My January 2014 Income Report

February 21, 2014 in Income Reports

The first month of 2014 is over and it’s time to see how the first month turned out. I started out the gate being really productive but we’ll see at the end of the report if any of my efforts paid off. I really haven’t set any goals for 2014 yet but I do have some ideas. I started this website exactly a year ago to document everything I’m doing and I’m happy to say that I’ve found a direction for where I want to go in 2014. Of course that will change as the year goes on I’ll probably make adjustments to what I do. But one thing is clear, building niche sites is going to play a much smaller role from here on out.

Developing More Apps

Fortune Cookie In Bed 2 iPhone App IconBack in December, I released my first iOS app just before the holidays. After getting over the New Year, I started reskinning my next 2 apps. I’m using the same source code as I used in my first app. This is a fairly simple app to reskin and I’m able to do this all myself so there have been no additional costs other than the initial cost of the source code.

This has provided me with some good experience as I am able to repeat this process multiple times to familiarize myself with producing my own apps . Of course, there will be times when I’ll run into somthing I’m not familiar with when I start reskinning the other source codes I own but at least I’m learning.

One thing that happened last month is that I had my first app rejection. Apple had deemed that my app was too simple and lacked functionality… plus it had keyword issues in the title. I’ve known about inconsistencies in app approvals because the process is entirely subjective by the individual reviewers. I’ve seen lots apps that have simple functionality and many, many more keywords in the title than in mine. So now I’m in the process of making tweaks and I need to figure out how to upload a revised version of my app. More on this in the future.

My App Icon Course Updated for iOS 7

Last year, I created an app icon design course on Udemy but just a few months after launch, Apple released iOS 7. At the time I didn’t know what the difference was between icons in earlier iOS versions and the current iOS 7. I did some research and found that the curves around the corners of the icon is different. That has become quite evident now that I have iOS 7 on my phone.

Then awhile back, Yohann Taieb, creator of the pinball game source code found in his course How to Reskin an App in One Day had contacted me asking if I was going to update my icon templates. It’s been about 2 months since he asked and now the updates have been made and available in my own course.

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My December 2013 Income Report

January 7, 2014 in Income Reports

Welcome to my December 2013 income report! We’ve reached the end of the year and it’s time to see how the last month of 2013 turned out. If you’ve never read one of my income reports before, this is where I total up how much I earn each month through my various online projects. I post my income reports here to keep track of my progress so I can look back and see how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

I Can Now Call Myself An App Developer

Fortune Cookie Reader App

The process of developing my first iOS app was a rocky one. In fact, I am still trying to make sense of all the ad networks and SDKs that are used in the app industry. However, I was successful in finishing and publishing my app in the Apple App Store. The app is called Fortune Cookie Reader and is a simple app that displays inspirational messages in a text window.

I went with the ‘Freemium” model which means my app is free in the app store. But the app is fully monetized so I can generate income with it. So this month, I’ve added the category of Mobile Apps here in my inome report. Fortune Cookie Reader went live on December 16, 2013 and has seen some decent downloads in the last 2 weeks of December. One of my goals was to get an app into the App Store before Christmas. I succeeded and happy that I have a new source of income for my portfolio.

Fortune Cookie Reader Screenshots

Please take a look at Fortune Cookie Reader here and let me know what you think! I’m now starting on a new app based on the same source code I bought. I’m actually making some money from this app so I need to start working on more apps. I have several other source codes I bought that I will be developing in 2014.

Fortune Cookie Reader started out with an average of about 100 downloads a day the first week it was released. Now it averages about 30 downloads a day and holding steady. I’m going to release another fortune cookie based app soon using this same source code. The great thing about reskinning apps is that it gets easier and quicker in subsequent versions. Since I knew nothing about reskinning apps, I followed the instructions in this course called How to Reskin an App from Start to Finish Using a Text Generator. This course taught me everything I needed to know about reskinning the exact source code I bought. The video course is $97 and the app source code I bought was $99 for an unlimited license (sold separately).

Note: If you want a both source code and video instruction together, check out the other source codes I’ve listed on this site.

