Mobile applications have reshaped almost every aspect of our lives. From constant communication to banking needs - everything is pretty much within our fingertips today. While we can spend all day explaining how helpful mobile apps are, we often forget to realize that mobile apps themselves are an asset class.


There are roughly 3.80 billion smartphone users in the world, and this number is increasing. Entrepreneurs are entering into the app space to cater the continuously growing consumer demand. For entrepreneurs, entering into the mobile app space is not always an easy journey unless they have enough capital or coding expertise or often simply time.


TL;DR




a cat app entrepreneur counting revenue
a cat app entrepreneur counting revenue


Effect of Freelance and Remote Jobs:


On the other hand, the freelance and remote working movements have brought a paradigm shift in the business world. Many small to mid-level businesses today prefer hiring expert freelance professionals with specific skill sets instead of expensive employees.

It may sound, being a freelance professional and entrepreneurs hiring freelancers is a win-win situation for both parties. Yet, there are exceptions to this scenario. Especially for freelance app developers, often their primary motivation for an app project is nothing but getting paid. For a solo entrepreneur looking forward to entering into the app market, this is extremely tough to get familiar with the mobile app world’s nitty-gritty details.

a cat freelance dev with his buddy
a cat freelance dev with his buddy


The Never Ending Phase:


A solo entrepreneur getting started with an app business - may take up to 5-6 months if everything goes smooth. Now, if you are an app developer reading this article, you can already guess what is going wrong with the timing. It is true that sometimes complex apps indeed require extensive coding time. But most of the time, the associated delay attributes to the confusion of the solo entrepreneur and decision making.

Contrary to solo entrepreneurs, mobile app developers alone often are able to code a working app within days as hobby projects. The variation of such apps are stunning, starting from simple productivity tools to often full-fledged games.

an app developer working
an app developer working


Bridging Devs and Entrepreneurs:


While many of these apps and games get published on various app stores, a large number of them hardly take off beyond friends and families. The reasons include - poor user experience, intense competition, horrific ad placement, security concerns, and sometimes nothing but excessive pressure from other projects.

Going through various existing platforms available for selling apps, what we have noticed is depressing. Each one of them is busy connecting one entrepreneur with another one. The fact that 26.4 millions developers are ignored is certainly not acceptable.

Usually, the existing platforms offering buying and selling apps or other digital assets charge a sizable commission when a sale happens through their platforms. Hence merger and acquisition of profitable app businesses make more sense instead of connecting entrepreneurs and app developers.

a stressed app developer
a stressed app developer


Selling Hobby App Projects:


Guess what, if you are simply a programmer who codes apps during free time with no intention toward getting into the business world learning accounting and finances - it does not matter how great your app is, you will have a hard time finding a buyer for it.

A solo entrepreneur and an app developer both can benefit each other - without hampering anyone’s freedom. So the status quo, which is developers working for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs selling to other entrepreneurs, needs to be changed.

Your app is an asset. You can sell your app at a reasonable price, even without $0 in revenue. There are a couple of things you need to stay extra careful of when that’s the intention.


Ensuring Quality:


user experience is important for better retention
user experience is important for better retention


1. User Experience:

User retention is closely related to user experience. From the very first opening of your app after installing, a user should not feel like they are wasting their time - which often results in instant uninstallation along with negative feedback.

Use standard and clear icons for your app. Do not confuse them with tons of features but highlight what value your app can provide to them. Offering simple guidance to users in a non-intrusive way can help your users to familiarize themselves with the app.

Consider celebrating user success. For example, if your one is a game and when a user completes the first level, show a completion badge or add some extra points.

do not waster your time on an app that nobody wants
do not waster your time on an app that nobody wants


2. Primary Research:

When you build an app with a plan to sell it off later, try conducting some basic research.

Is a similar app available in the app store?

How competitive is the niche?

Can your app beat the existing competition? If yes, how?

Are you offering a couple of valuable benefits that they are not?

Will you offer a better UI?

