10 things that changed my life, after I quit my fulltime job to make iPhone apps: Updated

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I quit post it

One year ago I quit my job and walked out of the sleek modern office block in Dublin city centre. I’d decided to take a chance, enjoy the summer and see if I could make money developing mobile apps. People thought I was crazy :) But I needed some time off after a busy year. I didn’t want to stay in work, being moderately happy. I didn’t want to look back in a years time and say ‘I wish I had done that’. The worst part was saying goodbye to my colleagues. One year later, here is an overview of what has happened.

10 things that changed since I quit my job.

1. How hard I work is directly related to how much I earn. In the past, hard work was directly related to how successful I was. Products were shipped on time, targets were met, everyone was happy. The difference now is that while I am still shipping on time, meeting my own targets and being happy in the process, I don’t have to wait for a yearly performance review. My salary is not dependent on other people’s decisions.

2. I can take holidays, travel, meet friends or go to the Dreaded Dentist whenever I like. I don’t need permission, I don’t need advance warning and I don’t feel guilty about temporarily abandoning my projects.

3. I can work in any country. All I need is a laptop and wifi.

4. I can pay others to do my work for me. And then I can do what I love – which is not working! :) This is the next stage for me. If you’ve read the 4 hour work week you can see where this is going. Ideally I want to be able to know what’s going on, steer the ship in the right direction, but have a great team working for me so I don’t need to be online every day.

5. I have an opportunity to help people. When you get a chance to help someone, and they put in the effort and execute, and you see their success it’s amazing.

6. I can go on any business trip I choose. A poll in the office one day agreed that the ultimate business trip was a conference in California. But there was zero chance or getting something like this approved with budget cuts, fiscal curtailments, etc. (I did try!) I have flown out to California on business once since then, and it won’t be the last time.

Business Trip

7. Constant learning. Whenever I started a new job there was always pressure because you were playing catch up, but it was always really exciting as you were learning a ton of new stuff. I really enjoyed this stage. Then after a while in your job, you tended to have it all under control and it could be more mundane, with not much to learn any more in that role. Sometimes you could be pushed to learn things you had no interest in, which can be exasperating. I learn so much every day in this job and that shows no signs of changing any time soon. Instead of learning what a million other people learn in standard professional courses taught the world over, I am learning from people who have already achieved tons, from amazing online blogs, books and international seminars.

8. You can never have too many friends. I was worried a year ago that I would end up as some kind of weird hermit, banging on the keyword and only seen out once a week while I grew my business. There’d be no office chat, no water cooler moments and things were going to get quite lonely. What actually happened is that because I was really motivated and enraptured by the app business, I didn’t notice the hours flying past during the day. I made more of an effort to catch up with friends outside of work. And this year I have met TONS of new friends that I would never have met otherwise, from all around the world. This is crazy stuff :)

9. My commute is about 10 seconds from my kitchen to my desk. I don’t waste time anymore.

10. I don’t get paid any more, I make money. The satisfaction that I actually have the ability to turn $100 into $200 using my own knowledge and skills is mind blowing to me. I don’t think that will ever change.

This was all possible because I choose freedom, not security. Life is too short to waste your time doing something you don’t love.


It’s been a crazy year but it’s also been a huge amount of fun. Woooohoooo we’re one year old!!

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Elaine Heney is the CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps, #1 Bestselling Author of "The App Escape Plan". Elaine has over 200 apps published with over 3 million downloads, 5 online App Development Courses, and mentors international mobile startups.

{ 29 comments… add one }

  1. 1 Adrienne Herom May 3, 2013, 8:04 pm

    Congratulations, Elaine!! What a wonderful milestone to celebrate and it sure has turned out well. Can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

  2. 2 Ina May 3, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Well done Elaine. You’re an inspiration! Congrats!!

  3. 3 Kathleen Koronui May 3, 2013, 9:09 pm

    Happy birthday Chocolate Lab Apps! Elaine you are an inspiration,
    love your work!

  4. 4 Heather Kimber May 3, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Great article!! I love to hear about how people are navigating this crazy fun industry!!

  5. 5 Angela May 3, 2013, 11:19 pm

    Congratulations Elaine!

    Absolutely love your course and am so happy to be among the many friends you’ve made around the world :-)

    You are a true inspiration and a great role model!

  6. 6 Eugenie May 4, 2013, 12:57 am

    Ideal life style, I hope one day I can enjoy the same life style.

  7. 7 Sathish May 4, 2013, 1:27 am


    Happy Birthday,You are an inspiration. Congrats!!!!

