429
11 min 59 sec

Flight Instructor’s App Takes Flight, Earns $30,000

Urs Camenish wanted to create an app to help him grow his income. But, he’d never owned a smartphone or used an app in his life.
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What It's About

An instructor takes flight into the future by building his first flight app...without ever owning a smart phone.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Flying & Teaching
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

If you also feel that you’re a little bit behind the times technologically, Urs says you shouldn’t worry or let it stop you because sometimes what you don’t know can be your biggest asset! He recommends finding someone in your network who can talk you through what apps are, or buy a cheap smartphone to play around with. Then design what you think an app should be like. If you don’t know the rules, you can’t be afraid of breaking them!

Fun Fact

Urs loves apps even though he was late to the party. He’s currently working on an App called 5F, which helps people to find fitness buddies in their local area.

Notes from Chris

Episode 429
For flight instructor Urs Camenisch, it was time to increase his household income. Working 6-7 days a week for a low salary was taking its toll, and Urs wanted a way to make money while he slept. And, without giving up his passion for flying planes.

Despite not being tech savvy—in fact, he didn’t even own a smartphone—he knew an internet business would be the best solution to his problem. However he felt like websites and desktops were a dying breed, and he wanted to future-proof his business as best he could. So, he decided he would create an app.

Through his work as a flight instructor, he spotted a need for Canada’s student pilots. All of them had to take an important exam, the Pre Solo Test about Air Regulations, or PSTAR for short, before being able to fly solo. But, there was little in the way of apps or websites to provide study support. Urs decided he’d take the knowledge he had, and apply it to an easy to access app.

The first step was to find a developer to help him create the app. He found some developers and agencies he wanted to work with, wrote a brief of what he wanted made, and began to ask for quotes. Much to his surprise, they all came back to him with hefty quotes of $30,000 dollars—a whole year’s salary for him. Which was (of course) out of the question.

Not one to be defeated, Urs found a hidden gem in one of the emails a developer sent him. He told Urs that he has to charge so much because he wouldn’t outsource his work. This was a lightbulb moment for him. Why pay so much if he could find the people the developers were outsourcing too and cut out the middleman entirely?

This brought Urs to freelance marketplaces, like Elance and Odesk, which joined forces and is now one company called Upwork.

This time, the quotes came back at a much more affordable rate of $1,000 for the entire app. Urs says he’s a firm believer in hiring locally, but if it’s 30 times the price, someone on a small budget really doesn’t have the luxury of choice.

The final start-up costs for the PSTAR app came in at $3,500. To try and recoup these funds, Urs set the price of his app at affordable prices that would help him earn back the initial investment over the course of the first year or so.

Since launching the app, he’s earned an extra $30,000 through sales. Looking to the future, Urs has started developing another app for fitness lovers. He’s also started to invest in real estate and has found a better job that he loves as a Medevac pilot. All thanks to this one app that eventually took off!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • PSTAR Exam App: If you hail from the Great White North and are looking for your aerial career to take flight, get to studying with Urs' exam prep app

  • Upwork: The global freelancing platform that helps businesses connect with independent freelancers remotely
  • 5F: If you're looking for something more mainstream than an app for Canadian flight students, check out Urs' other app—it's essentially "Tinder for workout partners!"
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Be realistic and prioritize: Hire professionals if you can’t do it yourself. I taught myself a lot but when it came time to code the app, I hired professionals. Remember, you still have a day job to do and that’s what puts food on the table."
—Urs Camenisch #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau