Week 3- To build or not to build.

Welcome back! I hope you’re at least learning something about mobile app development by now.

I’ve made the decision to go ahead with this idea and I’m pretty excited by it. But now I’m faced with the dilemma of how to go about programming ‘mobile apps’. From the start I knew I wasn’t going to do it myself (obviously), which meant I was always going to hire someone else. I also knew that this would start costing me actual money – and any specialist in their field wasn’t going to be cheap. Or was it?

Having read about other people’s experiences, I knew that many people had used specialist app development companies and freelancers to create their app ideas. Someone I know is creating an app using an overseas freelancing developer from South East Asia and so far it has taken nearly 2 years. Well, I certainly didn’t want to wait that long to get my idea out there in case someone else came and beat me to launching it to the market.

So I had some interesting decisions to make- do I go with an app development company or do I work with a freelancer? Also, should I work with a team from where I live (Melbourne) or do I go overseas and tap into a global market? All of them have their advantages and challenges: cost, project management, build quality, language barriers, reliability, experience and time-to-market.

Ah there’s something that I recognise – project management (remember, I’m actually a project manager). And with project management comes risk management. So then I started to think about what risks would be involved and more importantly whether I could mitigate them. For example: I don’t ever want to have another car crash, but I want to prepare myself in case bad s#it happens. So, how could I prepare myself to launch into app development?

I started talking to companies in Melbourne. I didn’t want to give too much away so I asked each company to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This was not new to them; infact each company was happy to sign it. Only after this did I meet with each company and take them through my idea. Meeting with companies made the whole experience ‘real’ for me. Wow, I was really doing it! There were times when I’d come home all excited (company X believes in my idea, woohoo!) but then there were also times when I could tell that another company was not too keen on the idea. This deflated me a little because I really thought I had a good idea, and to see people within the industry not take a liking to it made me feel like my idea was just another one of those crappy ideas. And then I’d meet someone else, and they’d help me rediscover that spark and I’d be all excited again.

After meeting with companies both here in Melbourne and overseas, and in researching freelancers both here in Melbourne and overseas, I received a number of quotes to develop my app idea. I short-listed these companies after doing simple Google searches, downloading other apps they had made and testing out whether or not I actually liked them. As for the quotes, the results really surprised me – some of them were really cheap and some were ridiculously expensive.

With a bunch of quotes in my hand I fell straight into my next pitfall – I did nothing, absolutely nothing. I was overwhelmed by it all, to the point where I remember sitting on the couch watching TV thinking, “I really want keep this going, but what is the next step?” The next step was easy, I just had to get off my butt and actually do it! Make a bloody decision and commit some money. Oh… that was it, I had to part with my hard earned money to pursue an idea. I was over thinking this way too much. Thank you to those who shook the crap out of me.  Mine eyes have seen-eth the light!

So, I finally made a decision – I decided to go with my gut instinct and select a Melbourne-based company who I felt I could work with. Importantly, someone who I felt would make the whole process fun and enjoyable. So now I’ve signed the contracts and paid the first instalment and I’m now really doing this.

Oh holy crap – I’m going to be an app developer!

Getting Started Tips

  • Selection criteria – start thinking about whether you would create the app yourself or whether you would outsource your idea. If you are like me and have NO IDEA about programming, you’re going to outsource it. Make a criteria list of what factors are important to you when working with companies versus freelancers. Are you happy to pay less for development knowing that the freelancer may be juggling 10 different projects and will take two years to complete your app idea? Download and test the apps that they have already made. Do you like what you see?
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements – by all means discuss your ideas with other people, but protect yourself when you do so. Ask companies to provide you with an ‘NDA’ so that your ideas are protected.
  • Believe in yourself – not everyone is going to believe in your idea, these can include the people closest to you. And for a number of reasons, business can be a lonely place. Above all you need to believe in yourself. Remember- if not you, then who? If not now, then when?
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