    I get lot of information/inspiration from you, especially the Slight Edge book that you mentioned the book that changed your life was truly a life changing book to me as well and I am quitting my job end of this month and definitely will use your phrase “I don’t get paid anymore, I make Money”. Just to say this gives so much confidence. I will also never forget “Life begins outside of my comfort zone”.

    See you someday soon! Cheers
    Sathish from India

  8. 8 Tasnim ahmed May 4, 2013, 11:48 am

    appreciating your initiative

  9. 9 Carol May 4, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Congratulations and well done. Perfect timing – you have inspired me! Can’t wait to join the freed people.

  10. 10 Ob Oberon May 7, 2013, 9:57 am

    Congrats Elaine,.. I’m on my way, following your succcess. Happy 1st anniversay. :)

    Ob @ AE :)

  11. 11 Iain May 7, 2013, 10:34 am

    Congratulations Elaine!
    You’ve been an inspiration to us all over the past year.
    Keep it up!


  12. 12 max May 9, 2013, 10:29 pm

    I have a question…. for reskin games you only use Aso? or you use other traffic systems? This apps work after first month?

  13. 13 admin May 10, 2013, 7:18 am

    Hi Max,

    Yes I only use ASO. And yes they work and keep earning money after the first month.

    Cheers :)

  14. 14 max May 10, 2013, 5:43 pm

    Hi Elaine.
    Revmob y chartboost is for games but What ads network is the best for normal apps¿ (I use admob but de CPC is very low).. )

  15. 15 admin May 10, 2013, 8:52 pm

    Hi Max,

    You can use revmob in non-games. I’m trying out Flurry at the minute as well. Heard good things about mopub too. Make sure you maximise your fill rate.


  16. 16 Max May 10, 2013, 10:43 pm

    Hi Elaine
    Is difficult maintain 70 apps?

  17. 17 admin May 11, 2013, 8:21 am

    I have more than 70 :) Usually after an update or two to play with keywords etc, I leave them alone. The one difference being I had to update a lot recently with Apple phasing out the UDIDs on May 1, so put in the latest ad SDKs in all of them and updated them. That was a pain but unavoidable :)

  18. 18 Max May 11, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Hi Elaine
    Thanks for your help :) How much time do you need to reskin a game?

  19. 19 Jim May 11, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Are you willing to share what kind of revenue do you generate from reskinning?:)

  20. 20 Ryan???? May 11, 2013, 9:25 pm

    Hi elaine happy 1st b day ????i hope you carry on creating great apps and i also have a few ideas myself so if you ever have a few mins spear drop me an email and i will throw a few your way ????

  21. 21 David May 12, 2013, 12:43 am

    I quit my day job too a few months ago to pursue this business full-time and I couldn’t be happier. Elaine, you are one of many who inspire me daily.. Thank you :)

  22. 22 Mark Hammer May 18, 2013, 12:23 am

    Great stuff Elaine. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


  23. 23 Jorge Suarez May 20, 2013, 9:44 am

    U rock Elaine! Congrats!

    Thx for sharing The knowledge and helping us all out!

    Keep it up!

    Besos Y.

  24. 24 Srinivas K May 22, 2013, 10:02 am

    Excellent blog.. I just did this two months back and going through the same kind of feelings..
    Thanks for your inspirational blog.. Keep it up!!

    Srinivas K

  25. 25 Ankur May 28, 2013, 4:02 pm

    Ended up at your blog after searching for rekinsable apps for iOS — researching themes/reskinning for an app. I really liked this article, and i’m hoping to follow suit in creating my own business by the end of this year.

    Congratulations on the one year anniversary!

  26. 26 Elaine May 29, 2013, 3:14 am

    Thanks all :) Max my reskins depend.. fastest record I think was an hour or two but that was unusual :)

  27. 27 Shah Parean June 4, 2013, 10:09 am

    I’m the person like you.
    I’m on my way…
    Was doing something that i didn’t love to do. But now i do something that i ever love to devote myself into my work.

  28. 28 Brian Ma September 5, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Whooo hooo!!

    Great post!! =)

    “10. I don’t get paid any more, I make money. The satisfaction that I actually have the ability to turn $100 into $200 using my own knowledge and skills is mind blowing to me. I don’t think that will ever change.”

  29. 29 Ryan P. February 22, 2014, 7:46 pm

    I have been running ads on my business for only 3 months and have began to generate 5,000,000 plus impressions monthly. I only work on android, do you have any tips for getting up and running on Apple as to how I could use current google traffic to market games I will be publishing to Apple?

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