blast with this, spending Christmas Eve eating chocolates and coding. I finally managed to implement Google sign in and cleaned it all up with custom error messages and basic UI stuff. Tempting to just ignore them but I'm trying to take care of everything that may frustrate my users. I'm not losing anyone on the sign up screen!

    I'm getting used to Xcode & Swift and I love it now. Hope that it won't take a year is on the horizon!
     
  12. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Finished creating the tab bar and the status bar that holds some of the user's stats. The navigation is basically done. I'm really happy I chose to dive right into this rather than waste more time on tutorials.

    The only issues I'm having right now is how to implement a subscription wall / paywall, and getting FB login to work. They won't send me a confirmation text because they're Facebook and everything has to be complicated.
     
  13. ocricci
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    ocricci Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    One idea: You can show your app mock ups to the leads on your list and get feedback / pre-sales
     
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    You might need more data. You're not wasting money if you spend $500 this month in advertising. It's market research.

    Generally you should spend 3 months tweaking the ads and the ad copy - trying out different angles - to see if you can really persuade them to buy your app.

    E-mail opt-ins are not the same thing as sales. Are you charging them to opt-in? If not, consider giving them a discount if they pre-order. If you don't get much action, re-test the ad...the landing page appeal...and target prospects. If you're still unsuccessful after 90 days of testing (if the cost of advertising is greater than the cost of sign-ups), the idea may not be worth pursuing.

    If you do decide to scrap the idea, don't forget to refund the money of anyone who pre-ordered!

    Don't sweat it.

    Move on to the next one!
     
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  15. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Yeah I agree with you on needing more data. I was just about to create a better landing page and launch ads again.

    I was thinking of a freemium/monthly subscription model rather than a one-time app cost. Is it even possible to pre-order apps (subscription based ones without specific release dates)?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Created a new landing page, imported all my old opt in emails into Mailchimp and set up an FB ad. I'm not sure whether I should keep double opt-in enabled or not. On one hand, I can get more emails having just a single opt-in (users don't need to confirm their emails) but some users may just forget to click confirm. However, I open myself up to spam and less serious users without double opt-in.
     
  17. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Finally managed to implement Facebook sign in. Their documentation is not the best out there. It really needs to be updated, they are still using deprecated methods and have the most important code examples only in Objective-C. And I thought Google was difficult.

    Wrote out the order of the features I need to add so I'm not just developing things randomly. There are about 20 of them and I think if I can manage 2 a week I'll be doing really well.
     
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Been making steady progress. Made some concept changes to include more value, felt it was a bit "bare" in the fear of feature creep but even the most basic app has to include good value. Finished the UI for the profile page and actually managed to save user data to Firebase! This is huge because as a dev, using databases scares the living sh*t out of me lmao. This is the part I was most worried about! If you guys ever need a good tutorial on creating users, storing and letting them change their data, this is very good: iOS - Firebase Email Authentication - How to Login and Signup Users to Your App - YouTube

    Now the rest of my app is simply storing, saving and updating stuff in the database. It seemed complicated in my head but when you break it down it's alright. Perhaps the nightly panic attacks on whether I can create this will finally go away!

    Another issue I'm thinking about is the payment scheme. Freemium is 100% the way I'm going, but should the paid version be a monthly subscription or a one-time payment? Monthly means more revenue and more loyal customers, but app store users are used to one-time payment apps so might be put off by it. On the other hand, one-time payments mean the user might just pay and stop using it, and less revenue.

    Slightly related, I was searching for bass-booster apps for my Mac the other day as Spotify doesn't have an equalizer for the desktop app. I found Boom 2 and installed it reluctantly as it has a short trial. Holy sh*t, this thing is amazing. The equalizer is fantastic and I've been recommending it to everyone. I have no doubt I'm gonna pay after my trial is over -- I would pay 10x what they ask. Anyway this situation made me realize that people will not only pay for something, but throw money at it if it delivers.
     
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  19. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Read up on in-app subscriptions and how they're the fastest growing app monetization method. Watched this video from Apple about designing for subscriptions which was good: Designing for Subscription Success - WWDC 2017 - Videos - Apple Developer

    This is starting to take a toll on my health, since I work in tech and stay on the computer all day, I don't really have a rest and everything is starting to hurt. Increase in workload at my day job has made me realize once again how miserable I am. They've added more meetings to my schedule for god knows what reason. I'm terrified I'll get laid off even when things are going well. My anxiety is through the roof and it's really ironic I'm making this app, I think I severely need it myself!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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    Van Halen Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    How much would it cost to freelance the MVP out?
     
  21. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I checked out a few price calculators and it'll be at least $8k (even that sounds low, some estimates go $20k+), money I don't have. I want to make it myself, then if I want to change something I don't have to hire people or familiarize myself with code I haven't written. And I can use the knowledge learned to build more products.

    There are some aspects of the app I might not be able to make myself (some artwork) which I might freelance out, and if I struggle on the more difficult parts I can hire for that when I get to it. I think I'll definitely need to pay for testers to see if there are any holes in the logic as I'm new to Swift (and haven't been a developer for long either).
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  22. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    And Firebase is now storing, displaying and updating information correctly in my app! The user can now see their personal stats and set a profile image. I've been grinning at it for hours! Achieving something so simple for some programmers makes me so happy. Xcode is a pleasure to work with, best IDE ever.

    The best way to learn really is to jump in, no tutorials can amount to how much is learned when you throw yourself in with a proper project.
     
  23. • nikita •
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Have been eating, sleeping, breathing this for the past few days since I ramped up my work on it. I've been ticking off ~2 tasks a day as opposed to my planned 2 a week.

    Read an article on database costs which scared me a bit: Firebase Costs Increased by 7,000%! – Startups & Venture Capital
    Raised some doubts like what if my costs are larger than my earnings?

    Will also need to get someone to check through my code to make sure it's robust once it's done. If anyone knows a good service for this please tell.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hitting major road blocks with this. What can I say, it couldn't all just go smoothly till the finish line! There are 2 main issues:

    1. Part of my app includes a game-like element so I need to implement Spritekit and delve into some game tutorials. Stack Overflow are helpful with technical questions, but when you ask a question on how to implement something or just want direction, they eat you alive. Some moody slowlaners on there lol, posting in their 2-minute breaks.

    2. The rewards system. My idea was to integrate a rewards system which offers items (whether that's games, movies, phones, er even bigger items) based on your progress. But I can't find affiliates that will give such a large % off to make to user feel like they're actually winning a reward rather than just using an affiliate code to get some 2% off. If anyone has any ideas on this, please reply or message me.

    And related, I actually fiddled around with SpriteKit for a few days and made an awesome-looking simple game that I could send into the app store today, but it's too much of a clone. Might try my hand at this eventually.
     
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    • nikita • Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I've had a difficult week, though a lot was learned. I was in the state of analysis-paralysis with my app because of the 2 problems I mentioned in my last post. But then I realized that even though in a perfect world I would have those features how I initially imagined, the MVP doesn't have to be perfect and it's alright for my app to look "primitive" at least in its first draft. So I'm implementing a much simpler version of those two elements and will build upon that.

    I continued to mess around with SpriteKit and even SceneKit and I'm surprisingly good at it. I completed an app and put it up for sale as a template on Chupamobile and Sellmyapp as a way to sell shovels in the gold rush. I'm also plugging away at a small game in those moments I need a break from my main app.

    My day job is making me depressed.
     

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