Does this sound familiar?
“I need an app so I can reach my customers faster.”
Between IPAs on a Horizon Airlines shuttle flight from SeaTac to Kalispell, Montana I was sitting next to an actuary friend of mine. If you don’t know what an actuary does here’s the short version: Buying a company? Buying life insurance? Selling a company? Getting divorced? An actuary will run the numbers and tell you how much you will spend over time and how much you will be worth when you’re done. Actuaries assess risk and help you decide if an investment is a good idea. We were chatting about how he bills his clients. He works from his home in Whitefish, 5 miles from the biggest ski resort in northwest Montana.
“Do you want to know how I can bill my customers $300 an hour?”
I said “Yes.”
“Because I have a network of clients who know what I do and know that I do it better than anyone else they know.”
The flight attendant brought another round of Elysian IPA. I asked “I know you enjoy what you do, what would make your life easier?” He shoots his hand into his jacket pocket and pulls out his Samsung Galaxy S4.
“I need an app.”
“How is an app going to help you?”
“I need an app so I can reach my customers faster. Let’s say I’m handling Richard Sherman’s divorce. I fly out to meet with their legal people and write up my retainer agreement. Then I fly back to the homestead and I do my job. You know what I use? Excel. I’ve built a set of formulas that at a glance show Sherman’s net worth and what he’ll be worth when the settlement is over and what he’ll be worth on the day he dies at 72.”
“Hold on” I said, “how could you possibly know he’s going to die at 72?”
“He’s an ex-smoker, high stress work environment, there’s a formula for this. Actuaries deal in statistics and the numbers have been run by analysts working for insurance companies for years. Trust me, it’s what I do. Let me continue… I save this as a PDF and then attach a recommendation for how much he can pay and how much it will save him in the long run.”
“How much do you help him save?”
“Enough to buy this Bombardier Q400.”
“What’s the app for?”
“I don’t carry a laptop on these flights so I want an app that accepts my entries, suggests brackets based on my estimates, generates a PDF, attaches the recommendation document, digitally signs it, encrypts it, and sends it to Sherman. If I had something that did that I could’ve billed $300 before I finished this beer.”
Table of Contents:
- Does this sound familiar?
- Roadmap to Your First App
- Why Hire a Solo Developer?
- Why Not Go Through An Agency?
- Why Am I Telling You This?
- Should You Go Through A Recruiter?
- What is Your Minimum Viable Product?
- Get Organized
- The Project Brief
- Is an NDA necessary?
- Closed or open source?
- The Job Description
- Post Job Descriptions Where Developers Are Looking
- 5 Job Boards You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- Top 10 Questions for Front-end App Developers
- Profile of a Rockstar
- Top 10 Traits of a Rockstar
- Managing The Project
- How Much Will This Cost?
- Expect Follow-up Work