Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey! Well to start my name is Cameron Upson, and I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur. I recently acquired an app development company called Appsitude that a friend of mine started. I am not the original founder but I think of myself as one as I had to completely restart the company from the ground up and get it moving again.
It sat stagnant for a year or so when the former CEO moved on to another project as app development wasn't his calling in life. I have really been there since the beginning of everything and plan on being there all the way through until we are one of the biggest app development companies in the world. We tend to do quite a lot of B2B but we also really enjoy doing B2C as the app ideas can always get to the next level! We are currently doing around $30,000 to $50,000 a month and have big plans to continue our growth, watch out world.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I grew up in North Vancouver, Canada, as a normal kid, went to public school, I have zero post-secondary experience, and yet I had this unwavering need to succeed to do something great, I just didn't know what. I don't know if it was to prove it to myself or to show everyone else I could do it? Everyone could always tell I was different than my friends they would be out partying and I would be doing something business-related to either better myself or figuring out another way to make money.
If it's not your area of expertise and you have the money I would recommend hiring out for positions your not good at.
I knew I wouldn't be like them, working 9-5 for somebody wasn't something I could do the rest of my life I needed to figure something out and fast. Every job I got I was either fired or quit. It really is true that a boss makes a terrible employee.
I did all sorts of things growing up on the internet it really was a grind. Anything I could do to make money I did it. I was on Fiverr posting flyers for people and made about $10,000 doing that. I then moved onto buying and reselling clothes among other things. After all that I wanted to expand my horizons and have always been interested in real estate so I moved onto subletting apartments on Airbnb and really found a great way to make some serious money. Moving into present most of my time and passion goes into app development but I am still really into real estate and will continue in real estate on the side!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Here at Appsitude, we have a super easy four-step program to make it as simple as possible. To begin, we start with your idea and see exactly where you want to go with it and figure out the best way to get the job done in the timeliest fashion. After we have a direction to go with the project it's on to phase two which is our design phase.
In our design phase, we really try to get a feel of what you would want and make sure to keep in touch with you heavily throughout this phase to make sure it looks and feels exactly how you imagined it. Once the app is looking great we will do a final preview of the app and make sure it is perfect before moving on to phase three. Now that the design is done the project goes over to our coders to get everything working in the backend properly. After that is all said and done we double-check over the whole project to make sure there are no bugs and if there are squash them and they were ready for launch!
Describe the process of launching the business.
Well as I said earlier, I took over this company after it had been sitting stagnant for around a year and a half and was pretty much dead. I had to do a complete relaunch from the ground up. I used up a lot of the money I had from real estate doing marketing for the company and man is it not easy if you don't know what your doing.
I have zero experience marketing and lost a decent amount of money trying to figure it out. You also need to think about how valuable your time is I wasted a lot of time trying to make Craigslist ads and looking through craigslistall.com for people in need of app development. If it's not your area of expertise and you have the money I would recommend hiring out for positions your not good at. That's what I ended up doing and getting a marketing expert on board to do some SEO work for us helped a lot.
After doing some marketing, it took a few months before we started to see a good amount of clients come in. That's when I realized the power of marketing and how much easier it is when you have clients coming to you for your services and not the other way around. It is 10x easier to close when you have a client who comes looking for you and not you looking for him.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
One thing I learned is that content is key and you need it to be trustworthy, especially in this business. It may be different for other businesses, but in-app development trust is everything because sometimes people could be sending you their life savings! It's one thing to trust a company to send you the $50 worth of stuff you ordered but trusting someone with $10,000-$100,000 on an app is a whole other story.
Another thing that I would say that is as equally as important is cost. What helped us make the highest quality apps at a cost-effective standpoint with our clients was choosing our developers wisely. A lot of app development companies want to only use devs from the USA or Canada and that's a huge oversight. One they cost quite a bit more than someone equally as good in a foreign country such as Ukraine or India.
