Making my first money with app development

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Marcel Braun
2 min read
Making my first money with app development

I make iOS apps and websites. I published my first app, Lightsync, in January of 2019. 6 months later I published another app, Captions: Live Transcription. It generates subtitles for all audio played on your device, be it YouTube videos, audiobooks or self-filmed videos. It can also translate the content in real-time.

At launch the app cost $4 but I've lowered the price to $2. Apple takes a 30% cut of the revenue so from the $2 I only get about $1.30. When I published the app, I also launched it on Product Hunt. Product Hunt has been great for the launch of my app Lightsync and it hasn't let me down this time either. It got over 150 upvotes which led to about 30 downloads. This made me about $60 in the first month in profits.

The app also offers an in-app purchase of Translation Credits. The app uses Google Translate and that charges per character translated. For $5 you can buy 100,000 credits for 100k translated characters. From the launch until now, December 2019, this in-app purchase generated about $60, although about half of that went to Google so the profit from that was about $30.

In the next months, the app continued to get downloads and with that, continued to generate money. At the time of writing this, app downloads made me about $170 in profits.
If you add the profits from the in-app purchase, the app made $200 in total.

Compared to apps with huge userbases, that is nothing, I know that, and if I was an adult, that would of course not be enough to pay for food, a place to life and things like that but as a side hustle, $200 is not bad. Especially considering my age, $200 is a large amount of money for me and helps me pay for servers and other things. Said that, you have to consider Apple‘s yearly developer fee of $99 to publish apps on the App Store. If you subtract that amount, you are left with only $100 of profits. That may seem low but compared to other side hustles you can do as a student, it‘s quite good. Delivering newspapers, for example, only pays about $5 per hour where I live. For $100 I‘d need to work 20 hours in an exhausting job.

I learned that you can live your dream and make money with what you like, no matter how old you are. If you don't want to work a normal job just try doing what you want. If you try hard enough, it will work out. I'm sure I can make more money in the next year doing what I like.

If you want to support me, you can buy the app on the App Store, link: