The rockstar life of an app-builder
A checklist for people at the footsteps of creating their own mobile app
Babes, Jacuzzi’s, BMW’s with shaded windows. We’re talking serious business considering your future Rockstar-Life as an entrepreneur. But hold on, wait before you start inhaling those Dominican cigars. This list might be your great first step at the foothills of your journey. Let me give you a quick tour of what’s to come.
So you have an idea for a killer application. It’s been going through your mind for a while and now you’re deciding that it’s about time to take some tangible action. However, where should you start?
Roughly two years ago I committed to the same ordeal and now I can proudly say: I have a baby of my own in the App Store, alive and well. She’s called ‘Vida’ and she has taken me much too long for comfort (let alone a large piece of my soul). I could write a small book about the mistakes I’ve made in the process, so let me start off by giving you just a few tips.
1. You’re underestimating the game
Try thinking of a number in your head of how much time it would take you before the first launch of your brand new exciting idea. A month? Three months? A year? Now, multiply the number by three, and you’ll be a lot closer to the real deal here. How do I know this? Because we all make this clumsy mistake, over and over again.
The romance here is basically that there is no romance (your boy/girlfriend will probably agree with this one). You have to make sacrifices. Because of the fact that it takes about 3-5x longer than expected, I literally had to change my whole eating and sleeping pattern; biohack my body and daily routines in order to keep up. Heck, I even made a whole app just to make my time-management more efficient. It’s all a matter of how high this idea is a priority in your life. How bad do you want it? Are you ready to trade in that party outfit for a pale skin?
2. Kill your baby..nearly
A lot of entrepreneurs waste too much time planning and overthinking features of a perfect product or service and lose focus over the fact that they will eventually serve real people. Often this leads to no launch at all, or a very rough one at best.
Stop adding features and start killing them right from the start. Remove all additions that ‘would be nice to have’ and create an MVP only with core features that truly aim to solve your customer’s need at a fundamental level. Now you’re successfully nearly killing your baby.
Carefully decide however whether you want something that works for customers in the real world, or something mostly works in your mind. Realize that you don’t have all the features guessed exactly right on in the beginning and that you can add them later onto your MVP, should your fans ask for them.
3. Feel the hunter inside you, or quit
Can you feel that deep feeling inside your every being? The feeling that once, your ancestors roamed the forests to hunt for food? Recognize the hunter roaring inside you and that this is a perfect method to unleash it. Sharpen your senses. Scout for new opportunities and alliances. Take hits and stay hungry for success.
This game is not for everyone. Many people have a multitude of ideas yet only a mere percentage of those people actually ‘walk the walk’ and make their ideas become a true success. This ‘walk’ will be like a tough barefoot journey through the dark thorny bushes. You might not have to face wolves, but you’ll still have to fight with yourself in order to have your plan survive.
4. Talk. Talk. Talk. And talk some more!
Probably the most important tip, as it is a common beginners mistake to be highly secretive about your own ideas. No-one will run off with your idea and non-entrepreneurs are not going to suddenly become entrepreneurs. Keeping your idea secret will usually only mean that your idea will remain nonexistent in the real world as well.
I get it. Your comfort zone is the computer and your own mind. But outside of that warm cosy armchair is the real world where your product will be launched into. Multiply your brainpower. Get into touch with reality and new ideas. Leapfrog your concept further by talking to people who are vastly more experienced and intelligent than you. Even random strangers can build on your idea in ways that you can never expect.
Talking allows you to stay realistic and validate your product. Find out what people love because in the end it all comes down to the product-market-fit. There will be a REAL customer at the end of the line, a human being that is not you. While you’re thinking you’re having the greatest idea since sliced bread, just thinking ‘what a great idea’ is not going to solve a real problem in a way, and your friends will be able to tell you if you have a crap idea.
Let people be free in how they will help you and be amazed by the unimaginable unique ways in which they do. You’ll discover that it’s not just about who you know, but who the people know that you are talking to.
5. Be radically different
The way you choose to create your business is your way, and there is nothing wrong with that. Be unique and proud! There is no ‘normal way of doing things’, that’s all subjective relative nonsense that we’ve come up with. Don’t edit yourself to try to fit in. Being mediocre is boring; do what you want to do, how ever you want to do it.
6. Nurture the ideas you get while you’re intoxicated
When your mind is on a different level, you’re able to see the world from a different perspective which can be used as a tool, to see what is important to people and what’s not. It will shed a creative light on your previous assumptions which may contradict your sober self. You’ll never know when an idea is going to hit you when your head is in another universe, so next time bring a pen and notebook to your local bar.
7. Partner up smart
Right from the bat you’ll need a partner. You’ll want to do everything yourself but you can’t. Finding the right associate is much like finding a soulmate, yet this can be hairy, lazy, not taking initiative, and very hard to communicate with. When I found something I realized that there is true gold in the way someone a) takes initiative, and b) communicates on the same level as you. Take close watch whether or not his/her appetite for the job wears off. If it does, don’t chase them in order for them to do their job. Find a new partner who believes in the product just as much as you do.
8. It’s never about the end-goal
The truth is that you will never be satisfied. Did you know that the creators of Pixar movies are not satisfied when they finish one of their movies? Apple isn’t neither satisfied or ‘done’ when they release a new iPhone. You will never be reach this a state of blissful relief when all is done. Like everything in life; it’s about the journey not the end and your “nirvana”-like concept does not exist. .Instead, get your satisfaction not from goals, but from the people you meet and the experiences the journey creates.
9. Push through
The world will not usually go your way immediately and you will have to fight for it to survive. Know why you are doing what you do. I always kept my bigger goal in mind; the reason why I made the app. Move through all the c.r.a.p and persist. You probably can’t do it.
Now prove me wrong.
10. Take massive action.
Set your goal and take action, now. Your product is built by doing, not reading
Koen is the founder of Vida. Are you an extra ordinary busy person as well? Try Vida yourself for free, for iPhone, and add more and more clarity to your daily life.