5 steps to creating an app: an entrepreneur’s guide 02.05.14

“fitbook should be an app!”fitbook+ lite app
“have you thought about creating an app?”
“you know what would be a good idea? create an app.

yes, i hear you loud and clear. i’m not ignoring you, i promise. and our app has been in development for over 18 months. we’ve been workin’ on it – until now. it’s here. oh yes, it is. our long-awaited app has arrived.  what took so long? oh i’m so glad you asked.

here’s a little glimpse inside my world of creating an app, step-by-step.

1) identify if you really need an app
our bread n’ butta is fitbook. a brilliantly designed (in my not-so-humble opinion) pen + paper product that 6 years running now has proven to be the driving force behind fitlosophy’s growth.  so why would i create an app that would take away from that? at first glance, my thought was, “uh, no.”  but, i’ve always operated my business on this philosophy: give customers what they want. that said, my mission was to delve deeper and give you something that you maybe didn’t even know you need. so here’s why we moved forward designing an app: i knew that i could create an app that adds value to my existing customers and would simultaneously attract new users; people that have and never will use a tangible fitbook but want our design in a digital format.

app tip:  in business, there are always trends and you have to have a clear picture of which ones you will follow and which ones you will set. part of fitlosophy’s success has been in its ability to buck the trend and go against the flow. i mean, who creates a paper journal in the age of technology?  please head to your nearest Target location and you will find fitbook lining the shelves of all 1790+ stores nationwide. sometimes being different, works.

2) don’t deliver the expected
i didn’t want to create an app just for the sake of creating an app. would creating a replication of fitbook in an app form add value? not really. there are a ton of calorie-counting, workout-tracking apps out there and to create one this late in the game that was more of the same, well that’s just silly. instead, i approached this with one question in mind: “what would help my fitbookers reach their goals?”  when using fitbook, the single factor that affects whether or not someone is successful is two fold: 1) having a very clear, measurable goal and 2) identifying that driving factor and underlying motivation behind wanting to achieve a goal. for me, solving that piece of the puzzle for my existing customers and adding value for those individuals was my key priority.  coming up with a solution for someone who had never used fitbook before would come second.

app tip: figure out how to add value and who you’re adding value for. delivering an app for loyal, paying customers who support your brand should supersede creating a solution for people who aren’t even familiar with who you are. it’s tempting to want to provide all things to all people, but as a small business you have to stay intently focused on who your customer is at all times and keep them happy first and foremost.

 3) be on-brand.iphone android fitbook
when i sat down to design this, i literally walked through every single scenario, goal, motivation, and outcome possible.  from writing every single goal that you might have and determining how you measure progress to identifying where you are now and what will motivate you to get where you want to be, i spent hours upon hours configuring just how the app would work so that you got to the end of it and said, “wow.”  i want to wow you.  it was crucial to me to design an app that stays true to our goal-setting methodology and focus on journaling, but also harnesses the power of technology to be able to analyze your goal and tell you if it’s achievable.  yes, it’s that smart!  i designed it so that if you have a goal to lose too much weight too fast or your goal weight isn’t healthy, we give you a big red X.  now that, adds value.   so if you go through the app and feel like you just had a mini coaching session with me, then mission accomplished!

app tip:  creating an app reflects on your brand, so it’s important that the app is a piece of your overall strategy, rather than being your only strategy.  for fitlosophy,  that meant complementing the fitbook user’s experience.  from design elements and verbiage to flow and functionality, the goal is to create a seamless, familiar app experience so they aren’t seen as separate, but as cohesive parts that work together in unison.

4) find your blue ocean.
i was intent on designing a goal-setting app related to your fitness + nutrition; not to design a weight-loss app that helps you set goals.  why? well first off – our mantra is live life fit, meaning we take a lifestyle approach to health.  not everyone’s goal is to lose weight so by creating just (another) weight loss app we alienate a majority of our customers and send the message that weight loss should be your only goal. not true!  plus, we wanted to set ourselves apart by focusing on healthy, achievable goals that can help someone whether they’re looking to lose the baby weight or training for a triathlon.

app tip: if you search in the app store for ‘weight loss’ there are over 2200 apps. but search for ‘goal setting’ – only 72. and of those, only a handful are specific to your fitness and health.  ah, in grad school we call this finding the ‘blue ocean’; an area of opportunity to stand out from the crowd.  and when you’re an itty-bitty company, it’s even more crucial that you are laser-focused on what sets you apart; that should be the nucleus around how you grow the business. for fitlosophy, it’s all about goals. so when faced with a new idea or direction, all you have to ask yourself is, “does this support our key focus?”.

