So yeah, did you know that I totally have a mobile phone app?
I do! I just rarely talk about it. Not because it’s not awesome (it’s really gorgeous and useful in fact), but because I’ll admit that it wasn’t the best business decision I’ve ever made.
The Lucky Bitch Money Tracking App is an iPhone app to track the abundance that’s coming into your life. The Lucky Bee community raves about it, but you might have heard that I kinda regret it. Yes and no.
It was a great lesson either way. If you’ve been considering making an app, then PLEASE read this article first. I learnt so many big lessons from creating and (half-heartedly) launching this app, so you don’t have to!
First up, just because I made tons of mistakes, I can’t fault my team at all and it’s not their fault I didn’t properly think this through. Jess and Joel from Tree of Apps did the development, and Ellissa Jayne did the design. So thanks guys!
To the lessons…
Lesson #1: Just because everyone else is doing it…
This is kind of embarrassing but I actually made the app because Danielle LaPorte had one. I didn’t think about why I really wanted one, except for the fact that it seemed like it was a natural progression to my business.
Why not, right? I mean, “everyone” has an app nowadays, I should do it too. When in hindsight, I could have invested the time and money into something else.
This is especially true if your competitor is doing something seemingly cutting edge. Just because it looks sexy from the outside, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually achieving results for them.
It’s hard to know what’s going on in someone else’s business – so stay in your own lane and make your own marketing decisions.
Yes, having an app is trendy, but does it lead to sales? When it comes to marketing, the basics always work. Yes innovation is important but it might not be necessary for you right now. You could invest the money into something else.
It cost me around $10k to create the app. I could have invested the money in advertising instead. Or it could be worth it just for the “sexiness” of having an app. Like “Ooh, Denise has an app, she’s so cutting edge!” I don’t know!
You have to do what’s right for your business.
- Who cares if everyone Snapchats now? If you don’t want to do it, don’t.
- If you hate making videos, write articles instead.
- If your audience doesn’t hang out on Facebook, don’t use it.
Your business, your rules.
Lesson #2: How does it fit into your business model?
On the outside, a money tracking app looks like a perfect extension to my business. I teach money and I advocate daily tracking, not just of money but of other types of abundance too. My app tracks both.
I personally track money every day and I credit it as a major success habit that’s changed the way I think about my money. I actually use a google docs spreadsheet for my own tracking system (I’m happy to give this to you at the end of this article) but it made sense to make a mobile app version too – and my audience were asking for it.
But it’s not my business model. Let me explain.
Low cost products don’t fit into my business model. My philosophy is “free or very expensive.”
When someone asks to interview me for their blog? No problem.
But if they want me to contribute content towards their paid product? No.
I want to be free (on their blog for everyone), or expensive (for them to buy my own product). I won’t even be behind an opt-in for someone else.
If I create something small or inexpensive, I’m more inclined to just give it away to build my list. I could have a million things for sale on my website, but I’d rather make it simple: free or expensive.
My courses aren’t cheap and they are deliberately designed that way. I give a lot of value free on my blog and with my free mini-workshops, so I feel good about pricing my courses at the higher end of the market.
When I was deciding on the price for the app, I had to choose if it was going to be “cheap”, around $0.69, “moderately priced”, around $2.99 or “expensive” at $5 or more.
Obviously, I could charge whatever I wanted for the app, but there are industry expectations around what someone will pay, much more restrictive than with courses.
The amount of money I’d earn from the app would be small compared to my other products, so I realized that I just wanted to give it away, even though it cost me a considerable sum to create.
Isn’t it better to be paid something than nothing?
In my mind, no. Once you put a price on something, it comes with a certain set of expectations. If I’m going to go through the effort of asking for money, I’d rather it be worth my while.
Otherwise, I’d rather just give it away, and recoup the costs further down my marketing funnel. Plus, when you make your own giveaways, you can capture your customer’s email addresses. You can’t do that with an app – Apple owns their details, unless you add another incentive for them to sign up for an additional freebie from the app. Why not just cut out the middle man?
It takes just as much time (often less) to create a more expensive product than a cheap one.
Read that again.
It takes just as much time (often less) to create a more expensive product than a cheap one.
Think of books – it can take 9 months to write a book (that’s how long all of mine took from start to finish), and you can charge around $10-15 for it. Yes, you could write it quicker than that, but there’s an upper limit around what you can charge.
However, a video course can be created in a weekend and can be valued much higher than that. It took several months to create the new Money Bootcamp and it’s charged at $1497.
