I am not an application developer, I simply write for an iPhone application website, there is a big difference. Some days I wake to find emails from people asking for tips on how to get their “great application ideas” started, or other emails asking where to find developers who will build an application at a low cost. It may sound surprising to you, but I truly don’t have all of the answers.
My personal lack of knowledge in this area made me take a second look at iPhone application development. It’s not like I went out to purchase some how-to books, I just started digging around the Internet to see what it is other people have successfully accomplished on their own, just so I could have something to recommend to others.
Most of the major success stories include people with coding knowledge or a background in this or that, offering little hope for people with little to no coding experience. Hopefully I can change that with this simple advice: you don’t have to do it all by yourself – there are other ways.
Let me first introduce you to Carla White. Carla’s initial inspiration for her application came from Oprah of all people. She started to keep a gratitude journal, which is a journal where you write five things you’re grateful for each day and eventually — at least according to Carla — your attitude and general perspective on life will change. But, it’s not like she just decided to make an application the day she started keeping her journal, she had other things going on in her life as well. She was concerned about the economy and her job, so she started to take on new endeavors.
She eventually came to the decision to make an application for her iPod touch based on her gratitude journal.
Nervous about losing my job due to downsizing and the economy, I thought I better come up with a back-up plan. I tried finding a more secure job. That didn’t work. I tried starting my own web shop business. That didn’t work either. Then I decided to try my hand at iPhone apps.
I decided to combine my best talents (design and project management) with my newest obsession (my iPod Touch) and create a gratitude journal for the iPhone.
Carla began her quest to create an iPhone application by signing up for Apple’s developers program, purchasing a Mac, hiring a developer, and purchasing ad space. Through all these steps, she was able to create her own application, Gratitude Journal, in as little as four months – and without any coding experience. I must warn you, she did most of the graphical work herself, but don’t worry, that can be contracted out too.
To tell her story, she decided to write a book titled Inside Secrets to an iPhone App. In her book she documents from start to finish how she was able to bring her simple idea of a gratitutde journal to the App Store. Having read the book, I would love to tell you the entire story as it is quite inspirational, but then why would you want to buy the book from Carla? I can tell you that her book is available for purchase and it includes two other books that highlight how to market your application, as well as interviews with some of the more popular developers from the App Store.
Ah, but wait, that wasn’t just a sales pitch because thanks to Carla’s overly generous nature, she has decided to provide us with a copy of her book and a couple copies of her application, Gratitude Journal, to give away to our loyal readers. But, that’s for a different day coming soon (so keep an eye out).
What I can tell you about Carla’s story, and something that may be helpful to all of you with a “great application idea,” is that there are plenty of developers out there who would love to do all of the heavy lifting for your application. All you need to do is have a solid plan and pay them. Don’t forget though, everything costs money, so do your best planning job before jumping in head first.
Before stepping completely away from Carla’s story, I want to point out that she was able to create her own application in a male dominated environment.
I thought being female would be like getting my car fixed — the men with the knowledge would walk all over me.
In fact, being female brings certain advantages. When I first surfaced on the iPhone developers circuit, my gender attracted a lot of attention which helped my promotion. Most apps are created by men for men, so women iPhone owners were pleased to buy a female created app for a change. And I think some developers might actually enjoy working with a woman more.
Regardless of your background, creating an iPhone app is something anyone who with determination can do. I thought I had everything against me — gender, location, time, knowledge — but I managed to successfully pull it off!
I don’t want to trivialize what she was able to do by throwing gender into the mix, I just wanted to allow her words to inspire men and women alike.
Alright, so back to the point. By utilizing my sleuthing skills, I was able to come up with a few examples of where to find developers to help you get the ball rolling. iPhoneAppQuotes.com offers three free quotes from experienced iPhone developers, iPhoneAppBids.com is another free quote iPhone application development site, and my last recommendation is the much more high profile Elance. There are quite a few more sites out there that offer these services, this is just a short list. Just be sure to read over the terms and conditions, you don’t want your ideas getting stolen or your information getting sold.
So is that the big secret? Well yeah, kind of. People don’t just walk into a book store and learn Objective-C in an instant – that stuff takes time! And if you take the time you learn all of it from scratch, chances are your idea might have already been taken.
Here are my simple steps to developing an iPhone application without any coding experience:
Have a solid idea, not just an idea you think is going to get you rich quickly, but something you care about and are willing to follow through with from start to finish.
Put together a basic concept of everything you imagined the application would look like and create a solid blueprint.
Find someone you can trust to do the job for you correctly at one of the sites provided or look somewhere else – there are tons of talented people out there.
Once the application is complete and to your liking, promote the crap out of it.
Advertising is not free, you must market products to sell them. Contact sites like ours and give out promo codes wisely.
Finally, don’t expect to get rich quickly, do it for the joy of doing it.
I can’t stress enough how important the planning portion of this process is. A contracted developer is going to do exactly what it is you ask them to do, nothing more, and if your idea is not clear, possibly less. If you are not able nor willing to put the work into planning out your application, you may as well just stop right now. In all reality, you will be the one doing all of the important work, so make sure you do it as thoroughly as possible. Without a detailed vision of your application, you have nothing more than just another “great application idea.”
I would like to thank Carla White for sharing her insight on the matter. Until recently, I was actually never aware that there were so many developers out there looking for work on these freelance websites. Hopefully some of you out there will be able to take something from this and successfully create and publish your own applications in the App Store. Good luck!