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Quick-Thinking Designer Makes $100,000 in Six Days With iOS 14 Icon Set

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Who thought iOS 14 icons would be a quick way to make a hundred grand?

San Francisco-based James Traf was one of the first to jump on the idea of creating high-quality icons for iOS 14 users to customize their Home screens — and he’s certainly reaping the benefits.

In a new blog post, Traf writes that it took him just six days to rack up 3,626 sales of his stunning monochrome icon set. Because he charged $28 USD for them, he made $101,528 — officially passing the six-figure mark:

I saw some people sharing screenshots of their iPhones after discovering that iOS 14 now allows you to add custom icons to your home screen using the Siri Shortcuts app […]

As soon as I noticed the hype, I put together some icons in my own style, downloaded some widgets, and tried it all out. I thought it looked cool, so I shared a screenshot of it on Twitter. Right away, people started asking about the icons in the screenshot. So I quickly packaged them, uploaded them to Gumroad, and embedded them on a Notion site using Super. All of this took about two hours.

The next day, the tweet had hundreds of retweets, thousands of likes, and over 100k impressions. The day after that, almost a million. 

Then, MKBHD happened. He shared a video about all of this—using my icons for his setup, and linked them in the description. The next thing I knew, I was making $28 what felt like every 28 seconds. My phone turned into the ultimate dopamine dispenser (if it wasn’t already). I had to disable notifications.

The day after, sales jumped from $6k to about $40k, and during the time of this writing, sales are at $116,147 from 4,188 customers.

All from one. Single. Tweet.

An interesting decision was Traf’s pricing strategy: the set costs $28 USD, significantly more than most are charging. He just had the confidence to charge a higher sum:

If I would have asked anyone what to price these at, most would have said $2, or maybe $5. One thing I knew for sure was that the people most likely to buy these were not the same people who were jailbreaking their iOS devices in the past. These are first time iOS customizers, so there’s no notion of what an iOS icon set should be priced at.

Of course, the success was the culmination of cultivating skills over nearly a decade. Traf tells the story of how in 2013, when jailbreaking was considered trendy, he made $17 selling iOS icons online. Through this process, he learned the value of creating something with obvious effort put into it, and selling it at a reasonable price.

The story is a good read, especially if you’re interested in digital content creation. For those who want to check out Traf’s wares, you can visit his website here.

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