5) just launch it.
go figure, i’m a perfectionist.  truth be told we probably could have launched this maybe 3 months ago, but i wanted to finalize the sharing functionality on the very last screen of the app because i’m adamant that sharing your 12-week goals via social media will help you reach them (because research shows it does, by 76% in fact). then of course we tested and tested and every little teeny tiny bug had to be fixed because the last thing i want is cranky, confused fitbookers! of course i also wanted to launch the upgrade at the same time which allowed you to take that app-generated 12-week goal and then track your progress!  but here’s news for you: technology projects move like at a snail’s pace (especially compared to fitbook: print, ship, boom – done!). so rather than further delay launching the free version of the app just to finalize the upgrade, i decided to just roll with it. launch it, get some feedback, finish up the upgrade, and launch it this summer (God-willing!).  is it ideal? well not in my perfect type-A world, but i’m learning that my perfectionist approach doesn’t always serve me (or my customers) well. 

app tip: whether it’s developing an app or just running a business, nothing ever goes as planned. successful people are those that adjust, adapt, and change.  attempting to force your plan in any situation actually further delays the outcome (trust me).  if this is you, surround yourself with a team who pushes you to move forward even when you don’t want to.

with that, here is the latest + greatest from fitlosophy, introducing:
fitbook+ lite goal-setting app
[now available for free download on iphone + android]

comment below…let me know what you think! i hope we wow you.
appily yours,
angela 

being type A: the pros + cons 01.06.14

type A phone casei don’t do resolutions, i set goals. this time of year we are bombarded with this new challenge and that new program that will make this year the best ever. “new year, new you!” heck, we just launched a new 21-day kick start yesterday, so guilty as charged.

and we, myself included, get so hyped up on starting the year out just perfectly that sometimes the result is deer-in-headlights. and this is coming from a self-proclaimed goal-setting expert! yet, just like you, i seek advice and guidance, knowing that there are multitudes of goal-setting experts who might give me just one more tidbit of info that could turn my life around. hopeful, yes. but all of this seeking advice abound, while informational, often times this leaves me so scattered and unfocused that i don’t even know where to start! can i get a “uh, huh.”? (uttered with a sassy, southern drawl).

as i type, my kitchen table is covered with the following:

  • my 2013 goal list to reflect on how far i’ve come in the last year
  • my SMART success notebook with my notes scribbled down, which i have now ripped out of the notebook so i can re-write in legible handwriting. ya know, because if it’s not purty, it ain’t right.
  • a lovely planner for creative entrepreneurs that i was gifted last year and annoyingly never started because my type-A personality (heaven forbid!) couldn’t start a planner unless it’s on jan 1!
  • my new fitbook, which i started today because of course jan 1st fell on a wednesday, and who starts a workout program on a wednesday?

and just by jotting that short little list down, i’m now, more than ever, aware how my perfectionist, type A tendencies so often get in the way of my goals.  i mean, really. who has the time to re-write notes in a notebook? and the only reason i can share these things with you is because, well, i’ve found that my fitbookers are a lot like me. here are some of the amusing, yet relateable things i’ve heard over the years, which convince me that you are in fact the (low-sugar) jelly to my (all-natural) peanut butter:

  • do you sell white out in grey so that when i mess up on the grey areas of fitbook i can start over? (hmm…new product idea, perhaps. ha!)
  • can i get a refund if i started the fitbook and messed up? (fortunately, i feel your pain. unfortunately, we’d go out of business!)
  • can you make your pens with blue ink because i only write in blue? (note: we changed from blue to black because i don’t like it…sorry, creator’s advantage)

you get the point. there are a small, yet special group of us who have such high expectations of ourselves and the work we produce, that we fall prey to doing much worse than messing up: nothing at all. you may laugh at the points above, but you know you’ve thought some of these same thoughts!  you know who you are. you’re the person who adds something to a to do list even if it’s not on there, just so you can check it off. you, yes you, will abandon a perfectly fine fitbook mid-way through just because your handwriting got sloppy or you need a fresh start. you consider organizing a hobby. you might even tote around an iphone case that touts your type A tendencies (photo to right). and sometimes you risk doing something you’re not sure of because it might be outside your comfort zone.  you, my dear, are just like me.

being me has it’s downsides sometimes, like…

  • when things are outside my control (like my long-awaited app being 3 weeks late or damaged shipper boxes on the endcap at Target!)
  • when others don’t meet my expectations because my standards are set almost unreasonably high.
  • when i’m hard on those i love because of the aforementioned high expectations.
  • nothing is ever good enough and i’m always driving myself to do more, be more.
  • i procrastinate like a jedi master.

and yet, here’s what i’ve found. being me means always delivering my best work. it means i’m dependable and i will always deliver. yes, there are parts of me that aren’t desirable. but learning from these goal-setting masters have helped me take away these 3 key points for setting my 2014 goals.