If both products converted at 1%, which would you rather create?
Of course, there are other reasons why you could decide to create an app:
- Brand awareness
- Customer loyalty
- As an introduction to your work
- Building a community
So think carefully about WHY you want to create an app. If money making is your prime objective, spend the time and money making a course instead.
Lesson #3: Think about the customer service implications
This is something I didn’t really think about before I created the app.
Every time you add a new product or service into your business, you have to account for some inevitable problems. This is true for any business.
People will lose their login or password details (sometimes more than once). They’ll have software glitches. Some people are extremely low tech and need help accessing your product. Some people want a refund.
Again – customer service problems are inevitable.
I look at it like a numbers game. Say 3% of your customers have major problems. Someone has to deal with those emails, and it’s not just email anymore. When we had a software glitch in the tracking app, I had messages on Facebook and Instagram, as well as emails.
It costs money to hire a customer service person, or it’s your time to deal with it.
When something goes wrong on one of our membership sites, my assistant knows how to fix that. When something goes wrong with an app, usually you have to hire a developer to deal with it.
Personally, I don’t like systems that I can’t control.
Also – when someone buys something from me we have a no-questions-asked Money Back Guarantee. As long as someone asks within the refund period, they get their money back. We have the systems in place to deal with it easily.
Have you ever tried to get an app refunded? With apps, the customer has to apply direct to Apple for a refund which they may or may not grant. Guess who has to deal with the fallout of that?
Going one step removed from being able to fix problems or refund made me nervous. Yes, I could hire more customer service staff to deal with it, but I don’t want to. It goes against my preference and values of having a small, manageable, lean team.
With my “free or very expensive” philosophy, it doesn’t fit. Especially when $2.99 is considered a moderately priced app.
Let’s look at the 3% customer service rule.
- If 1000 people bought my app, my share would be $2.10, a total of $2,100.
- If 1000 people buy my Money Bootcamp, my average profit is $1,200, a total of $1.2m
If 30 people needed major customer service help in both scenarios, which would you rather?
I’ve also noticed that when something is really cheap, the really disgruntled customers feel incredibly entitled and angry when something goes wrong.
Is that worth $2.99 for me to deal with a disgruntled customer? No.
When we made it free, it took the pressure off having to fix it. We could say “We’re so sorry it doesn’t work for you,” but we weren’t under financial obligation to fix it for them.
My only exception to the “free or very expensive” rule are my books, and that’s because I sell them on Amazon, and they have great customer service.
Again, if you’ve got the customer service capacity to deal with it, and you see how it fits into your business model, go ahead!
Lesson #4: It’s okay to say no
First up, it’s totally fine to say no to creating something that your audience asks for. I’ve had people asking me for ages to do it, and I’m glad I did. However, now I get asked to make an Android version of the app.
Almost every day I’ll have someone ask, “PLEEEASE!! We’ll even pay for it” or even straight up demanding “When is the Android one coming out?”
My response is always “I’m really sorry, but never. We’re not making one.”
And then I feel bad. Especially when people then say “Oh wow, that’s so unfair! Android users matter too, you know?”
Yes, I know. But it’s not going to happen. I don’t want to spend the money or the time in creating another version.
It’s okay just to be upfront and say NO. I already give away a spreadsheet and paper tracker here, so I’m feeling okay to straight up say no.
What do you get asked for?
Your community wants live events but you don’t want to? Say no.
Someone wants you to get up at 5am for a coaching session in their time zone? Say no.
People ask me to create a men’s version of my book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. What would I call it – Get Rich, Lucky Dick? Lucky Dude….? Sorry – no.
People want me to create paper versions of my oracle cards. No. But I did make an online version where you can select a card at random here.
I used to have a Soul Mate course, then I realized it wasn’t my zone of genius. Can you buy it? No.
Don’t get me wrong – your audience will give you tons of ideas, but it’s okay just to say “No” if you don’t want to.
So, do I regret it? Do I consider the app a mistake?
Surprisingly no. I really love it, I think it’s fabulously designed and I’m proud to get messages from people saying how much they love it. I’ll just willingly admit that I didn’t think it through!
So should you create an app?
If it fits with your business model, you’ve figured out how to make it work for your funnel and you understand the customer service implications – GO FOR IT.
If want to try out my money tracking spreadsheet (and get the link to my app), you can grab them both here at www.LuckyBitch.com/Tracking.
Please share this article in your mastermind group, business forum or with your business buddy!