My October 2014 Income Report

December 5, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportWelcome to my online income report for October 2014. This is the latest I have posted a report but it is finally here. Not a whole lot has been happening but I have been staying very busy when it comes to my online projects. The final parts of a new iPhone app are almost done. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I launched my first iOS app. It has been stressful and frustrating but more importantly, it has been a learning experience. I am glad that app development is a part of my skill set now and I plan on launching more apps in the future.

I am also working on new Kindle books. I have been away from publishing for about 1.5 years but it is time to get back into it. Of the books I published about 2 years ago, they continue to generate a decent amount of income for me without any additional work or maintenance. I have also wasted a lot of money on writers too! I know I will not make back the $1000 I spent on the last 3 books I had written because they are generating zero sales.

I just had a 4th book written by a woman from India that I don’t even think I will publish! The covers for Kindle/Createspace, description and keywords have already been created but they may never be uploaded. That’s because I just learned that publishing books on random topics is not a good way to approach self-publishing. I actually already knew that but I kept on chasing after random topics without building a following of loyal buyers.

So I will be approaching the next batch of books differently by sticking with one main topic and really focusing on specific details within that topic. I will also have a launch plan for each of these new books. I’m excited for my next books because I will be using an email list I’ve been building plus social media assets. Currently I have 450 email subscribers and 900 Twitter followers where I will be promoting the book launches.

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My September 2014 Income Report

October 30, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportIn an effort to be transparent about the things I do in my online business, I must share something embarrassing and humbling regarding my income report. Everything I’m involved in is filled with new things that I don’t fully understand. So I treat everything as an experiment and learn as I go. There have been lots of mistakes and failures. There have been times where I’m ecstatic about my results and times where I feel like giving it all up. However, I somehow find ways to persevere and continue on.

Well in September, I was hit by a shocking revelation due to my inexperience with app monetization. It was nothing catastrophic but it was just a matter of me not understanding how one of the ad networks reports developer revenues. The ad network I’m talking about is Upsight. When you log into the Upsight dashboard to view current income, there are 2 figures. One is for Net Ad Revenue and the other is for Net IAP Revenue. My mistake was adding up both revenue figures when calculating my income. I discovered my mistake with Upsight customer support when I was submitting my company payment info. Read the rest of this entry →

My August 2014 Income Report

September 12, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportThere was not a lot going on it August as far as creating new income generating assets, however, I did hit another new record last month! August was another 4-figure income month and I’m hoping it stays that way from now on. After about 5 years of exploring various methods of online business, I think I have finally found the areas I will continue to pursue. One of them is definitely app reskinning. I have reskinned my 9th app so far and I’d have to say it is one of the things I enjoy the most when it comes to my business. It takes a long time for me reskin an app but the process is fully satisfying for me. If you’ve considered app development, reskinning is definitely the way to get started!

When reskinning apps, I get to use my favorite tool, Photoshop… and it allows me to stretch my creativity. By day, I’m a professional video producer but when it comes to reskinning apps, I find that I go through very similar processes whether I’m making apps or videos. Both have incredible opportunities for me to try new styles of artwork and animation. In fact, video producing is also a part of the app development process. I just created a promo video for one of my most successful apps called Ghost Camera. And with Halloween coming up, I needed some more marketing power to get my app noticed. Check out the video:

A New Problem – But a Good One

When I was submitting one of my latest apps, I ran into a problem I hadn’t encountered before. While generating the build and validating my app, Xcode flagged an error in my app. When an error pops up, Apple will not accept your app. The perplexing thing about this is that this particular error has always shown up as a warning in the past (you can still upload with warnings). However, the week before iPhone 6 was announced, Apple had revamped their iTunes Connect website and required developers to update Xcode to 5.1.1. After I updated, that’s when the error popped up.

This is bad and good at the same time. At first, I was very frustrated. Whenever I run into things I can’t fix myself, my thoughts immediately become thoughts like “I need to quit building apps”. But I decided to not think about this problem for a couple of days and let my mind settle. Then I went on to new thoughts like “What are my options and how can I solve this problem and move on?”. So I Googled the problem and continued to try and validate my app but the warning kept popping up.

