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Can I design, develop, and market an iOS app all by myself or should I hire staff?

I'm a UX/UI Designer with some knowledge in computer science, I know how code works, how database works, etc. I just need to learn more in deep to being able to do the things my app needs to accomplish.

With that being said, do you think it is a crazy idea to do it all by myself?

- Design -> I definitely can do it
- Development -> I'll figure out with trials and errors
- Marketing -> I know how to create landing pages, Facebook ads, and Google Adwords, how to create email campaigns.

Or do you advice that I must hire staff? Problem is, I don't have the financial capacity to hire staff. What approach you think I should take, the same if I want to move to web apps?

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You can do it yourself but you have to be realistic. I recommend using the lean methodology and build your MVP (minimum viable product) first. Look at your list of features and divide them into two columns, what you need now and what can wait until version 1.2.

It seems like you have a well-balanced skill set and you should be able to implement design and marketing easily. Your problem at the moment is development. I can tell you that the new Xcode and iOS8 has thrown me a few curve balls. Hack it out, but maybe reach out to someone who has a bit of Objective-C and C# background so you can have faster iterations. With Xcode, you have so many possible issues that having someone to talk to would help a lot. Also, get on GitHub!

In short, yes you can, but keep the project light and get it to market as soon as possible.

Anonymous User

First of all you need to plan your time. I advise you start with a date "Not To Forget". This would be the date where you believe your app should be online so you don't lose momentum or your advantage in the market.

When that date is set you have to 1) assess how much time you have from the starting period to do the coding and the testing (twice). 2) The time you need to develop your communication strategy (this includes the visual communication concept and content development) provided you know your audience and their behaviour and you have your marketing strategy in place. 3) then you make sure you have all the platforms ready for implementation.

This is very brief but once you have all the above information on the table you then can assess whether that is something you can do on your own or you would need a third party to help you finish on time. Time is key here because if your app is related to a current trend then you need to act immediately and penetrate the market before someone else does. if you need more details please let me know.


If you have both the skills and time to handle all those tasks then you're starting ultra lean and agile. More power to you and bring on help via elance or other low cost independent contractor scenario.

But: you must protect your intellectual property and have simple but fully protective agreements with any collaborators. You don't want to design, code and market a great app only to have fairly simple legal documentation
problems undermine your licensing or acquisition.


Javier ...Do you have to hire staff? Absolutely not. Not in the beginning. Not ever. Or, if you so choose over time as the business grows then you can hire staff if you so choose to.

In the meantime, there are a variety of methods. You can hire coders, marketing people and alike on a contractual basis using Freelancer, Elance, ODesk, Sologig and a host of other platforms. You could develop strategic alliances with professionals or companies with the experience you need.

This is where having a well thought out business plan is essential. You need to do a SWOT analysis which it looks like you started to do. You need people around you that compensate for your weaknesses while enhancing your strengths.


Well, you seemed to asking a tough question as most of the time people remain stuck over the confusion wether to hire an app development company or do all the work at the individual level. So what am I going to do is I am going to throw some points that could help you with the comparison.

First of all I would like to let you know about the development process of an app.

1. Development of Idea with proper market research and analysis.
2. Planning and Forming the strategy with understanding the industry and audience types.
3. Designing app's front end and getting approval from clients.
4. Coding the app for the design,features and functions approved by client.
5. Testing the app, finding and fixing bugs, fine tuning the performance.
6. Once testing team approves the app, the app is submitted to stores.

Hiring a team to develop app for you means

1. Separate team of professional for separate app development: It includes idea conceiving and maturing it with proper market research & analysis, forming strategy with keeping market trend, technology and audience-requirements in mind, designing graphical parts of an app that will be visible as front-end, coding the application for one or multiple platforms, testing it in real devices as well as in simulators, finding and fixing bugs and issues, and implementing the app.

2. Many times companies have readily available solutions that fit exactly the client’s requirements. It allows them to quickly end-up the project at minimum requirement of investment. They have multiple channels of communication and thus they can keep clients informed all through the process of development.