  1. trust myself
    chalene johnson is a big proponent of self-confidence and after listening to her CARsmart series on this topic, i realized that: “ya know what? i do know what i’m talking about!” so what did i do? clicked back to my own blog post from last year on setting goals and doggone it, if it’s not pretty darn good. often times i spend more time questioning myself than making forward progress. no more!
  2. mess up
    okay, this goes against my natural tendencies, but what i did was grab a blank white sheet of paper and just started scribbling. that way, i get my thoughts out (which is the whole point) and brainstormed all my goals. then i went back and circled the top 10 for the year and made sure they were measurable (dates, numbers, etc.).  now i can go back and write them in my journal or type them up all pretty to post where i see them each day!
  3. set reminders
    the only bad part about setting yearly goals is that you only see them once a year! like my 2013 goals: they were posted on my fridge until i moved, so i haven’t seen them in like 7 months! not to my surprise, i didn’t reach some of them. so i’ve set reminders in my phone for the first sundays in march, june, and sept, and december to spend an hour revisiting and reworking my goals.

want to read more on goal setting? here are a few resources:
>> i am MORE: goal-setting for life
>> break it down, make it happen
>
> game-changing ingredients for reaching your goals

happy new year! share your goals with me and let’s do this.
(im)perfectly yours,
angela

super bowl sunday: healthy competition [recipes included] 01.01.14

gobroncos

what are the odds that this born-and-raised colorado girl’s broncos would meet my sweet seattle boyfriend’s seahawks in the superbowl?  all season, we joked, but each weekend i would don the seattle shirt proudly as they played the opposing team; he would sport orange and blue in support of my broncos. and then it got real. oh yes, our teams will go head-to-head in Super Bowl XLVIII this sunday. and i’m not a luke-warm fan. if you’re from colorado, you come out of the womb rooting for orange and blue. and as a 2-time super bowl champ team who saw a lot of losses up until my senior year of high school in 1998, we know what it’s like to be a tried-and-true fan. i mean, God made sunsets orange and blue for a reason, right?

when i was little my mom bought me a little “when i grow up book” that you write in, everything from what your dreams are to who your hero is. what was my response to “when i grow up i want to _____”?  marry john elway. and there you have it.

the elway era may have passed, but it’s manning’s moment now to bring home another win for the mile high city. of course in celebration of this match-up between our two teams, a super bowl party was a must.  and while i believe wholeheartedly in enjoying all things in moderation, i’m also all about enjoying healthy sides to offset + accompany my few brewskies. because what’s football without a cold one?

SuperBowl Commercial Challengemy plan? to kick off the day bright and early with a killer workout. but if you don’t have time for a sweat sesh, you can always follow along this little commercial break challenge i created for you to burn off the beers and make the super bowl ads a bit more entertaining (and exhausting).

check out my super bowl-themed recipes, appropriately orange and blue. now, off to grocery shop for my healthy grub + get my game face on.

GO BRONCOS!

angela

 

 

[click to view larger in pinterest + see more recipes!]
 

new year, new at target: SIGN UP to kickstart 2014! 12.29.13

 

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2013 healthy holiday gift list: my top picks! 12.13.13

got some fitness lovin’ goal setters on your list this year? we’ve got you covered + some special deals to boot! here is my round up of our favorite fit products for some healthy holiday gifting. merry merry christmas to you!

for the fit foodie

for the fit foodie

a food scale + healthy cookbook makes for a fab gift for the fit foodie on your list:
1. food scale by fitlosophy  2. giada’s feel good food  3. gywneth paltrow’s it’s all good 4. practical paleo by diane sanfilippo

for the runner

giftguiderunner

as a runner myself, thank you very much, i know that any pavement pounder on your list: would be happy to receive any of these 1. runner charms by metalexpressions by 2. the special edition fitbook runner box 3. lululemon frosty ear warmer

the crossfit + lifting lover

crossfittergot a crossfit fiend or gym rat on your list? i’ve got you covered:
1.beats headphones 2. fitbook black to track sets + reps and WODs  3. burpees yay! socks

mr. or mrs. always on-the-go

on the go

need to fuel up on-the-go? energize with this list of goodies:
1. eboost natural energy [for 30% off enter code "fitbook"] 2. fitfuel mixer BlenderBottle 3. designer whey protein [for 20% off use FITBOOK20] 

the goal getter

goal gettergot goals? get ready for 2014 + gear up now and gift these to your goal-digger friends:
1. health-eBYTES daily text messages 2. goal digger iphone case 3. goal weight body scale *red is on sale!

fit philanthropist

fit gifts that give backwanna do good while you gift? well, now you can:
1. fitbook pink + TNT 2. workout tanks that give back by sevenly 3. limited edition water bottle donating to water.org 

the fit family

fit family

what better way to teach the wee ones to be healthy than to lead by example? get fit as a fam this holiday:
1. yonanas healthy frozen treat maker 2. fam pack featuring fitbook + fitbook junior 3. prego pack with mama2b + dvds for those expecting

what is your fave item on the list? do tell. comment with the ONE thing on here you’re adding to your list and maybe santa will deliver a lil’ surprise for you! [hint: GIVEAWAY!]
merry merry FITmas!
angela

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