Two of the people I have hired overseas are the hardest working people I have met in my life and have a real positive attitude and a can-do mentality. What I always like to say is you can have the 50th best in America or the best of the best from a country overseas for the same price. If you can get over having a slight language barrier it is amazing to see the grind from people around the world trying to get their work out there for the world to see. That is how we have had so much success in such a short time period.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today we are doing good but there is always room for improvement! We are not even in the top 50% of app development companies out there, so there is always room to expand our reach. One thing we need to improve upon further would be conversions through our website. You will always have people on your site that don't convert to sales and that's just how it is, but I feel like we need to really crack down with more content and keep working with our marketing department to really make something happen there. Thus far with the work, we have done SEO wise I have seen a huge ROI and definitely plan on continuing down that path.
In the future, I would like to also like to do a lot more Facebook ads and Google Adwords to really help us grab ahold of people's attention! All that in due time because we really can't handle much more before we expand and hire some new devs so were just gonna wait on that for now.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Grind and don't stop grinding! No one will give you money, you need to get out there and make it. I had no clue I would end up where I am now, I just went with the flow and it seemed to all just work itself out. I had many moments of just giving up completely and letting the company sit for longer while I wallowed in my own self-pity for not landing a contract or getting mad a client that backed out when I needed it most. There is nothing you can do about these moments it's just life and you have to deal with it, get back up and get back to work!
I know saying learn from your mistakes is a pretty generic thing to say but it is so true and is very important. If you say you don't make mistakes when building a company you are a liar, plain and simple it is not easy! Especially if it is your first one! Nobody tells you what to do you, there was no class in high school to teach you how to do taxes, how to incorporate your company, how to find clients, how to find employees, you have to figure it all out on your own. And that isn't for everybody but if you are a true entrepreneur you will make it work because it has to.
One more thing I learned is that I have a really tough time focusing when I needed to. If you have this problem you need to find a solution or you will get nothing done. I wake up and go to the gym and get everything else out of the way so that when it comes to it there is nothing else to do! This seems to work for me and really gets me in the zone to do what I need to do. Also listening to EDM/ trance music seems to really fire me up if I need an extra boost!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
One of my favorite apps to use for the organization would have to be Trello! It really helps me and my team stay organized so we all know what needs to be done. Trello lets you connect with anyone you invite into it to see current tasks at hand that need to be finished. You can make different cards for different team members so everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and also what has been done.
Another one of my go-to apps for the organization would have to be Pipedrive. Pipedrive is great for keeping your potential clients in order. You know exactly what stage everyone is at from just getting in touch with signing the contract. I cannot recommend these apps enough for the organization!
If I need to look for an extra developer or something in a hurry I will always go to Upwork! Doesn't matter if you are just starting out of a multi-million dollar company Upwork is always great to find people for just about any project you can think of!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The first book I read was Think and Grow Rich. This one's a classic and I would definitely recommend it as it helps a lot with mindset. The second book I read was Zero to One. This one was really about trying to be different and seemed like it was more aimed at people trying to accomplish new ideas and how to implement them.
I am currently reading Never Split the Difference which is a really good book on how to negotiate to get the best possible outcome on anything in life. After I have finished this book I will be reading Rich Dad Poor Dad as I have been recommended by so many people! I heard it is about mindset on life and I am very excited to read it when the time comes.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Just do it. You hear or think of a good idea or maybe you just see someone else doing something that is working, don't be afraid to follow their footsteps and just go for it. The worst thing that I can think of is dying at an old age with regret saying what if this, what if that. Don't let there be any “what ifs” and just send it. What's the worst that can happen? You can always make that money back at least you tried.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I have been thinking about getting a sales team together that would work off of commission. I have hired a salesman before on salary and commission and it just didn't work out.
If you're interested in bringing in clients to me I am willing to give more commission in return for not getting paid a salary. Email me at [email protected] with the header (APPLYING FOR a SALES POSITION) if you're interested!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!
Email, SMS, and more — Klaviyo brings your marketing all together, fueling growth without burning through time and resources.
Deliver more relevant email and text messages — powered by your data. Klaviyo helps you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers with all the power of an enterprise solution and none of the complexity.