I hear lots of complaints about Windows
Phone not having many users and developers frustrated that they haven't made
loads of money from the apps they've developed.
I think there are 4 ways you can make money
- Get paid to build apps for other people
- Build apps which allow you to monetize
- Build a targeted app and promote it
- Get very lucky
For most people these are listed in order
of likelihood of being successful.
Let's look at them in more detail.
1. Get paid to build apps for other people
*disclosure: this is how I make my living*
There are companies that want windows phone
apps but don't have the staff, resources or experience to develop them. In this
scenario they will typically look to agencies or contractors to create the apps
for them. (Note that some agencies look to contractors too, but this is
becoming less common as agencies are increasing/improving their Windows Phone
development skills and experience.)
This is still a very niche market and the
companies looking to hire for these roles want experts who can get things done
and have a proven level of experience with the platform. Design and project
management skills also come in handy too.
If you have the skills and experience this
could work for you.
2. Build apps which allow you to monetize
This is the way that provides the most
opportunity for the widest number of companies to make money on the platform in
the short to medium term.
The idea is that you have an existing
service which people pay to use and by building a client app that runs on Windows
Phone you can reach more users or increase engagement with existing users. Both
of which should increase income (and hopefully profit).
If you've got an idea for a service that
could extend its reach by being made available via a mobile app Windows Phone is
probably not the best platform to start with as you'll probably be better off
by targeting a platform where you could reach/get a greater number of users
(who you can monetize) for the same level of development effort.
If you do
target Windows Phone first it can be a differentiator for you and an
opportunity to create a unique marketing/promotional story. I know a couple of
companies/apps which have done this.
3. Build a targeted app and promote it
If you think that the addressable market of
total Windows Phone owners contains a large enough subsection that you can
market and sell to enough of them with a relevant app that you can make money
then this may be an approach that could make you a profit. Remember, you need
to consider all the ways that an app can be monetized. Don't just think about
an initial sales price. If you have one.
If considering this approach be sure to
consider and treat the app you're creating like any other product. Remember:
"Think product, not app".
4. Get very lucky
You could release an app with no great
level of advance planning or promotion and have it turn out to be wildly
successful. You may have heard stories of people who have done just that.
Unfortunately though the reason you hear such stories is that they are
remarkable and the exception. If it was common it wouldn't be news worthy.
If you're relying on this method you may
want to consider a lottery ticket instead. That's not to say that you can't
make money from apps, just that you shouldn't rely on luck if that's what you
want to achieve.
Have I missed anything else? [How ]do you
make money form Windows Phone?