What I Wish Someone Had Taught Me Before I Jumped Into Apps: How To Guarantee Your App Will Make Money

How do you know your app investment will payoff?

I wish someone had sat me down 6 years ago and taught me the realities of app development.  The secret recipe to app downloads and the actual revenue I could expect to make from my investment.

A simple phone call could have saved me thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours learning the tricks of the app trade.

This is YOUR chance to learn from my biggest successes and failures.

If you’re brand new to apps (or about to dive into your next app project), keep reading to learn the 5 steps to guarantee your app will be successful.

STEP 1: The Big Picture

What fires you up about apps?

Why are you doing this?

If you don’t know why you chose to develop apps, you will not be able to take it to the next level.

Your answer cannot be, “I want to make money and quit my job…”

Start by being specific with your “Big Picture.”

Write down what you’re going to do with all the money and time your app business has earned for you. 

Vacation?  Buy a new car?  Pay off student loans?

It could be as simple as something that makes you feel good.  Makes you feel proud or prove to yourself that you are a business owner.

To take it to the next level, your Big Picture must be so powerful that it is impossible to fail.

When I started working on apps, I was desperate.  I was tired of barely getting by and wasn’t living the life I wanted.

I tried bartending, working in cubicles, and even got into the medical field. 

Nothing fulfilled me.

I wasn’t happy.

It doesn’t help that I have a heavy addiction to travel and a stubbornness to work when and where I choose.

But I also have huge medical expenses that I need to pay in order to live.

I got into apps because I needed a way to relieve the pressures of money, to feel self-fulfilled, and to prove to myself that I can build successful businesses.

For my Big Picture, there is ZERO room for failure.

STEP 2: The App Fundamentals

Once you have your Big Picture in place, it all comes down to fundamentals.

I could go on and on explaining each micro-detail involved in creating a successful app (check out the 5 Step App System for that), but I'll cut to the chase…

The 3 app fundamentals you need to make it in apps are:

  1. To create great products.
  2. To be unique.
  3. To make someone’s life better.


Slap a post-it on your monitor.

Set a reminder.

Add them to your research document…

Just be sure you checkoff all 3 before investing anymore energy on your app idea.

STEP 3: The Customer Fundamentals

In addition to creating great products, you also need to know the details about who you’re selling to.

You need to know:

  1. WHO is your user.
  2. WHERE is your user.
  3. And HOW you’re going to convert them into a customer.

If your answer is:

  1. Males 6-50 years old
  2. Anywhere in the USA
  3. ASO and Facebook Ads

You've missed the point!

You need specific traits, language, interests…that makeup the intimate details of your customer so you can better understand and market to them.

You can obtain the best information through interviews, social media interactions, emailing questionnaires, A/B testing ad campaigns…

One of the most powerful research tools is Facebook Audience Insights.  It's free-to-use and will teach you more about your future customers then you ever imagined.

For a crash course on Facebook Audience Insights, signup to our Paid Traffic Hacking Session.

STEP 4: The Developer Fundamentals

You don’t need to be a programmer to kick butt in apps, but you DO need to be well-informed.

That means interacting with people who have more experience than you.

Don't worry if you feel or sound stupid, we've all been there!

Pitch your app idea on phone calls with other developers.

Ask questions about costs, marketing, and unknown hardships.

Join premium app development communities like Bluecloud Select for direct feedback and help…

Here’s a scenario I experience daily on phone calls and emails that you want to avoid at all costs:

Disgruntled Newbie Developer: Hi. I just spent $10,000 on my first app.  It's been out for a month now and has only made $3.

What did I do wrong?!?

Me: (Quick Google to find an app template almost identical for only $500…).

How are you getting downloads to your app? 

Cross Promotions? Paid traffic? Content creation? Building up audiences on social media? Partnering with influencers? In person interactions?

Disgruntled Newbie Developer: Huh?

