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From Solo Appreneur To Boss App Maker

(Crazy but true!)

by Michael Dowell

I had to remind myself: people do this every day.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got off the plane. Maybe a bunch of vending machines. Hopefully a good ramen shop nearby. After all, this was my first visit to Japan.


It was also the first international flight for my 9-year-old son.

This trip would be the longest time we’d ever spent alone together. Two weeks. And I had no idea what my son — the world’s pickiest eater — was going to eat.

Just to clarify: neither of us could speak or read Japanese. And we didn’t know anybody. So everything was unfamiliar.


I kinda got a kick out of it!

We were traveling into the unknown. Having a real-life adventure.

We brought the essentials: clothes, travel guide, laptop computers. I even brought my drawing tablet so I could keep publishing games during our vacation.


As you might have guessed, I’m an app developer. Making apps for iPhone and iPad has allowed me to earn a six-figure income working from home — or anywhere. I also have a lot of unscheduled time to do things like, travel to Japan with my son.

But something was bothering me.

It wasn’t just that my drawing tablet was too big for my backpack. This was easily fixed by ordering a smaller-sized drawing tablet on Amazon.

No, there was something else. It was like the universe was telling me something.


There were a few hiccups. First, the package was delayed. Then it got lost in the mail. I had to visit the post office. Twice. The day before our departure, they found it. Hallelujah.

And then I realized: I don’t need to bring a drawing tablet to Japan. What was I thinking?

In two years, my app company has published well over 100 apps — from photo apps to video games. I did a lot of the artwork myself.


According to my app developer friends, doing artwork was limiting my ability to grow. I felt like they were right. Especially when I saw my friends were making $20,000 - $100,000 every month. To make more money, I needed to work less.

This was the moment of truth. I had a decision to make.

If I could leave my drawing tablet, I would give myself no other option. I would force myself to hire a full-time artist, and I would quit being the artist forever.

So what did I do?

I gave the new drawing pad to a friend.

And I had one less thing to carry in my backpack — as my son and I traveled all over Japan.


My experience as a solo entrepreneur gives me an advantage. Because I know *exactly* how long it takes to do everything, so I never get over-charged.

When I’m hiring a new artist or developer who says, “oooh! That’s really difficult. It’s going to take a long time.”

Then I say, “Actually, I can do it myself in 10 minutes. And sorry, but I don’t want to hire anybody who is slower than me. Thanks for your time.”

Now that I’ve got my new team in place, revenue is going up because I am laser-focused on finding the best ways to make money with apps.


It was tough to let go of my artist persona. But it was necessary to push past this limitation so I could move forward with my app business. This evolution has been important to my personal growth as well as my income. It’s just getting better and better.

Next step is hiring a project manager. Awww yeah! Can’t wait.


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