You have the potential to find an income in the world of mobile apps without being a mobile app developer. There’s that old saying from West Virginia, “If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs… if we had some eggs.” What I am here to say is that you, too, can have ham and eggs even if you don’t have ham and eggs. If you don’t like ham, switch it with grits…. grits and eggs.
Okay, well, let’s put it a different way. The difference between being self-employed and unemployed is that one of the two is waiting for someone else to provide them an opportunity (for an income). A self-employed person will frequently pay out of their own pocket to find (or create) the same opportunities.
Fundamentally, it comes down to a lot of people perceiving they cannot generate an income because they don’t have something to market (or an audience in that market). That something could be a product, but it could also be “any” job skill. There are, of course, situations where the world is stacked against you or even an entire geographical region. Even then, there are possibilities – provided we have the willingness and determination to seek them out.
But let’s skip the philosophy for now and jump into some distinct possibilities where you can find an income from mobile apps without being a mobile app developer.
Are you fluent in two or more languages? If so, you might examine freelance or even professional work for the “localization” of mobile apps. Many apps are released in a single or limited range of languages. Localization makes it easier for an app to engage users who speak different languages.
Being a localization agent works best for two types of markets. The first market concerns economy of scale as relates to language demographics coupled with mobile platform (Android, iOS, Java, etc.) penetration. The second concerns helping to open up new markets.
Localization will involve text, graphics with text, and possibly changes in an app’s graphics for greater cultural relevancy. The greatest technical hurdle is going to involve how any in-app purchases are handled. Localization can also be tied into additional local marketing services. This has the potential to be a full-time job or small business with a low (sub-$1k) to no upfront investment, other than your time.
The Local App Expert – If you are a good writer and can talk in front of an audience, being an “app expert” could be made into a part-time job. This presumes you know your way around a wide range of apps – games, utilities, the different app stores to include Opera Mobile Store and some basic troubleshooting skills.
The “conventional” approach these days is to set up a blog and a YouTube channel and eventually grow a following. The real benefits, however, involve going “old-school” and expanding into newspaper, magazines and journals, radio, possibly television, but with a heavy focus on lectures and speaking events.
Organizations – businesses, non-profit organizations, social clubs, retirement communities, etc., frequently host events. Often times, they like to bring in guest speakers for a topic and are even open to topic suggestions.
Add-on ideas include developing a niche specialization, becoming an expert on local e-governance components, and making arrangements with app developers to promote their apps during your events. While there is minimal financial investment required, it can take up to three years from a standing start to see some income. A creative, aggressive approach focusing on speaking engagements can help expedite revenue flow substantially.
The Niche App Expert has comprehensive knowledge on utility-based apps for a specific purpose. This is a lot like the local app expert, but here you are likely going to be focused on a specific industry or career field – but it could be international.
The venues you would be looking to get into would involve both online and offline magazines and journals, industry-specific membership web sites and podcasts, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, possibly colleges and universities. Your theme is likely to be something about “apps to make your job easier.” With proper knowledge and positioning, you could expand into providing consulting and possibly training services.
There is quite likely to be a higher financial commitment to this approach as it may involve acquiring premium apps, keeping up with new devices, and subscriptions/admission fees for industry journals and events. You can try to get into events for free by requesting a journalist pass. Sometimes, trade mags provide free subscriptions to industry specialists as they may be making their money on advertising.
The Patron, The Investor and The Business Maker
My post on LinkedIn goes into more depth and additional options suffice that everyone has the potential to put “something” on the table (figuratively speaking). This is likely to translate to money, knowledge, resources, networking, or time. You have something to invest – and it is up to you how much you will invest and where.
The mobile app market is very interesting but largely not very different from any other market. Over 90% of mobile apps are distributed for free and that roughly 70% of developers are struggling to break even. That would imply it is a “different market” – but it parallels the same market dynamic faced by starving artists for over a thousand years.
Relative to the logistics and distribution involved in almost any brick-n-mortar business, the dynamics of mobile app development are exponentially easier and with near-zero cost.
The PROBLEM is that there is not a lot of handshaking going on between mobile app developers and old school business development, quality assurance, marketing and distribution. Of course, the big mobile app developers are not having a problem because they can afford to hire people with this experience (not that they always do).
The BENEFIT to resolving this problem stands in the risk to low investment ratio and return on investment potential for someone to help solve “one promising developer’s problems” in monetizing their app.
The process to doing that is getting people with business experience talking with mobile app developers and programmers. Mobile app developers… develop – they don’t really want to know more about marketing or business development. However, they can implement or integrate a significant amount of those marketing and business development components into their app code.
We all see “the problem in front of us” in a different way. That’s completely natural. How successful we are in solving the problem comes down to a combination of will and skills. What’s likely to perform better – one highly motivated person with one or two skill sets or a team of highly motivated people with all of the required skill sets? Good teams almost always win.