Questions for those that have gone full time B4X dev

Discussion in 'The Business Forum' started by andymc, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I'm currently earning a nice side income from my B4A games. I have plans to write a further six games over the next six months. If these are as successful as my current ones, then I should be able to consider going full time writing games using B4A. This would be my dream and I'm very excited about it.

    I have a family, of a wife and two children. My wife does work but I am the main breadwinner, so my income is vital. With this in mind, I will only go full time when I have a years salary saved and my monthly income from B4X apps is higher than my current income and steady.

    What has been other peoples experience?
    Did you manage to increase your income after going full time?
    Do you regret it?
    What do you wish you'd been told before you did it?
    Did you find it hard to push yourself to work when you were in charge?

    My dream is a year from now I will have my own rented office somewhere with maybe one other person writing mobile games using either B4X or unity. I'm specializing in games that take no more than 6 weeks to write when full time, so I will spread my risk over many games rather than banking on each one doing well.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    An Schi, Descartex, f0raster0 and 4 others like this.
  2. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I'm not in your situation as I'm neither writing games nor having mobile apps as a main source of income. (I'm more of a app-as-companion-to-website person, so I'm not a hobbyist either.)

    I just wanted to say that I think your reasoning is really sound, your risk aversion is great, both when it comes to when going full time, and when it comes to focusing on many apps rather than few. So best of luck to you!

    Side note: This person might be inspiring:
    An Schi likes this.
  3. LucaMs

    LucaMs Expert Licensed User

    I'm afraid that developing only apps does not allow you to live only thanks to them.
    (Of course, my app will allow me to get some millions, but this will be an exception :p).

    A very small percentage of your apps will allow you to collect decent amounts (and you can not know how long).

    Just as investments should be diversified, you may also develop other types of software, desktop and web.
    An Schi likes this.
  4. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Thanks for the link @Sandman that's another inspirational dev to add to my list!
    That's actually my plan when I go full time, to release one game every month.
    I do believe in diversifying investments, but this can be just in games and cover different genres of game, right now I'm working on space games, but I'm covering all types of retro style games then single tap games. Then my plan once going full time is to work on VR games 50% of my time, so that's another diversity angle, that and I'll convert my games to iOS. So don't worry guys,I've got my angles all covered! :)
    An Schi likes this.
  5. Descartex

    Descartex Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Personally, your plans don't sound crazy at all. It seems to be a good focused and planned thing.
    Also, as you say, you only go full time when it became stable.
    Go fo it, if you work hard you can reach your dream.
    As Jobs said on his famous speech at Stanford University: “Stay hungry, stay foolish

    Best Regards.
    f0raster0, An Schi and andymc like this.
  6. sorex

    sorex Expert Licensed User

    I checked that link and a few of his apps. I don't know if he can live from it when most of them had 10-50K installs and you don't know if people still play them.
    Anything is still better than nothing ;)

    I don't want to discourage you but when you dream of going full time with a small office and all that then the math part of my gray mass is starting to rattle.

    I don't know your netto wage and I don't want to know it since it varies too much from country to country and living near a city or not
    but let's take an average euro netto wage of €1500/month which is for some much for some too less.

    so you'll need to build up 1500x12 that's 18.000.
    added to what I expect that would be 36.000 to build up the wage+1 year backup (unless you built it up now during your daily work)

    when you make a static average of €20/day from your apps which is already good that means 600/month. which is a bit more than 1/3 of the aim.

    so you'll need 30 months to cover the basic year wage which is 2.5 years instead of 1.

    doing 3 other invaders clones might increase/double/tripple earnings but on the other hand people might just move on to the latest version and forget the rest
    so worst case you'll stay static or even drop in earning.

    more apps is more chances to earn altho a lot of us didn't experience this at all and only have a few that actually are worth mentioning the earnings.
    if the app doesn't have visibility or doesn't pass some good worth-to-mouth you'll be stuck with no installs and nearly no income from that app.
    it's all so unpredictable.

    so 6 good earning apps of €20/day would mean 20x6=120 > 120x30=3600 which is more like it and 'seems' to be enough to live from and build up the extra year.

    now that you will be self employed you also have some duties to follow.

    quarterly tax sheets require you to list your income, expenses and you'll be taxed on the profit you will make.
    for example 3*3600=10.800 depending on this sum you'll lose 20-50+% on taxes depending on the country and taxating level based on the income from the previous year.
    extra costs for social security
    extra taxing for your 'office' even when working in the house you already bought and already pay commune/province taxes for already (overhere 25m² minimum)
    province/county tax.
    if you pay out yourself a real wage you'll lose again on personal taxing and need to pay part of the social stuff too for your 'employee' which is yourself and the other part as receiving employee.
    some additional stuff like accountant, internet & mobile subscriptions, apple dev account, b4x renewals etc can be added as expenses.
    + some stuff I probably forgot about...

    so in the end you'll be happy if there's still 5.000 left of that quarter after paying back part of your income for taxes and all that other stuff.

    and then I'm not even talking about the rented office idea you have in mind which is probably €800+/month extra cost.
    ok, it will lower your profit so the taxing value will drop aswell but I guess you better start working at home first to see how it goes
    unless you really want to escape from your wife during the day ;)

    a maybe country specific side note...

    overhere you can start earning with the internet/apps or anything else and add it to your personal tax sheet as secundary or additional income.
    they will 'only' tax you on 50% of that value.
    unfortunately our tax friends are smart and they set a limit on this. if they notice this is getting big they'll force you to become self employed (full or as second job)
    so they can tax you even more.

    maybe there are options to work part time (1/2 , 4/5 ...) so that you have more time for your game coding?
    then you still have your guaranteed steady income.
    f0raster0 and An Schi like this.
  7. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    @Sandman Looking at the list of apps that developer has done, it's worked exactly for him how I want it to work for me.
    He's got 14 games on the store:
    Infinite Slice 1m+ downloads
    Bounce Brick Breaker 1m+ downloads
    Tap! Match3 10k+ downloads
    Physitris 10k+ downloads
    2048 Puzzle Billiard 50k+ downloads
    2048 Jezzball 10k+ downloads
    Up & Down! Snake Ball 50k+ downloads
    Endless Flood 10k+ downloads
    2048 Crossline 10k+ downloads
    Tap! Agar.Orbit 50k+ downloads
    Level Up! Snake Ball 100k+ downloads
    Push Out : Block Puzzle 5k+ downloads
    Fever Fight 5k+ downloads
    Tap the same colour 10k+ downloads

    What you'll notice is, he has a common design style and menu system, meaning he can quickly make a new game without having to rebuild menus and other backend systems.
    He also uses a facebook page to promote his games.
    He uses Google play services for highscrores
    He keeps his game design simple, has no need for purchased graphics by using simple shapes.
    He encourages you to rate his game on the main menu
    He has a share link
    It's really the perfect formula for a solo indie developer. And with total downloads being over 2.4Milllion, I believe he's easily making a living from this.
    An Schi likes this.
  8. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I spoke to an accountant already. He's advised that right now, the additional income is taxable at the normal rate for high income tax in the UK (40%), so I putting aside 40% and will pay that next year when it's due.
    Once I go full time, then I will register self employed and until I take on an employee, I will be a sole trader, paying normal income tax on all my earnings but claiming back expenses for equipment, software costs and office rent. I can rent a small office with furniture for around £400 a month including all bills, so it's pretty good value.
    I do plan to release games in trilogies, I realize the second and third games may cannibalize the downloads of the first game but having three games makes visibility on the store easier.
    I have had a lot of people on other forums (like reddit), telling me I will fail and not to bother trying, but I love writing games and if I make another 20 games and still don't make enough money to live on and do it full time, at least I will have had fun doing it, and made myself a much better programmer at the same time.
    An Schi likes this.
  9. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member Licensed User

    @andymc Yep, he's really found a formula. You make a good analysis.

    Perhaps you should consider contacting him to see if he can give you any advice? After all, it's not like you're competing with each other.
    An Schi likes this.
  10. sorex

    sorex Expert Licensed User

    right. you'll never know if you didn't try.
    An Schi likes this.
  11. hookshy

    hookshy Well-Known Member Licensed User

    We all dream of having a full time experience and quit jobs ... publish apps as a living .Earning your living making apps is difficult and does not depend on you working all day long.
    Most of the users that did gone over 500$ per month most probably have an app that wet to tops and received a lot of downloads, you also need to be a bit lucky.
    Building commercial apps get your daily users is a challenge that stands between you the programmer and you the marketing thing, the voice that tells how perfect the app should run and how much money the app should make.

    I have seen users that once have succeed with an app have build the same app ten times just to suck all from that potential app or interest area in particular.
    You do not have to work a hole year to an app to be successful and make money.

    I do not make a living from the apps, all off us have to see the good results behind our work. I did stopped releasing apps just before I did start to make money.

    The problem is that building for money is not always a good practice and destroy what you have best : performance,productivity and ideas.
    I still wonder how it will be to work for a company and be forced to code ....yeee ??!!...oooh ??!!