3. A company charges less service-fees in comparison of hiring individual developers internally and paying them salaries. When hiring a professional company, you can sign a non-disclosure agreement with it to avoid any chance of risk. A company maintains reputation in market and behalf of same, draws more customer and thus it tries to live up to the expectations of clients.

Hiring an individual developer:

First of all, individual developers cannot be less-expensive at all. It is hard to keep expenses less without shared resources. Maybe, your idea will get all the attention of a developer but how the experience, skills and creativity of an individual can be compared with a group? Individual developers have limited resources and have not worked on several projects of same kind and thus expertise is limited too.

A company has project manager who handles the entire project, communicates with every team lead and align several processes into single one. But you just cannot expect this level of professionalism from individual developers because a single person can hardly have expertise in graphics, coding, testing, content creation, and marketing.

One of the major drawbacks of hiring a single developer is that you cannot expect the same level of security as you do from a company.


Funny thing I have been in the same boat. I think it's important that you know where your skills are like you outlined above.
You will need to team up with or get educated on these things. Those are your only options. I do not believe in hiring full-time. You break each piece up into a smaller project and use places like fivver, elance and odesk to do each part individually.
For marketing you again can get people or get trained. There are many great marketing coaches out there who can guide and help you.
In the end I do not believe in hiring staff unless you have an established company with constant money coming in. There are a lot of virtual assistants and freelancers out there that can help you.


You do what you're good at and hire staff for everything else. If you have the finance for long run, hire an specialized agency or a freelancer on a fixed cost basis for the project. For example you can outsource the development part to an agency like ours or you can find a lot of agencies from elance or moisaichubs hirerequest section like Kimberly suggested.


It really depends on your idea of app and how complex it is to DEVELOP. Design and Marketing is something you can definitely do yourself as it is more of a vision item then Skillset. And most importantly, design and marketing vision that you carry will be difficult to translate on staff's mind. For web and mobile development, it is better to hire experienced developers as development needs to be scalable in nature and without reasonable experience working with development project, you are running on high risk zone. Especially when you say TRIAL and ERROS, that is something is not a viable option to build apps. Feel free to shoot any questions. Finance is not a major issue now with flexible business models available.

Anonymous User

I am sure that you are very skilled, but do not underestimate the programming side of your idea, even if you have coding experience it will be intensive and time consuming if its your first project, one obstacle in terms of time will be that you will be both the software engineer and the testing engineer, you have to be careful not to allow the two sides to overlap as it will affect your organization and mindset.

I don’t think your ambition is "crazy" but it will be challenging in many ways, if you can keep it together you will feel great achievement.

Your deadline will determine what to do next and if going solo is a good idea, you will need to consider practising/studying beforehand:

-Methodologies(both software engineering/testing and organizational)
-Testing(somewhere between 25-35% of project time)

Consider collaborations, crowd sourcing, joint venture etc. it is better to own 50% of a successful venture than 100% of a failed one.


Anonymous User

check out eLance -- i've used it in the past to hire freelancers to write code for me (and I know how to design software...it was just really cheap to get them to do it).

If the project is well-defined you can get stuff done for pretty cheap. I had a guy do probably 3 days of work on a fixed price project, and it cost $50. This may be a great option if you already know how to do the design. You will probably find issues in the stuff they produce, but you can always send it back and get it done again. The way elance works, the money is held in escrow until you're happy with the result, so you dont pay if the work sucks. Plus you can see reviews, so if someone has 4-5 stars you should get a pretty good product.

NOTE: I don't make any money, nor am I affiliated with eLance in any way.

Thanks Ryan,

Definitely this is a solid option to consider, you may also learn how to delegate tasks, review work produced, and learn a lot during the process of working with remote professionals which is great too.

I'm also would like to hear stories of people how achieve all that alone, I guess they are just a few crazy ones, I've found it fascinating doing all alone it could be a great adventure or a total waste of time.

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