How to Become an Appreneur and Outsource Your Way to $64,000

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This post is by guest contributor, Benny Hsu. Benny ditched the strategy of hope and took action to change his life. He is an appreneur who wants to help you develop your own iPhone app, even with no programming experience. He also blogs at where he writes about his journey and helps others get unstuck in life.

In August 2011, my first ever iPhone app called Photo 365 went on sale. A dream that I had, finally was about to come true. I didn’t know how to program or do app code, so I outsourced the work. It took seven months from start to completion.

My expectations were moderate. I just wanted to earn my investment back. If I hadn’t made a single penny, I still would have been proud that I took action and achieved one of my big goals.

I also would look at this as a learning experience.

Instead, I had hit the jackpot. It came from Apple recognizing my app and featuring it three weeks in a row, including one week as app of the week.

After the first 30 days, my app had earned about $30,000. An amount of money I still cannot believe to this day. To many it may look like an overnight success, but if you knew anything about my story, it was far from it.

I have many lessons I learned from that experience. Lessons that you can use in your own goals and financial journey.

Believe in yourself

A huge difference this time compared to other times I have tried to make money online was believing creating an app was possible. I saw others online have success before me. I read their stories. If they could do it, I knew I could do it.

Failure was not an option. Not this time. I invested my time and importantly $1,900. I had no experience doing this and was truly learning as I went. My belief in getting this done never wavered though.

In fact, I didn’t have to force myself to believe it. I just knew I would get this done.

Be the tortoise and not the hare

This wasn’t my first time trying to make money online.

In my attempts before, I got frustrated if I didn’t see immediate results. I was the rabbit in the race. I’d work really hard for a month or two building niche websites or starting a blog, and when I didn’t see money or traffic coming in, I thought to myself, “See I knew I couldn’t do it. This was a waste of my time.”

That’s one reason I failed so many times before. I never gave it time to develop. I quit when it got tough.

This time, once I started working with the developers, there was work to be done every week. I had to keep looking at the work they had done and send back my notes.

I didn’t work on my app every single day but there wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t do something related to it. Be consistent in whatever you’re working on.

Consistency is far better than small bursts of greatness (Tweet this!)

Don’t be that person running a marathon, who runs as hard as you can when you start. You will wear out in minutes. It’s better to go at a steady pace the entire race.

The same goes for any goals you want to achieve.

An overnight success takes time

My app took a total of seven months from the day I hired them to being ready to sell in the app store.

Their initial proposal said it would be done in 1.5 months, but actually it was better it took longer. I never wanted to rush it. I wanted the quality to be up to my standards and they were willing to work with me to do that. Since it was my first, I didn’t mind the slower pace.

This wasn’t an overnight success. It may seem like it with the sales I had that first month. It took many hours of testing the app, writing notes, and emailing it to them. This step repeated for months.

Seven months might seem like a long time, but anything you want to do well, will take time. Are you willing to put in the time and not see any results for awhile? How bad do you want it? Ask yourself.

Take it one step at a time

I had no idea how to create an app when I started! I didn’t even know how to outsource any project. I really had to take it one step at a time.

I had my long term goal, which was to have my app in the app store, but I took small steps along the way.

I didn’t worry about things I didn’t need to do yet. If I did, I would have gotten overwhelmed and probably quit before I even began!

For example, at the beginning stages, I didn’t worry about learning how to use Xcode so I could test my app on the iPhone. That happened months later. No need to worry about that at the beginning. I would learn that when it was time.

I didn’t think about how to submit my app to the App store until I had to. When it was time, I read the directions, used Google and Youtube.

Instead of thinking of everything else I had to do to get my app ready to be sold, I focused on the week to week goals.

The developers were great because they broke up the project into different milestones that corresponded with the payment schedule. That helped everyone know what had to be accomplished before moving on to the next phase.

Focusing on smaller goals really helped me reach the bigger goal.

You have to take action

No matter how much I wanted to create an app, nothing was going to happen if I didn’t take action.

Reminds me of a story I read about a man who would go to church every week and pray about winning the lottery. He’d come in and pray really hard. After months of coming in and praying, a loud voice echoed in the church and said, “If you want to win the lottery, you have to at least buy a ticket!”

No amount of hoping and praying will get you what you want. No one will knock on your door and say, “Congrats on your new life!”

There’s never a right time to start either. Don’t say “I’ll start when ______.” It’ll just keep going.

Don’t wait to be lucky either. Some might see my first month of revenue as luck, but I see it as working my butt off to give myself a chance to be lucky.

You have to take action and get things done even have any chance to be succeed. And don’t hope for the lottery to fix all your problems either. Create your own luck.

You can do it

Whatever your goal is, someone has achieved it. It may seem impossible, but it’s not. You need to have a vision, passion, goals, an unwillingness to give up, and belief in your abilities.

Find support from others who will motivate you when you need it. Read stories of those who have done it before. Model what they did to get there.

Distance yourself from those who don’t share your same beliefs or don’t understand your goals.

If you take anything away from this post, please remember this one thing. It’s that  with consistency in deliberate action towards your goals, you achieve anything you want.


  1. Joe Cassandra says:

    Create Your own luck is the way to go! Introduce serendipity, make things happen and things will happen for you. Great post Benny!

  2. Very inspiring post Benny! I agree with you that in order to succeed
    in life, you need to set a goal and work your way up slowly to reach
    that goal. You also need to be consistent. Even when there are problems
    along the way, you need to push and work really hard to finish your
    task. Congratulations on the success of your app. However, can you provide some details on who you went with to create your app?

  3. Volkens says:

    Such a good article for beginners like myself. Me and a friend are starting an app and we are working through every thing, researching as much as possible and putting in that work that you are talking about. This is the kind of transparency we need from more appreneurs who start off knowing nothing. Good job!

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