So I decided it is finally time to get a “real” developer to help me out with this. I believe this to be a good problem because I don’t plan on reskinning apps myself for much longer. I need someone else to do it faster than I can. So I went on Elance and posted a job to find someone to fix my app. I think the first day I got 10 responses. My budget range was $40-$50 but I am most likely to pick a guy from Pakistan for $38 that says he has experienced this problem and can fix it.

Without going into too many technical details, I kinda knew what the possible problem was so was thinking it wouldn’t take an experienced programmer much time to fix it. Lately, when I look at the income that can be generated from apps, it makes sense to hire programmers to do the work for me and scale the app development side of my business. When you read the income report, you’ll see a big jump in app revenues plus my apps make up for about half of my online income now.

What’s Next?

There are still 4 months left in 2014 and I plan on creating as many apps as I can until the December shut down of the app store. That’s a period where Apple won’t allow uploads of any new apps at the end of the year. I have several more ideas I’m going to use for new apps so we’ll see how productive I am from now to the end of the year. That’s all I have for this month. Here’s the Income Report.

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My July 2014 Income Report

August 16, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportWelcome to my July 2014 income report. Last month was a very busy month for me. I was quite ambitious and it really paid off! I am happy to say that this is my first 4-figure month consisting of all online income. In July, I released 3 apps in the Apple App Store and they contributed to a significant portion of my earnings. The first app was released at the beginning of the month and is currently my most successful app to date. I call this one successful only because compared to my other apps, this is a big winner for me.

You’ve probably heard that success doesn’t come overnight and that’s very true in my experience. It wasn’t until I published my 5th app before I found a successful theme. I’ll list the names of my new apps below. Because it sometimes takes quite awhile to find any kind of success with apps, I’m really glad that I’m reskinning apps instead of creating them from scratch. As a result, I do not have the expenses of hiring a graphic designer or programmer. At this time, my only costs are the source codes I’ve purchased which range from $99 to $499.

One thing I shouldn’t have done when I started reskinning apps is buying too many source codes. Till now, I still haven’t reskinned the first code I bought and that one cost me $480. I’m going to stop buying source codes for now and work on the ones I have right now. It’s too easy to caught up in all the hype from some of the email lists I’m signed up for when a new source code is released. They all promise an easy reskin process and almost instant profits. I have found neither to be true… at least for me. I guess you could say that the design part is easy for me but it is VERY time consuming because of the sheer number of graphics that need to be changed in a single source code.

I’m pretty fast when it comes to Photoshop but it still takes me a long time to create all the graphics. A lot of time could be saved if I hire a designer and programmer but I don’t feel it’s the right time to go that route yet. So I successfully cranked out 3 apps with one of them getting rejected and resubmitted. In the end, all 3 were approved before the end of the month.

App Release 1: Ghost Camera

GhostCamera_Icon_1024The first app I released was called Ghost Camera: Make Paranormal Apparition Photos with Scary Photo Stickers. This is an app based on Austin Church’s Mustache Bash code. This photo app allows users to add transparent ghosts to photos to prank people. It was my first reskin of this code and there was a lot to learn in this one. I would not recommend this as a first reskin for first-time reskinners. There are a TON of graphics in this one. Not only do you have to create all the stickers, there are thumbnails and banners. Not to mention the user interface is a completely separate set of graphics to recreate.

Regarding the thumbnails, there are 4 thumbnails to make for each sticker graphic. Just so you get an idea of the number of graphics, the Free Pack has 16 stickers. Multiply that by 4 thumbnails and you get 64 individual graphics you have to create just in this one pack. Some of the individual stickers have 5 versions themselves. I would guess that the first pack has about 80+ graphic files in it that need to be changed. If you think that’s a lot of graphics, you are correct! Keep in mind that there are 8 graphic packs total in this source code. Believe me when I say there are a ton of graphics in this app… not to mention the user interface graphics too.