Jokes-Reskin-Course-Image-400-pix

For just under $200 total, I now have the ability to crank out multiple apps without having to pay another dime! The course is very thorough and explains where you can buy the text generator source code I’m using. It’s a great way to get into app development with very little investment. I made all the graphics myself so I was able to save money by doing that.

My app also has In App Purchases (IAPs) and I’m trying to make sense of the sale report page from Apple. At first I didn’t think I got any sales from In App Purchases but after digging around, I found that I made one sale within the IAPs. At least I got one! I may play with the pricing of my IAPs since it is easy to change the prices in iTunes Connect without having to resubmit the app. The app has 4 IAPs at $1.99 and one at .99.

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App Dev 8: My First iOS App is Live in the Apple App Store

January 6, 2014 in App Development, Mobile Apps

Fortune Cookie Reader App IconIt seems like it was ages ago when I started the process of developing an iPhone app but I can proudly say that I have accomplished it! My first iOS app has been approved and is now available on the Apple App Store. Right from the beginning, there was a major delay that took 2 months to resolve regarding the registration of my company with Apple. You can read all about my ordeal here.

But shortly after that, I started working on my app and finished it without having to hire a programmer. I was able to do this by buying and reskinning an existing source code. My app is called Fortune Cookie Reader and it’s a very simple app that generates a few lines of text in a designated area of the screen. It’s also a universal app for iPhone, iPad and Retina devices.

Fortune Cookie Reader is available free in the app store. If you get a chance, please download here on the iTunes App Store and let me know what you think! This app basically displays fortune messages like you’d find in a typical fortune cookie. I created all the graphics myself and curated all the fortune messages.

You might be asking how I’m giving this app away for free? This app is fully monetized with ad networks and several In App Purchases. This is how I plan on publishing all my apps… under the freemium pricing model. I figure I’ll get more downloads if the app is free. Then I’ll let all the internal monetization do the work. Read the rest of this entry →

App Dev 7: Reskinning My First iOS App Source Code

December 31, 2013 in App Development, Mobile Apps

iPhone-App-DevelopmentAfter a 2 month delay trying to register my company in the Apple Developer Program, my application was finally accepted! If you’re interested in the process I went through as well as all the email communications I had with Dun & Bradstreet and Apple Dev Support, click here to read my previous app development post.

This is an exciting time because I am very close to finishing my first iOS app. Earlier this year, this goal of mine seemed like it would never happen or would cost tons of money. But by going the route of reskinning apps, I only spent $99 on this project. My original budget was $500 because that’s what I thought I had to spend at a minimum!

For now, I’m moving forward and completing the reskin of my first app. I had originally bought two source codes to reskin:

Both of these codes are from Austin Church over at BrightNewt.com. I started with Best Jokes because the Viva Stampede code is still being updated to be universal (for iPhone and iPad) and compatible for iOS7. The Jokes app is a very simple one because I could use a lot of the existing graphics in it. However, I wanted my app to look completely different so I changed all the graphic files in the app.

iTunes Connect Screenshot

Complete customization of this source code was more work than I originally thought. Overall, there were more graphic files and time needed to do a complete custom look. All the buttons and backgrounds needed 2 (and sometimes 3) versions for all the different devices and resolutions. I’m proficient in Photoshop but even then, I felt like it took longer than I expected. Part of it could be that I’m just new to the whole app development thing. I’m having to figure everything out as I go along.

How I Did It Without Hiring a Programmer

I’m not a programmer and don’t know anything about Objective C. But I do know that I could not have realistically reskinned this app without the help of a video course I found on Udemy.com. Read the rest of this entry →

My November 2013 Income Report

December 10, 2013 in Income Reports

Welcome to my November 2013 income report! The year is wrapping up and I have to make a big push to complete what I set out to do this year. If you’ve never read one of my income reports before, this is where I total up how much I earn each month through my various online projects. I post my income reports here to keep track of my progress so I can look back and see how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

A Semi-Productive Month

In App Purchase Testing ScreenshotIn November, I only worked on my iPhone app. But I really didn’t do much on it until the last week of November. There’s a reason for that… not a good one but there was a reason. If you have been following my blog, you would’ve known that I ran into a 2 month delay getting registered into the Apple Developer Program. I finally got that resolved at the end of October. Nevertheless, that delay took almost all of my enthusiasm out of working on my app. Realizing I could not afford to procrastinate any longer, I told myself I need to start working and finish my app. My deadline for publishing my first app was end of November 2013 but I’ll be happy to have it done before the Christmas rush.

