There are two reasons I choose to be a one-person studio instead of outsourcing or working as a team (except for The Phrase Game where I collaborated with Dan Williams). It’s not because I’m great at every part of app development, I’m actually not spectacular at any part, it’s because I have a $0 budget for my apps and I get bored very easily.
I just create mobile applications for fun (at least the ones that aren’t for my day job), so I don’t set aside any money for development. I don’t keep a stack of cash around my home office to purchase sound effects, artwork, music, or to outsource coding. To me, making mobile applications, books, and games is my way of relaxing and to learn something new. The fact that I’ve been able to make a decent amount of money from them is just a bonus, but money is never the driving force.
My first paid book app, The Perfect Pillow, was made because my wife and I knew that we wanted to start a family, and I wanted our daughter to have something to read that her dad made. I put it on the app stores at 99 cents just to see what would happen and to my surprise, it brought in decent revenue. I won’t complain though, app and book sales have actually paid for various home improvements and for my daughter’s first birthday party.
Not having a budget for app development works out well for me because I quickly get bored with tasks. I’ll start writing the script to a children’s book and get bored after 10 minutes, so I’ll switch to drawing. When that becomes mind-numbing, I’ll switch to writing the code, then I’ll start recording various sound affects that I think I may need. Having to do every aspect of apps helps me not get bored with making them. Unfortunately, it also means that I’ll probably never become an expert at any particular part of app development since I’m always spread thin. Whereas big companies have the luxury of having separate departments for each division, GP Animations is one guy who is the developer, illustrator, animator, sound engineer, producer, intern, writer, UI designer, code monkey, and dish washer.
However, as I said before, this is my way of having fun, which is probably one of the nerdiest ways to relax. I’m not looking to become a millionaire from making them, but it’s certainly nice being able to provide an extra few nice things for my family from a book or app that I would have made anyway. This mindset may not work for you if you’re looking to make app development your only source of income, but the message of doing what you love can apply to everyone.
Check out some of my apps and books at: http://gpanimations.com/shop.html