However, I am very pleased with the results I got and feel like my time was not wasted creating this app. For the ghost images, I found a site with vintage public domain photos and cut them all out in Photoshop. This was perhaps the most time consuming part of the whole process.

Like I said earlier, this is now my most successful app to date. Ghost Camera got over 800 downloads in the first 3 days with a total of 4200 downloads in the first month. Since this is sort of a Halloween theme app, I am expecting more downloads as we get closer to October. Read the rest of this entry →

My June 2014 Income Report

July 18, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportWelcome to my June 2014 passive income report. There is not too much to share on this income report except that I have been busy reskinning another iPhone app. This new app is based off of the popular Mustache Bash source code by Austin Church. I bought this code about 4-5 months ago and finally decided I was going to make a photo app as my next project. This will be my 5th app reskin and it is definitely NOT a source code that a beginner should start with.

I looked at the images that needed changing in this app and realized that there are a TON of them! The task seemed overwhelming contrary to the fact that most app source code sellers say changing the images is easy. For me, I like to change the entire look of the app which makes my job a lot more time consuming. Most of the time, I don’t want my apps to look anything like the original. But all my years in video production has made me proficient in Photoshop and I can create my own graphics pretty quickly.

Hiring A Graphic Designer Is Too Expensive For Me Right Now

A few months ago, I contacted a graphic designer to see how much it would cost to have his team create all the graphics. The bid I got was $300 for the interface graphics and $400 for the changing all the mustache images. That comes out to a total of $700 just for graphics! I’m not making much money from apps so I’m not ready to pay that amount at this time. After all, I already spent $400 on this source code so I would have $1100 in expenses before I even get the app into the App Store.

So I’m currently in the middle of making all the graphics for this new app and it’s taking all my free time in June to do it. However, I do find the process fun because I love Photoshop. The app should be released in July so I’m excited for that! I still have a bunch of other source codes I’ve purchased that I haven’t touched yet. Eventually I’ll get to reskinning them.

I am also reskinning another app at the same time too! I bought a Bingo source code this month and have finished the graphics on this one. The last thing I have to do is testing. So now that I look back at June, I have been quite busy reskinning these 2 apps.

That’s all I have for this month. Here’s the Income Report.

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My May 2014 Income Report

June 24, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportWelcome to my May 2014 passive income report. After coming off a high from the last report, I didn’t break any records this month but I’m still holding firm at an income level that has been pretty consistent for the past 12 months. I can attribute this consistency to the diversification I have in the online assets I’ve created. When you read through the income report below, you’ll see that I’m generating my income from quite a few sources… and often each source has fluctuations every month. As you’ll see, I don’t have any one source that is producing astronomical results but if I had to say which type of asset is my best performer, I’d have to say it is my publishing business. Of course I have several books that have no sales and I’ll have to do better research to avoid spending time on books that fail.

All the other income sources are pretty much even but I’m currently working on increasing the number of apps I have in the app store. Currently 2 of my 4 apps are bringing in money and they were reskins of a source code I bought for $99. I am almost finished with my 5th iPhone app and it’s in final checks for spelling and screenshots before I submit to Apple for approval.

One thing I’m going to spend more time on is reskinning apps. From the results of those 2 simple apps, I can see how others are really raking it in with their reskins. The goal is to keep producing apps at a low cost by buying and reskinning quality source codes. I recently bought a Bingo source code to try out the gambling category in the app store. I will start reskinning that one soon.

New Udemy Course Launched

How to Create a Professional App Trailer Video CourseUdemy is also an area I want to grow in my business. But it takes a lot of time to create the video courses I feel are high enough quality for students to pay for. It takes me even more time to create my courses because all of them include template files related to the topic of the course. My latest course is no different.

My new course is called How to Create a Professional App Trailer Video. I made this course because I was needing a faster way to make app promotion videos. Because I have extensive knowledge of After Effects it was easy for me to build the template. This course is aimed at app reskinners because it follows the same workflow for reskinning an app. There are only 8 images that need to be modified/changed and they’re all stored in the “Resources” folder just like in an Xcode project.

