What if instead, you could inspire your friends and family to do something more meaningful for your youngsters' celebrations: to pitch in and grow their nest eggs, help them improve the world and spur them to explore the cooler sides of money.
Kids around the world aren’t just using electronic apps, they’re building them.
As adults, apps still have a cool, convenience factor: “Oh, look. I can get real-time traffic info—including recent accidents. Better not take the bridge.” But for kids, apps are sewn into the fabric of their lives early on. Chances are they’ve learned to count, read and fling Angry Birds from the family’s tablet or smart phone while still in preschool. But here’s the thing: A growing number of kids are now building apps—and some are even making money at it. How are they doing it and might the young one in your life have what it takes to boost his or her personal finances by getting in on the app-building game? Here’s a primer on the market and a look at four young people (one is just nine-years-old) who’ve succeeded.
No matter your age, it’s not easy to break into the seemingly saturated app-building business. These days, would-be developers offer a constant stream of ideas for various brands and devices. You can now find more than 650,000 apps to download via the iPhone App Store, and 500,000 more at Google Play. Apple alone gets 26,000 app submissions from hopefuls every week.
Despite all that competition, it is still possible for a child to break through the clutter. To make that happen, your young entrepreneur should consider four basic steps:
- Come up with a great idea.
- Build the app using one of the standard programming languages such as Java, C++, or PHP. Or, enlist a reputable app-builder service to do this part.
- Submit the app and get it approved by the iTunes App Store, Google Play, or some other app outlet.
- Promote the app so it gets noticed and downloaded. Your loved one will want to get the word out to friends and family using social media. Post it on Facebook and Twitter. If the app is worthy, users will come.
If you’re looking for help or guidance, we’ve put together a list of some of the more helpful sites out there:
appsbar at appsbar.com — The site takes you through the process of submitting your app using pretty simple language, but you have to be 13 years old to use the site.
Mobile by Conduit at conduit.mobile.com — This site can take your app through the entire submission process, which normally takes a few weeks. It also has a support team you can contact if you get stuck during the process, or just need more help.
GameSalad at gamesalad.com — This one is for game apps only, but it’s a fun, user-friendly site. It claims you can create games on this site with no coding expertise, and you can create a prototype in a matter of hours.
My App Builder at myappbuilder.com — This one can get a bit geeky with tech speak, but the big plus with it is it’ll build your app for you—for a price.
To inspire your little entrepreneur, tell him or her about these four incredible “business kids,” each of whom built at least one successful app that remains on the market today:
Thomas Suarez, 12: This 6th-grader from Manhattan Beach, California, developed a fun app he cheekily named “Bustin Jieber.” It’s a “whack-a-mole” game featuring the face of teen pop star Justin Bieber. Here’s a link to an amazing 4-minute presentation Thomas gave on his work last year at a California tech conference: http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_suarez_a_12_year_old_app_developer.html
Robert Nay, 15: If you think all young app-builders come from places like Silicon Valley or Boston’s Technology Corridor, they don’t. Nay, whose physics-inspired app called “Bubble Ball” became the most popular iPhone app in the world at one point last year, lives in Spanish Fork, Utah. Population: 34,691. Nay founded his own company called Nay Games in 2010 (www.naygames.com). You can learn more about this entrepreneur here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/20/us-whizkid-iphone-idUSTRE70J05W20110120
Ebony Samantha, 17: This Australia teen started designing websites when she was 12. More recently she turned to apps and her first venture became “Lomo Ho,” a super-neat, artsy app that allows users to give their photos a vintage photography feel. Here’s a short piece on Samantha from the Newcastle (Australia) Herald website: http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/coalfields-teen-gets-appy/2412378.aspx
Lim Ding Wen, 12: This entrepreneur, who lives in Singapore, created his first app when he was 9. It’s called “Doodle Kids,” and allows users to draw all sorts of shapes and colors. He designed it for his two little sisters so they could practice their painting without getting messy. He is now working on an iPad-compatible game called “Invader War 2.” CNN International recently named him one of Singapore’s “icons of cool.” Here’s a short bio on him: http://thyechean.appspot.com/web/Ding_Wen.html
What apps do you or your children use to make life a bit easier? Join the discussion on Ballooning Nest Eggs Facebook page.