January 8, 2023
Indie Dev Diaries #4: Looking ahead to 2023

It’s important to set goals for yourself. You can use them to keep yourself accountable, and to measure success further down the line.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that my 2022 was a record-breaking year for my indie development career. However, I can’t just put my feet up and chill! I’ve got to keep iterating on my existing apps (and maybe release more?!) to keep the momentum going into 2023.

Where do I take my apps from here?

Before setting my goals, I like to sit down and think about where I want to take my apps this year. I have big feature backlogs for both Classifier and Ceramispace, with a range of features that I’ve either come up with myself or received requests for from users.

There are a few common themes between both apps, such as being able to support iOS 17 and any new features (where appropriate) on day one, while also retaining iOS 16 support. For the purpose of this post, it makes sense to bring up some of the main themes for this year for each app.


Removing Onboarding Friction

One of Classifier’s problems right now is losing people early on. If the app doesn’t have a template for a user’s collection, they can find it difficult to create their own, and it takes too long before they can start doing the fun part, which is adding their collectibles. Instead of forcing users to create a complicated collection schema, I’d like to instead move to an approach where as they’re adding a collectible, they can choose which pieces of information they want to store. If they’ve previously added a collectible, these same properties will be suggested to them, so they can optionally reuse them. Essentially, Classifier will create the user’s schema in the background based on the information they are adding to their collectibles.

I am kicking myself that I didn’t come up with this solution earlier, but that’s why you iterate. Lowering the bar to entry for Classifier is key to getting more users!

UI/UX Revamp

I’ve had some feedback that Classifier feels like a boring, Apple app. I’m not complaining about that - I had designed Classifier to feel right at home on Apple devices on purpose. However, I would agree that the app is a little boring, and lacks its own personality. The new app icon certainly gave the app some life, but now I need to improve the UI/UX to bring it to the same level.

To do that, I’ll be looking to improve my SwiftUI animation skills, and work on my UI design to deviate a little (or maybe a lot, we’ll see) from the standard UI components that SwiftUI provides.

App Customization

Somewhat related to the last section, I’ve had numerous requests for greater customization in Classifier. This has ranged from being able to change the app’s accent colour, to being able to lay out your collectibles differently. This doesn’t feel super high-priority, but it’s something I’d like to explore nonetheless.


All the Features

Ceramispace’s backlog is much more feature-rich than Classifier’s. I’d be writing forever if I were to explain each and every one, but they range from being able to set up firing schedules for other types of kilns, to being able to share data with your friends and family. It feels nice to not be short on ideas, but this is largely down to having such a fantastic user base who provide a constant flow of feedback! It also helps when your wife is your number one user. 🥰

App Customization

Again, folks seem to want increased control over how the app looks. Late last year, I added the ability for Ceramispace Pro users to customize which tabs are shown at the bottom on their iPhone, given that Ceramispace now has 8 different sections of the app, with some being more useful than others for some users.

Ceramispace’s UI at-present has a minimalistic feel, largely influenced by my wife’s aesthetic. As I have come to learn, not every ceramic artist is a fan of minimalism! I’d therefore like to experiment with adding several customization options that would help ceramic artists make Ceramispace feel a part of their studio. This may include allowing users to customize the app’s fonts, accent and background colours, and maybe additional alternative app icons.


There are a ton of ceramic artist influencers. Late last year, I spent several hours researching who the big influencers are in the community on both Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Once I’ve cleared out the feature backlog, it is my intention to start reaching out to these influencers in order to see if there’s a way to collaborate and get Ceramispace in front of a wider audience. This part is key to reaching my financial goals for this year, which I discuss further on.

To start things off, I’ll be working be working with my wife (who has close to 9000 followers on Instagram) to create some Ceramispace content in her ceramics studio that will be shared on social media. By doing this, I’ll be able to point to it as an example of how a collaboration with Ceramispace could work to potential partners.

The Goals

Everything mentioned above is intended to help me reach my goals this year. Achieving all of that would also be a good goal to have, but I need something to show for it!

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

By the end of 2023, I want to reach CA$1,000 in MRR. This is quite the North Star, but I feel confident that my apps are well-placed to help me reach this goal.

As of writing, I’m not even 10% there. This goal is also made more difficult by the fact that it only includes revenue from subscriptions!

Total Subscriptions

To achieve the above goal, I’ll need to reach a certain number of subscribers. The subscription prices for Classifier and Ceramispace differ (1 year of Classifier is US$5.99, whereas it’s currently US$11.99 for Ceramispace). I’d need either 2,000 Classifier subscribers alone, or 1,000 Ceramispace subscribers to achieve my MRR goals.

Given how the apps perform currently, my active subscriber target for Classifier is 500, and 750 for Ceramispace. My reasoning for this is that Ceramispace is in a much better position to grow than Classifier and has a higher ceiling, although I’m banking on both being successful this year.

Total Proceeds

After Apple takes their 15% cut, I’d like to achieve CA$15,000 in total proceeds. A large part of that will be the MRR mentioned before, but I’m also expecting users to continue purchasing the one-time lifetime options I have in both apps. I have lifetime priced at about 3.5x the annual subscription price, but there are many people who vehemently hate subscriptions, so will always prefer the lifetime option. I expect these purchases to continue throughout the year, and to prop up my total proceeds for 2023.

Get my first App Store feature

Not all of my goals are financial!

I’d love to be featured on the App Store. This may be in the form of a “Apps we love today” or in a list to showcase apps using the latest features, but I’m going to make an effort to fill Apple’s App Store promotion form in advance of my app’s big updates this year. If I were to achieve this, it would also help me towards the other goals I’m setting.

In Summary

Gee I have lofty ambitions.

I’m trying to push myself to ever-greater heights. I have belief in myself that I can meet each and every goal that I’ve set for myself. I’m not silly though. This won’t be plain sailing; I’ll hit obstacles and learn how to overcome them. But that’ll make me a better indie developer as a result.

I’ll look to keep you all updated on my progress in future newsletters, and share some tips along the way that you can try to apply to your own apps.

What goals are you setting for yourself in 2023? You can toot me on Mastodon!

Until next time. Ciao!

Brought to you by PupperPost