Side Hustle #1 – TADTOY: A Mobile App

TADTOY Lineup2015 is a big year! I have a lot going on, including some side hustle projects. I have no idea where these projects will take me, but I thought they would at least make for interesting stories in my quest to live a fun life and perhaps make money.

My first featured side hustle is an app for iOS and Android called TADTOY. This is the story of the development of that app and what the app is all about.

When I was in college, I never joined a frat. I felt as though I found a great group of friends my freshman year and never felt the need to. However, in my 20’s in NYC, I admit that I was often referred to as “fratty” (probably because of my childish sense of humor and the fact that I knew my way around a pint glass).

I found a group of friends here in New York that were similar. They enjoyed going out, having a good time, and cracking jokes that were somehow both edgy and puerile.

So an acronym came about amongst our friends, TADTOY. Whenever we were taking care of our business in the bathroom, we would text this acronym to each other.

For those who have any amount of maturity, I apologize for this next part. The acronym stood for, “Taking a Dump, Thinking of You”. We thought it really bolstered our friendships.

Friends always have their inside jokes, but most inside jokes fade away over time. But one night, after a few beers, we started talking about how we could turn this into an app. Again, drunkenly talking about creating an app is quite common. But for some reason, we actually decided to go ahead and do it.

We started by recruiting a friend of ours who is a great Android coder, app design, and database guy (these are all subjects I know almost zero about). He loved the idea, so we signed him up as a partner! He also brought on an iOS-specific friend and we found a designer through our connections as well. We gave them all equity in the company we had formed. Their responsibility was to hang out, work on this fun/hilarious app, and laugh through the whole process with us.

As a result, our startup costs were very low. We spent money on developer tools, forming an LLC, various programs and tools that we needed as well as marketing materials (I will get to those in a moment). We haven’t yet hit the $2,000 mark (my portion is less than $500) for everything. We have heard feedback that an app like ours usually costs upwards of $10k to get off the ground!

Lesson 1: Think hard about how you want to finance your side hustle. We decided that we wanted to hang out with fun people and create this app as a group. We were fine with giving away chunks of the company. As a result, our startup costs are much lower than normal. Of course, if TADTOY ever blows up and becomes at all profitable, then carving out equity might be viewed as a mistake, but we are smart enough to know that our app isn’t the next Facebook.

Now, for the fun part. What is the app all about? Well, true to its roots, it’s a social messaging app for the bathroom. I have some experience editing videos, so I was tapped to create the promo video for our app. The video explains TADTOY better than I ever could, so here it is:

Isn’t that little toilet with the face cute? His name is Tad, naturally!

Right now, we are in the middle of marketing. We have reached out to various publications to try to get some media coverage. We were picked up by Supercompressor among a few others. We have plans to use Fiverr.com and get flyers distributed around college campuses. We also printed some marketing materials that I referred to earlier. Take a look


TADTOY Toilet Stickers
We also have stickers to put in dive bar bathrooms across NYC! (We will stick to only bars where stickers are ok, we promise)
TADTOY Eye Stickers
We ordered stickers that will turn any toilet into Tad!
TADTOY Matchbooks
For places where stickers aren’t allowed, some matchbooks above the toilet will be great! We also have friends who are bartenders who are going to give these out to customers.

I’ll be honest. We haven’t gotten a whole lot of traction yet. Yes, we do have about 1,000 users, but for a free app, that isn’t a whole lot.

Lesson 2: Marketing is HARD. I knew this from trying to promote this blog, but this experience only reinforces that.

Our next step is to keep plugging away at marketing and updating features to make the actual product better and more “sticky” (make people want to try it out and come back to it more and more).

But wait, I thought this was a “side hustle”. Where is the income?

That’s another piece we need to work out. In the beginning, we said “we will add advertising”. Well, from my experience blogging, I knew that was more complicated than it seemed. We haven’t some vague ideas, but haven’t really solidified any solid source of income. Plus all of our plans hinge on getting an insane amount of users.

Lesson 3: Have a solid monetization plan in place

So there it is, side hustle #1! Honestly, even if I knew for a fact that there was zero percent chance I would ever make a penny with this app, I would still continue to work on it. I’m with friends. It’s fun. And the fact that we have 1,000 people who have used the app is already pretty rewarding in and of itself!

Stay on the lookout for more side hustles coming soon!

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6 thoughts on “Side Hustle #1 – TADTOY: A Mobile App

  1. The Jackal March 30, 2015 at 8:47 am

    After I slam this breakfast burrito I’ll be sure to think of you!!!!!!

    • Mr NYBudget March 30, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Happy to hear it! Enjoy!

  2. Broke Millennial March 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    This is hilarious! I can’t tell you how often my friends text me descriptions of their #2 times, so I’d much rather receive it in a playful app. I hope to find some of those stickers in dive bars. Sounds like a fun scavenger hunt idea.
    Broke Millennial recently posted: Hack the Cost of Healthcare with Medical TourismMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 31, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Definitely let me know if you ever find any of the stickers. Of course, we are focusing primarily on men’s bathrooms as we are all guys, but you never know!

  3. Dreison Software February 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    After two failed mobile apps, I’m with you on how hard marketing can be!

    Did you ever try any online marketing approaches? I love the approach with stickers but I just worry about it scaling.

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