Real Talk About Hitting The Wall


I get a ton of email and Facebook messages. Totally cool though, because I ask people to directly respond to me in the follow up series of my newsletter. I do my best to respond.

Every once in a while I get one like this. I think it's important to put this kind of thing up for the world to see. We're all in this together and sometimes we just need to know there's someone else out there when it feels like we're staring face to face with a tidal wave.

Hey Carter,

Hope you are well.

I am writing to you regarding your App flipping system which I recently adopted. I launched my first App a few days a go, one from your selection on the Bluecloud website. Unfortunately it has not been doing as well as I expected, and I see limited ways in which I can improve it. I have decided to put it behind me and move on. Sucks really, but i've got to take it on the chin.

I've began work on my next project which I am more hopeful about, however this will use a significant chunk of my remaining budget, which also sucks. (Not much going my way at the minute!).

I'm 21, I work in a flexible bar job, and I live amongst students. Recently I cut down my hours at my job to bare minimum so I could focus on this whole project, however from recent realisations I have found myself in a position where working bare minimum cannot be an option if I want to keep producing Apps, meaning I will be working 30-40 hours a week in order to live and progress with this project.

This is quite demoralising as I am a very optimistic person, and I love directing my enthusiasm and creativity into something that could benefit me in the future. By working my current job, this creativity and enthusiasm is likely to decrease but for the time being it has got to be done.

I removed myself from my degree because it was not fulfilling my aspirations or meeting the criteria that I expected, so i decided to go at life alone. No experience, no higher education qualifications, but whole load of determination and desire.

I was wondering if you would able to offer me advice on how to keep myself motivated and remain optimistic about the whole thing at a difficult time? I know far to well how easy it is just to give up on something, and I know this option does not reflect my true character – so I was hoping you could offer me some advice so I can keep looking forward!

I understand you are hugely busy, and appreciate you taking time to read through this.

Best Regards,

Lost in Apps


My response:

Hey Lost in Apps,

Thanks for your note. First of all, big props for you to be making this kind of move at all. Most people never take this sort of leap and spend the rest of their life in some mediocre form of settling. Remember that – you don't leave university or try getting into apps because it's easy or guaranteed, you leave because you want freedom. That's #1.

To be honest, I could sit here and blow smoke up your ass and tell you that there are some tricks that you're not doing. That's what most people try to sell you on. But here are the facts:

• This if your first app. The chances of it taking off are NOT in your favor. If you walked into a casino and had never played blackjack, but had read a great book about blackjack, do you think you'd be able to make millions of dollars? Something to think about.

• Think about how much you have learned already. Now imagine if you learn that much every time you make another app. It's a compounding effect – every swing of the bat gets you closer to being a master. Barry Bonds, who has the record for most home runs in Major League Baseball, did not do so because he could swing the bat faster than other people – it's because he was able to practice more with premier fitness, education, and diet (and maybe something else). Greatness comes to those who persevere.

• Write down everything you could improve upon. Now contact other people in the app world (comments, social media, whatever) and have them audit your work. I bet there are a LOT of places you could improve. Costs. Leverage. ASO. Even if you think you did a great job, I can promise you that if this is your first app, there are a lot of things you could have done differently. That doesn't mean that you should go back and try to fix the first app, it means that success is a process and not an event. 

• What is your timeline for success? Nothing in life is black and white, especially when you're switching your life around. It took me a year to move away from internet marketing to apps even while it was doing well. In your case, you've taken the first step, which is the hardest one. The more you take, the better your chances get. It may become wildly successful at step 2, maybe at step 200. That's the risk that comes with being an entrepreneur. If you don't like that, then this isn't for you.

• In terms of fundamentals, realize this unarguable fact about business: big risks get big rewards while low risks get low rewards. I teach low risk, low reward systems that work over the long term because it's the best way to achieve a lifestyle in the long term. Very few people who use my system will have an immediate retirement, but a lot of people who have adopted these techniques have been able to make money over the long term. Think about what you've done so far: followed an education course, purchased a template, and completed the process. That's the first brick of a house, not a rocket ship. Repeat and refine and you WILL move towards your goals.

• In terms of realistic obstacles you may have, be smart about your money. Nothing will stress you out more than an empty bank account. You can't be creative if you feel exposed and you certainly won't be fired up about a new project. If you have something that pays your bills now, make sure you keep that money coming in while you learn this business. Patience is very important here – you will burn out if you try to go 100mph out of the gate. No matter how excited about apps you may be, you will still need to have some security to stay positive. That's just how it is.


And finally, remember that this is your life man. This is IT. Apps are the greatest business I've ever found, but looking back, I spent a lot of time wishing and hoping and praying that I could one day have a lot of money. Now that I have it, I realize that the biggest reason I wanted it was so that I could finally relax.

