This is the story of how I wrote an app for macOS in two weeks, saw it rise to the top of the finance category, became wildly rich and retired early. You can buy my e-book, outlining this formula for app store success, at the link below.
Okay, there's no e-book. There's also no chance for retirement. But, I did make an app for macOS and launched it in the store recently. And, my app did briefly rise to the top of the finance category. It stayed there for a few hours, then plummeted into obscurity.
This is actually the story of how I had an idea for an app, wrote it in two weeks (nights and weekends) and made a couple of bucks over the past month. I had no delusions that this app would be any kind of success, and after one month, it's done okay, considering it's a niche, niche app. Yep. Double niche.
So, what is the app? It's a simple menu bar app for macOS (niche). It periodically connects to a budgeting software API called YNAB (niche) and displays your current budget information. For those not in niche number two, YNAB, also known as You Need a Budget, is a fairly popular budgeting system.
I've used YNAB for years on and off. Recently, I discovered their new API and immediately thought it would be useful to have a menu bar app that showed my key budget info. See, I'm lazy and I don't always want to fire up a browser tab to check the status of my finances. If I can check those numbers with a single click, I'm happy.
On November 15th, I published the app. My expectations where low and so is the price: $2.99. After publishing the app, I headed over to the YNAB sub Reddit and announced the app. It saw a few downloads from that, which caused it to rise to the number 8 spot in the finance category.
I'm guessing part of the app store algorithm is based on daily conversion rate. Because my app was new and the conversion rate was round 3% that first week (thanks Reddit), it quickly climbed the ranks. It also dropped like an anchor a few days later when that conversion rate came down. Now, it doesn't even have a ranking number 😭
So how has my app done in its first month? Not bad, really. I mean, for a niche, niche app, that is.
It's sold 23 copies, although one was returned. I'm guessing the return was due to the person not understanding that this app only works if you have a YNAB subscription. I expect to see this occasionally in the future because people don't read descriptions. At $66 in sales, I'm not disappointed. Remember, I had no expectations that this app would be much of a seller.
Here's something that this app has going for it. Because YNAB has no app in the macOS store and there are no other apps that use the name YNAB. I have a pretty nice position in the search results for those looking for something that works with this budgeting software.
See, YNAB used to be a desktop app before converting to a Web only subscription app. A lot of long-time YNABers hate the new business model. So people search for that term in the macOS store hoping to find the old desktop app. Instead, they soon realize there's no desktop app anymore. But hey, there's this nice status bar companion app, so that's nice! At least, that's my hope.
Anyway, there you have it. You too can write an app and become rich in only one month. I hope that this conversion rate holds up over time and I can count on a couple of bucks a month from this little app. I do plan to enhance it a bit in the future too.