But I didn’t stop at just the 1280×720 video, by knowing the ins and outs of After Effects, I added a feature where this template will generate 3 screenshots for iTunes Connect with no additional work! These are the screenshots that appear in the App Store when the app is live.

I currently have 3 more trailer templates finished but looking for time to create the video instructions for new Udemy courses.

I Got Mentioned on Venture Beat!

One last thing to note is that I discovered I was featured in an article on VentureBeat about independent app developers. I’m portrayed as a small independent developer just starting out with room to grow. My name isn’t directly in the article but it does mention my company called Walkabout Media, LLC. Take a look at the article here. It also helped generate a little spike in traffic to this site.

VentureBeat Article

That’s all I have to report and I’m sure you’re ready to see the numbers for May. Let’s get to it!

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My April 2014 Income Report

May 23, 2014 in Income Reports

Monthly Income ReportWelcome to my latest passive income report. I’m proud to say I broke another record and reached a major milestone in April! It wasn’t easy getting to this point because for a long time, my earnings were very disappointing and that made it hard to continue when I wasn’t generating the kind of results I wanted. At this point, my earnings are not spectacular but I can see that if I continue to be productive, my online income will continue to rise as it has over the past year.

New App Launch

Penguin Match iPhone App logoI’ve been very slow to reskin any apps lately so I’m glad to say that I finally have a new app release. My latest app is called Penguin Match and it’s also my first game app. This one wasn’t too hard to reskin but it still had a lot of graphics in it. When I first submitted it to Apple for approval, it got rejected. There was an error in the source code where iPad users couldn’t complete any In App Purchases. Luckily, I bought my source code from Udemy that came with full instructions. The videos that came with the source code were an integral part of how I was able to make this app without a developer.

However, equally as important was the discussion section in this course. When my app was rejected, I was able to ask a question inside the course and got help from a few people. One of the other students was able to help me correct the issue in a very simple way. Once I made the changes and resubmitted the app, it got approved and now my 4th app is live in the app store!

Penguin Match Screenshots

New Book Release

Along with the release of my app, I also published a new book for Kindle and Createspace. I hired writer on Elance to work on this book. I chose this person because of some of his responses to my questions prior to awarding him the job. However, when he started on the project, I realized that he wasn’t the actual writer. I’m pretty sure he just finds projects and then contracts those projects to another person. The final manuscript was not the best but at least most of the content was there.

For this particular book topic, I’m not sure many people would’ve been able to write on it in the amount of detail I want. That’s because I’ve already written 3 books on the same topic and I already know the topic inside out. However, I don’t really want to write books anymore so that’s why I hired this out. This book was originally written in January but it wasn’t until now that I went through it and made all my edits to it and creating the covers. I haven’t done anything to promote the book yet so sales are really low… almost non-existent.

Why I Haven’t Been Posting Much Lately

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t really posted any regular blog posts lately except for my Income Reports. That’s because I’ve been busy exploring other sources of income and testing out new online projects. Much of my time has been spent building and designing video templates for app developers. I have about 4 of them but only one of them is complete and on the market. It’s been a good test and that’s why I’m pursuing the template industry a bit more lately. It’s been very satisfying to work on and it’s an area I have a lot of interest in especially because I’m a professional motion graphic designer. I’m excited to pursue this industry further this year. The mobile app space has a lot of potential and I’m working to find my niche in this area.

That’s all I have to report and I’m sure you’re ready to see the numbers for April. Let’s get to it!

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My March 2014 Income Report

April 24, 2014 in Income Reports

It’s time for another report on how my online business is progressing. March was a fantastic month! It was my highest earning month since I started down the path of passive income. Even though March produced such great results, I did not do a whole lot to produce more products.