Most people never become entrepreneurs because it's scary. Most people don't stick around because it's hard. No one said it would be easy, no one will tell you how un-glamorous it is. That's why it always comes back to you – this is your choice. You chose this life and you will continue to choose your life. Therein lies the ultimate secret to success – you can find it in the smallest of victories if you have the right perspective.

Good luck to you my good man. Great things happen to people every day. Let life work it's magic, be grateful for what you have, and you will find what you're looking for.

Here's cheers-ing you a warm beer.




  • Jason April 17, 2014

    Great post, Carter!

    I just thought it was interesting that you went with the baseball analogy for a message to someone outside the US (in the UK). It totally made sense to me and I’m sure others get the gist as well.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 17, 2014

    @jason – Haha I actually didn’t even think about that. Good catch. Should have done a rugby reference….

  • Jon N April 17, 2014

    Great writeup man! Also a noob in apps, Its so easy to make excuses , and listen to way too many people, who will try and persuade you to make huge life decisions that deep down you don’t want to do. You can trick yourself to thinking that there’s no money in apps ( As a recent chad M post said, don’t be stupid and look around you, everyone’s on their phones and on apps!) and that you can’t do it. Ive done it tons of times. All the best things in life that I’ve ever gotten good at were things I just kept doing. And so we keep doing.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 17, 2014

    @jon – Yeah exactly. I think the overall takeaway was the concept of seeing the big picture vs being sucked into the short term desire for immediate success. Apps are absolutely still the #1 business I would recommend to get into if someone wanted to make money as an entrepreneur, but setting expectations is paramount.

  • Mark April 17, 2014

    Hi, excellent advice given here also, Lost in Apps, remember we learn from failure. I am 43 and have failed so much from the age of 27 until now that sometimes I thought I’d go crazy but….. here’s the good part. Once you fail, you become a little less scared because you’re learning curve has just been increased. I started (before the internet) in many businesses, some failed some did well, others faded as markets changed.

    I am currently working 84 hours per week driving a cab to support my family but am doing it because my new idea will put me on the international map. I also gave up the corporate world, I am educated, holding 2 degrees in language so why am I driving a cab? Because driving a cab allows me the freedom to think and write. My new idea will be diving into multi-genre sci-fi fantasy with a twist which will incorporate apps, games and an affiliate program. I’ve been working on this new idea for over 5 years.

    Don’t listen to the “nay sayers”, they have no clue. The workforce is designed to only allow you just enough to survive. You are on the right path my friend believe me. Hunker down, plan, work, stay away from all negatives including your friends (unless they have something positive to say).

    YOU MUST READ THINK AND GROW RICH BY NAPOLEAN HILL plus follow TIM FERRISS on facebook and read his books the 4 HOUR WORK WEEK and the 4 HOUR BODY. These booksespecially THINK & GROW RICH will give you the psychological tools to help you and to help you understand the basic fears that stop 95 percent of humans form achieving their goals.

    APPS are huge! STAY FOCUSED ON THEM! I myself will be looking to partner with people with specific APP knowledge when I launch. My personal goal between books, facebook, you tube, apps and games in my new brand I’ve set is 1 billion dollars. This is achievable if you understand the fan psychology.

    Once you have a successful app you will think “I could probably do that in less time” this is true. The first one is always the hardest. You already have the type of personality that when you make it big you won’t stop, it’s part of your nature. You’ll find faster more inventive ways to make more and more. You’ll branch out into new technologies that are just emerging because at 21 you’ve already seen the potential and will keep striving!

    Remember FEAR is a choice. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. You can choose to be frustrated or do what I do and be frustrated with a smile knowing that you will be on top. Go out and find those that are doing in the App world as suggested! Pick their brains!

    There will be 7 BILLION people online in the next 5 years. I think Lost In Apps will be able to pull a decent percentage of sales from that global market so keep going!


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 17, 2014

    @Mark – Dude thanks for your response, awesome. And thank you for your story. Its great to hear from people like you who are making shit happen and conquering demons. Keep it up!

  • Jamie April 18, 2014

    If you’ve decided you want to work in the Apps business you have to keep at it. My first app I spent $4,000 and I have yet to make the money back on that particular app, but it paid for my education. Each App after that got easier, better, faster and cheaper. You learn by doing and making mistakes, that’s the fun of being an Entrepreneur.

    “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 18, 2014

    @Jamie – Great advice. Apps are indeed a numbers game. Some people have profits right out of the gate, others take more time. Good business will always prevail in the long term – sticking to a winning plan (which is what I write about on Bluecloud) is the best way to come out on top.

  • Gabriel April 18, 2014

    Hey lost in apps,

    My first 2 apps did nothing at all. I lost a lot of money there but learned very valuable lessons: don’t spend too much on an app and stop going for super-innovative ideas. My next 6 apps have all made their money back. Each of them. I still try new things all the time, tricks that might or might not work. 95% of the time they don’t work. But guess what? The remaining 5% makes the whole difference in the app world. And you must network, meet new appreneurs, reach out and exchange.