The list goes on. You as a developer should know every developer around the world at least once in their life thought of developing a to-do list, and your next to-do list app might not be worth a dime. Such research will save you from investing your time from putting into something that nobody wants. During the selling process, your research on the niche will bring more value to the negotiation table.

authentication should be sweet and simple
authentication should be sweet and simple


3. The Authentication Nightmare:

You may have noticed that some renowned apps require users to sign up or sign in before showing any content. Know that, your app being a very new one into the market, will not have such an unfair advantage.

Even if you have some features that you like to keep private, considering serving some valuable content publicly. Let alone users, even prospective buyers may ditch your app otherwise.

Social sign in is another feature you should try integrating into your app. People nowadays do not have enough time (ughh social media) to fill up a long form and then verifying the email just to get in.

proper ASO for an app can not be underestimated
proper ASO for an app can not be underestimated


4. Description, Promo Video, and Screenshots:

All these 3 are basically part of ASO. ASO or App Store Optimization helps your app to get discovered organically. Google stated that 40% of Play Store apps are discovered through ASO. Try writing a simple description of what your app does and how it can add value to the user.

Promo videos do not need to be longer than 30-60 seconds. Even a screen recording is okay if you can explain in a crisp way how your app works. People who are downloading your app might just need to get the essence that your app is worth their install. A good promo helps the user to convert quickly.

Similarly, add a couple of better-looking screenshots. Take help from online tools. On app stores, check how top apps are showing screenshots and try to follow their formats.

bugs in an app is annoying
bugs in an app is annoying


5. Bug and Crashes:

This is not expected that your app will be bug-free, especially since you are a solo developer. Yet try to get some user feedback like from your friends and family.

The most basic features should be flawless on your app. Check on various devices and OS versions. App stores send crash reports, considering analyzing and fixing bugs.

If your app crashes when a buyer is checking, you will have a hard time selling it to them. Being new in the app store, you are already on the unfair side of the game. Try to be quick on fixing bugs.

send push notifications in a strategic way
send push notifications in a strategic way


6. Push Notifications:

Push notifications are an effective solution to solve user retention. Appsflyer reported that on Android platform only 3.1% users stay active after 30 days. Unless your app stands out from other alternatives of the market, this is highly unlikely that you will not have a similar problem.

Push notifications can bring a significant number of users back to your app. But be creative when sending push messages, do not become annoying so that users uninstall your app and put a review with one star.

Including push notifications to your app does not take more than adding an extra library and adding a couple of lines of code - but it will surely become attractive to buyers when you are looking forward to selling it off.

show ads without bothering users
show ads without bothering users


7. Irrelevant Ads:

There are multiple ways to monetize your apps, and showing ads is one of them. When selling your app ownership to an interested buyer, you will be asked how the app is monetized.

Do not display ads just for the sake of showing ads. For example, attaching ads to an important feature button. This is extremely annoying for users. It is also very unlikely that you will get past the primary app review from app stores, and your app store account may get banned too.

Show ads only when acceptable. Make sure your ad is not blocking any app feature or making users forcibly click on one.

users value their device storage
users value their device storage


8. Storage:

This is true that these days users have more storage on their mobile phones that is sometimes way more than their computers. Yet, people like to use that space for their photos, videos, and other deserving apps that they use every day.

When building an app, make sure it's not taking any unnecessary space from the user's device. Try compressing assets related to the app when applicable, get rid of unused resources, codes and classes.

right, you can make money selling your hobby app
right, you can make money selling your hobby app


Conclusion:

This is not impossible to sell your new app that is not generating any revenue. Smart entrepreneurs will always know the value of acquiring an app that is already published in the app stores rather than recreating from scratch. At the same time, you would need to make sure that your app stands out from the crowd.

Most entrepreneurs looking forward to purchasing your app are likely to monetize it in the long run - resell at higher multiples or turn it into a passive income source. Adding meaningful values around the app will ensure that even being a hobby app, your app is a promising one. They will be able to decide fast to buy or skip. Also remember that most of the first offers that you will receive will often be way lower than what you expected. Do not be disheartened. Keep negotiating and if you are selling through an auction, wait for the best offers/bids.


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