Pretty much any teenagers own a smartphone. And not just teens, according to researches, about 3 billions people will have access to smartphones by 2019. And since a smartphone’s primary function is to run apps, many can see the lucrative business of app development.

While it’s hard to make thousands of dollars with mobile apps unless you’re a big company or game developer, you can make a pretty nice amount of active and passive income with just a little bit of coding knowledge. But who knows, maybe you’ll create a big hit like Flappy Bird ( the creator is a fellow Vietnamese like myself by the way 🙂 ).

I’ve seen tons of teenagers try to make money online using this method and with great success. As you might have guessed, this post is geared toward techy orientated teens but just like the Flappy Bird example shown, you don’t need to be one to be successful. You just need some creativity !

I. Mobile Apps: The Basics

Right, so let’s first try to understand what mobile apps are and their connection to people so that we can have a better understanding about how to create them with maximum efficiency.

So basically, a smartphone itself is rather dumb actually, it’s the apps inside them that make them, well, “smart”. From surfing Facebook, texting friends, playing games or checking emails, there’s an app for that. You could say that anyone using their phone at any given time is actually using a mobile app. And given the amount of time we spend using our phone on a daily basis ( especially us teenagers… ), the interaction between humans and apps is immense.

The interaction between humans and apps is immense

Now most of the times, apps are downloaded from an app store. Either Apple’s App Store for iOS users or PlayStore for Android users ( there are also other app stores but their usage is a lot smaller so I won’t mention them here ). The catch here is that the users will come looking for the apps and not the other way around, this comes at both a relieve and extra hurdles for app developers to overcome.

Of course you can try persuading someone to install your apps like how us teenagers try and sell lemonade or all those stuff the old-school way but in this time with malware everywhere, that isn’t exactly the best course of action.

Teens Make Money Online App Store

You should focus most of your time developing for these two platforms

When you do get people to install your app, it’s still only half the battle. The next phase is about getting users to use your apps and making money from their interaction. We’ll talk more about this in a moment.

Now that we’ve got all the basics covered, let’s get more detailed into how teenagers can earn income with mobile apps.

II. How Mobile Apps Helps Teen Make Money Online

There are quite a lot of different ways to earn money with an app, we’ll have a look through the main ones:

A. Sell Your App

The most direct and straight forward approach to earn money is to sell something. There are quite a few things to consider when going with this route though.

If you’re selling apps, it’s best to focus on the iOS platform. I’m an Android fan and I use an Android phone but I can’t deny the facts that iOS users simple pays for their apps more than their Android counterpart. This is because iOS users tend to be able to afford more on apps ( since they can afford the device themselves, which are more expensive than most Android phones ). Also, apps on Android are a lot more susceptible to being cracked while on iOS, the problem is almost non-existent.

If you’re selling apps, it’s best to focus on the iOS platform.

Teens App Store Revenue

As you cans see, iOS’s downloads are lower but revenue are much higher

And nowadays, there are two main ways to charge money for your apps:

  1. Direct payment: if someone wants to buy your app, they’ll have to pay for it first
  2. Trial and payment: you can allow people to download and try out your app for a set period of time, they’ll have to pay to continue using it

If you choose to go for the direct payment option then you’ll need a way to convince people that it’s worth it to buy your app. Here are some tips:

  1. Create a free demo app with all the basic features for users to try out. You’ll need to strike the balance well here, too little features and they will feel the app underwhelming, too many and they might use the demo without even buying the full app.I once used an app for optimizing my phone numbers, merging duplicates and deleting invalid numbers, those kind of things. I downloaded the demo before deciding to buy the full app and I was rather surprise that the demo has all the options of the main app. I was able to see all the duplicates and invalid entries and at the end was given an option to fix them all. Or so I thought XD. The “Fix All” feature is only available in the main app but the demo showed me that the app works well in finding the troublesome entries since I can confirm that by seeing them myself.

    So this demo app served its purpose perfectly. It allowed me to evaluate its functionality while at the same time tempted me to buy the main app. Every app is different but I think the above example should be enough to give any teens out there an idea on how to create the best demo app for their main money-making app.

    EDGE Demo - Android Apps on Google Play

    This is the Demo version, as you can see, they only allow 12 levels


    EDGE - Android Apps on Google Play

    This is the full version


  2. Give the users lots of information about the app they’re about to buy. All of the app stores nowadays support images, text and videos to accommodate the app itself. Use this to your advantage. A well introduction video with comprehensive examples on how an app works pretty much indicate a high quality app.Images of the app in action is really nice but videos are the best way to sell apps or any kind of digital goodies. Try to create a video showing how your app works, from start to finish. This way, users know exactly what they’re paying for and if they like it, they’ll pay for it.

    All of the app stores nowadays support images, text and videos to accommodate the app itself. Use this to your advantage.

  3. Communicate with your existing customers and potential ones.The review section on an app store can usually be used to exchange information regarding bugs and suggestions, if you are active in talking to people here, they’ll feel that the app is in constant development and their opinions are being listening to.Nothing feels scarier than paying for something not knowing if there’ll be anyone to support you. So communicate with people as much as possible.
    Teens Communicate for Money

    The creator of this app talks to his users frequently and the app rating speaks for itself


  4. Update your app regularly. Even if your it’s working fine, keep it up to date. I mean would you install an app that was last updated in 2012 ? I know that some apps work just fine even though they were created a long time ago but it’s just human nature.So once a month, find something to update your app with, even changing the font or the font size, even the color or app icon. Let people know your app is still being taken care of and it’s on the bleeding edge.

    Update your app regularly. Even if it’s working fine.

Most of the above hold true even if you’re only charging money after a set period of time but the most important thing to note when you’re going this route is the amount of time itself. Too little and users will feel being pushed to make a purchase not to mention they might not have enough time to actually try out the app and see whether it justifies the cost. Too much and they might actually finished whatever goals they needed the app for in the first place and as such have no more needs to purchase it.

There is also another method of selling apps but I’m not very fond of it. You create 2 version of an app, one with only basic functionalities for free ( still a full working app, not just a demo ) and the other with full features but with a premium price tag then let the users decide which one they want to use. Such as this:

Nova Launcher - Android Apps on Google Play

This is the free, basic version of Nova Launcher


Nova Launcher Prime - Android Apps on Google Play

And this is the full feature version of it, with a premium price and a premium name to go with it

I guess this all for now. This post is actually a lot longer than I initially thought, I’ll have to cut it short here, we’ll continue next time on how teenagers can make money with FREE mobile apps. See ya next time !

I want to help all teenagers earn pocket-money and more so I founded Mmo4teen. When I’m not writing or working on any projects, you can find me jamming my guitar or lifting at the gym.

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