4 Keys to Developing a Profitable Web Application

Mark Zuckerberg

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain “affiliate” links to products and services I recommend. I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to purchase one of these products or services. I only recommend products I genuinely believe will help you in running your freelance business.

Building a profitable web application is often the fastest way to notoriety as a developer (just ask Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin).

It’s also often the quickest way to have massive impact on the world and improve thousands or even millions of people’s lives.

And, of course, if you hit it big (and usually even if you don’t)… the pay isn’t too shabby, either. 🙂

But, how can you ensure the web application you want to develop will be a success?

Having worked at a successful tech start-up for the last five years, I want to share a few of my insights:

1. Build Something People Want

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many developers don’t do this. The “gotcha” here is building something you assume people will want… not something you know they do.

When the founders of our company (WishList Products) got started, they developed an application that they themselves wanted and felt was sorely missing for their business.

But, they didn’t stop there. They quickly put it on the market (after only about a month or so of development) to see if anyone else wanted it too.

And, the demand for the product exploded. Then and only then did they go all-in and create a full-fledged company.

Research, build and test as quickly as possible until you find a winner. Selling people something they want will make every other part of your business that much easier.

2. Learn How to Sell

This is easily the biggest roadblock for developers… loathing the idea of “selling” and being afraid to aggressively market your product.

That doesn’t mean you need to be a douche about it… but you should genuinely believe that your product will make people’s lives better and not be afraid to share that.

One of the distinct advantages our application had was founders who weren’t afraid to market it…. and who had a solid plan for doing so.

In fact, outside observers have noted time and again that it’s our marketing that’s allowed us to dominate the market we’re in.

Don’t be afraid to sell your product… and take it further by developing a solid plan for getting it in front of the people most likely to benefit from it.

Click here to learn my strategy for dominating any industry with web applications.

3. Stay Nimble

This probably isn’t something you’re thinking about now, but it will quickly become one of your biggest roadblocks.

Early on, in a startup… you’re able to move and adapt quickly because you often have very little infrastructure in place. Over time, however, that infrastructure grows and can become debilitating.

When WishList Products first started out, it was just three people and one product. Today, it’s over 15 employees and 20+ products. That’s a lot bigger ship to steer.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow your company, but you have to actively look for ways to keep it light and easy to maneuver in what is an ever-changing landscape.

4. Hire the Right People

When you first start, it’s all about the idea. That’s the dominant thought in your mind and what you believe is the key factor to your success.

Over time, though, you learn having the right people on your team is what will determine your success… because an idea is only as good as the people building it.

One of the best things you can do to ensure you get the right people is to develop a hiring process as early on as you can. You just need something in place that you can evaluate and improve.

Then over time… analyze how good you are at getting the right people and how you can tweak your hiring process to improve the quality of the employees you hire.

Getting Started

We’ve covered a lot… so what can you do right now to get started with all this?

Take a look at your product or your idea and do some hard-nosed evaluation on whether it’s something people really want. See if an industry already exists online (it’s a good thing if there is) and take a look at what your future competitors are building.

What’s missing? How can you do it better?

Ask around and get feedback on your idea from people in that industry. You want to go into this knowing your idea is a homerun.

You might also like

Do you want more freelance clients?

I’ll show you what I learned over the last 15 years to grind out (from absolute scratch) a backlog of new clients wanting to hire you. Who your best client prospect are, what services you should be offering them, where to find them and more. Just enter your email address in the box below and let’s get started:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Do you want more freelance clients?

Enter your email below to get started building your system for consistently bringing in new freelance clients:


Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Bradley Smith

John and I have worked together on numerous projects. John is very quick and efficient and was a pleasure to work with.

Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Lewis Howes

John is amazing at building membership sites. He converted one of my sites over from it’s existing (hardly working) platform over to the clean and simple to use WishList membership platform. I highly recommend using John and WishList for any of your membership site needs.

Bob Patterson

Not only is John a very talented programmer and developer, he is also an excellent communicator. He has a talent for taking complex subjects and communicating them in terms that anyone can understand. This is a rare combination. This ability has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge to the next level. Thank you John for for all that you do.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Close Menu