    Still enjoy have you all here ... thinking about our success
    An Schi likes this.
  12. An Schi

    An Schi Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I have nothing to contribute, but i thank andy for making this thread and all you others for contributing. I realy like to read all the posts here :)
    Good luck andy! ;)
    f0raster0 and LucaMs like this.
  13. dagnabitboy

    dagnabitboy Active Member Licensed User

    I've been self employed for 25+ years and would like to relate some of the pros and cons I've experienced. I do embedded hardware / firmware design. When I first started, as a consultant, I'd been in industry for 15 years and had become an "expert" at a certain branch and level of technology. For the first 10 years I was in demand and did really well, then I had to branch out as the need for that particular tech diminished. I did well for another 5 or 6 years, but being self employed and busy took me away from the learning opportunities that comes with working for a company. So, my skills became less relevant with time, and I found it much harder to find consulting work. I recommend you keep your day job, and do the games part time as you are now. If you really want to strive for "independence" I recommend that you look for companies looking for app development, or companies that develop hardware and need an app to go with it. Personally I think restricting yourself to game development will limit your potential. If you can program games, you can program pretty much anything. If you quit your day job and do game development for a few years, then decide to go back to "work" you will find employers questioning whether you wouldn't just quit again if you got another "urge"!! I speak from experience. Also, in the U.S. you will have to pay all of your Social Security Tax yourself, which is 14%. Currently your employer pays half. And, as someone else mentioned above, you have to do a mini-tax return every quarter and pay your taxes quarterly. You will also need to think about health insurance. At one point I was paying $650 a month. Also, when you take a two week vacation.. there is no company still paying your wage! So, you may have reduced income for that period of time, as well as paying for the vacation!! You may have a retirement plan with your current company.. what happens to that when you quit? Here's what it boils down to: If you make $60K at a company, you'll need to make at least double that to be self employed.

    I'm now 70 and still developing gadgets, but at a much slower pace, and still kinda hoping to invent the "killer app". So, was it worth it? For me, absolutely, there is nothing like knowing you are completely paying your own way and being able to work when you want. Have I done as well as someone that stayed with their company? Money-wise.. nope, not close. Freedom and peace of mind? Absolutely!!

    Sorry if I've come across as negative... some folks do exceptionally well being self employed and make oodles of cash! I think you should try.. obviously you have the desire to go it alone, just like I did many years ago!! Best of luck!
  14. tufanv

    tufanv Expert Licensed User

    I was working with my dad when I first met with b4a. I created a speedometer app, released it to store with $1.49 price. It started to sell about 2-3 units/day. It was not easy to code when I was working with my dad. I could only spend 2-3 hours/day at most. Later I created a text based airline management game , which included in app purchases but a free model. It was very successful for those days which I was selling around 3-4$ / day . I made the mistake of spending months on building games like puzzle games or other text based games which all of them failed.

    At that time , I was really unhappy about doing a work , I am not belong to , So I said to my father : " I want to try programming full time and leave the job for about a year, If I cant succeed in that , I will come back . I was lucky to have a father like that and he said ok and he trust my decisions , I left the job and started coding in my home . It was really tough for the first 6 months because I was lost under the pressure of trying to achive stg because I was at home all day long but I didnt have the slightest idea to what to do.

    The story is too long as it is 1 am now here :) , for the next 2 years I coded apps which i believed that will be successful and i was not mistaken. Today I can earn 3-4 times the minimum wage here . It is not a success for me but at least I have some space to breath for now to grow the business. It is not easy , I spend all day to think about new ideas , what can I create , What should I update etc.. but i am happy. I took a risk and succeeded to at least stand on my feet for the last 2 years. I always tried new things and never gave up. I bought b4i at the day it was released by Erel , I uploaded my first b4J app to macstore after 1 weeks @JanPRO released his tool for mac. So the key point is "trying".

    What I can suggest is , if you afraid of stg or say : " I will leave the work when I can earn the same amount by coding", but it wont be possible probably and you will never be able to try it. Of course when i decided this, I had no wife or children and I had a father to support me when I was trying but you cant see what you are able to do without dedicating your self to it.

    All these I wrote here became real with the help of this great community by the way. I always emphasize this. Thanks to all of you. I still dont know how to properly code, but I create what people like at the end of the day somehow and that is the important thing.
    Descartex, moster67, andymc and 3 others like this.
  15. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Great post @tufanv , thanks for telling your story.

    Right now, I am still working on games, I believe gas will work best for me right now as I've had one game do well and am managing to release more games that get popular off that first one.
    I released my last game "Mars Defender" last Saturday, and in it's first 11 days it's had 419 downloads and made £20 in ad revenue. I am now about to start and advertising campaign to push the downloads further, this should push it up the trending chart on the Play store and lead to further organic growth. I've also just posted a youtube gameplay video which should increase my conversion rate from store page visitors.
    tufanv likes this.
  16. tufanv

    tufanv Expert Licensed User

    if you are successful at games , just code games then :) everybody must focus on what he/she is successful. I hope you can get what you deserve. By the way, if you got 410 downloads in 11 days , I wouldnt spend on ads because sometimes it is better if it can grow itself without campaigns. When you start campaigns and stop at some point , that natural growth stops according to my experiences but of course if you believe it will help grow faster go with it !
    Descartex likes this.
  17. andymc

    andymc Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I'm just doing an ad campaign to kickstart the momentum on downloads. Once a game gets more than a certain number of daily download, it's gets in charts and then grows organically on the store from there.
    tufanv and Descartex like this.
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