After being in the industry for many years, we’ve watched countless people consider getting into the app business. Some of them decide to take the leap, and some of them ultimately don’t. Our experience has revealed that the quality of the idea is only a fraction of the equation, and an equal or larger variable in the success equation is the quality of the entrepreneur.
While there are plenty of variables out of any individual’s control, such as unexpected changes to the competitive market or the whims of the public, there are a handful of variables that can make or break a business.
How much financial risk are you comfortable with?
Custom software is expensive by nature, which dramatically increases the potential financial risk of starting an app-based business. You could try to find an investor who will cover all of your upfront development costs, but it’s unlikely that equity deal would be in your favor in the long run. That means you have to be willing to put some of your own money into your app.
Before getting serious about your app, figure out for yourself how much you are willing to put into your app. The difference between being comfortable with $5,000 and being comfortable with $50,000 can have a dramatic impact on whether you can bootstrap or what kind of equity deal you may be able to arrange. If you’re fortunate enough to have the cash to invest, hire some great people to help you. If financial risk isn’t your style, app development may not be for you.
Do you believe in your idea enough to quit your job?
Launching a business of any kind involves getting a lot of people to believe in you, but you have to believe in yourself first. It’s not just a cliche. Businesses don’t magically succeed on their own. It takes a lot of hard work, from meeting with potential investors and advisers to recruiting your early adopters to advertising to new users. Quitting your job to do the hard work is a great option if you’re uncomfortable with pouring your own cash into your business.
Being unwilling to invest neither money nor your working hours is a red flag that this app idea may not be a realistic path for you. If you’re hoping to compensate your developer for their work by offering equity, quitting your job to hustle for your new business is essential. Why would they risk their working hours if you won’t risk yours?
Are you in it for the money or are you in it for the love of the work?
Most entrepreneurs will openly tell you how long they worked on their business before they got a paycheck, and most of them measure that time in years. Ask yourself if you would be happy to still be working on this app in a year or two but still couldn’t afford to pay yourself a decent wage. Could you be happy living in your mother’s basement eating ramen noodles (for now!) as long as you were building this business? Entrepreneurship is sacrifice, regardless of whether you’re building a brick-and-mortar business or a digital one. Loving the work is the only way you’ll continue to do it without a paycheck.
Still want to launch your app-based business?
Success stories that don’t include any sacrifice from the founder or document any early mistakes are either leaving parts out or are impossible luck. Be realistic about the risk you’re about to take, and you’ll likely set up your business in a way that will be sustainable. Being an entrepreneur of an app-based business isn’t glamorous or easy, but if you have what it takes, you can absolutely work for yourself.
If you’re still confident in your app in the face of risk and sacrifice, let’s chat. We would love to help you turn your idea into reality.