A New Opportunity

Last month I hinted at a new opportunity I was presented. Since I started developing apps, I had made a few connections with other developers in the industry. This paid off because I now have a new income stream because of it. I’m now selling app icon template packs on AppsFresh.com. It’s a site targeted towards app reskinning and these templates are a perfect fit for the community over there. I’ve had good results and I’m currently developing a new category of products to sell there. Stay tuned.

That’s all I have to report and I’m sure you’re ready to see the numbers for March. Let’s get to it!

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New App Release: How to be a Ninja Spy for iOS

March 20, 2014 in App Development, Mobile Apps

I have been busy reskinning one of the first source codes I bought. I have found that repetition in reskinning this particular source code has helped me understand the whole reskinning process better. My latest app release on the iOS App Store is called “How to be a Ninja Spy”. It’s based on a source code sold by Austin Church called “Random Facts Generator” or sometimes known as the “Jokes Source Code”.

How to be a Ninja Spy App

I got my start in app development by reskinning this code and “How to be a Ninja Spy” is my fourth reskin using the Random Facts Generator source code. Even though this code is simple, it’s probably still going to be difficult for anyone who has not reskinned an app before. In the beginning, I was thinking “how hard could it be to reskin since the code comes with complete printed instructions”?

I have to admit that was quite lost when I first started but thanks to a video course on Udemy specifically created for this code, I was able to completely reskin this code on my own and make subsequent versions too! It helped me with all the initial set up from getting my devices and apps registered with Apple all the way to uploading and publishing the finished app. The printed instructions don’t go over all the processes on the Apple side of things so the video course was really helpful with that part. Just FYI, the video course and source code are available separately.

Here are some screenshots from my newest reskin. I don’t spend any money on graphics since I’m well versed in Photoshop. I actually enjoy creating all the graphics myself.

How to be a Ninja Spy app

Please check out “How to be a Ninja Spy” in the Apple App Store when you get a chance!

My February 2014 Income Report

March 12, 2014 in Income Reports

I can’t believe February is over already! Time is flying! I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had much time to post here on my site. It seems like lately, I’m only posting income reports each month. That’s because I’m spending most of my time creating graphics for my apps. It consumes a large amount of time and I hope to be able to outsource this in the future in order to work on multiple apps at one time.

NookPress Update

Nook-Press-Self-PublishingI decided to take all my books off sale on NookPress. I just wasn’t getting any sales over there so I removed my books from their marketplace. I was going to wait a few weeks before I re-enrolled those books back into Amazon’s KDP Select program. I want to make sure that they are completely out of the system before adding them back into KDP Select. The reason is that while a book is in KDP Select, it can’t be sold anywhere else.

A New Opportunity Arises

I was recently contacted by a podcaster in the app development community about a business opportunity. I won’t talk about it right now but I’m already in the process of setting up some items for sale on his site. The great thing is that the products and all the sales copy and graphics are mostly done so it’s not taking me much time to get them ready. I had these assets set up for sale in a different marketplace but failed to get approval. Now I’ve got a second chance with an audience that is more tailored to the app industry.

The Importance of Diversifying Your Assets

Book sales were great the past 2 months but when February hit, I could tell instantly that sales weren’t growing as fast. However, because my portfolio is pretty diversified, I had other sales channels pick up the slack to make this my best month on record! What I’m trying to say is while it’s great to focus on one thing that works, there are going to be ups and downs and you don’t want to be tied to the fluctuations of just one stream of income. Don’t be afraid to try other methods!

I had tried many things in the past and this month, I realized that they just didn’t pan out. As mentioned above, I am getting out of NookPress but I’m also going to get out of Commission Junction too. I know they’ve worked for other people but not me for some reason. Even though I have things that work, I will continue to diversify my income by experimenting more and trying new things online.

One of the new items I added to my income report is the Rakuten-Linkshare network. They are now the new affiliate program for Udemy. I’ve been making efforts to promote more courses from Udemy and it seems to be working out nicely. Their courses are usually sold at respectable prices and the commissions are good.

I don’t have much else to report this time so let’s get into the numbers for February.

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