Today, I am almost done with my app and testing it on my iPhone. My “In App Purchases” and ads are working but I’m noticing a few minor bugs so I need to fix those and it should be ready to submit to the App Store.

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My October 2013 Income Report

November 5, 2013 in Income Reports

Welcome to my October 2013 income report! This is where I total up how much I earn each month through my various online projects. I post my income reports here to keep track of my progress so I can look back and see how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

Income Continues to Decline!

I was fairly busy in October working on my online business but my income has continued to fall again. I have a few things coming up that theoretically should bring my numbers up in the future. However, I just have to keep in mind that all my projects are built for long-term goals rather than quick, immediate returns. And if you’re building an online business like me, this is a harsh reality. I have to admit it’s tough to do a bunch of work only to see little or no return in the month or two that follows. But I’ve come to realize that over time, each thing I do contributes to my business as a whole. There’s really nothing that stands out in my portfolio that will make me a lot of money but with all my efforts combined, that’s where I see the gains.

App Development Delays Continue

At the beginning of September, I was all set to get my Apple Developer’s License and start working on my iPhone app but it was delayed. Now almost 2 months later, I still have not been accepted into the Apple Developer Program. My original issue was with my DUNS number because I’m registering as a company and not under my own name. I’ve been in contact with Apple Dev Support to resolve this issue but I really have seen little progress. Now we’re in November and I may not make the deadline I set for myself for releasing my first app this year. For a complete picture of what’s been going on, along with full updates on all my communications with Apple, read my App Dev 6 post. I will continue to update that post until I get into the Apple Developer Program.

Making More YouTube Videos

I love making videos! It’s what I do in my professional career and I love doing it for my own business. So I created 3 more videos for YouTube in October. One of them is my very first unboxing video. Don’t know what an unboxing video is? You can watch the video on this post Shot My First Product Unboxing Video for YouTube.

I mainly focus on making product review videos and I had just ordered some new camera gear that I can review. I can’t keep buying new products to review and in the past, I’ve borrowed products from friends to review but I think I need to find a consistent source of products. So I’m considering making that a goal for next year to contact companies and suppliers to see if they’ll send me their products to review.

In my experience, product reviews are great for generating YouTube income. Surprisingly, one of my best performing videos this year was a review on an corded electric lawn mower I bought during the summer. Who would’ve known?

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My First Product Unboxing Video for YouTube

October 31, 2013 in YouTube

Monetize YouTube ChannelsIf you’ve ever looked up product review videos on YouTube, you’ve probably come across unboxing videos. If you don’t know what an unboxing video is, it’s simply a video where someone records the opening of a product they received in the mail. Usually it’s not even a review of the product, however some people will include a review afterwards.

I’ve always been fascinated by how many views these unboxing videos get. And since I’m always looking to make more YouTube videos, I decided to make my first unboxing video. The timing was perfect because the UPS truck just delivered a Kamerar FF-3 Follow Focus that I ordered. I waited a couple of days while I planned the shots in my head. I never script out or storyboard any of my videos. I usually shoot my YouTube videos with a Canon SX200 digital camera which has a nice wide lens for closeup product shots. That’s what I used for this video and it works well. I’m usually just behind the camera and speak close to the camera because this camera doesn’t have a microphone input.

With that said, I was going to narrate the video like I usually do but I thought I’d just let the visuals carry the message. So I made this video with no narration, just music that I got from YouTube. You can read more about using free music from YouTube here.

If you don’t know what a follow focus is, then the product probably won’t make sense to you. But basically, a follow focus is a device that (typically) attaches to a video camera with a lens like on a DSLR. The follow focus then allows focus adjustment via a large knob that is offset on the side of the camera rather than on the lens itself. This allows a 2nd camera operator to make focus adjustments allowing the primary camera operator to concentrate on framing the shot.

