A lot of people talk about making money selling iPhone apps, but no one really talks about selling Mac apps. In case you don’t know, the Mac App store is just like the App Store except it sells software for Mac users. It is an easy way for Mac users to get software for their computer. It allows Mac users to avoid the hassle of jumping from website to website trying to find updated software that works, which is what Windows users have to do.
The Mac App Store is similar to the App Store in another way, anyone can submit a product. You do not have to be a million dollar software company or a person with years of programming and coding experience. The potential for high volumes of sales for Mac Apps is lower than iPhone Apps, but their is still good money to be made. Ten or twenty good Mac Apps could probably make you about $2000 a month depending on how they are priced.
This tutorial will guide you through the process of having a Mac App created.
Step 1: Purchase a Mac computer. If you are selling Mac software you need a Mac computer.
Step 2: Come up with an idea. You have three options when it comes to product ideas. You can reflect on your experiences with using a Mac. Identify annoyances and problems then create a solution that can be helpful to you and others.
The second option is to see what is out their and make something better. If you take a quick look through the Mac App Store you will identify multiple products that are outdated, have poor reviews, are priced incorrectly or lack features. This could be a great opportunity to swoop in and launch a a product that is better than the currently available options. This was the approach I took when I launch my first Mac App.
The third option is to create a product that does not fit into the first two categories. This is usually a product that has no competition but also does not solve a problem. It is probably the most risky of the three options.
Step 3: Decide if you plan to actively promote this App via paid traffic and software listing websites. If you decide against paying for traffic you can just let people find your product in the App Store. Please note, it is usually very risky to launch apps with no intent on advertising it, although you can still have a profitable product.
Step 4: Join the Apple Developer Program. You need to be a member of this program to sell Apps to Mac owners and iPhone/iPod owners. It costs $99 each year and has to be renewed every year for your apps to stay active in the App store.
Step 5: You need to get a feel for what the app should look like and what features it should have. Make a detailed description of every feature you want your app to have. Once that is done you should create mockups. You can make them by hand or use one of the many mockup apps that are available in the Mac App Store to make them come to life. I have used SwordSoft Layout* to create many mockups but their are other options available.
Step 6: At this point you need to post your project on a freelancer website so you can find a programmer. For those of you that are unfamiliar with freelancer websites, they allow you post a project and let freelancer workers tell you how much they will do the project for.
I use Elance.com or Freelancer.com for these type of projects but their are other freelance website like Upwork.com and Guru.com. Post vague project details in your main listing. Don’t reveal what the product is and do not post your mockups. Do this to avoid having all of your product detail in search engines and available for everyone to see. If it is possible you should make bidding private so that you can get more trustworthy bids. Also mention that you do not pay money upfront and only use escrow.
Set a budget that is realistic because some people won’t bid if your budget is really low. Depending on the what the app is for and its feature you will probably be paying at least $1000. Mention the timeline you are interested in. Do you want it to be done in a two weeks or one month? Also let them know you will want them to upload it to the Mac App Store for you when it is complete.
Step 7: Once your project starts getting bids, you need to start interviewing people. Send out all your details and mockups to qualified employees via private message box. Some people like to have potential employees sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before they send out all the details. This is a step I skip because these guys are programmers not marketers. They are unlikely to steal your idea because they won’t know how to promote it.
If someone lacks experience or has bad feedback ignore them or rule them out so you don’t waste your time. Also make sure to see how they test on certain programming languages. In my opinion people that test higher have the ability to handle more complex projects.
Make sure you have a real dialogue with these freelancers. Their are a lot of freelancers that will see your project details and say “I can do this, lets start”. That is unacceptable for a project that costs thousands of dollars. Make sure you ask them questions and have them ask you questions to insure that they fully understand the project.
You also need to discuss how the payments will work. Freelancer sites use escrow accounts to protect both the employer and employee. For bigger projects like this you will usually split the payments into multiple parts. You will put money in escrow so that the freelancer can start the project. When the freelancer you have hired has completed the first part of the project they should send you a test file of the software that you can use on your computer. If you approve of the work, they should send you the source code for the work done up to that point then you should release that money from escrow and make a new escrow deposit so they can start on the second part and so on and so forth.
The final phase of a project like this should say “you will receive your final payment when the app is approved by Apple”. Never pay money upfront, always use escrow, even if a person has excellent feedback. You risk getting ripped off if you send money upfront.
Step 8: Once your freelancer submits it to Apple you will have to wait a few days to see if the app is approved. If it is not approved they will tell you why and you will need to have your programmer make changes and resubmit it. Once the app is approved you can pay your freelancer their final escrow payment.
Step 9: Now that your app is approved you can launch it immediately or you can postpone the launch date and get a website designed and make video a walk through. The website and video will allow you to explain how the app works. The better people understand the app the more likely they are to purchase it. You should also have an email address or contact form so that people can ask questions.
If you want a website on the cheap you can just use WordPress and customize it to fit your needs.
Step 10: Set your App to go live in the Mac store and implement your marketing plan if you have one. You should know right away if you have a winner as the first few weeks an app launches are its biggest. If you are not making many sales then you might have a dud on your hands.