Top Learnings from the Theme Creators of Avada!
This month, ThemeFusion, the talented author behind the most popular WordPress theme of all time – Avada reached an incredible milestone. Since starting in 2012, they have now sold their 500,000th license for Avada.
To celebrate this achievement with the community, ThemeFusion’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael B has shared their key learnings and reflections as successful theme creators on ThemeForest.
Generally, we all want to be successful in some way or another, and the manner with which we quantify success differs for all of us. The common denominator is desire. Moreover, the most fundamental question many fail to ask is, does this desire drive you or control you?
If we don’t take the time to honestly evaluate this question and how it relates to our own unique set of circumstances, we can end up climbing the wrong ladder and pursuing someone else’s version of success. On the flip side and without a structured set of goals, sustaining any level of success can be equally tricky and often leads to burnout and worse, failure.
Becoming a theme author, a creator, a design guru, is all about where to start and how, and although this may seem to be a daunting endeavour for some, it does not have to be so. Drawing inspiration from your contemporaries that have laid out the beaten path before you is an excellent place to start developing your roadmap to success.
Here are five steps that will serve you well as you embark on a journey toward an illustrious and long term career.
1 – Set daily goals, keep them simple and manageable.
We all are familiar with the adage, “Life is what gets in the way of your plans.”. This is true and always will be as we navigate the nuances and pitfalls of daily living. Taking care of bills, responsibility, and disappointments, all chips away at one’s resolve. Without concrete goals to help manage your time and efforts, you will end being like a whip without a sail. Long term goals are essential; however, you still have to get there.
Keep it simple. As simple as possible. If for example, you plan to release the next best theme on the ThemeForest marketplace, break it all down into daily goals. Developing a WordPress theme that will pass approval requires a multitude of constituent parts. Design, coding, demographic research, marketplace research, industry research, all come together to help shape your project.
When planning, start with the days of the week. tl;dr If Mondays are hard for you to get out of bed and focus, perhaps less challenging goals like general research will get your creative juices flowing in preparation for the rest of the week. Monday’s planning will help shape Tuesdays design tasks. Spend Tuesday working on your wireframes and UX and allow Wednesday and Thursday to bring the coding into play. Coding is generally less fun and will require problem-solving and doing this midweek is more efficient because we are usually at our peak performance and endurance during this time.
Whatever you plan to do, keep the goals simple and attainable. Curate lists and knock off each target as the day progresses. A journey begins with a single step, before you know it you have walked a mile.
2 – Keep moving forward no matter what.
Endurance requires effort and lots of it. In fact, effort is only the beginning. Making an effort in attaining your daily and medium-term goals list counts as double the result when you hit your targets. The months of planning, designing and developing your theme into existence is the initial effort. Being able to stand up again after your theme is initially rejected is the more exact test to your resolve. You must learn to embrace failure as a tool of learning.
Failure is nothing to be afraid of; it is an integral part of any successful venture and should be treated with objectivity and wisdom. Once submitted and the ThemeForest evaluation team flag an issue or issues that prevent your item from being accepted, go to the forums and your contemporaries to garner insight into what you need to change to improve the chances for your project to be approved on the marketplace. Many existing theme authors can regale tails of multiple failures before finally being able to enjoy the fruits of the labor.
3 – Focus. Do not rest on your laurels.
Your submission has been accepted, and the item sales start coming in. Now what? Book a beach holiday to Barbados while your item sales keep climbing? No chance of that, this is only the beginning. Remember the goals we talked about earlier? Well, this must continue and it will soon enough involve more complex planning and adjustment to your daily routine. Starting to sell on the marketplace is only a quarter of the battle, the rest involves long term planning and contingency. Whether it is your very first sale or your one hundred thousandth sale, you are responsible for the evolution and maintenance of your product.
Research your competitors, engage with your customers, and contemplate market trends all in the effort to start ensuring the longevity of your product and services. Listen carefully to feedback from others and do your best to work into your plans and development cycle the critical assets that will keep customers coming back and new customers enticed to purchase from you. Feedback and the willingness to listen is king.
4 – Find your purpose among the noise.
Managing customers needs, support, development cycles, industry trends, changes and an ever-growing team of individuals to help support your ecosystem all does mean that noise can get loud. Moreover, loud is an understatement. After more than six years of managing customer expectations and industry pressure, we have learned that passion is a cornerstone that underpins our company culture. Passion transforms stress and turns it into your strength of character.
Identify your passion and hone in on it. For some it is attaining to perfect design, for others, it is functional and pragmatic tools for your users to be able to change their lives, and yet for others, it may be purely the customer-centric approach that is needed to drive your product higher professionally. Choose people to work with you that fire these criteria, get them to buy into your sense ownership and the results will be astounding. As a team, you collectively and democratically cover all of the essential facets that will deliver a successful product roadmap.
5 – Share the love. Make it tangible and be honest about it.
We make it a point to let our customers know that we “Love what we do, and whom we do it for!”. A little clichéd perhaps, but very true to who we are as a team. We also make it a point to care for one another, for each other’s needs and personal plans for growth. Doing this develops a culture of prevailing attitudes that is organically transposed over to each customer that we deal with, daily. Even the haters and baiters cannot overcome or change this resolve. Focus with intent on what serves your customers, your team members and your plans and the rest will follow automatically.
Of course, so much more can be said about becoming a creator, an entrepreneur and how to climb the ladder of creators success; And the list we have compiled here is by no means the holy grail, we’re all different and each with very different circumstances. What is common though is the desire to achieve, no matter what the achievement is.
As a parting gesture, consider the Victorian poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), as he too closes in the final stanza with what may perhaps be the most appropriate piece of advice out there:
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
Also, finally, to all the current and future developers, designers, theme authors, media creators out there; Never, ever, give up. Not for one minute.
ThemeFusion CTO Mark with Senior Developer Ari at WordCamp Europe