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Congratulations to our newest Power Elite author Orman Clark! Orman has been a member of the Envato community for 2 years and in that time has surpassed $1,000,000+ worth of sales! He reached this milestone in the last month and has worked exceedingly hard to get there. We are so proud to have him as a leader in our community.
As a Power Elite author Orman receives a day in his honor and a special Power Elite care pack including the Power Elite ring. We’ve interviewed Orman for his special day and we hope you enjoy reading about his journey to this milestone (below).
Happy Orman Clark Day Everyone!
Thank you, I’m honoured to be part of the group. I have a lot of respect for both Christian and Pete, so it’s great to finally be able to join them.
I think I ventured into selling commercial WordPress themes almost 2 years ago now. For a number of years prior, I had been using WordPress as the basis for 99% of my client work, so naturally I became familiar with the ins and outs.
While building projects for clients, I began to put together a starter theme, or blank canvas as it were, in order to speed up the work making each project a little bit simpler. I would simply use this starter theme as a base, re-skinning and re-coding where necessary to suit the needs of each client. Over time, the starter theme had a number of custom widgets and a very small amount of common theme options. In a way, I had built a very early version of a framework.
As I started to fall out of love for clients (happens to the best of us), I took a look into the themes industry. I quickly decided to take a leap of faith, quit the day job, and jumped in head first. I remember it very well, I had enough money saved for about 3 months rent, and my son had been born just a couple of months before. It was an all or nothing deal.
Fortunately, the first theme did well, not amazing, but certainly well enough for me to see potential. I went ahead and released another and another. Fast forward 18 months, we’re now a team of three, backed up by a pretty amazing support team, looking after 26,000+ customers. It’s been a fantastic journey, and I’ve genuinely loved every minute.
How does it feel to have sold over $1000000 of items?
Surreal. These things only ever happen to other people, right? In all seriousness, it feels great to have been able to reach so many people. The milestone itself is a welcomed metaphorical pat on the back we all need from time to time.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy ride by any means. I’ve put in more 16 hour days and 7 day weeks than I care to remember. But, reaching the milestone is a pleasant reminder that hard work does indeed pay off; you’ve just got to keep at it.
For our little team, the milestone is really a form of confirmation that what we’re doing right now, and the plans we have for the future, are both at least on the right tracks and heading in the right direction. We certainly don’t get it right every time, but getting this far does feel like we’ve gained a few nods of approval. It’s been a real motivator and will hopefully continue to drive us to reach our full potential.
As a designer, the milestone is a little less significant. It’s fantastic to know that people enjoy your work – a major case of the warm fuzzies – but you’re only really as good as your last piece of work. Tomorrow, I will wake up and work just as hard as I did the day before, nothing has changed in that respect.
How many hours do you spend on designs for the Envato marketplace?
The actual design process can vary from just a single day or two, to a full week or more – it very much depends on the complexity of the design and how strong my initial ideas are. Some ideas just seem to click, and so it may just take a small amount of Photoshop as visual confirmation before jumping into code. With others, it can be a much longer, iterative process.
Typically the entire process of concept to final product takes anywhere up to four weeks, with a healthy portion of that time spent on testing.
Thankfully, no. I’ve always dedicated a significant amount of time to testing each theme and it seems to have paid of so far. Also a bit of luck doesn’t go a miss.
They say the last 20% of a project takes up 80% of the time which, when it comes to commercial themes, I’d say I’d have to agree. Over the last two years, we’ve put together what seems like an endless quality assurance list which each theme is tested against by two team members independently. This catches most of the issues prior to release, which is much more favourable than having to issue updates that could have been avoided.
Measure twice and cut once. Or something like that.
What words of encouragement do you have for any budding authors who want to make Power Elite level one day?
Stop following trends and start setting them. Be prepared to hustle. Make sure support is not an afterthought. I honestly think that anyone following these “rules”, along with a bit of drive, can go as far as they’d like to in the marketplaces.
Nothing special. I work from home, in the smallest room in the house, I have just about enough space for a desk and a chair but then again, what else do you really need? My current setup is the 13in MacBook Air with a 27in display – pretty happy with this setup so far. I also went ahead and invested in a Herman Miller Aeron chair a couple of years back which was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.
How do you get inspiration for your designs?
I don’t think I could point out any single regular source of inspiration. I think ideas are generally an amalgamation of things I have already seen or experienced elsewhere. I do spend an absurd amount of time online each day which does help in being exposed to new ideas and concepts, but it’s never from a single source.
I do often find inspiration from other sources such as magazines, packaging, signage and print work – I think it’s important we spend time away from the medium in which we are working. If I do spot something of interest, I’ll make a note, sketch or photograph it for later.
Earlier this year you launched ThemeZilla, can you tell us a little bit about it and how you’ve found the process?
ThemeZilla.com is essentially a shop window for our themes and plugins. It is a central location for us to be able to offer support more efficiently. We give customers access to support forums (via the ThemeForest API) which helps us out a great deal when dealing with a large number of requests. It’s also been great to see a sense of community begin to build and have customers help each other out.
The build process was not unlike many other projects, the last 20% taking up most of the time of course. It was, however, a pleasant break from the norm of the typical theme project.
There are so many great things about this work. Being able to work in an area where I have true passion, working with super-smart people, working from home, and being able to support my family. But, the best thing has to be the sense of achievement you gain from being in control of your own destiny.
As any business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer will be able to relate, it’s a liberating experience being in control and working for yourself. It does come with a series of highs and lows, a whole bunch of fretting, but ultimately, a great sense of achievement. Even if you get things wrong, you at least tried and can take that experience into your next endeavour. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
How do you keep motivated and inspired?
I generally find setting smaller goals and being accountable keeps the momentum going. I tend to break down each project into a smaller set of tasks so you can feel a sense of progress as you check each item off the list. My work life is ruled by lists.
Being accountable is also great for momentum. The rest of the team is accountable for the work they produce and vice versa. If I slack then it affects the whole team, not just me. I highly recommend trying to make yourself accountable to someone or some goal. When working for yourself, it can be all too tempting to procrastinate at times.
For me, the most difficult part of my work is being able to break away and get the work/life balance right – I’ve yet to master it, but am getting better. With all the pressures, concerns, goals and to-do lists associated with working for yourself, it can be tricky to truly switch off.
Weirdly, sleep patterns are also an issue, I find myself working all sorts of irregular hours.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Just a sincere thank you to everyone who has supported my work over the past few years, I couldn’t be doing this without you.
On behalf of everyone at Envato, we want to congratulate Orman on this fantastic milestone and thank him for his enormous contribution to our Marketplaces. We hope his story inspires all of you and that you find some of his wisdom useful in your own climb to success!