Anyways, here’s the premiere of my first unboxing video on YouTube. Read the rest of this entry →

Download Royalty Free Music For YouTube Videos

October 25, 2013 in Tutorials, YouTube

Monetize YouTube ChannelsLast month, I decided that I was going to start increasing the number of videos I upload to YouTube. I mainly produce tutorials and product reviews. The problem I always had was finding free music to use in my videos without having to worry about copyright or paying fees. If you do a Google search for royalty free music, you’ll find lots of websites claiming “royalty free” and ‘free-to-use” music. However, most of them are not really free to use or they have some kind of copyright or attribution attached to them.

However, as I started going through my Video Manager on YouTube, I noticed a tab labelled “Creation Tools” towards the bottom of the left sidebar. Clicking into it reveals the new music library offered by YouTube where you can download free music to use in videos. I did a little research on this music and I think YouTube already offered royalty free music but this is the first time where you can actually download the tracks and store them on your computer.

YouTube-Music-Library

The reason why I’m excited about the music found in YouTube’s Creation Tools is that I can use that music in videos I intend to monetize. I can’t monetize a YouTube video if the video contains copyrighted material I don’t own. I have had a few videos in the past I tried to monetize but YouTube was able to identify the music track and then ask me to provide proof that I either own or have permission to use that music before monetization would become active. These were tracks I believe I had rights to use as long as I attributed the composer or artist. Here are the Terms and Conditions for using the music: Read the rest of this entry →

My September 2013 Income Report

October 9, 2013 in Goals, Income Reports

Welcome to my September 2013 income report! This is where I total up how much I earn each month through my various online projects. I post my income reports here to keep track of my progress so I can look back and see how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

A Very Productive Month!

Following a month where I did absolutely nothing on my business, I decided that I needed to make up for a complete month where I slacked off! So in September, I was back on track to create assets that will contribute to my overall future income. Most of these projects I work on don’t have an immediate impact on my income but they do grow over time. That’s why if you want to build an online business, patience is something you’re going to need a lot of!

App Development Delays

At the beginning of September, I was all set to get my Apple Developer’s License and start working on my iPhone app but it has been delayed. Not by me but by Apple and their partner Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). I wanted to register my account as a company but they could not verify some of the information from my company. You can read about all the email transactions I had with D&B here. I think I will be able to re-apply for the developer’s license the first week of October. As of right now, I’m still waiting for the my DUNS number situation to be resolved. I’ve spent almost $600 on a couple of source codes but haven’t done anything with them yet. October will be the month where I think I’ll finally make some progress with my app development goals.

Giving Nook Press A Real Run-Through

I published my first book on Nook Press a few months ago and I deemed the experience a complete failure! I think I’ve had a total of 3 sales at Barnes & Noble so far. So now that my most popular Kindle book is out of the KDP Select program, I’m able to port that title over to Nook Press. I figure that this popular book will also be a great seller at B&N. On the first day, I sold one copy. Hopefully as time goes on, sales of this title will grow like it did in the Kindle Store. I still don’t have a great way to promote Nook Books like I do with my Kindle books. But I do plan on converting all my current and future titles to Nook Press after their enrollment in KDP Select expires. I want to see if I can do at least as good as Kindle sales on the Nook. Using Nook Press is a great way to utilize existing content to bring in an extra stream of income.

Increasing My Production of YouTube Videos

About 3-4 months ago, I finally monetized my YouTube videos. I activated ads on most of my videos and then never really paid attention to it. Partly because I wasn’t able to figure out where to find the income statements for YouTube. However, last month, I figured it out and to my surprise, my YouTube earnings have been growing ever since I monetized. Right now, it’s actually bringing in more than most of my old niche sites without having to do much work!

So I went back and updated all my Income Reports with YouTube earnings. Luckily, it was only a few months worth of updating. But now I see that YouTube is a very viable source of income and it’s easy for me. Since I’m a professional video producer, it makes sense for me to create videos on YouTube. I’ll expand on this more in a future post but from now on, producing new YouTube videos is a monthly priority for me. In September, I produced and uploaded 4 videos. Here’s one of them: Read the rest of this entry →