    Keep your day job for now. Take it 1 step at a time. If you find a system that works then you might consider quitting your job. For now take it slow, one simple app/game at a time. Learn without putting yourself in a tough spot. It’s a road that might take you 3, 6, 12 or 24 months to figure out. Until then don’t give up.


  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 18, 2014

    @Gabriel – Awesome feedback. Even now I look at my portfolio and the cream of what I’ve built is pulling the lion’s share of revenue. Some of those were apps I built a long time ago, some are recent. Definitely play the long game and things work out.

  • Patrick April 18, 2014

    Real talk: there’s only few good publicly available source codes that you can reskin for cheap to get an easy positive ROI.

    This only works when your doing a bunch of apps 3-4 a week + 2 versions of each.

    Sell your apps that don’t turn a profit.

    Been an online marketer for many years and the one thing I would do if I could turn back the clock is learn a real skill. Yeah, in a year I’ll be doing alright with apps but give me some mad C and Java skills and will gladly trade my time for a guaranteed 6 figs + stock options.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 18, 2014

    @Patrick – I agree and disagree. I think that there are a LOT of source codes that could get used to turn a profit, but the difference is in how your profit is being calculated. An app that makes $50 is profitable if it only costs $49 to produce. There is a reason why 10 people can download the same code and 4 make money and 6 don’t – it’s a combination of marketing and cost cutting. So while I agree that there are some crappy source codes out there, I do think that the opportunity lies in the process of re-skinning, not necessarily in the source code (assuming you have qualified code to work with).

    BTW – 6 figures + stock options may sound sweet, but if you’re working 80 hours a week programming and taking 2 weeks of vacation, you’re looking at about $17/hr after taxes. If there are stock options that means this is a publicly traded company so your options will probably be worth about 0.001% of the market cap. Might be a better long term investment not to make that trade. Just my two cents.

  • Shreedhar April 18, 2014

    Well Carter,

    Although You may sound right with all your analogies, there are people whom success never embraces. I’m not trying to demotivate the one here, but there are several doors to success.
    One cannot become success with one App or one Game, one Trade or one Stock. Every individual has to find and grab out his own talent and skill out of his inner depth.
    Spending money on a App System, or a training on App marketing or trading, is just a way to learn, but implementation always depends on ones inner drive and skills.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas April 18, 2014

    @Shreedhar – I see what you’re saying. I definitely agree with you that everyone has something they are innately awesome at and yes they should definitely focus on that. At the same time, I think it’s important to realize that to grow a business, you must surround yourself with complementary people and skill sets to grow, otherwise your success will only grow as much as your own energy.

    In other words, I bet an awesome business person could walk into the app world and dominate. They learned how to win in business. Their roles in that process are what they’re good at, but the education they have is from experience and learning, something I think anyone can achieve.

    Either way, thanks for the comment.

  • johann herr April 19, 2014

    Very nice response.if its your first app you shouldn’t have your hopes up too much.

    In another note. Carter we’re waiting on that temple run like source code! I know me and alot of people will be buying.

  • Linda Allan April 23, 2014

    I really thought this post was one of the best I’ve read lately. You say it just the way it is Carter. It’s not easy (but if it were everyone would be doing it) and it’s not glamourous but with perseverence and the will to succeed, anyone can do this. I only have 4 apps up now but my goal is to have 100’s. I’m printing this post out so I can read it again and again when I too hit a wall.

  • Samuel April 28, 2014

    Real talk this was a great post! I can definitively relate to lost in Apps. It will be about 6 or so months since I started in Apps. I have 8 so far in the app store and haven’t really found any major successes yet. It does weight on you though when you spend money, time, and effort and you don’t see what you worked on take off in the app store. I think we all set our expectations high for the apps we release and sometimes it can feel like a big blow if it doesn’t perform the way we would have liked.

    I never thought about quitting but I always wondered how others were getting there success and how it seemed so easy for them.

    But I realize that there is a process to getting an app to be a success. I now take it upon myself to see what others are doing in the app world. Success leaves bread crumbs they say. I read the blogs of others in the industry like this one. When my apps don’t perform well I try to study the analytics, look at my keywords, test different ad networks, work to get more reviews, study trends, popular themes, etc. These things are not the most sexy things one would want to do but I realize that it’s necessary in order to get better each time. It’s like training for a marathon or a Tough Mudder. The process is more of an endurance race rather than a sprint. But you do get better as time goes.

    I am grateful that I have people to learn from in this industry and a community of people willing to share their own experiences and encounters with building apps.

    Thanks again Carter for the share!

  • Jose May 26, 2014

    We all have high hopes. But as Carter says, I agree it’s more about the lifestyle than the income. We are all anxious about getting there fast. But what I’ve learned is that it’s not a race. Best!

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