Me: Tell me a little bit more about your app.  Why is it unique?

Disgruntled Newbie Developer: Because it's the only app that does XYZ.

Me: (Quick search on the App Store).

What about these 10 apps that have the same features and over 1,000 positive reviews?

 Disgruntled Newbie Developer: Oh.  I've never seen these before.

Me: Who is your target demographic?  

Disgruntled Newbie Developer: (Panic…)


Me: Who is your ideal customer?

Disgruntled Newbie Developer: Oh.  Anyone who likes Games.  My app is for everyone! 😃

Me: 😑

I hop on calls everyday and answer questions about apps.  I'll tell people about development requirements, costs, and give insights to realities that could make or break their business (if you're interested in hopping on a call with me, Click Here).

After each call, people leave fired up and have a clear idea and plan for their app.

The people I LOVE talking to are the ones who do the research before risking their time and money on development.

Don't be the Disgruntled Newbie Developer who jumps into app development without doing the proper research and communicating their idea to someone with experience.

STEP 5: Have Proof

Lastly, before diving into your app project, you need proof.

Let me repeat that.  The BEST way to guarantee your app will make money, is to have proof.

What hard data do you have that GUARANTEES your app will be successful?

The App Store is not some magical marketplace that is going to reward you with thousands of downloads and dollars just because your app made it to publication.

You need to go into app development assuming your app will get ZERO downloads unless you have hard data that people want your product and will download it once it’s live.

Next Moves…

Spend as much time as you can researching apps, target customers, and talking to as many people as you can. 

Start small and spend as little money as possible.

And finally, make sure this experience will change your life and your customer’s life.

See ya,



  • mike amerson March 10, 2018

    On point Mark. It’s all about expectations and preparations. Nothing is guaranteed. You have to create value for your target audience, and for that- You need to know who your target audience is and develop for them. You have to make something so good that they have to have it, not just a “Meh, it’s ok” reaction. If an end user doesn’t say “I need this now”, then keep innovating and adding value until it gets there.
    Heres something i’d like to add to this: Prepare for the long haul. App development, (like pretty much all software develoement) is an iterative process. Microsoft didn’t just put out windows 1.0 and stop there. No, they kept iterating on their product, making it better and better. Neither did photoshop, google, or any other commercially sucessful piece of software or software company. They kept building, kept improving, and continued to add value over several years to get where they were.
    It’s not likely that a kid, brand new to baseball is going to receive his first pitch and hit it out the ballpark. The same goes for app/game development. It’s not likely a new developer is going to create something so grand that app the veteran and pro devs have not thought of, and hit it out the ball park on the first try. Practice, patience, persistence. Version 1.0 is just the beginning. Keep adding, keep refining, keep listening and catering to your target audience. Be in it for the long haul.

  • Mark Nagelmann March 11, 2018

    Well said Mike 🙌

  • Adrian Parkes March 13, 2018

    I’m still a relative Noobie so I’d like to throw in my 3 cents:

    1.) Make sure you’re on an App chart site like Sensortower/App Annie/Apptopia at least 15 minutes a day… after a few months you’ll start to see the matrix!

    2.) When you have your idea ready make sure to research ALL competitors.. download them., extract the best out of all of them.. and even more importantly see what reviewers are complaining about!

    3.) Dont start with a back end app i.e Server based. Its far more expensive and complex. Start with a front end app to learn the ropes. (I made this mistake!)

    4.) Pay attention to everything Mark wrote about above as making the app is actually the small part of the puzzle. Marketing it to the right people is the big piece!

    5.) Remember Tony Robbins sage advice: You will overestimate what you can do in a year, but don’t underestimate what you can do in 5!

    “To Infinity and Beyond!”

  • Mark Nagelmann March 16, 2018

    Well said Adrian! Great tips, I can relate to #3 too 😉

  • Raja July 9, 2018

    Tried to buy the 5 step system, an error screen showed up.

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