Finding The Perfect Idea For My First Mobile App (And How You Can Too)

by Tory McBroom · 6 comments

missing girls*This is the first post in a series focusing on creating mobile apps – from idea to the store. Stay up-to-date by following me on Facebook or twitter.

One of my goals this year was to diversify my income and create a mobile app.

The biggest problem I faced was coming up with an idea that I felt comfortable investing in.

Creating mobile apps isn’t cheap (at least I thought) and you’re not guaranteed a return on your investment.

I had many ideas on my plate, but none that I wanted to pull the trigger and actually have developed.


Out Of Tragedy Comes Inspiration

Friday the 13th in a small town just a few miles from my house, 10 year old Lyric Cook and 9 year old Elizabeth Collins went missing.  Their bicycles, a purse and a non-working cell phone were left near a lake just a few miles from their house.

The response from the community was HUGE!  I was fascinated by the support of all the people who came out and helped search for the girls, organized candle light vigils, and so on.  I have friends living hundreds of miles away in completely different states that saw the story on Facebook and the national news.

I was so impressed by the outpouring of support from my surrounding community that I personally wanted to help in the most effective way I felt I could.

I saw how fast the word of these missing girls spread through social media and thought if there was a way to easily notify people when a child goes missing and make it as easy as possible to post information and a picture of the child on their Facebook wall, that it may help bring these missing children home.

And that’s how the idea of my Missing Child Alerts App was born.

My initial goal of coming up with that million dollar app idea turned into creating an app that hopefully makes a difference in people’s lives. And also, to help support the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children, since the app wouldn’t have been possible without their hard work and dedication.

I do have small ad at the bottom of the free app, but I don’t expect that to cover the cost of creating the app or to even pay for the monthly cost of push notifications if I outgrow or have to change to a paid solution.  And like I said before, that wasn’t the point of creating this app…

So, that’s the back story to how I came up with the idea for my first mobile app.

Finding Your Inspiration

Chances are, you’ve already had an Ah-Ha moment and thought to yourself, “Hey, that would make a great app!”, as I seem to get those moments on a daily basis.

But, if not, and you’re struggling to find that killer idea for your own mobile app, then here are a few suggestions:

  • Try to solve a common everyday problem you have.  Some of the best and most popular apps solve little annoyances people face from time to time. For example, the Flashlight app seems so simple, but I’ve used it more times than I can count!
  • Have you ever looked at a group of people and noticed they all had their heads down looking at their phones?  People like to be entertained, constantly, and they look to their phones to fulfill that.   Creating an app that can help entertain or keep people busy while they have downtime has a good potential to be successful.
  • Find a narrow niche that has a need, but little competition.  For example, fisherman often use the moon phase to find out when fish feed more aggressively.  So, creating a simple app displaying lunar phases and targeting it towards fisherman would be an example of a narrow niche, fulfilling a need, and if there were very few similar apps in the marketplace, it could be a huge success.

Creating Mobile Apps

Then next few posts in this series will cover exactly how I created this mobile app for both iOS and Android devices for under $1600, how I’m currently sending out push notifications for free, submitting the app to their respective stores and finally how to market the mobile app once completed.

While I didn’t create this app with generating a large income in mind, you will hopefully be able to take a few pointers away from what I learned and apply them to your unique situation/idea and create a profitable app for pennies on the dollar…And without a lot of the headaches I faced!

So, be sure to follow along!  And, of course, if you have any questions/comments please leave them below.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew Wood February 8, 2013 at 7:18 am

That’s a real cool thing you’re doing here Tory! I’ll be following along to see how the whole process works!!
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Isaiah Coe June 3, 2013 at 3:00 am

Definitely would be something that’s people would use.

How did it turn out Tony?
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Tory McBroom June 3, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hey Isaiah,

The apps been very well received! I’m glad people are using it. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback and even some good ideas for functionality to add in future versions.
Tory McBroom recently posted Finding The Perfect Idea For My First Mobile AppMy Profile


Shaun Hoobler August 2, 2013 at 4:56 am

That’s what you call an “app with a cause.” Keep us posted with the developments!
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John Canchola January 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Hi Tory
Thanks for sharing your app development venture. You stated “Creating mobile apps isn’t cheap (at least I thought) and you’re not guaranteed a return on your investment.” I agree. How did you get your app developed for $1,600!! I am getting quotes for my app I want to get developed for around $50k! Its a simple social app, take pictures, upload pictures from Library, add a text caption and send to to another same app user (app to app).

Thank you.


Tory McBroom January 24, 2014 at 7:53 am

Hey John,

Check out part 2 of this write-up:

I detail how I did it. Thanks!


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