This is about my journey to become an "Indie-Developer".
Every time I hear myself saying: "I would love to become an 'Indie-Developer'!" this literally sounds to me like: "When I grow up, I would love to become an astronaut!" – Which even to me sounds a little bit stupid… So what are the reasons to follow this path anyhow?
I am very interested in making a living from a job that I love, enables me to develop myself and learn something new everyday. Having the possibility to create tools that enrich some people's lifes is deeply fascinating. To start from an idea, shaping that idea in design and code, iterating the idea until it comes to an interesting point, building a story around the app, is one of the most fun and challenging things I have been doing in my life so far. That’s why!
What happened so far?
I started to learn Objective-C about seven years ago (this were the good old times of manual reference counting). It took me two years until I shipped my first app in 2010, which was more an experiment than an useful thing. The app was only downloaded two times. – It actually felt great nonetheless, but I also learned that just publishing an app doesn't mean something after all and that success is obviously the result of a long and windy road.
In 2011 my brother and I were really annoyed by the possibilities available to communicate over the internet. We wanted to use a messenger, that actually cares about our privacy, doesn't make its money with personal data that is required at sign up, doesn't show advertising, let's easily send messages without the requirement of the other contact to be online (Skype back then was only sending messages to online contacts), continuing conversations no matter which device you're using at the moment (never got so far…) and being dead simple to use.
We couldn't find a suitable product back then, so we decided to start a small company and began developing a messenger service. – In summary: we succeeded on a crowdfunding campaign, worked in our spare time, shipped 1.0 just in time (October 2012), funded the project with donations and sponsoreships, learned a lot from maintaining a 24/7 service and keeping an iOS app up to date, added end-to-end encryption in early 2014 and finally decided to kill it in winter of 2014, because of our still very short range, running out of money and our in the meantime drastically reduced spare time. – This was a quite sad experience to stop working on a project after 3 years. Finally I learned a lot and in the end it freed up so much time and energy that it was a relieve for me as well.
In 2013 I developed and shipped another app called "filmlog" – I tried to take a simple task and make the app solve it: remembering movies I would like to see, adding notes to movies I have already seen. I tried to create some buzz about my app, but it wasn't very effective. – In 2014 I shipped another app called "auricular" – it is a tool to learn and train aural intervals, which is a necessity for all music students. This time I did way better then a year ago, but there was one big problem:
I was still feeling like a beginner and the fear that someone could actually find out that I was making it all up, which then would kill my long-held dream, made me stay mostly quiet about my apps.
I am going to change this now!
Not trying to chase my dreams is even worse than to founder on them. (It's easy to say that, but I learned most stuff by failing on things and this shouldn't stop me from being courageous from time to time…). – Slow and steady wins! This having said to myself, I am going to continue this journey, sharing my experiences on this blog, keep coding and designing as much as I can, trying to make it to at least one conference a year and learning as much from other developers and companies as possible.
Finishing my studies this summer really makes it a very interesting time of my life and I literally can't wait for what comes next. Well, actually I do have several ideas in the pipeline, some apps that are 2-3 months away from shipping. We'll see…
Because I am really curious about all the thoughts from all the great people out there and what they are thinking about my journey and apps, please let me know. I am here to listen and learn.
You think different or want to tell me your story about your (struggling) start, please send me in your link to your blog post. I would love to share your story on this blog as well.