Jun 2020: quit job
Jul 2020: start working on Petty Cash
Feb 2021: finish MVP and submit to App Store
Feb 2021: app rejected
Mar 2021: more rejections
Apr 2021: approved for App Store
I estimated it would take me 4 months to build but it ended up taking 8 months. I was an iOS Developer for 10 years before I left my job and thought I was pretty good at estimates. I struggled a lot. Some weeks I wouldn't work at all and felt bad about wasting my time.
I submitted Petty Cash to Apple at the end of Feb 2021. It got rejected for failing to meet guideline "4.3 Design - Spam." I would ask for clarification but the reviewers kept replying with generic responses of copy and paste sections of Apple's guidelines. It sounded like Petty Cash wasn't different/unique enough and that they were no longer accepting budget apps. I've submitted apps successfully before and never had this happened. I was pretty upset and stopped working on it for a few weeks.
I decided sometime at the end of March 2021 that I put too much work into Petty Cash to just give up. I kept messaging the app reviewers until I got one helpful reviewer that gave me an actual human looking response with something actionable that I could fix. After more back and forth another reviewer gave me the name of another app on the app store that they thought my app was too similar to.
I looked up this app by name on google and my jaw dropped. Their app icon was very similar to mine but was another colour. I had used an icon service to create the icon for Petty Cash and this other app must have done the same.
In the end it turns out the app icon was the problem all along. I'm not sure why they couldn't just tell me that from the beginning. All the other changes I thought I had to make didn't matter. After changing the app icon and fixing a few other things Petty Cash was finally approved for the App Store.
After 5 weeks being live on the App Store, Petty Cash has about 300 downloads and made $42. I've started to focus more on marketing and getting users since launch without much success. All the paid users were from the first week of launch and I've had no new paid users for the last few weeks.
$42 after one year is hardly a success by any measure. It's concerning that I haven't gotten a new paid user for a few weeks but I just think about how much more grateful and excited I'll be when I finally get that next paid user.
I'm weirdly optimistic for the future and am excited to continue to improve Petty Cash and get more users.
Should I be worried that I'm not more worried?